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Fukushima Nuclear Plant Cleanup May Take More Than 40 Years

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the public-to-forget-about-it-within-40-months dept.

Power 218

mdsolar writes "'A U.N. nuclear watchdog team said Japan may need longer than the projected 40 years to decommission the Fukushima power plant and urged Tepco to improve stability at the facility. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency team, Juan Carlos Lentijo, said Monday that damage at the nuclear plant is so complex that it is impossible to predict how long the cleanup may last.' Meanwhile, Gregory B. Jaczko, former Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said that all 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology."

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218 comments

Ex-regulator, eh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43530959)

Why didn't he do anything when he had the chance?

Re:Ex-regulator, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43531085)

he wasn't paid to pay attention until he was ex

Re:Ex-regulator, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43531629)

He was nailed to the perch.

Cheap at half the price! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43531019)

Land uninhabitable for generations, 40+ years cleanup, trillions in compensation - yeah, I'd say it all went fairly well!

Re:Cheap at half the price! (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#43531047)

Land uninhabitable for generations, 40+ years cleanup, trillions in compensation - yeah, I'd say it all went fairly well!

Maybe the could us it as a setting and roll out another Matt Groening show, call it Fukurama

i'd watch it

Re:Cheap at half the price! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43531117)

We'll finally get to see where Leela's ancestors grew up, before moving to the big city :)

Re:Cheap at half the price! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#43532349)

We'll finally get to see where Leela's ancestors grew up, before moving to the big city :)

And the natural owner of the new Fukurama II nuclear plant would be Monty Burns-san!

hai! ehhhxcellent

Re:Cheap at half the price! (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43531397)

Land uninhabitable for generations, 40+ years cleanup, trillions in compensation - yeah, I'd say it all went fairly well!

Luckily, there is a solution! When our man Larry Summers was chief economist at the World Bank, he did a little writing [whirledbank.org]...

In this case, we can't really export the pollution(gathering the radioactive particles simply isn't plausible or cost effective); but we can import the population! Other than the carcinogenic fallout, it's a nice piece of real estate. Plenty of people live in places that are much ghastlier, even without fallout. All we have to do is find the wealthiest tenants who still live in a place with higher mortality(eg. from tropical parasites or malnutrition from marginally arable land) and offer them an attractively priced 50 year lease. The new occupants overall mortality goes down slightly, Japan makes some money back, and everyone basks in the warm glow of the human spirit, and gamma radiation.

How could this possibly be a bad plan?

Re:Cheap at half the price! (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year ago | (#43531883)

Retirement homes; what are the old of developing cancer in 20 years when you are already 80?

Re:Cheap at half the price! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43531945)

That actually did figure into common cold war protocols for dealing with contaminated food and water sources: prioritize less-contaminated ones for the young(both because they are of greater economic use, and because they have more time to accrue chronic radiation damage) and leave the more contaminated stuff to the old people...

Plus, an excellent reason not to take the kids to visit that old relative you never liked much anyway!

Re:Cheap at half the price! (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#43532663)

Top uses:
  • cancer treatment -- cheap radiation treatments
  • food irradiation center
  • radiology center -- x-ray you while you're walking through. Gamma rays free of charge. Drink the water if you want a PET scan.
  • urology center -- cheaper than a vasectomy

You get the idea.

Re:Cheap at half the price! (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#43532759)

Thats because you, like the article and those who buy into this sort of ignorance are ... to put it bluntly ... paranoid idiots too stupid to bother to make yourself aware of any actual information about the aftermath such an event.

Let me give you a hint ... Fukushima wasn't even a little bit scary compared to a certain little Russian event ... you know, the worst known to man ... you know, the one that is pretty much safe to live at and has been for a while ... which is far less than 40 years ... Or perhaps the actual blast zones from detonation ...

So basically, actual real world experience tells us 40 years is far longer than is actually required for 'safety' once you pull your head out of your ass and base your world view on actual science.

Re:Cheap at half the price! (2)

The Master Control P (655590) | about a year ago | (#43533099)

Fukushima, in short, has cesium contamination like Chernobyl (because cesium is volatile at low temperatures) but basically none of the heavy isotope contamination. So we can fast forward about 20 years on the recovery (virtually the entire open-air dose rate near Chernobyl is now Cesium decay). So while the radiation levels at Chernobyl have decreased from lethal to sorta-dangerous relatively quickly, it will still be another 120 years or so until they go from sorta-dangerous to pretty-much-not-dangerous.

Personally, I'd guess that around 2040 (one more Cs half-life) enough of the radiation from both Chernobyl and Fukushima will be gone, either truly due to decay or apparently by diffusing into the ground away from the surface, that there will be significant human return to much of the exclusion zones, although monitoring will have to be ongoing for a long time.

Re:Cheap at half the price! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43533825)

Personally, I'd guess that around 2040 (one more Cs half-life) enough of the radiation from both Chernobyl and Fukushima will be gone, either truly due to decay or apparently by diffusing into the ground away from the surface, that there will be significant human return to much of the exclusion zones, although monitoring will have to be ongoing for a long time.

Well, there is this thing with natural laws and the source of radiation.
You can have a long decay time or high radiation but not both.
The whole "being inhabitable for hundreds of thousands of years" means that you have extremely large amounts of something that is stable enough to be safe to handle.

So permit them to fix them... (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | about a year ago | (#43531061)

"Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said that all 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology."

If this is honest and true permits should be issued post haste.

One caution.... newer is not better as Apple Map users found.

Re:So permit them to fix them... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43531465)

His suggestion, and that's all it is, is to prevent a Fukoshima should all else fail by having smaller reactors so there physically isn't enough reactant to melt down like that. "Probably."

This requires new plant design. Of course no new permits to build will be issued, which is the goal, and not without literally hundreds of millions of dollars of litigation per plant, which is also the goal.

Re:So permit them to fix them... (3, Interesting)

Tailhook (98486) | about a year ago | (#43531701)

Jaczko isn't credible. He is a head case that drove his colleagues, including his fellow Obama appointees, to publically and unanimously condemn his tenure as NRC chairman while seated right next to him during congressional testimony. They forced him out because they'd had enough of his shit.

So now he is going to be a professional anti-nuke gadfly. Last week good 'ol Senator Harry Reid resurrected the head case [depletedcranium.com] and put him on the NNSA board so he can make that group dysfunctional and say scary things about the stockpile. Now that he's out of the shadows he's taking more shots as nuclear energy as well.

If you read the linked story you'll eventually learn what, specifically, his problem is with contemporary operating reactors; they are large and have enough residual heat to damage fuel after shutdown. The notion that our power reactors are too large is not new. It has been well understood since the beginning of nuclear energy production. Jaczko is talking about it because that's his job now; use the credibility of his "Former Chairman of the NRC" moniker to make headlines by saying scary things about nukes.

Incidentally this discussion raises the question; how large can a reactor be without risking fuel damage? The answer is about 60 MW thermal for traditional PWR light water designs. Common power reactors are 2000 MW thermal.

BTW, we aren't going to do anything about any of this. We're not replacing the reactors, or coal or gas or building out green energy [wind-watch.org] or anything else. We're a balkanized welfare state nation occupied with feathering our environmental nest while evacuating our industrial base to Asia. The power system you have now will be approximately the power system running when you die. Maybe a reactor will melt and we'll replace our nukes with more gas consumption. That's about as much as you can expect.

Re:So permit them to fix them... (0)

The Master Control P (655590) | about a year ago | (#43533161)

The power system you have now will be approximately the power system running when you die.

I think it's very unlikely that we'll still have gas to burn at the rate we're going by the 2090s. Coal, perhaps, but hopefully we won't be insanely stupid enough to completely and irreversibly rape our environment (dumping that much CO2 into the air would be a catastrophe beyond description due to ocean acidification) and then be left practically in the dark when everything except nuclear, hydro and solar becomes too expensive to fuel.

Re:So permit them to fix them... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43533859)

We're a balkanized welfare state nation occupied with feathering our environmental nest while evacuating our industrial base to Asia.

That's the most depressing phrase I've read all week.

Re:So permit them to fix them... (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#43531799)

I think we should replace all of our nuclear reactors with one big one.
The good news is that this is already in operation and has proven to be a stable design.
It has been generating power for millions of years and has a projected life of millions more.
It only gives earth a small amount of harmful radiation due to natural shielding. It provides many times the power the earth could possibly ever use.
I am, of course, referring to the sun.

Re:So permit them to fix them... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43533851)

It provides many times the power the earth could possibly ever use.

Unless you only count that amount that actually hits the Earth.

I am, of course, referring to the sun.

You mean that power source that we can harvest by covering a larger area than the protected zone around Fukushima with solar cells while not harvesting as much energy?

Cost of nuclear power (5, Insightful)

kurt555gs (309278) | about a year ago | (#43531075)

Is nuclear power really more cost effective per megawatt if you incluse the cost of long term storage and clean up after a disaster? Those numbers never make it into the calculations because they are inevitably paid by taxpayers.

Re:Cost of nuclear power (5, Funny)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about a year ago | (#43531177)

Oh my god, don't start putting logic into your fiscal planning and equations! That's not how the world works. Witch! Burn the Witch!!!

Re:Cost of nuclear power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43531193)

Versus what technology? If you really want to be fair, you would need to hold that same technology to the same standards as you hold nuclear. That probably means you need to carbon-sequester from coal plants, which nobody does.

Shhh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43531351)

Don't tell the ecodweebs that solar isn't clean, and their new Prius has done far more damage to the environment than the guy driving around a '98 Ford.

Re: Shhh. (1)

Hellsbells (231588) | about a year ago | (#43533063)

Pretty obvious lies. Why do people still bother spouting this garbage?

There have been several studies done showing that the Prius has a significantly lower environmental footprint than the average car.

Re:Cost of nuclear power (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43531407)

Those numbers never make it into the calculations

In other news, the costs of sending tons of coal ash up smokestacks never get into the calculations either. More radioactivity goes up coal smokestacks and into the air we breathe than has ever been released from nuclear reactors.

I would love to decommission coal plants, but you need something to replace them. Something that can reliably crank out the power. (Go ahead and calculate how many wind turbines or solar panels it would take to replace a medium-sized coal plant. Be sure to account for power generation 24/7/365, in the dark, when the wind is calm.)

The real reason that nuclear power is expensive per megawatt is all the lawyers' fees. If you try to build a nuke plant, you will be sued. If you try to upgrade a nuke plant, you will be sued.

Hell, if you try to build a solar plant in the desert, you will be sued for that! If you try to build a NEW coal plant, you will be sued.

So is anyone really surprised that the nuke plants we have are being babied along? In the absence of all the lawsuits, I think the nuke plant operators might be building 4th gen inherently safe designs... but NO-O-O they would be sued so they just keep operating the aging 1st gen plants.

The founder of Greenpeace has come around and is pro-nuke. It's sad that it is so unusual for someone to let his mind be changed by facts, but at least it happened once.

I favor nuke plants for baseline load, solar plants in places like deserts, and maybe solar panels on roofs in places that get really hot in the summer. Plus natural gas for handling peak loads. But nobody gives a damn what I favor, do they?

Re:Cost of nuclear power - the problem (4, Insightful)

gr8_phk (621180) | about a year ago | (#43531961)

The problem is that there were supposed to be other types of reactors that would "burn" the waste. That would generate even more power while getting rid of the "spent" fuel. Problem is those reactors never got approved due to proliferation risk. But of course they keep renewing licenses for the existing ones to create more waste and IIRC even allowing some more to be built.

I'm not sure why this doesn't come up when they talk about where to bury the waste - building a reactor to make use of it IS an option. Of course the longer we wait, the more spent fuel will be contained in giant blocks of cement that can't be used as fuel either.

Re:Cost of nuclear power (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#43532199)

While the term 'too cheap to meter' was not originally strictly applied to the first generations of nuclear power, they were certainly marketed as such. Of course, as mentioned, they became much more expensive as each incident required huge taxpayer bailouts. OTOH, who know how much coal is going to cost us in the end. The superfund is no longer being paid by industry, and every day our atmosphere is being treated like a sewer. We have enough sense to know that indoor plumbing is worth the investment, beyond just connivence, so why is requiring a coal plant, or car, to deal with it's own sewage any different. No we are going to have deal with it at much greater expense later.

So here are the three things we know. First, it is going to cost some sum of money to remediate every ton we poop into the atmosphere. Second, no one is building nuclear reactors without significant taxpayer funding. For instance Westinghouse is looking at part of $400 million of taxpayer money to fund the it's current generation of reactors. Third, there is no politically feasible technology to deal with nuclear waste. One would think the Nevada, who sold itself out for infinite easy cash, would have no problem storing waste, but it does.

Which is why I say just spend the money on renewables. Sure it may cost more upfront and take a while to get up and running, but we won't have guaranteed problems on the backend. We may have new problems on the backend, but that always happens when on innovate. If innovation is worth it, then we accept this.

Re:Cost of nuclear power (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43532677)

You really want numbers? Ok, here are numbers for nuclear power accident,

1. Fukushima fuckup - $100B (in local currency)
2. Fossil Fuels to replace nuclear power in Japan - $40B/year (in *external* currency)

So 2-3 years of nuclear power "pays" for the accident, never mind the critical usage of external currency to buy fuel.

Here are numbers for "long term storage". Basically free to store waste in dry casks (now imagine costs of storing 50+ years of ash at a coal power plant). As for fuel,

  1. reprocessing uranium - $120/lb (local currency)
  2. mined uranium - $50/lb (external currency)

so why would anyone reprocess uranium now if they can just stockpile for future use? Long term storage or is it a fuel depot? Seems like the latter.

How much does it cost to actually store uranium? If you pay 10 people to guard it, that's $1m/year for a storage site of a few thousand tons. And you pay in LOCAL currency. But then the "waste" tends to be stored on power plant premisses so no extra costs at all.

If you notice I keep writing "LOCAL CURRENCY" and external currency. Those are extremely important things. Trade surplus/deficit, currency devaluation, inflation, and standard of living all tied together with that. Basically, if you are a nation that cannot use local currency to buy energy, you are really really screwed. Nuclear power allows usage of local currency to buy baseload electricity even if you do not have any fossil fuels.

It will be economic suicide for Japan to stop using nuclear power (be that slow fission (current), fast fission (future) or fusion (more distant future)). It would be economic suicide for France to stop using nuclear power.

Finally, what is the cost per megawatt to clean up all the CO2 from the atmosphere and sequester it back into the ground? And how long will that take? 40 years??? If we stopped releasing CO2 tomorrow, it will take 200-300 years just to reach new climatic equilibrium. I guess no one counts the costs of moving entire nations due to rising oceans and all that jazz. And how much economic value is lost because most of pine trees in Canada and US become extinct?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_pine_beetle [wikipedia.org]

Just some externalities of fossil fuels. I guess no one will be adding these up. But go ahead, keep blaming CO2-free nuclear power for the world ills. Maybe the millions that die prematurely each year sucking down exhaust don't count either.

Re:Cost of nuclear power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43532903)

CO2 really doesn't compare to toxic nuclear waste, espescially as far as the biosphere is concerned. A single friggen massive algae bloom could eat up all the CO2 produced in a year and turn it into O2 in a few weeks, and die dropping the carbon safely at the bottom of the sea. Nuclear waste tends to stay hot for anywhere from half a century to millennia, and there's no organic process that will naturally take care of it.

Nuclear fission for power has always been a shit solution to the energy problem. It is overly complex, prone to catestrophic industrial failures and It is not cheap. The ONLY reason it even exists is it's great for making bomb fuel for really exceptional bombs.

Re:Cost of nuclear power (1)

mbkennel (97636) | about a year ago | (#43533255)

| A single friggen massive algae bloom could eat up all the CO2 produced in a year and turn it into O2 in a few weeks, and die dropping the carbon safely at the bottom of the sea.

Empirically, why hasn't this been happening to keep the CO2 concentration stable?

What makes one believe that such a circumstance could be engineered to happen every year for the next 300 years?

Re:Cost of nuclear power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43533757)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_fertilization
I favor nukes.

Re:Cost of nuclear power (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43533199)

Yes. Nuclear power really is more cost effective per megawatt, even when you incluse (sic) the cost of long term storage and clean up after a disaster! What is really needed though, is instead of turning tail and running from the technology, research and development in inherently safe nuclear power (yes sparky, solutions do exist and can even safely burn up dangerous radioactive waste, rendering it effectively inert (one of two ways: either highly radioactive for a very short time, in which you store it in a very very safe place for a short time, after which its no longer radioactive, or a very very long half life, so that you can eat it, drink it, and play with it for 50 generations before it kicks out a single particle). Sadly, chicken shits and morons get irrational about nuclear power. Everyone is using the same basic design from 1945 today, no one is using any of the new, safe alternatives (mostly because you can't build weapons of mass destruction from them), and we have to deal with long term waste as a result.

Re:Cost of nuclear power (1)

HtR (240250) | about a year ago | (#43533235)

How much do you plan for disaster cleanup? Probably the best you can do is base costs on history, which I believe have generally been fairly low, at least until now.

But then, to be fair, you'd have to include potential disaster cleanup costs for other industries too. I don't believe the LNG plants and other generators that were wiped out in that huge tidal wave included disaster cleanup costs, either (although it may be that rebuilding them all may be cheaper than decommissioning the Fukushima plant in the long run. I haven't heard much about those costs).

Also, while I agree that calculating long term storage costs should be included for nuclear power generation, how do you calculate the cost of the greenhouse gases generated by a coal-based generator? As I understand it, the CO2 we generate now will likely be affecting us for hundreds of years.

lol (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43531099)

all 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology. But that costs money, and we're not going to spend it.

So fuck you future people. Your problem. Sucks to be you.

Re:lol (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43531265)

all 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology. But that costs money, and we're not going to spend it.

So fuck you future people. Your problem. Sucks to be you.

To be fair, the problem is not just money, but also political. Many people want no new reactors, even if a new reactor will replace one of an older, less safe design.

Re:lol (0)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43531463)

To be fair, the problem is not just money, but also political. Many people want no new reactors, even if a new reactor will replace one of an older, less safe design.

To be fair, the decision to decommission an existing reactor, and the decision to build a new one, are two independent decisions. If a reactor is unsafe, or uneconomical, or its license cannot be renewed, then it should be replaced, regardless of what technology is used to replace it. Decommissioning of old nukes is not being held up because new nukes are not being approved.

Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (3, Informative)

Dragonshed (206590) | about a year ago | (#43531101)

Moving away from the first & second generation light water reactor designs is definitely something we should be doing, but simply going to smaller plants is a dubious plan.

From TFA:

> Dr. Jaczko cited a well-known characteristic of nuclear reactor fuel to continue to generate copious amounts of heat after a chain reaction is shut down. That “decay heat” is what led to the Fukushima meltdowns. The solution, he said, was probably smaller reactors in which the heat could not push the temperature to the fuel’s melting point.

Actually innovating, bringing something like the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor to reality, is more along the lines of what we should be doing.

Also, it was the tsunami that actually caused the meltdowns. Fukushima had appropriate backups for cooling the reactor, and were well under way when the reactors were shut down after the quake, they just didn't design for the eventually of a tsunami to come and categorically knock them all out.

$0.02

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (4, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43531197)

it was the tsunami that actually caused the meltdowns

Has anyone said otherwise? What's your point?

they just didn't design for the eventually of a tsunami

It doesn't matter what other things were done right, because in the real world it still had a meltdown.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (2)

ranpel (1255408) | about a year ago | (#43531401)

The article said: "That “decay heat” is what led to the Fukushima meltdowns"

and it does matter because in the real world the ideal is to learn from the past in order to better prepare for the future. No?

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (0)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43531557)

and it does matter because in the real world the ideal is to learn from the past in order to better prepare for the future

It may be useful to a nuclear engineer, but I doubt most of the people living there give a damn that they almost got it right.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43531633)

You're just being oddly argumentative and not making sense. The next time there is an accident (and there will be) the people living around it will be glad we learned something from this one. You seem to be advocating not doing anything to try and make it better next time.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43532109)

The next time there is an accident (and there will be) the people living around it will be glad we learned something from this one ...

The idea of learning from this accident is to prevent another accident, so "the next time there is an accident (and there will be)" it will be because the lessons weren't learned or because of something completely different.

And the people living around where will be glad? Fukushima? I doubt they're going to let anyone build another nuke near them. Or do you mean the people living around the future inevitable accident? Why would they be happy - if there is an accident near them it means that the Fukushima lessons didn't help them. The only people who are happy when safety lessons are absorbed are people who don't even know they should be happy that no accident has occurred. Such is the rude reality of preventing accidents. You rarely get credited if it works, but you'll get blamed if it doesn't.

I also don't think my original point was so obtuse. As useful as accident investigations can be to engineers, the people who are affected by accidents generally don't care about the details or whether you got everything else right. What they know and care about is that the thing failed. That's a reasonable attitude.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43533773)

Are you openly advocating ignorance?

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43531403)

Posting AC to preserve mods. There is still credible debates on to actually (meaning specifically) caused the meltdowns, e.g., was there earthquake damage prior to the tsunami, was the tsunami damage to the intake water pumps (at the shore) enough so the loss of power was moot, was it the tsunami flooding the generators or washing away the fuel storage tanks, etc. "Tsunami" isn't enough to plan preventive measures. You need to know what pieces failed because of the tsunami.

I agree with you on the meltdown. They thought they mitigated risk to an acceptable level and got bit by an outlier (or their "acceptable level" wasn't good enough). Judging TEPCO's performance post-accident I don't trust them to have made good decisions from day one.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (2)

mad flyer (589291) | about a year ago | (#43531429)

Actually, if you were to check on the matter...

The quake already disabled the plants, the tsunami just gave the final blow.

AND NO, NO AND NO.

THE QUAKE AT THE SITE OF THE PLANT WAS NOT BIGGER THAN WHAT THE PLANT WHAT SUPPOSEDLY BUILD TO SUSTAIN.

The quake was a 9 something at sea, but much much lower at the coast of Japan.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (2)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43533783)

Has anyone said otherwise?

Jaczko did. Which was the point of the original poster's clarification.

It doesn't matter what other things were done right, because in the real world it still had a meltdown.

Of course it matters. Do you think less radiation would be released, if say the melted core had stayed critical for days after the tsunami, generating heat a considerable fraction of that of a working reactor? (Just scramming the reactor dropped heat production by a factor of ten. And keeping the reactor cool for about nine hours, dropped heat production significantly more.) Or while the core continued to boil sea water and release measurable radiation into the air today? Treating a core meltdown as the end state ignores that it could have been much worse.

Obviously, nobody likes it when a nuclear plant suffers a core meltdown. But it is worth noting here that the reactors in question were designed to fail in the way that they did rather than even more dangerous ways.

And as I've stated before, I don't see why a core meltdown is so bad that it should be avoided at all cost. It wasn't in the case of Fukushima. There's apparently little exposure of the public to radiation. And I consider most of the current clean up costs to be due to the placating of public hysteria and not actually required for public safety.

And at worst, you can always use the location for strictly non-residential use, such as industry, including more nuclear reactors.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (1)

mtpaley (2652983) | about a year ago | (#43531213)

Smaller reactor cores are going to be less efficient but a fission reactor is always going to have residual heat issues regardless of the design. What about building the core above a hole, if things go Fukushima bad and the reactor is doomed to a fuel meltdown then just blow some career ending charges and drop the core into a hole followed by a few thousand tonnes of sand then some concrete. It would get hot down there but as the fission products decay it would calm down and no radioactivity would be released.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43531261)

That would have been useful at Fukushima as the core dropped into a hole recently filled with seawater.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (4, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year ago | (#43531219)

There are plenty of problems with LFTR, mostly to do with metallurgy, chemistry, toxicity (e.g. beryllium), the core freezing, etc etc etc.

If there weren't, somebody would've built one by now. LFTR is no silver bullet, at least until all these problems are ironed out.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (2)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | about a year ago | (#43533319)

They have already been built long ago, and all of the fundamental concepts have been proven. What is left is the engineering and development left to make a commercial grade reactor. For a small fraction of what we are spending to turn our excess plutonium into MOX fuel which none of our reactors are equipped to use, molten salt reactors could solve the plutonium and spent fuel issues once and for all, at far less cost.

The corrosion problems used as an excuse to shut down the program, already had known solutions even at the time. Yes, it requires special materials and controlling the chemistry, but that is a solvable engineering problem. High pressure water in conventional reactors is also highly corrosive and requires similar care, but these are simple engineering contraints that have solutions.

As far as beryllium toxicity and core freezing, what is the problem? Lots of things are toxic, some of which you will probably find under your sink. Toxic chemicals are used throughout industry, even in renewables; why pick on LFTR? This reactor runs at atmospheric pressure and has no adverse reactions with air or water, so there is no driving force to release any toxic or radioactive elements into the environment, even in the event of a major disaster. Freezing of the salts might cause plant damage, but there is no safety risk--if anything, it is a feature. All of the nasties are dissolved in the salts and end up frozen in place.

Why is it so hard to accept that politics often prevents good ideas from ever reaching the marketplace? Anyone who takes the time to learn about molten salt reactors will understand how they are potentially the sliver bullet we are looking for. Aside from a miraculous breakthrough in fusion, there are no other technologies that even offer the potential, so it is folly not to pursue the one that shows such promise.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (4, Interesting)

delt0r (999393) | about a year ago | (#43533807)

They have already been built long ago, and all of the fundamental concepts have been proven.

Incorrect. There has never been any breeding. Th fuel cycles need breeding and thus a breeding ratio of 1 or better. This has never been done and numerically looks pretty tight. So tight that in situ reprocessing is typically proposed to remove the 233Pa which acts as a neutron poison. This also has never been done or shown to work in any way. These things would be considered a pretty fundamental part of a LFTR.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (1)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about a year ago | (#43533451)

There are plenty of problems with LFTR, mostly to do with metallurgy, chemistry, toxicity (e.g. beryllium), the core freezing, etc etc etc.

Hastelloy-N and similar alloys are inert in LFTR molten salts. This problem was solved in the 60s during the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment. The ~600C operating temperature of LFTR is well within the capabilities of metallurgy today.

The essential chemistry of LFTR contains no surprises, its use of flourine and beryllium presents no greater hazard then use of those substances in manufacturing. When you consider that the salts are recycled for the life of the reactor, which would be practically forever, it doesn't seem too awful when one is generating incredible amounts of electricity. Of course LFTR must contain heavy duty chemistry but the need for safe handling of these substances is pretty obvious.

Toxicity?? No, LFTR's chemistry is not edible. Solving the world's energy problems cannot be accomplished using a Play-Doh Fun Factory.

If there weren't, somebody would've built one by now. LFTR is no silver bullet, at least until all these problems are ironed out.

That type of circular 'appeal to somebody' reasoning is precisely why there is not a working production prototype right now.

As I said etc etc etc. [slashdot.org]

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43533593)

Core freezing is not a problem once the reactor has operated for any reasonable amount of time. The decay heat from FP should be sufficient to keep the reactor from freezing...along with the huge heat being generated by nuclear fission and the relatively nicely thermo-regulation of core density via fluid expansion. Metallurgy hasn't been a problem, fluoride chemical processes are done throughout the world in a non-nuclear sense for decades, the challenges here are more about moderator (carbon) damage over the life of the core. Some designs remove the graphite entirely and just use salt moderation, this also eliminates some positive void coefficients in case of a thorium blanket loss, but core salt retention. Beryllium toxicity isn't really as much as a concern in the same way fluoride toxicity isn't, once it is bound in the salt it poses little to no threat, and the HF for uranium volatility extraction is more of a hazard in reality, but a normal process in the day in affairs of industrial processes.

One of the interesting challenges, though, is the fission product processing facility, which is why some designs have skipped this step entirely, opting for a burner instead of a breeder concept. But mostly, the flaw in your logic is the betamax fallacy, the superior technologies always win. There are many economic, political, and industry reasons why LFTR (or more generally molten salt reactors) face challenges that operate in spite of its technical sophistication. And to reiterate, most of the technical challenges you mentioned are completely incorrect. More interesting would be core stability problems via the lower quantity of delay neutrons in U233 compared to U235, potential heat transients and sonic vibrations due to salt expansion, and others. But I digress, but I would also caution you against spreading technical issues that aren't true about really great technology, it is intellectually dishonest.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43531573)

they just didn't design for the eventually of a tsunami to come and categorically knock them all out.

Geological records show that a Tsunami about that size hits the coast of Japan every 300 years. The reactor was built to last 60 years. Just by random chance there was a 20% probability of being hit by a tsunami. But tsunamis don't happen randomly, they roughly happen at a known frequency, and northwest Japan was "due". So they failed to account for something that had a better than even chance of happening over the life of the reactor. This is why the greenies roll their eyes when the nukies say "Trust us, we know what we're doing!"

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43532939)

by random chance there was a 20% probability

I follow the logic, but I must giggle at the wording.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (3, Insightful)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | about a year ago | (#43533027)

This is why the greenies roll their eyes when the nukies say "Trust us, we know what we're doing!"

And the rest of us roll their eyes when the greenies expect us to roll back ~100+ years of progress because nuclear accidents have happened.

Nuclear power has the lowest carbon output per megawatt of ANY base load power supply. Full stop.

This is a chart of deaths per TwH of power:
http://www-958.ibm.com/software/data/cognos/manyeyes/visualizations/2e5d4dcc4fb511e0ae0c000255111976/comments/2e70ae944fb511e0ae0c000255111976 [ibm.com]

Nuclear? 0.04. Coal? *161*

Wow, great, we've had Chernobyl and Fukushima as major incidents. You know how many people die every year because of coal-fired generation? Hundreds of thousands. Greenies can fuck off.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (0)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#43533631)

greenies roll their eyes when the nukies say "Trust us, we know what we're doing!" because they're really bad at math and choose "fuzzy" bullcrap like "Japan was 'due' for a tsunami over facts".

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (0)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43533791)

Geological records show that a Tsunami about that size hits the coast of Japan every 300 years. The reactor was built to last 60 years. Just by random chance there was a 20% probability of being hit by a tsunami. But tsunamis don't happen randomly, they roughly happen at a known frequency, and northwest Japan was "due". So they failed to account for something that had a better than even chance of happening over the life of the reactor. This is why the greenies roll their eyes when the nukies say "Trust us, we know what we're doing!"

The difference is that nukies learn from their mistakes.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (2)

coalrestall (973453) | about a year ago | (#43532353)

Also, it was the tsunami that actually caused the meltdowns. Fukushima had appropriate backups for cooling the reactor, and were well under way when the reactors were shut down after the quake, they just didn't design for the eventually of a tsunami to come and categorically knock them all out.

They didn't entirely ignore the possibility—there was a 19ft sea wall designed to protect the plant from the tsunami. It was just unfortunate that it wasn't sufficient to protect the plant from the 46ft wave that actually came. In fairness though, a tsunami higher than 19ft in that area was pretty much unprecedented until the afternoon of March 11th 2011, and had the plant been made one generation later, a newer backup system would have been in place that used gravity rather than knockoutable electricity and it would have been fine. I guess they figured that if a tsunami higher than 19 feet hits the coastline, the power plant would be the least of their problems. A lot of people still think that...

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (4, Interesting)

mbkennel (97636) | about a year ago | (#43533271)

A liquid flouride thorium reactor has exceptionally radioactive fission products dissolved in a caustic, very hot liquid. Every nuclear plant also has to be a chemical reprocessing plant of 700 degree radioactive liquids sufficiently dangerous that humans cannot get close to them for decades.

This system also happens to be very water-soluble, so that a breach and flood similar to Fukushima would be extraordinarily dangerous---most of the waste would have entered the environment instead of a modest fraction.

Conventional reactors have fission products encased in zirconium steel.

Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (2)

delt0r (999393) | about a year ago | (#43533849)

LFTR still have decay heat. If your systems fail, passive or otherwise, because of say a 12 meter wall of water. It will have the same problems. Worse in fact, since you need a moderator which is typically graphite. That burns nicely when exposed to air. The Fluoride salts also react with water to form hydrogen and acids. Any core breach is just as bad. And no its not different because the core is suppose to be melted. Decay heat will get it hot enough to melt through the containment vessels.

The long and the short of it is that if your backup cooling systems don't work, your in a world of pain. *All* fission based nuclear reactors suffer from the fact that there is no "instant off" switch. LFTR or otherwise. Its not magic. Though many here seem to think they are.

They could use Canadian reactors.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43531109)

..... which are inherently much less risky, but are also less efficient.

Sadly, I don't think this would ever happen, mostly because of some kind of American inferiority complex.

Re:They could use Canadian reactors.... (4, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43531225)

Canadian reactors overheat if the outside temperature exceeds 25C.

Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43532411)

we got 40 degree days many time and im north of one of the reactors by 50 miles or so....
so dont tell us all that bs or we'd all be smokin about now

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43533249)

*wooosh*

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, wait, it's the joke flying so far over your head it's dodging satellites in low orbit!

Re:They could use Canadian reactors.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43533141)

Canadian reactors overheat if the outside temperature exceeds 25C.

no those are French (aka France) design ones

fertiliser (2, Insightful)

ssam (2723487) | about a year ago | (#43531175)

It would be good if other areas of industry had the strong safety regulation that nuclear has. for example fertiliser plants.

Re:fertiliser (3, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43531235)

It doesn't take 40 years to clean up after a fertilizer plant explodes. BTW, what happens if they get another tsunami while they're cleaning up the mess?

Re:fertiliser (1)

flandre (1278778) | about a year ago | (#43531307)

i think the radioactive stuff would be washed out to sea. there, it may sink to the ocean floor and go through a cycle much like the mercury cycle - where critters at the bottom of the food chain will eat radioactive particles, which would be eaten up by larger fish, and eventually end up being consumed by a significant portion of the human population!

Re:fertiliser (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43531495)

i think the radioactive stuff would be washed out to sea. there, it may sink to the ocean floor and go through a cycle much like the mercury cycle - where critters at the bottom of the food chain will eat radioactive particles, which would be eaten up by larger fish, and eventually end up being consumed by a significant portion of the human population!

That's what's happening now.

Re:fertiliser (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43531311)

It doesn't take 40 years to clean up after a fertilizer plant explodes. BTW, what happens if they get another tsunami while they're cleaning up the mess?

On the other hand, it doesn't take an explosion for a fertilizer company to leave land toxic, uninhabitable, and a risk to groundwater for over 30 years:

http://yosemite.epa.gov/r9/sfund/r9sfdocw.nsf/vwsoalphabetic/Frontier+Fertilizer?OpenDocument [epa.gov]

Re:fertiliser (1)

mirix (1649853) | about a year ago | (#43531635)

The principal chemicals in groundwater and soil are three pesticides, ethylene dibromide (EDB), 1,2-dichloropropane (DCP), and 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP), which were used as soil fumigants, as well as the solvent carbon tetrachloride.

Doesn't look like it was the fertilizer that caused the problems, fertilizer company or not.

Re:fertiliser (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#43531499)

It doesn't take 40 years to clean up after a fertilizer plant explodes. BTW, what happens if they get another tsunami while they're cleaning up the mess?

If they get a Tsunami in central Texas while they're cleaning it up, I'm pretty sure the flooding will be the least of our worries; the dust cloud from the giant asteroid will be a more pressing concern....

Oh, you meant in Japan.

Re:fertiliser (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43531543)

Sometimes it is much worse than any nuclear accident.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster#Ongoing_contamination [wikipedia.org]

If only we treated all hazardous chemicals like nuclear waste, we wouldn't have all the weird cancers and disease we have in the world. But instead we spray it around and use it until it is found to be bad because "if we don't look, then it is OK".

Re:fertiliser (3, Insightful)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year ago | (#43531929)

Radioactive material has a half life at least. It'll sort itself out over time. but some chemical contamination lasts forever.

Just because it's known exactly how long it'll last, to the point where the most accurate clocks are based on it. It sounds worse than something with no time limit.

Re:fertiliser (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | about a year ago | (#43533039)

How long is it going to take to clean the atmosphere of all the pollutants pumped into it by thousands of coal plants around the world for the last 100+ years?

So what if it takes 40 years? Its contained to a small physical area.

Brute Force (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43531205)

Can't they just encase the plant in concrete/dirt and say fuk it? Seem to remember reading about Chernobyl being dealt with in similarly crude but effective fashion. Sure it would cost a lot to heap up that much rubble but hey, beats sitting on the thing for decades on end attempting to carefully spoon out all the nasties.

Re:Brute Force (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43531323)

Can't they just encase the plant in concrete/dirt and say fuk it? Seem to remember reading about Chernobyl being dealt with in similarly crude but effective fashion. Sure it would cost a lot to heap up that much rubble but hey, beats sitting on the thing for decades on end attempting to carefully spoon out all the nasties.

Concrete doesn't last forever, nor does a big dirt pile when you're in an earthquake and tsunami zone. Burying it just makes it even harder to clean up when whatever containment method you used fails the next time.

Re:Brute Force (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43531473)

Who cares if the containment fails. It's buried.

Re:Brute Force (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43531527)

Who cares if the containment fails. It's buried.

Oh sorry, I thought the problem was radioactive elements leaking out into the environment. As long as no one is worried about the containment failing and allowing radioactive contaminants top leach into the soil and groundwater, then sure, just put an umbrella over the current reactor and call it a day.

Re:Brute Force (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43531855)

allowing radioactive contaminants top leach into the soil and groundwater

Not an issue if you bury it deep enough.

Re:Brute Force (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43531471)

Can't they just encase the plant in concrete/dirt and say fuk it? Seem to remember reading about Chernobyl being dealt with in similarly crude but effective fashion. Sure it would cost a lot to heap up that much rubble but hey, beats sitting on the thing for decades on end attempting to carefully spoon out all the nasties.

The plan at Chernobyl worked so well that we are now constructing a bigger, better, new sarcophagus to enclose the reactor and the current leaky and structurally unsound old sarcophagus...

Re:Brute Force (2)

The Master Control P (655590) | about a year ago | (#43533325)

In defense of "bury it," the sarcophagus at Chernobyl was built using late-Soviet era materials, under unbelievable constraints of time and construction difficulty. You try "doing it right" when your welders can literally work for about 15 minutes before they have to leave and never return, building structurally sound walls to support your dome is impossible, and all while knowing that every single vehicle and piece of equipment you bring in will have to be abandoned and left to rot because it's now Contaminated.

Any sarcophagus built at Fukushima will be as if construction at Chernobyl were to begin today: "This area is somewhat contaminated. Mind your dosimeter, wear your protective clothes, take a shower after every shift and don't lick your tools and you'll be fine. Oh, and smile for the tourists."

It doesn't take a reactor for a 40 year cleanup (4, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43531245)

Any large industrial accident can take decades to clean up. More than 20 years after the Exxon Valdez [wikipedia.org] accident, there are still lingering effects. There are many Superfund toxic waste [wikipedia.org] sites that have been on the Superfund list for 30 years (the list was started 30 years ago or many would have listed longer)

Lies! Lies! ALL LIES! (0, Flamebait)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about a year ago | (#43531251)

Lies! It's clean, I tell you, it's clean! Get it through your thick stone cranium: Nuclear power is the cleanest of them all!

Sheesh...

Re:Lies! Lies! ALL LIES! (0)

Zaelath (2588189) | about a year ago | (#43531475)

If all 104 plants in the US had Fukushima style meltdowns, it might get to the level of deaths caused by coal over it's time in the sun. Probably not though.

Best. Cleanup Plan. Ever. (1)

conspirator23 (207097) | about a year ago | (#43531483)

1. Send the best minds in Japan to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation [wikipedia.org]. Study the tools and methodologies used. Interview all the engineers participating in the cleanup effort. Learn absolutely everything you can about waste recovery techniques, environmental stewardship, and safety protocols.

2. Do exactly the opposite.

Proposal: (0)

gr8_phk (621180) | about a year ago | (#43531985)

One properly placed nuclear "test" could blow the entire Fuck-U-Shima plant into the ocean. Question is if that would be safer than trying to deal with it on land ;-) For me it's an honest question even though it sounds absurd.

Re:Proposal: (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43531999)

that would be a very dirty "ground burst" with incredible amounts of fallout contributed by the plant....let's not

Re:Proposal: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43532127)

Ever see what happens when someone tries to remove a whale from a beach with explosives?

LFTR will solve these problems -- with YOUR help! (2)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about a year ago | (#43532421)

LFTR will solve these problems -- but YOUR help is needed

Imagine a nuclear reactor so safe you can walk away from it or shut its internal power and it will mechanically drain its operating fluid into a vessel where it will just sit there.

Imagine that this process will be scalable from local megawatts to nation-wide terawatts by a simple replication of standard industrial components, with no increase in risk or change in the overall safety factor --- because it is not just an 'improvement' over present plants, risk of explosion or radiation leakage into the atmosphere is nil. Light and heavy water reactors operate at high pressure. This one doesn't.

Imagine that it has no need to be near a body of coolant water at all. No need to site it near a lake or stream or coastline. Imagine that it can (slowly, productively) help to turn all that spent fuel presently at nuclear plants into electricity. All of it.

Imagine that it can be manufactured here in the USA. Now (my fellow Americans) imagine that it should and must be manufactured in the USA, soon, to make us completely self-sufficient for grid energy, power a new era of electric transportation. And because I would (respectfully) prefer this technology we have conceived developed here --- rather than purchase it from the Chinese.

LFTR is the golden ticket. Perhaps the thing that could transform humanity.

But your help is needed... why?

Because for one reason or another, all of the people you'd "expect" to jump on this idea are not doing so. And more tragic still, most of us are merely "expecting" to hear more about it some day. Without your help, that day may never arrive.

One hundred years ago a great many people did not have running water, access to reliable transportation or grid electricity. Even though news travelled slowly on paper, people took an active interest in the science, process and product of infrastructure building.

Today that basic aging infrastructure is in place, we enjoy our electronic gadgets, expect electricity to arrive, wait for good things to happen. We expect our politicians to be generally informed about emerging technologies (they aren't, really) and we expect smart money to go after smart ideas in the marketplace (it does not, always).

You cannot expect the people who have invested so much in water cooled nuclear reactors to drop everything and work up completely new designs. They're not doing it! With LFTR they cannot sell their solid-fuel solutions. Which is not to say that they are incapable of adapting. But why should they? So long as LFTR is not a household word their mindset need not change.

You cannot expect environmentally conscious people who are (rightfully!) afraid of Chernobyl happening in their backyard to understand how different LFTR is at first. They must be pointed in the right direction, encouraged to research it on their own.

You cannot expect big philanthropist money to deliver miracles either in any reasonable time frame. Bill Gates is backing Travelling Wave Reactors, a type of Integral Fast Reactor that is cooled by (dangerous!) liquid sodium. It is the right idea (nuclear) wrong horse (approach) but he just does not know it yet.

But the biggest issue here is the urgency with which this idea needs to be pursued. These things need to be funded --- through your active interest and by mentioning it to at least two other people. At least ten thousand people from all walks of life (such as you) need to devote a little bit of time to get up to speed on this technology.

I nominate you! I am no real expert on the subject, I've only recently begun to research LFTR and in the material available on the net I see the idea proposed directly and succinctly five years ago, but so little has happened since then... well, it's shameful. I used to assume that good things just happen. They don't. A real eye opener.

So I am reaching out to you. It begins right here: Thorium Remix 2011 [youtube.com]

Re:LFTR will solve these problems -- with YOUR hel (2)

mbkennel (97636) | about a year ago | (#43533329)

| will mechanically drain its operating fluid into a vessel where it will just sit there.

Until the rain and floods come in after the accident in which case you have steam explosions and radioactive waste in a highly water-soluble liquid combing to make all sorts of fun.

A LFTR is a chemical reprocessing plant with astonishingly racdioactive liquid (since it just came out of the fission core) circulating at hundreds of degrees with caustic chemical properties. There will be leaks. There will be breaches. Every drop is a huge problem. There will be----well anything that can go wrong in a hot chemical plant---now add in the fact that humans even in suits can't go in there for decades if something is wrong.

Nuclear reprocessing plants are the nastiest ones, because of the combination of liquids and radiaoactivity. I do not trust a utility with such an installation, and only want a tiny number of them, not every power plant to be one.

The mistakes came early (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43532717)

They should have rushed for the Pyramid wonder to improve the speed of their workers.

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