Saturday, March 8, 2008

In-Home Nuclear Reactors? Um, You First

I think this is an actual news item:

The 200 kilowatt Toshiba designed reactor is engineered to be fail-safe and totally automatic and will not overheat. Unlike traditional nuclear reactors the new micro reactor uses no control rods to initiate the reaction. The new revolutionary technology uses reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope that is effective at absorbing neutrons. The Lithium-6 reservoirs are connected to a vertical tube that fits into the reactor core. The whole whole process is self sustaining and can last for up to 40 years, producing electricity for only 5 cents per kilowatt hour, about half the cost of grid energy.
I hate to be a buzz-kill, but do some of those claims sound just a bit optimistic? "The 200 kilowatt Toshiba designed reactor is engineered to be fail-safe and totally automatic and will not overheat" -- well yea, and every car I've ever had was engineered to be fail-safe and totally automatic and non-overheating, but stuff tends to happen. For that matter, evolution by natural selection has engineered the human body to be fail-safe and totally automatic and non-overheating, and how's that working out for us?

I'm not saying it won't work. I'm not even saying it's a bad idea. I'm just saying I'm content to allow others to give it a good solid try -- preferably several miles away -- before I throw in.

1 comment:

Lirone said...

Instantly reminded me of one of my favourite Douglas Adams quotes:

"The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair."

I agree this does sound alarming...