The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
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?
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.)
Meanwhile, odds that the "pro-alternative-energy" Congress will still attempt to defund us at every chance they get approach one.
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.
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
sticker on the outside of the concrete encased cylinder:
"There are no user serviceable parts inside. Disassembly will void the warranty"
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?
"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?
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.
I want one.
Me too. Makes it a lot harder to cut off the power to a, um, recalcitrant neighborhood. :-)
"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...
They could be using Stirling engine to convert heat into power. There is a lot of research going into Stirling engines at the moment.
Forget my previous comment. The article says that there are no moving parts which rules out a Stirling engine.
Fox News has a story that gives a few more details.
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.
Someone's working on solar using Stirling engines for conversion.
Knew I'd seen this before...so the guys at Los(t)Alamos stole the idea and will now license production?
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?
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.
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.