Ted has been airing this material on the ans list,
and he has been getting plenty of feedback (see below). I've sent him your note and the note from Ben Rouben.
He'll polish and revise. It's nice how
quickly these lists can provide appropriate feedback.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, January 13, 2002 5:03 PM
I got your msg as I was sending out my revised version.
Now I have looked
at your attached revision. I guess we have a lot of
discussing to do.
I got most of my data from Lord Marshall's famous "in
your backyard" talk in
1990 and from Bernie Cohen's books and Scientific
American paper on
radwaste. My intention, of course, was to use 1000MWe
plants in both cases.
I'll have to go over that again and get back to
You make some other good points that I can incorporate. My
overall is to be absolutely accurate scientifically. But I
don't feel the
need to lean over so far backwards as most nuclear spokesmen
do--to say no
one ever thought about airplanes until UCS and NCI brought it
up, and dream
up whatever fantastic scenario is required to get a massive
fission products from a spent fuel shipping cask. Or insist that
be some scenario that will lead to evacuation, KI, and lots of
an LWR accident.
Let me do some work and get back to
you. And thanks for your input.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, January 13, 2002 5:42
Subject: Re: Radwaste Fact Sheet
for your prompt response. I see that I was imprecise in my terminology,
since I should have said that a 1000-MWe reactor would cause the fissioning of about one metric ton
of actinide atoms per year. (This approximation is not original with
me -- I was made aware of it by colleagues at Argonne National Laboratory.)
That rule of thumb is supported by the following calculation
(if it's wrong, someone please show me where):
Energy released in fission = 195
Avogadro’s number = 6.02E23 atoms per gram-atom.
Number of atoms in
a gram of uranium = 6.02E23/238 = 2.5E21
1 joule = 2.78E-7 kw-hr =
1.16E-8 kw-day = 1.16E-11 MW-day
1 MeV = 1.60E-6 erg = 1.6E-13
1.16E-11 MW-day/joule = 1.86E-24 MW-day
Therefore, energy released
in the fissioning of 1 g of
= 2.5E21 x
195 MeV = 4.88E23
= 4.88E23 x
1.86E-24 MW-day = 0.91 MW-day.
Hence the approximation
that fissioning 1 g of atoms
liberates ~1 MWth-day of energy.
This leads directly to the 1
tonne per year, as outlined below. By the way, every plutonium atom
that is burned was a uranium atom first, and therefore it's not too inaccurate
to talk about consumption of uranium atoms, even if some of them are converted
to plutonium first.
Going at it another way, a
tyical PWR might contain ~130 short tons of uranium fuel. If 3% burnup is
achieved over a three-year cycle, that's something like one tonne per
You mention that " The unburned uranium should not be considered waste. Future
generations will likely recycle it, if we don't make it too difficult to
recover." Which, of course, is very true. You might be
interested in the discussion of the potential of fast reactors to do just
that, to be found at
let me know if I have
04:46 PM 1/13/2002 -0500, you wrote:
The actual amount of
uranium "burned" or fissioned is only a part of the U-235 content. A
very small amount of the U-238 is transmuted into plutonium, and ~40% of
that is "burned" in an LWR. The rest of the uranium is not
consumed. So that's where he gets a kilogram. The "unburned"
uranium should not be considered waste. Future generations will likely
recycle it, if we don't make it too difficult to
- ----- Original Message -----
- From: George Stanford
- To: Jerry Cuttler
- Cc: cdn-nucl-l (E-mail)
- Sent: Sunday, January 13, 2002 1:24 PM
- Subject: Re: [cdn-nucl-l] Nuclear energy is environmentally
friendly: Handout on radwaste
Ted Rockwell has produced excellent fact sheets.
- Just one quibble: I think a 1000-MWe reactor would burn about
one metric ton of uranium per year, rather than a kilogram (still,
that's to be compared with ~3 million tonnes of coal). Rule of
thumb: fissioning 1 g of atoms liberates ~1 MWth-day of energy. Thus
1 kg would produce 1 GWth-day, or about 0.33 GWe-day.
- I hope this word somehow gets back to Mr. Rockwell.
- At 08:54 AM 1/13/2002 -0500, Jerry Cuttler wrote:
- Here is accurate information we could use in Canada also to explain
why nuclear energy is environmentally friendly