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The Almighty Buck Power

Transatomic Power Receives Seed Funding From Founders Fund Science 143

pmaccabe writes "The company aiming to make a Waste Annihilating Molten Salt Reactor(WAMSR) is now getting $2 million from the venture capital firm Founders Fund. From the article: "The Founders Fund is the firm behind some of the more successful Internet startups out there including Facebook, Yammer and Spotify, but also some science-focused companies such as Climate Corporation, Space-X and satellite startup Planet Labs. The fund, which was created by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and his partners, promotes this manifesto: 'we wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.'”
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Transatomic Power Receives Seed Funding From Founders Fund Science

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  • Re:A Joke (Score:4, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @12:08AM (#47619983)

    $2 million? What a joke; that'll buy what, some office space?

    Yes. This is "seed money". It is just enough to get them started. They are not going to use the $2M to actually build anything. They are going to use it to refine the design while sitting in ... offices. Once they get the design worked out, they will come back for another, bigger, round of funding. That is the way venture capital works.

  • Net waste gain (Score:3, Informative)

    by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @01:05AM (#47620205) Journal

    They should re-position the reactor as a nuclear waste destruction system

    I'm not sure that this is really true. The reactor appears to be able to burn already "spent" fuel rods from other reactors but this is not going to result in less radioactive waste but rather more. The dangerous waste is the fission products, not the remaining unburnt Uranium which is practically stable (half lives in billions of years). In this design they will be extracted from the molten salt and will then need to be stored somewhere resulting in an increase in the net waste stored since each fission generates 2 or more daughter nuclei and one common one is an isotope of Krypton, a noble gas, which will undoubtedly take up a lot more volume that than the original uranium fuel pellet it was made from.

  • by Troed ( 102527 ) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @07:26AM (#47621409) Homepage Journal

    40 years ago there were people just like you saying how perfectly safe nuclear power is.

    ... and here we are, 40 years later, and know it to be true. Even the worst failure scenarios possible have not resulted in catastrophe. On the contrary, nuclear has turned out to be the safest energy production method of all.

    If we want to be rational and stick to the facts, of course.

  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Thursday August 07, 2014 @08:01AM (#47621541) Homepage Journal

    In the event of a loss of power to the cooling device (a fan/blower keeping a plug of salt cold and solid, it drains the fuel out of the reactor vessel, in a gravity-fed situation, and into a dump tank, away from the catalyst.

    Assuming that the system isn't damaged by something like a magnitude 9 earthquake, or a fire, or poor maintenance etc.

    Exactly how do we have a "radioactive disaster"?

    Because you spend all your effort securing the reactor and forgot about the on-site reprocessing system that is an absolute necessity for any MSR.

    I'm not saying nuclear is "safe". There's no such THING as "safe". But coal isn't safe. Oil isn't safe. Natural gas isn't safe. Wind isn't safe. Wave isn't safe. Solar isn't safe. Hydro isn't safe. All of them come with their own risks and tradeoffs.

    The damage done by a wind turbine falling over, or solar panel slipping off a roof tends to be orders of magnitude less serious than a major nuclear accident. That's why wind farms and solar installations can get insurance, and nuclear can't.

    The reason we have the shitty nuclear infrastructure we have now is some jackass politicoes (not scientists and engineers) essentially PICKED a winner 50-ish years ago because they had a budding industry, and wanted to protect it.

    Lots of different designs were tried in different parts of the world, and most of them sucked so were abandoned. The UK is currently dealing with the legacy of gas reactors, for example. India has been trying to build a commercial MSR for decades, and there are no shortage of western MSR research projects that all encountered severe difficulties.

    No private investor wants to throw money at a commercial MSR because the risk of the project failing (not just accidents, the chance that it will never work, or never recoup costs, or some problem will create huge clean-up costs after only 5 years of operation etc.)

  • by macpacheco ( 1764378 ) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @10:43AM (#47622495)

    Another inconsistent argument.
    Tritium production can be minimized by avoiding Lithium-6 in the reactor. That's IF the salts used by this reactor will have Lithium at all.
    Using no water in the reactor (molten salt primary and secondary loop plus CO2 or Helium loop turbine) allows collection of the Tritium in a few fairly economical ways.
    Once again, the paid anti nuclear agitators try to do their worst against nuclear power and resort to creating factoids where they simply don't have technical information to do so.
    Anyhow, making WAMSR a reality in today's NRC context is probably a billion dollar project. Just getting scaled down demonstrator reactor licensed and built will cost a few hundred million USD. It's not like they are a threat to coal yet.
    But coal is the real enemy. Even natural gas is a much bigger enemy to the earth and human kind than nuclear.
    And all anti nuclear agitators ignore that inconvenient fact.
    Coal kills. Nuclear saves lives (by preventing coal power plants in the first place).
    If mankind didn't stop building nuclear in the 70s, close to 20 million lives would have been saved by the coal power stations not built.

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