JS-Kit/Echo comments for article at http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2008/11/five-years-toshiba-has-them-now.html (21 comments)

  Tentative mapping of comments to original article, corrections solicited.

jsid-1226261583-598929  Oldsmoblogger at Sun, 09 Nov 2008 20:13:03 +0000

De-gridding would have a number of salutary benefits. I'd be very interested to know how much fissile material is available. How many reactors can be produced from known reserves, for how long?

jsid-1226263152-598931  Mark Alger at Sun, 09 Nov 2008 20:39:12 +0000

I can't help but think that these things will be treated the way server computers used to. You may remember this, but hardware meant for use in high-powered servers has been put to use in uber-powered desktops, just to see how fast you could crank it, how many cycles you could use, and so-forth.

It was, in the judgement of the engineers, "More than anybody should need," but it helped drive the market toward ever-more-powerful machines.

25 years ago, my pocket calculator could do math faster than the mainframes that NASA used to get to the moon. Now, my laptop has more horsepower than a server farm did ten years ago. (OK, so I exaggerate, but you get the point.)

So what if some rich guy on a farm or a ranch ponies up and uses one of these for his home power? What changes would it mean to have MW available for your private use?

And how fast will the prices drop? (Absent government meddling in the market for the things.)


jsid-1226264805-598932  LabRat at Sun, 09 Nov 2008 21:06:45 +0000

Meanwhile, odds that the "pro-alternative-energy" Congress will still attempt to defund us at every chance they get approach one.

jsid-1226266612-598933  Standard Mischief at Sun, 09 Nov 2008 21:36:52 +0000

They said "no moving parts" and "no weapons grade material" and "must be refuelled every 7 to 10 years", so I'm going to guess it's a radioisotope thermoelectric generator.


I'm guessing the power source would be Strontium-90 Bury it deep enough, make it massive enough and it would be very hard to steal and make it into a dirty bomb. Other than the thief issues, the technology scales well. I've love to have a baby version buried under my house (with suitable shielding and a longer half-life isotope) where I could both enjoy the low cost power and make use of the waste heat in the winter.

jsid-1226266831-598934  Standard Mischief at Sun, 09 Nov 2008 21:40:31 +0000

it also said "based on a 50-year-old design" This isn't anything new, it's just something newly allowed.

Unfortunately, don't plan on advancements at anywhere near the rate of CPUs

jsid-1226267364-598935  Standard Mischief at Sun, 09 Nov 2008 21:49:24 +0000

sticker on the outside of the concrete encased cylinder:

"There are no user serviceable parts inside. Disassembly will void the warranty"

jsid-1226273922-598938  Ed "What the" Heckman at Sun, 09 Nov 2008 23:38:42 +0000

Heck, I'd love to buy one just to stick my finger in the eye of those who want to cover every square inch of "available" land with windmills and solar panels and who think that burning food for power (and using our dwindling fresh water supplies to do so) is a good idea. Take THAT you enviro-weenies! We can power our homes without polluting the environment, shutting down everything but a tiny 5 watt bulb in the room where we're trying to work, and still have enough power left over to generate hydrogen for our non-polluting cars and other equipment!

Why the heck are we screwing around with "alternative energy solutions" which are at best reliant upon constantly changing conditions when we have cheap, reliable, non-polluting solutions available RIGHT NOW?

jsid-1226278929-598940  Guest (anonymous) at Mon, 10 Nov 2008 01:02:09 +0000

"Why the heck are we screwing around with "alternative energy solutions" which are at best reliant upon constantly changing conditions when we have cheap, reliable, non-polluting solutions available RIGHT NOW?"

Because those cheap, reliable, non-polluting solutions don't advance statist, neo-Luddite political agendas?

jsid-1226281858-598943  emdfl at Mon, 10 Nov 2008 01:50:58 +0000

I would suspect that all of us here will be pushing up daisies before the first one of these makes it through the regulations and court challenges and is allowed to be set up in this country.

jsid-1226289045-598948  geekwitha.45 at Mon, 10 Nov 2008 03:50:45 +0000

I want one.

Right now.

Ship it.

jsid-1226326612-598958  Oldsmoblogger at Mon, 10 Nov 2008 14:16:52 +0000

Me too. Makes it a lot harder to cut off the power to a, um, recalcitrant neighborhood. :-)

jsid-1226338609-598964  Mordrach at Mon, 10 Nov 2008 17:36:49 +0000

"few countries are expected to object to plants on their territory"

You can bet Greenpeace will still be screaming at the top of their lungs about how evil this is...

jsid-1226357493-598973  Steve at Mon, 10 Nov 2008 22:51:33 +0000

They could be using Stirling engine to convert heat into power. There is a lot of research going into Stirling engines at the moment.


jsid-1226357547-598974  Steve at Mon, 10 Nov 2008 22:52:27 +0000

Forget my previous comment. The article says that there are no moving parts which rules out a Stirling engine.

jsid-1226365760-598977  DJ at Tue, 11 Nov 2008 01:09:20 +0000

Fox News has a story that gives a few more details.

jsid-1226369129-598979  Kevin Baker at Tue, 11 Nov 2008 02:05:29 +0000

As far as I can see, the reactor itself - the heat generator - is the only thing they're talking about here. The power conversion is another entire system that isn't addressed by anyone that I've seen.

jsid-1226415351-598997  Oldsmoblogger at Tue, 11 Nov 2008 14:55:51 +0000

Someone's working on solar using Stirling engines for conversion.

jsid-1226418317-598999  tired dog at Tue, 11 Nov 2008 15:45:17 +0000

Knew I'd seen this before...so the guys at Los(t)Alamos stole the idea and will now license production?

jsid-1226774238-599221  markm at Sat, 15 Nov 2008 18:37:18 +0000

What does that "10 cents a watt" mean? Is it 10 cents of capital investment per watt of output power? That would mean the $25 million reactor would have to generate 250 MW - that's not a small one. Or is it some innumerate and scientifically illiterate reporter's mistake for $0.10/kilowatt-hour, which is much higher than coal-powered plants?

jsid-1226799052-599230  DJ at Sun, 16 Nov 2008 01:30:52 +0000

It's likely the latter. I don't know that I've ever seen evidence that a reporter understands such units as force, mass, energy, and power.

Here, we pay $0.1071 / KWH, net, and it's produced from natural gas.

jsid-1226857566-599238  Kevin Baker at Sun, 16 Nov 2008 17:46:06 +0000

I think the cost of power production is one reason this technology wasn't pushed earlier, or was aimed at remote sites like small towns in Alaska that had to have their fuel trucked in to run diesel generators. Perhaps the cost will go down due to economy of scale with "mass" production (I'm not sure just how many units per year constitutes "mass" production, though), but I'd doubt it.

I'm pretty sure there's a heat exchanger/steam turbine involved somewhere that nobody's talking about, plus a substation and switchyard, that is on top of the cost of the reactor itself. All that takes maintenance and upkeep, too.

 Note: All avatars and any images or other media embedded in comments were hosted on the JS-Kit website and have been lost; references to haloscan comments have been partially automatically remapped, but accuracy is not guaranteed and corrections are solicited.
 If you notice any problems with this page or wish to have your home page link updated, please contact John Hardin <jhardin@impsec.org>