Skip to comments.CERN Physicist Warns About Uranium Shortage
Posted on 11/17/2009 7:47:18 AM PST by Clint Williams
"Uranium mines provide us with 40,000 tons of uranium each year. Sounds like that ought to be enough for anyone, but it comes up about 25,000 tons short of what we consume yearly in our nuclear power plants. The difference is made up by stockpiles, reprocessed fuel and re-enriched uranium which should be completely used up by 2013. And the problem with just opening more uranium mines is that nobody really knows where to go for the next big uranium lode. Dr. Michael Dittmar has been warning us for some time about the coming shortage (PDF) and has recently uploaded a four-part comprehensive report on the future of nuclear energy and how socioeconomic change is exacerbating the effect this coming shortage will have on our power consumption. Although not quite on par with zombie apocalypse, Dr. Dittmar's final conclusions paint a dire picture, stating that options like large-scale commercial fission breeder reactors are not an option by 2013 and 'no matter how far into the future we may look, nuclear fusion as an energy source is even less probable than large-scale breeder reactors, for the accumulated knowledge on this subject is already sufficient to say that commercial fusion power will never become a reality.'"
“that commercial fusion power will never become a reality.’”
A statement like this really throws the entire article into doubt. How about “commercial fusion power will never become a reality without new technology.”
If you8 re-process used fuel rods and go to a mixed (U-235/PU-239) cycle, the period is indefinite. Current reactors can use plutonium with very little modification. There are a lot of shut down uranium mines that were closed due to prices, not lack of ore.
The only thing keeping breeder reactors down is politics. The technology is already developed, and in use in France. The US geared up to win a global war in a similar time-frame. Not impossible.
And as to fusion, I think that Bussard's polywell will prove Herr Doktor Dittmar wrong.
Ping for my son in the nuclear navy.
Agreed. Plus, if a credible neutron source can be developed, thorium reactors could be built, and there’s 3x as much thorium as uranium, not even considering that thorium needs no enrichment...so there’s really a net 40x or 50x as much thorium. The drawbacks are that neutron source, and thorium reactors generate much more dangerous “waste” byproducts.
There are a lot of spent fuel rods sitting in pools with still usable fissile material. The rods need to be reprocessed to extract the fissile material as well as the fission products. The fission products act as reaction poisons due to high neutron capture cross section. Any of the neutron irradiated U-238 is mostly transmuted into Pu-239, which is additional fissile material fuel.
You can thank Jimmah Carter for the rods not being reprocessed, thanks to one of his executive orders.
Hasn't fusion been the Holy Grail of nuclear research for the last 40 years? How many billions have already been spent? It appears thus far we are chasing a mirage. At the very least, that research indicates fusion won't be attainable any time soon, and probably won't be feasible in our lifetimes. Yes, some technological breakthrough may be possible, but I rank probability higher than possibility.
>> You can thank Jimmah Carter for the rods not being reprocessed, thanks to one of his executive orders. <<
Thanks you peanut farming so called “Nuclear Submarine Operator” who hasn’t any clue about the actual working of Nuclear isotopes idiot.