Homepage Forums Apps and Games, Energy League and Brackets An Atomic Future — How Do The Contenders Stack Up (App)

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  • #1180
    Avatartcg
    Member

    I have read a lot of scattered information about various nuclear fission and fusion technologies, but I have never seen it collected in one place and collated to allow a ready comparison. Often in articles where a comparison is being made, there is a clear bias, and so the evaluation cannot be trusted. Some evaluations are purely technical and neglect the financial cost, others are the reverse. Important facts are often left out, giving a slanted perspective.

    I was thinking originally of a Wikipedia article with all the contenders laid out for a side-by-side comparison, but it would be possible for anyone to jump in and alter the article, possibly with the results listed above. Better would be an internet pamphlet, which would allow continual updating as things progress on the fusion front.

    It would be most important that both the physical and financial angles be covered. The Fukushima disaster has shown us both. There would be room for some important and rarely considered data — e.g., fusion reactors are only 5% efficient in their use of uranium as fuel. The spent fuel rods still have 95% unused. Further, ITER, NIF, and a number of other fusion projects would require tritium, a substance not found on Earth but obtained from fission reactors at huge expense.

    The information should be presented in two forms. A matrix would allow comparison at a glance, especially for specific categories, but not everyone would find this easy to interpret. A verbal evaluation of each technology would complement the graphics. If the data were in a web page, it could be arranged as a table. For example, the intersection of the heading “Light Water Fission” with “Fuel” could say “U235: scarce, expensive and difficult to refine, radioactive, can be used for bombs. Plutonium: product of reactor operation, easy to refine, highly toxic and radioactive, can be used for bombs.” These words would link to a page with a fuller, documented description of these fuel types. The same could be done for reaction byproducts, cost of construction per mW, price per mW/h to the consumer, overall risk factors, long term availability of fuel, long term consequences, etc. These factors could be evaluated for all the contenders, functioning and projected: laser fusion, magnetic confinement, pebble bed reactors, polywell, focus fusion, and whatever else would show promise. Using conventional, light water reactors as the basis of comparison would seem particularly revealing now.

    The catastrophe in Japan has a lot of people and countries wondering if we are heading in the right direction regarding our future power needs. Now might be a good time to acquaint them with the options in an even-handed way.

    #10221
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    This is perfect! You are describing the start of the “energy stat cards” for the fission division of the energy league.

    This is what I’m talking about in the Energy League and Brackets campaign. Now moved to Fusion energy League site: http://www.fusionenergyleague.org/index.php/blog/category/C3

    I shall move this into the “apps and games campaign” forum.

    #10222
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    I was thinking originally of a Wikipedia article with all the contenders laid out for a side-by-side comparison, but it would be possible for anyone to jump in and alter the article, possibly with the results listed above. Better would be an internet pamphlet, which would allow continual updating as things progress on the fusion front.

    An App – updated in real time, with referees to vet the data. A big part of setting up the energy league is developing referee protocol. We need to clarify what is objective data, and what are subjective values.

    You will be able to overlay subjective values if you want to. They do, after all, have weight. The NIMBY effect is real (see http://projectnoproject.com )

    #10223
    Avatartcg
    Member

    I didn’t read Rezwan’s June 16 article on “Energy League and Brackets Campaign,” but I must have been channeling her keyboard. My concept was more narrow than hers, but it should be useful as a basic information source, the “Baseball Cards”. Several questions need to be asked:

    Who would be in charge?

    What would be the scope of the endeavor? Is the matrix format I mentioned suitable? If so, what forms of energy production should be in the rows and what characteristics evaluated should be in the columns? My original thought was purely on atomic fission and fusion, but should coal, natural gas, wind, solar, etc, be part of the matrix?

    Who is the target audience for this information? If it is on a web site, eventually the web crawlers will find it and it will pop up on Google searches. Who do we want to communicate with, or would it be more in-house information? The form it takes would be important.

    I see this as a sub-project within a larger campaign, outlined by Rezwan, so it should be fashioned carefully to prove useful in that larger picture.

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