Coal-to-Nuclear Conversion

Under the heading of, “Why the heck didn’t I think of that?” A plan to convert existing coal and natural gas fired plants into nuclear plants using mini-nukes.   [via Next Big Future via Instapundit]

It’s a brilliant idea! You get to use everything in the existing infrastructure of the plant except the carbon-fueled furnace. Steam pipes, generators, transformers, connections to the grid etc are already in place. Just bury a mini-nuke out in the area originally used to store coal or natural gas and presto, carbon free, reliable, emergency-resistant energy!

Like all robust and successful technological improvements, this idea is an evolutionary instead of revolutionary change. It modifies existing technology with one minor step instead forcing a rebuilding/replacing of the existing system as do most “alternative” proposals. 

Too bad we almost certainly won’t be using such a system. I hope the Chinese and other less spoiled societies have good luck with it. I’m going to need someplace to emigrate to when the lights here go out. 

8 thoughts on “Coal-to-Nuclear Conversion”

  1. The Chinese have many coal and oil-burning plants that they would love to convert to nuclear. Also, they are in a deal with the South African developer of the pebble-bed nuclear plant to mass produce them for their market and international market.

    There is some research in the U.S. to develop “deep-burn” that would allow for 60-70% of the nuclear fuel in these pebbles to be burned. Current plants utilize only 5% of the nuclear fuel in them before the rods are pulled and placed in storage.

    The Koreans are building a “six-pack”.

    There is definitely a global renaissance in nuclear power, even if much of the West chooses not to participate.

  2. Robert Schwartz,

    Yes, the primary obstacles are political. History has definitely shown that cultures and polities will sacrifice enormous technological benefit just to keep their social and political hierarchies static. I fear we are mimicking historical China in many, many ways.

  3. The best way to solve the shortage of water and fuel, preserve the world’s vanishing species, and diminish the pollution is to STOP BREEDING. This could be done by reversing the pro-natalist policies of every nation, beginning by eliminating tax deductions for dependents and starting to tax folks for breeding.

  4. Jimbino, I take it you have a hammer and the world is full of nails. The least important vanishng species is, of course, man.

  5. Jimbo,

    The best way to solve the shortage of water and fuel, preserve the world’s vanishing species, and diminish the pollution is to STOP BREEDING

    That’s just stupid nihilism. There isn’t fixed amount of fresh water, energy or anything else in the world. We create resources with technology. If we want more stuff we just make it. We’ve been improving standards of living with less impact on the environment for nearly five hundred years now. There’s no reason to just stop.

  6. For the record, China is a surprisingly good place to retire to. (This applies to other Asian countries, such as Thailand, as well) The Chinese people are very respectful toward older people, violent crime is very low, and a little bit of retirement money goes a long way. I have spoken to a few people who moved from the west to China to retire, and they have nothing but good to report. And this is even before the lights go dim in the west.

  7. Jimbino has a point. But why wait for the effects of mass conversions to The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, Jimbino? Get the process started now by ending your contribution to the noxious exhalations of co2 entering the atmosphere. You could make a lot of money by making your contribution to reducing global warming a pay per view event. You could donate the proceeds to Obama’s treasury to pay down the national debt.

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