Researchers have discovered the jaguar-snouted tree frog on a former highway in Brazil. The team named the species Scinax onca, or the jaguar snouted tree frog, due to its spotted skin and the prevalence of big cats they found in the area.
10able: It’s just not cost effective to maintain a facility that can get power from the spent fuel.
According to [this image](https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/22/Decay_heat_illustration.PNG) from wikipedia, after a mere 10 days power output is down to less than 0.5% of the original power output. Because of the nature of the graph, a year later it will probably still be about 0.1%. Clearly this is enough heat to warrant powered-passive cooling (like a computer fan, as opposed to powered cooling, such as a refrigerator).
Any power station built to collect this power would produce 1000x less energy than a regular power station, which means the energy it produces would cost 1000x as much, assuming the operating cost of the facility is similar to a regular power station.
It’s cheaper to run a cooling station than to run a power station that doesn’t produce any power.
rhomboidus: Spent nuclear fuel just doesn’t produce enough heat to make it useful for producing steam. The amount of power you’d get out of it that way simply would never pay for the cost of building and running the system.
It can be recycled however. Spent fuel still contains a lot of useful radioisotopes and there are types of reactors designed to recycle the spent fuel back into usable nuclear fuel. The problem is, that on top of the normal political concerns with nuclear reactors, recycling can produce plutonium, which is used in nuclear weapons. Because it is very difficult to tell the difference between a fuel recycling plant and a weapon-making plant from outside, many countries have decided to not recycle to avoid political and diplomatic troubles.
Randomnameiuse: Could the spent fuel that still needs cooling not be used in a two step process? The used fuel could slightly warm the water heading into the Facility, it would stay cool and put even its small amount of energy to better use.
Sunflier: why can we use the spent material to power space probes? voyager is running on not a lot of power (reduced as it may be). If I understand decay right, wouldn’t spent fuel last a long time as a space battery?
UltrAstronaut: You can think of nuclear power like a carnival game where you throw darts at a wall of balloons. The balloons are fuel. Darts are neutrons. A dart hitting the balloon causes a fission event. Except there is no skill. All chance. So here’s the gig. When all the balloons are on the wall, nuclear fission is easy mode. However now fuel starts to get spent. Now we’ve got lots of fissionable fuel but we might not get any power on a reliable basis because darts are hitting the wall and not creating heat. So what do we gotta do? Get a new wall with more balloons.
So here’s the gig. My analogy breaks down here. Sometimes a balloon gets hit and break into two balloons with a extra air (energy). Or the dart will stick inside the balloon. Natural part of fission. When these new ato… balloons pop. They release a thing called decay heat, producing heat with no neutron flux. That’s why fuel constantly has to be cooled down. Remember these heavy atoms are in general much less stable than small ones, so their half lives are much shorter. It would be like your lawnmower kicking on and spinning the blade every once in while without you pulling the string but it happens on a continuous rate.
Secondarily, these decay heat events release neutrons often. Water has two hydrogen atoms in it, so when those neutrons are released, the water will slow em down and stop the zoomies from hitting the people. ( The significance of hydrogen is that it’s about the same size as a neutron so it slows it down better)
florinandrei: Spent fuel is still hot, sure, but it’s nowhere near the energy output when it’s still fresh. No point trying to milk all the last drops out of it.
mantrap2: The simple answer: it’s hot but not hot enough to make steam to spin the turbines, but still to hot to not cool.
The efficiency of heat engines depends on the **difference** in temperature or pressure. If the difference isn’t big enough, the heat engine doesn’t work well or at all.
Broken_Rin: The elements made during fission undergo radioactive decay and release heat in the process. This heat is hot enough to require cooling but not hot enough to produce any significant amount of power, so they just put the spent fuel into pools to cool before storing.
Ryeker_ss: Why don’t we pool money into fusion cores then? It seems so much cost effective to get that right, and from what I understand we know it’s attainable.
Timelapse of a Giant hornet queen building a nest