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Developing Nuclear Power Plant Tech For the Moon and Mars 273

With his first accepted Slashdot submission, Zandamesh sends this excerpt from ZDNet: "On earth, nuclear reactors are under attack because of concerns over damage caused by natural disasters. In space, however, nuclear technology may get a new lease on life. Plans for the first nuclear power plant for the production of electricity to be used by manned or unmanned bases on the Moon, Mars and other planets have been unveiled at the 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society. 'The reactor itself may be about 1 ½ feet wide by 2 ½ feet high, about the size of a carry-on suitcase. There are no cooling towers. ... The team is scheduled to build a technology demonstration unit in 2012."
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Developing Nuclear Power Plant Tech For the Moon and Mars

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  • Re:Protesters (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Teancum ( 67324 ) <robert_horning AT netzero DOT net> on Monday August 29, 2011 @12:42PM (#37243034) Homepage Journal

    But won't a pile of enriched Uranium go "boom" in the night if too much of it is put together? (just kidding.... I know better about that too).

    The problem is really ignorance of nuclear physics, coupled with a sanctification and consecration of THE HOLY WRIT that anything nuclear must be reserved for the exclusive province of just a few specialized priests (aka researchers) who have gone through a sacred refinement and ordination by the ONE TRUE LEADER (aka a series of national security clearance reviews) in order to be even allowed to gaze upon the sacred texts which permit you to even begin to comprehend all of that most terrible knowledge. Forget about experimentation, all of the knowledge we really need to know can be obtained through simulation with our trusty supercomputers.

    I call that utter bullshit, where there is an irrational fear of anything nuclear. There are legitimate concerns about radioactive materials and it can become dangerous under certain conditions. The same can be said about water, dirt, molten steel, and a large number of other things in our environment. Far more people die of Dihydrogen Monoxide poisoning than die from excessive radiation, so should we ban that chemical from society too? I'd love to see an activist try.... seriously!

    If you are worried about contamination from uranium dust, just don't live downwind from a coal-powered electric generating plant. That is by far and away a much more dangerous proposition in terms of radiation contamination alone (forget the "greenhouse gasses) than even being literally next door to a multi-gigawatt nuclear power plant.

    BTW, getting back to the meat of the actual article rather than responding to obviously clueless people (not really trolls, they are just ignorant) one thing I like about this particular proposal is that it is a small scale nuclear power plant. I wish we has more plants like that here on the Earth, where literally every small town had their own municipal nuclear power plant generating perhaps a couple hundred kilowatts rather than having these major gigawatt plants. While there are economies of scale that I'll admit, the problem with big plants is the concentration of material where an accident is much harder to clean up. A much smaller plant like is suggested in this article could be cleaned up by just a small team or even entirely by robots and easily contained even if you had a Chernobyl or Fukushima situation, both of which represented lousy reactor designs in the first place. Current generation nuclear power plants simply can't have a melt-down due to raw physics being applied to the design.

!07/11 PDP a ni deppart m'I !pleH