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One Little Nuke Plant for Every 25,000 People?

A small, self-contained power plant that does not produce any emissions and www.investordaily.com.au needs to be refueled only once every five years might sound pertty perfect. But then we have to utter EcoGeek's forbidden word: Nuclear.

Hyperion Power Generation is promoting a new design for a small scale nuclear power system developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory that is being touted as a cleaner, greener method for providing nuclear power. "The portable nuclear reactor is the size of a hot tub. It’s shaped like a sake cup, filled with a uranium hydride core and surrounded by a hydrogen atmosphere. Encase it in concrete, truck it to a site, bury it underground, hook it up to a steam turbine and, voila, one would generate enough electricity to power a 25,000-home community for at least five years."

But the developers don't like to call it a "reactor" (in part, no doubt, because of the numerous negative connotations that "reactor" carries).

 

Though it would produce 27 megawatts worth of thermal energy, Hyperion doesn’t like to think of its product as a “reactor.” It’s self-contained, involves no moving parts and, therefore, doesn’t require a human operator.

“In fact, we prefer to call it a ‘drive’ or a ‘battery’ or a ‘module’ in that it’s so safe,” Hyperion spokeswoman Deborah Blackwell says. “Like you don’t open a double-A battery, you just plug [the reactor] in and it does its chemical thing inside of it. You don’t ever open it or mess with it."

There are a lot of questions that need to be asked.

 

Even if it is a smaller, safer device, a lot of people are not going to want to have these in their neighborhoods, or anywhere near them. Could I dig one up in the middle of the night and use the materials inside to make a bomb? What to we do with the waste at the end of those five years? Where are we going to get all the only now cheap viagra soft uranium necessary? These are nuclear questions that nuclear experts tend to not want to answer.

We certainly hope that there is a lot more information forthcoming before anyone decides to start deploying and manufacturing this on any scale.

Link: Santa Fe Reporter

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Comments (71)Add Comment
0
don't call it waste
written by low pressure, December 01, 2007
suppose they have a nice name for the waste products. How visionary!
0
Nuclear deserves another shot
written by Thomas Boutell, December 01, 2007
Even the ecogeeks among us are still consuming vastly more energy than we have any hope of producing from non-greenhouse-producing sources today. Nuclear is a serious option and I'm glad ecogeek isn't ignoring it. I do think the inventors are working really, really hard to make this sound like it isn't a nuclear reactor, which is bound to boomerang on them. That phrase "does its chemical thing" is especially disingenuous.
0
...
written by nanokiwi, December 01, 2007
I'm from New Zealand which is nuclear free, and I'm glad of it.
But I can see why other parts of the world would consider this.
If you did a cost/benefit analysis comparing deaths resulting from accidents with these devices and deaths from pollution caused by a coal-fired plant, these might well come out on top.
But from the point of view of citizens rather than corporations its going to be better to turn energy research dollars into making spray on solar/ultra-capacitors a reality.
0
...
written by bs, December 01, 2007
Bring it! Finally a solution to the "end of the world as we know it" train of thought when the oil runs out or when we have to stop using fossil fuels because of global warming.

I for one would volunteer this for my backyard.. Lets see now:

Option 1:
No electricity, industrial age over, no/little hear. Pray some one invents a non-polluting, non co2 energy source that will work without oil.

Option 2: Fridge size nuclear reactor, safely buried. VERY cheap electricity, electric heat, lights, charger for my new electric only car.

Of course 100% solar and buy levitra low price wind would be better, but that isnt going to happen in this lifetime.

This is a no brainer.
0
...
written by EV, December 01, 2007
Could I dig one up in the middle of the night and use the materials inside to make a bomb?

Weapons grade material is not used in reactors, it's too pure.

What to we do with the waste at the end of those five years?

Recycle it to make more fuel.

Where are we going to get all the uranium necessary?

Same place we get our current uranium or we could make our own.

These are nuclear questions that nuclear experts tend to not want to answer.

No, you just don't want to listen to the answers.
0
Questions and answers
written by Hank, December 01, 2007
Hey EV,
1. You can make weapons with reactor fuel...if not atom bombs, then dirty bombs.

2. Using spent fuel to make more fuel doesn't work indefinitely, and it definitely does not work in this kind of reactor, which needs a very specific kind of uranium

3. Uranium mining is dangerous, costly, and environmentally harmful. I'm sure we could do MORE of it...but I'm not sure we want to.

When they do answer, I listen...but I don't especially like the http://supportmichaelocc.ca/low-price-viagra answers.
0
There Goes the Neighborhood!
written by jcwinnie, December 01, 2007
I just couldn't resist ;D
0
...
written by EV, December 01, 2007
1. I could use a variety of things at home depot or a farming store in bombs. That doesn't mean we don't use them.

2. That's where breeder reactors come into play. Or we could just use better reactors that don't require one specific type.

3. And once we have enough, breeder reactors will give us the material we need for a few thousand years.

Never said you would.
0
small reactors
written by supergreen, December 01, 2007
small reactors don't have melt downs, and would probably be pretty safe, but they would have to safely maintained and protected by appropriate professionals. Refueling every five years per 25,000 is not bad. For a city of a million, that's only 40 refills every five years. I think that can be managed safely enough.

just add: coal mining is bad too. and coal fuel burning puts a lot of bad stuff in the air (including radioactives). So going for uranium might not be that bad of a thing.
0
Um Please calm down... please
written by tristan matthews, December 01, 2007
I feel like there are few topics that cause a break down in intelligent discussion as nuclear power. I think people just have a gut level fear reaction about it...

Well I have been looking from some of the science papers from these people so I can figure out exactly how this things works, but I have had no luck. If anyone knows where I can find the full technical break down could you email me?

But with out the full break down it is hard to see how good/bad this thing might be, but my gut reaction is that it will have the same problems (in the US at least) as other nuclear power plants. And if it needs a special Uranium isotope then the mining problem just because way out of hand (but I think it might need a special H isotope not U). I guess we will just have to wait and see

But it could be very useful for some specialized cases. Personally I want to put one at the south pole so we can have enough on site power generation for our research so that we don't have to fly EVERYTHING in... I'll check back once some one has lost it over that comment, but I'm not really worried about the lowest cost levitra terrorist stealing it there.
0
...
written by betablocker, December 02, 2007
I am as much of an ecogeek as anyone else, maybe more so. But one thing that really bothers me is the way that this website seems so against the only large scale solution to our current carbon based energy infrastructure.

I am not sure that this, or any reactor, would just be left unguarded and buried. If that were the case, the application would never pass the NRC's mail room.

As for where all that uranium comes from, well, we could further develop the technology to recover the cialis generic price fraction that is part of seawater (3ppb) and that would power the planet for longer than humans have inhabited it. This would all but eliminate the http://www.blickueberdenzaun.de/discount-generic-viagra-online mining issues.

Uranium from seawater is currently expensive, but, the cost of fuel is a tiny fraction of the cost of nuclear operations, so even if it cost three times as much the impact on the bus-bar cost of electricity would be negligible. As for the environmental impact of this, it is benign is done correctly.

But anti-nuclear folk will always raise the other issues, like cost and waste and bombs and things that are not really problems. if you take all of the spent fuel waste ever generated in the us, it is about a football field wide and usa generic viagra long and about 10 yards tall. And nuclear is the only energy generation field that takes care of there waste, or at least cognizance of it.

I think i could go on and on, but as most studies on public perception of nuclear power go, there are those that are pro, those that are anti and those that are apathetic... the apathetic ones are the only ones whose opinions change.


0
Meh
written by Denise 'Money Making Machine' Maine, December 02, 2007
The worlds going to hell in a hand bag anyways. Burn it up baby!

Denise :)
0
A real option to Coal
written by eecoguru, December 02, 2007
I live in a state in the US that has plentiful coal and is seeking to finance "clean-coal". This year there will be more rail cars of western coal moved than any year previous. And there will be even more until there's a truly scalable option that this type of solution offers. The old-school "China Syndrome" thought is just that, old-school and short sighted. Most of the nuclear waste is not from power, it's from weapons. But the real issue, there's no material with this kind of safety and energy density. This could finally be a way to scale multiple local installations instead of huge power plants and only best offers what is viagra distribute energy at the point of use. Wind and Solar sound great, but then there's the need when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining and running more power lines across the country to deliver that energy isn't the best idea either. I too would have one in my back yard as well.
0
solutions
written by low pressure, December 02, 2007
the solution isn't nuclear, the solution is finding a cure for America'a inability to be part of the global solution!
0
Direct Conversion
written by Rob, December 02, 2007
I wonder if they can develop a viable direct conversion to electricity solution. Concepts like focus fusion seem a lot more appealing for not having to inefficiently drive steam turbines and consume the www.drk-dillenburg.de extra space etc.
0
individual
written by ann arky, December 02, 2007
It seems that all the answers here are prepared to do anything about the energy crisis except change their over consuming Western way of life. That appears to be the only sacred issue at stake. Everything and anything will be considered as long as we can carry on with our gluttony.
0
Being afraid of this is like an elephant
written by P Smith, December 02, 2007
Let's face it: nuclear power is the only source of plentiful, cheap and low-emission energy we have. Solar, wave, wind and cheap levitra with fast delivery geothermal can only produce so much electricity, far less than nuclear power can. (You know the tide has turned on nuclear power when members of Greenpeace have begun to support it.)

Excusing my limited knowledge of chemistry and physics, but it works something like this:

The low levels of radiation produced by the uranium hydride causes the surrounding hydrogren to turn into tritium which is radioactive (but which poses little hazard). As the tritium deteriorates through its short half life, that energy is converted into electricity.

The uranium hydride used has less atomic mass than is required for bombs and would need enrichment. Thus only those with massive amounts of the stuff, plus an enrichment facility, plus means to transport it, etc. It's very unlikely it could be stolen and smuggled without being noticed.

Of course, that explanation is based on high school physics, 101 college science and Isaac Asimov books. Somebody else probably (read: undoubtedly) has a better answer; please put me out of my misery if you have a better explanation.

If the automakers stopped screwing around and started working with the energy industry to do this, we could have electric cars and homes with no emissions at all. They've both got cash, so they should get off their rumps and do the R&D!
0
...
written by Eliza, December 02, 2007
for another side of the argument, much more articulate than I could be....

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/316/
0
Great Post!
written by Heidrun Karin Peters, December 02, 2007
I have submitted this post to EcoBlogs - Social Bookmarking for the Environment - see here: http://ecoblogs.net/index.php
0
...
written by EV, December 02, 2007
solutions
written by low pressure, December 02, 2007
the solution isn't nuclear, the solution is finding a cure for America'a inability to be part of the global solution!

Which is a nice catchphrase, but really means nothing when you try to do something with it.

individual
written by ann arky, December 02, 2007
It seems that all the answers here are prepared to do anything about the energy crisis except change their over consuming Western way of life. That appears to be the only sacred issue at stake. Everything and anything will be considered as long as we can carry on with our gluttony.

So you would have us use what year as our technology base? Do you want us to give up lights? Electricity? All the healthcare improvements we've had over the last 100 years? What?
0
I'd prefer an aray of solar panels, than
written by Hippo, December 02, 2007
And electric cars with limo tinted windows and cialis delivered overnight proximity sensors that automatically apply the brakes.
0
Don't think about just a single site...
written by EdgarVerona, December 02, 2007
It sounds like a great idea when you think about just one. But think about the actual proposal (to have one of these for EVERY 25,000 people). There's some massive scaling implications with that scenario.

It'd require 12,000 Nuclear stations in America alone. 320,000 if you wanted to extend the concept to the world.

The first question, of course, would be "who gets to put this in their backyard." Especially in urban areas where there's millions (or hundreds of millions) of people and not much space to keep micro-facilities like that away from housing. But it goes further than that.

Needing to be refueled every 5 years sounds like a good idea, until you think about the fact that it's one of the numbers above (depending on how far you'd like to see the idea implemented) worth of uranium that'd need to be replaced (i.e. the old material discarded) every 5 years.

It sounds like a fantastic idea when you think about just one of these facilities. But if you scale it out to the number needed to cover the country - or the world - you can begin to see where the waste management problem comes in. This ain't no ordinary waste.

You also have to wonder about the level of security needed for those 12,000 (or 320,000) sites. Who's going to stop someone from messing with them? That's a lot of new micro-sites to manage. This is one of the reasons why we tend to build large facilities today. It's easier to defend one large facility than a thousand small ones.

The next question would be "HOW do you replace the just try! cheap 25mg levitra fuel?" If it's been buried and encased in Concrete, does that mean that each of these 12,000 (or 320,000) sites is going to have to undergo major construction efforts every 5 years to un-bury and expose the core so that the spent fuel can be removed and new fuel inserted?

This is beginning to sound like a less and less efficient idea.
0
I think...
written by Kevin, December 02, 2007
everyone would prefer pure energy with no waste... solar. wind, etc.
But the fact is that we need to find real mass solutions and this is one possibility that is far better than many current sources. Guess what causes global warming? Not nuclear.
People are afraid of nuclear because they know nothing about it- only what fear mongers want you to know to hate it. We have a half dozen carriers and it's great! levitra online india a couple dozen subs that run small nuclear reactors with no problems right this second.
0
Chief of Information Technology
written by Jared, December 02, 2007
I don't understand the fear about real nuclear reactors. They're one of the most safe power facilities out there. I grew up less than 20 miles from a nuclear power plant. It has enough space to store its waste for over 100 years of operation. There are no radiation leaks. Melt-downs require pretty extreme failures to happen. Count the number of times they've happened..... TWO.
0
Scalability
written by leonscottjr, December 02, 2007
There is one thing that everyone has missed... these units do not have to be spread out in anyone's backyard. Currently, we have specific facilities that generate electricity, that have security and administration, onsight monitoring and maintenance... So for Los Angeles with it's 20 million people, you can install 400 units in one site, and 400 units in another site. And because the national electric grid ties all energy producers together, these can be placed in the desert or outside of cities to ensure safety. No backyards, but more like Santa Nofrie (a nuke plant between LA and San Diego in CA.) Thus they are much safer for the community than our current systems that contaminate and slowly choke us all to death with the SMOG!
0
An "array" of solar panels.
written by Hippo, December 02, 2007
I English speak good.
0
answers...
written by Ed Danger, December 02, 2007
It sounds like a great idea when you think about just one. But think about the actual proposal (to have one of these for EVERY 25,000 people). There's some massive scaling implications with that scenario.


Couldn't these tie into the grid?

It'd require 12,000 Nuclear stations in America alone. 320,000 if you wanted to extend the concept to the world.


Don't average American use way more power than average people from third world countries?

The first question, of course, would be "who gets to put this in their backyard." Especially in urban areas where there's millions (or hundreds of millions) of people and not much space to keep micro-facilities like that away from housing. But it goes further than that.


They could be away from urban areas, and imply "wire" the urban areas.

Needing to be refueled every 5 years sounds like a good idea, until you think about the fact that it's one of the numbers above (depending on how far you'd like to see the idea implemented) worth of uranium that'd need to be replaced (i.e. the old material discarded) every 5 years.


I think this would be less waste than the http://www.smartersecurity.com/generic-levitra-from-canada entire world currently uses.

It sounds like a fantastic idea when you think about just one of these facilities. But if you scale it out to the number needed to cover the country - or the world - you can begin to see where the waste management problem comes in. This ain't no ordinary waste.


Yeah, I agree with you here.

You also have to wonder about the level of security needed for those 12,000 (or 320,000) sites. Who's going to stop someone from messing with them? That's a lot of new micro-sites to manage. This is one of the reasons why we tend to build large facilities today. It's easier to defend one large facility than a thousand small ones.


Easy, build each facility underneath police stations.

The next question would be "HOW do you replace the fuel?" If it's been buried and encased in Concrete, does that mean that each of these 12,000 (or 320,000) sites is going to have to undergo major construction efforts every 5 years to un-bury and expose the core so that the spent fuel can be removed and new fuel inserted?


The manufacturer will "refuel" the devices.
0
RE: solutions
written by MaxIsBored, December 02, 2007

written by low pressure, December 02, 2007

the solution isn't nuclear, the solution is finding a cure for America'a inability to be part of the global solution!


YES.
0
Nuclear is the Future
written by Eric, December 02, 2007
Nuclear is the only possibility for the US to continue to meet growing energy demands. Renewables are not going to keep up with the demand, they may soften the blow and could even take over some of the old coal plants when they go off line. I do not understand the resistance to Nuclear plants though, they are clean, they are safe (the two incidents people like to cite as to why they aren't safe are very poor examples). At one point we have to make a decision, continue to dump CO2 into the atmosphere, or find an effective way to bury nuclear waste.
0
Hmm, I like the ideas =)
written by EdgarVerona, December 02, 2007
Heh, I like the Police station idea. =) But someone above made a good point about having a large amount of them in one spot and then just securing that facility. That combined with wiring it to the grid from a distant location makes the concept more feasible. As long as it wasn't cripplingly costly to do the fuel replacement, it would be more feasible/less waste producing than our current nuclear power stations.

I wonder how small these things are. If they were truly small (like the size of a car battery), the government could probably buy up a couple hundred square miles in a midwest state and throw the entire thing in there... then just secure that site. But I can't seem to find any size estimates anywhere at the moment, so I don't know how feasible that would be.

In regards to the energy usage in other countries, I think it would still be safer to assume that one day these countries may/will use as much energy as we do. There was a time, not long ago, when China hardly used any energy in comparison to us. Their economic surge turned that tide quicker than anyone ever predicted. It's always good to prepare for the worst (or best I guess, if you're in one of those countries and pfizer levitra 50mg would prefer to have more power available) case scenario I think.

I do like the idea of it not producing any waste water, which the manufacturer's site claims.

If the manufacturer would take care of the logistical problem of refueling, that could be good... as long as there's an efficient way to do so. If they went out of business with the time/costs needed to do the refueling, we'd be right back to where we were before. The manufacturer's site says that they have to open the device to refuel it, which definitely implies unearthing/removing it from the concrete first.

All I can say is that I wouldn't want to pay that company's maintenance bills. =)
0
small reactors don't melt down
written by supergreen, December 02, 2007
small reactors don't have melt downs.
0
Efficiency
written by Design Guy, December 02, 2007
Nuclear is great, but the fuel efficiency bottoms out when you make smaller plants.

Bigger plants produce more energy per unit of fuel.

Ecologically speaking, bigger plants have less impact.
0
Flaw in reasoning
written by Bobo, December 02, 2007
The article (whether right or wrong) states that one reactor would power 25,000 homes not people. So let approximate that in the average home there are 4 people, that means it would power 100,000 people. With a population of the US at I believe 312 million according to the 2000 census. It would take 3,120 of these reactors to power the US fully, but that is not what we want to do. In 1997 90% on energy was coming from hydrocarbon sources (IE Coal,methane, petroleum). Since then that number has most likely gone down slightly with lets say 85% now coming from hydrocarbon sources in the US. That would drop the viagra soft tablets number needed to remove the carbon footprint to 2650. In some areas there would be more efficient resources available (solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, Methane from biological and waste sources).
The number provided that it could power 25000 homes can not be projected to a world wide total because it most likely meant 250000 American homes which are energy drains compared to other countries. Also overall the rest of the world is more dependent on non-polluting energy sources then the US so those would not have to be replaced.
0
...
written by tbrow, December 02, 2007
Could I dig one up in the middle of the night and use the materials inside to make a bomb?

Can you dig up something hot tub sized thats in cased in concrete in one night without waking the neighbors?
0
...
written by Bobo, December 02, 2007
The real problem with implementation of this plan is if it was deemed economically and environmentally feasible it take the same amount of bureaucracy to implement a small nuclear plant as a large one. That is why they build large plants instead of small, more efficient, safer plants because it is not worth all the red tape. So for a company to maximize capital bigger is better for them, but not always for us.
0
Apprehension
written by leonscottjr, December 02, 2007
I think that the biggest setback to solving our electricity problems is the corporate fear that is instilled by those that have so much to loose.

These small reactors are safe, affordable, scaleable, and make good sense. Also, these units can be designed so that the entire concrete vault is lowered by crane to it's "vault", and when it is time to refuel, they replace the "spent" device, like a battery, and they can take the old one back for referbishing. Less down time, lower cost. The article states that these units are about the size of a hot tub (about 8 feet square?), so they would easily fit on a flat bed truck for transportation, or even a secure railcar.

About the US consumption of electricity... I do not consider it gluttony, but progress. When you upgraded your processor, you decided to use more poewr. Your air conditioner, water treatment plants, the servers over at Google, even the printing of your paycheck was run by electricity! We have moved toward Electricity as a nation to try to limit our dependancy on Petrolium based fuels. Therefore, let's not complain about our electricity usage, but augment our capabilities to reduce the cost of cialis true problem- petrolium and coal based energy!
0
Shot in the dark here
written by Rob, December 02, 2007
Here's an idea - maybe completely off-base but I'd be interested to know why not:

How about we use some of the electricity to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen, strap the waste to an Arianne 5 rocket and blast it into the Sun? All we need to do is get it past L1 and then the Sun takes care of the rest.
0
Nuclear works fine
written by Edouard, December 02, 2007
78 % of French electricity is done by nuclear plants. We never had any problem in more than 30 years.

Nuclear is to me (and many people around here) a good solution to fight climate change in a fast and effective way.

I consider myself as a ecogeek (even if in French, we would say ecologeek ) and wrote an article on alternatives to coal. Nuclear is one, it is not perfect, but none is.

the link to the article :
http://www.elrst.com/2007/10/30/a-look-at-the-clean-alternatives-to-coal/

With nuclear, energy conservation and cialis cheapest online prices renewables, the world can avoid the worst that a full scale global warming would bring.

I like your blog and look forward to read more from you... ;)
0
...
written by Bobo, December 02, 2007
Shot in the dark here
written by Rob, December 02, 2007
Here's an idea - maybe completely off-base but I'd be interested to know why not:

How about we use some of the electricity to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen, strap the waste to an Arianne 5 rocket and blast it into the Sun? All we need to do is get it past L1 and then the Sun takes care of the rest.


-- Space travel is to dangerous. over then 25 years two shuttles have blown up in the atmosphere. I would hate to see it blow up in the atmosphere with a nuclear payload, then were in for bigger problems.
0
Fine by me
written by name, December 02, 2007
I'd put this in my basement.

I live in Michigan, in a town of 22,000 people, and the rainfall ALONE contains 5X more mercury than "allowable exposure" per exposure limits.

All due to the huge # of coal-fired power plants across the E Coast. (For the geographically challenged, Michigan is pretty far East, 4 hrs from Cornell Univ. in New York).
0
nuclear payload fear mongering...
written by space nut, December 02, 2007
>I would hate to see it blow up in the atmosphere with a nuclear payload, then were in for bigger problems.

- Big unmanned spacecraft (like Cassini) use nuclear 'batteries' (the same concept as in these tub-sized devices). They've already flown over our heads many, many times. Get over the fear mongering, be constructive for once in your life.
0
Some thoughts
written by Will, December 02, 2007
So for Los Angeles with it's 20 million people, you can install 400 units in one site, and 400 units in another site.


Instead of taking 400 small ones and put them together, why wouldn't they just make one big one? As it was stated before, large plants have greater efficiency and are easier to protect.

I thought I'd throw this out there for people concerned with meltdowns and other safety issues:

I recently visited Indian Point, and one of the things they told us and demonstrated to us was the speed with which they could shut the plant down. To go from full power to no power takes less than 2 seconds. With responsiveness like that, it would take a large scale combination of mistakes and failures to create a real problem. While this such occurrence is not impossible, the chances of it happening are astronomically small.
0
Combining plants
written by leonscottjr, December 02, 2007
Instead of taking 400 small ones and put them together, why wouldn't they just make one big one? As it was stated before, large plants have greater efficiency and are easier to protect.


Never put all your eggs in one basket. even though well protected, if only one large plant is attacked or goes off line, there needs to be redundant systems to pick up the slack. This is why there are normally many small turbines at dams and mexican rx cialis low price other power facilities, instead of less larger sized Units.

Also, these units do not produce electricity, but HEAT. They are to be connected to a Steam Turbine in order to produce the steam to power the generators. Therefore, they can also be used in existing plants that burn coal to heat the water into steam. Just replace the boilers with these new units.

these were designed to be small so that they would not overheat and melt down. Increasing the size increases the heat, meaning they will have to be monitored and then there is more room for mistakes and a higher cost of operation. These were specifically designed for small towns and third world countries with limited technitions and funds, but have a wide application when scaled. Just hook up the water input to each unit, and connect the steam out to a common manifold, and you can connect say 10 small units to one large steam powered generator. So the Generators can be large scale, but the "nuclear Batteries" stay small and cheap canadian cialis easier to manage. Also, with multiple batteries, when one goes down, the plant does not go offline, it only has to reduce it's capacity accordingly.

Hopefully the department of energy is reading this blog and taking notes, as many of the commentors have great ideas!
0
...
written by Rob, December 02, 2007
With responsiveness like that, it would take a large scale combination of mistakes and failures to create a real problem. While this such occurrence is not impossible, the chances of it happening are astronomically small.


In the case of Chernobyl, that mistake was disabling all the safety measures to see what would happen.
0
Care to show me some math on those figur
written by AndrewL, December 02, 2007
@ leonscottjunior

these were designed to be small so that they would not overheat and melt down.


The original design for these plants was not to decrease the likelihood of meltdown, but to provide a lasting energy source to remote areas. While its true their purposefully small design was engineered to reduce the probability of meltdown, all reactors being designed today have this feature, called passive safety.

Gen IV nuclear reactors, such as the pebble bed systems, have been designed by the major power firms all have this intrinsic safety feature in their design such that engineers could simply walk away or major control systems could malfunctions and the reactors would safely turn off. The nuclear power industry has learned from past designs (and more notably flaws) and created incredibly safe reactors by anyone's standard.

As for the DOE, as a student of nuclear engineering let me state that the government and on line tramadol the industry are way ahead of bloggers on this. I'm sure if any ideas of merit come out of the blogs though the industry would leap on them and probably even call them their own :-.

Still, these small "battery" reactors only make sense for places like Alaska where the demand for heating and power are great while conventional energy sources just can't cut it, but in large cities with great transportation systems it makes no sense to bury something so expensive that you can't refuel. There's a good reason that systems like these weren't built as the first nuclear reactors even though we had all the technology for these back in the 60s; they're in efficient for large scale power production.

And finally @ Will
Instead of taking 400 small ones and put them together, why wouldn't they just make one big one? As it was stated before, large plants have greater efficiency and are easier to protect.


You're absolutely correct, don't listen to that guy.
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...
written by EV, December 02, 2007
How about we use some of the electricity to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen, strap the waste to an Arianne 5 rocket and blast it into the Sun? All we need to do is get it past L1 and then the Sun takes care of the rest.

That would be a waste of good material. Recycle it first, like France has been doing.
-- Space travel is to dangerous. over then 25 years two shuttles have blown up in the atmosphere. I would hate to see it blow up in the atmosphere with a nuclear payload, then were in for bigger problems.

Guess what? We've already had a rocket with a nuclear payload blow up. Zero radioactive material was released as the material was in a case designed to withstand just such an accident. The material was then reused on a later spacecraft.
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One word
written by SantaBJ, December 02, 2007
Thorium.

If they manage to make a Thorium-based version of this, then we can start talking.
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Bill Richardson for president
written by Ryan, December 02, 2007
His energy plan:

* Cut oil demand: 50% by 2020
We must reduce oil imports from around 65% to 10%. We can reach these goals in part by getting the 100 mile per gallon (mpg) car into the marketplace, pushing fuel economy standards to 50 mpg by 2020, and setting a life-cycle low-carbon fuel standard that reduces the carbon impact of our liquid fuels by 30% by 2020, including increasing use of alternative fuels.
* Change to renewable sources for electricity: 50% by 2040
I am calling for a national renewable electricity source portfolio standard of 30% by 2020 – which will rise to 50% by 2040. This is aggressive, but necessary as we start using more electricity for automobiles. I will push for an energy productivity law requiring a 20% improvement in energy productivity by 2020. We could save customers $21 billion a year by 2020.
* Dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions: 90% by 2050
20% by 2020, and 80% by 2040 -- ten years faster than scientists say is necessary, because we must lead the world, and we can’t afford the possibility of backsliding and inaction. We will start with a market-based cap and trade system for greenhouse gas emissions to create incentives for the electric and industrial sectors to make significant reductions in their carbon emissions. . Economists say the world can protect itself from drastic climate change at a cost of 1-3% of our economic activity. We can afford to protect the climate. Given the risks of catastrophic climate change, we can’t afford not to.
* Lead by example and restore America as the world’s leader
We must return to the international negotiating table and viagra canadian health support mandatory world-wide limits on global warming pollution. We will work closely with fast-growing nations and, as President, I will cooperate with the European Union, the World Bank, and other allies to help finance the incremental cost of “doing it right.” I will create a North American Energy Council with Mexico and Canada, which supply about 20% of our oil, and make sure our relations with these neighbors are firm and friendly. As we reduce our demand for foreign oil, we should work with the Persian Gulf nations, and our partners in consuming nations and the United Nations Security Council, to try to create a multilateral system for protecting the Gulf so that within 10 years the U.S. presence there could be sharply and safely reduced.
* Get it all done without breaking the bank
We will raise some revenue from the sales of carbon permits, for example. Further, I will get out the “green scissors” to cut back on wrongly-placed tax subsidies. Over time, this program will yield huge productivity increases in our economy, as well as significant budget savings and revenues. We will create more than 10 times as much value in the American economy by reducing our oil imports as we spend to make this program happen. And everyone - every American - must make an effort to make us energy independent and combat global warming. Our national security and our planet depend on it.

http://action.richardsonforpresident.com/page/s/energyplan
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Yeah. So?
written by Snark, December 02, 2007
"It seems that all the answers here are prepared to do anything about the energy crisis except change their over consuming Western way of life. That appears to be the only sacred issue at stake. Everything and anything will be considered as long as we can carry on with our gluttony."

I find this sort of sanctimonious bullshit so tiring. Why would it possibly matter how much energy we're "gluttonously" consuming as long as it's sourced from an ecologically sane resource and look there buying levitra in the us won't endanger us? Speaking personally, I think that reverting to the year 1800 in some Amish-esque, self-flagellating rejection of technology and energy wastage is pretty goddamned silly.

Now, don't get me wrong; as an ecologist I'm probably more aware than most of the damage that our current gluttony is doing to the planet and to our society. I think efficiency is something we desperately need to learn. I think we could use a third of our current energy use if we creatively apply technology and good sense to the problem.

But! I refuse to take seriously anybody sanctimoniously bitching about gluttony (while on their computer) while not presenting any cogent solution to the problem. I'd like to figure out a way to live in a way that is simultaneously sane and comfortable. I think it's possible, as long as we stop dragging our asinine fears and finger-wagging into the debate.
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Quit your belly aching about America...
written by crash, December 02, 2007
Listen I understand that much of the world is upset with America... Who could blame them since we have our noses in other peoples business (especially of late). What you are forgetting is a lot of the comforts the rest of the world enjoys is BECAUSE of the United States (think health-care, air/land travel, entertainment). CO2 is a problem, a very large problem. But there is something that is even MORE of a problem and is much more destructive than CO2, methane. Methane is 20x more potent than CO2 in retaining heat... Does anyone have any idea what is most responsible for methane? (hint it isn't humans)... It's cows (http://www.greendiary.com/entr...al-warming). Now I know that America is the bad guy here, but I'm sure that more than just Americans eat beef. So why don't we all pitch in and just slaughter all the cows, and find some other sources of food? Dairy? Who needs it? On the other hand it would probably help fix Americans' bulging waist-line.
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THE SOLUTION
written by THE SOLUTION, December 02, 2007
We take all the old aging people in the world who want to lose weight, put them on a thousand stationary bikes, make them pedal... VIOLA!!! Free cheap, healthy electricity.

Or better yet, we take all you anti-nuclear eco-fags and put yall in a big pile, light ya on fire, and use that to drive a steam turbine.

HOW DO YA LIKE DEM APPLES!?!?
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Hurry up with the nuclear power already!
written by rob, December 02, 2007
why cant i post my full comment?
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Nuclear New Zealand - Part 1
written by rob, December 02, 2007
I'm also from New Zealand and getting cialis from canada I think our nuclear-free status is long past its expiry date.

While I'm still against having our harbours used as parking spaces for nuclear-powered ships, I think we are in a unique position (with only 4 million people) to have virtually the entire country's power supplied by zero-emission nuclear generators.

New Zealand (with appropriate backing/sponsorship from a nuclear-energy company) could lead the way by becoming the first country to have its power-grid supplied entirely by Zero Emission generators. This idea fits perfectly into the 'Clean, Green' image that New Zealand is renown for, but due to pressure from 'environmentalists', reasonable discussion regarding nuclear power is near-impossible.

The fact is that the safety of nuclear technology has come a long way since the accident at Chernobyl and breeder reactors do a very good job of reducing waste. The way I see it, a situation where you have all the nasty substances concentrated in a single place where you can manage and store them (nuclear waste) is a far better alternative to having the toxins spread out thinly over the globe (radioactive isotopes from burning coal). At least clean up is actually possible with nuclear waste - try cleaning up all the rubbish that coal plants spew into the atmosphere!

Another potential bonus from using nuclear is any surplus power could be utilized to produce hydrogen from water, thus making a hydrogen-powered economy actually feasible from both a economic and environmental standpoint.
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Nuclear New Zealand - Part 2
written by rob, December 02, 2007
Greenpeace (and other organizations like it) need to cease their multiple-decade-spanning anti-nuclear smear campaigns - I find it amazing that a supposed 'environmental' organization is thoroughly unwilling to even give consideration to using the best option humanity currently has for zero-emission energy production.
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Nuclear New Zealand - Part 3
written by rob, December 02, 2007
The damage done to nuclear energy's image by the 'Environmentalist' movement is tremendous - it appears that these people (who often claim a scientific basis for their positions) have invested so much time and energy into campaigning against nuclear energy that they are unable to step back and say 'ok, the situation has changed, maybe it is time to re-evaluate this technology'.
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Nuclear New Zealand - Part 4
written by rob, December 02, 2007
Could it be they are too embarrassed to admit their anti-nuclear stance for the past 30years has been misguided?

Nuclear is really the ONLY practical solution humanity has to address its power needs while protecting the environment. Environmentalists need to learn that there is no perfect solution to the Energy Problem. By gnashing and wailing against nuclear power generation and http://eatingdisorderrecovery.com/genuine-viagra-online instead offering only unfeasible solutions (such as wind, solar and hydro) as alternatives, they create a political deadlock surrounding the energy issue where the easiest option is usually to just build another coal-powered generating station.

-Rob

ps: your site has some serious problems with comment submission.
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This stuff has and will continue to be S
written by Zatman, December 02, 2007
The nuclear nay-sayers are just a bunch of idiotic bean-counting butthole morons! There have only ever been two potentially dangerous disasters in the history of nuclear energy! Chernobyl did have a massive effect, but it could have been much worse. Three-mils-island could have been worse, but was quite easily contained and handled.

For the topic at hand, this thing has to weigh atleast a ton and probably 2. Do you honestly think that anything short of a well-equipped small "army" could make off with this thing to say nothing of cracking it open? It'd require a pretty big crane, make a lot of noise, be kinda obvious who did it especially if you have telephoto-eqipped-cameras on this thing. And hard to get out of any country.

Nuclear power is as safe as we have. There haven't been any major uranium-mining accidents that I know of. What I'd really like to see is nuclear-propelled rockets blasting across the solar system so we aren't stuck on our own planet. It's safe, bottom line!
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What nonsense...
written by Jack, December 03, 2007
> What to we do with the waste at the end of those five years?

2 words: Breeder reactors. Granted they are not for tommorrow. That being said, if research on nuclear power wouldn't have practically stopped for the past 30 years we would probably have them by now.


> Where are we going to get all the uranium necessary?

How about Canada and Australia...the 2 biggest exporters / reserves in the world? Do you even inform yourself before asking questions?


> These are nuclear questions that nuclear experts tend to not want to answer.

No, these are nuclear questions that people who have no idea about nuclear technology ask.
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...
written by Bobo, December 03, 2007
Care to show me some math on those figur
written by AndrewL, December 02, 2007

Guess what? We've already had a rocket with a nuclear payload blow up. Zero radioactive material was released as the material was in a case designed to withstand just such an accident. The material was then reused on a later spacecraft.


nuclear payload fear mongering...
written by space nut, December 02, 2007
>I would hate to see it blow up in the atmosphere with a nuclear payload, then were in for bigger problems.

- Big unmanned spacecraft (like Cassini) use nuclear 'batteries' (the same concept as in these tub-sized devices). They've already flown over our heads many, many times. Get over the fear mongering, be constructive for once in your life.

--That was shielding there reactors, here we are talking about the using a shuttle in the same purpose as a garbage truck, It is more suitable to use a site like yucca mountain, the wolf river batholilth or even salt domes to store radioactive waste. There have been numerous studies on launching radioactive waste into space but it always comes back to the safety and economics of space travel. It is far safer and cheaper to bury waste at these sites even though there are challenges associated with all these site. Yucca mountain is near seismic activity and is not clear if a facility could isolate the waste for long enough for radioactivity to demise. The wolf river batholith is feared to be part of larger aquifer system that might have drainage into the great lakes. Salt domes are known to have isostatic rebound.
-Launching our nuclear waste into space is science fiction and invens.nl nothing more. If you think people are pissed off at nuclear reactors (which I support) try to tell them this is how the waste will be eliminated by and you will see a stronger push against reactors than you can imagine.
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...
written by Zach, December 03, 2007
Nuclear power is by far the most expensive form of power generation currently in use by the United States (not to be US centric, it's just what I know). The only reason Nuclear power survives in the market is because it HEAVILY HEAVILY subsidized by the government. It is MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE than wind, solar, geothermal, etc.

Furthermore, nuclear power in a life cycle analysis is not carbon neutral. The power it generates does not offset the carbon produced as a result of the creation, maintenance, and fueling. Uranium is heavy, comes from the ground, and needs to be disposed of in ways that will prevent the radiation from hurting us. This all results in CO2 being generated. Granted it is less than a coal plant, but it is still much more than a wind turbine (which offsets it's carbon footprint after about 10 months).

It is VERY POSSIBLE that these two problems concerning nuclear power could be overcome. The issue is that they have not been resolved. On the other hand, technologies like wind power have already been demonstrated as effective at taking care of our energy needs. Using PROVEN technology, instead of relying on possible future technology is very important to moving to sustainable energy creation.
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...
written by Herno, December 03, 2007
I just wanna say to all the people against nuclear to think a little bit outside their first world mind, and think about all the developing countries (i´m from argentina, we are not as poor as india or pakistan but still). Don´t you realize that wind and solar CAN´T save the world? not for now at least. Nuclear is the only way. And as someone pointed, if the research hadn´t stopped in this 30years or so, there would be already some solutions to its problems.
One thing that came to my mind for dealing with the waste is : fungus! there are 2 species (that i know of) that can absorve the radiation and transform it into energy, just like photosyntesis. Maybe we can save worlds hunger too! haha just kidding.

Ps: of course we all know that these are not solutions but patches. the real issue here es capitalism, the use and distribution of products. (example, today we produce food for twice the population of the world, but still people die of hunger)
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...
written by E, December 03, 2007
Thats wow of course. Almost indefinite energy to the people.
And this is only the beginning.
Just we have to prepare of something worse may happen at one time, just because of some dangerous minds out there.
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Why not create a reactor farm?
written by g, December 03, 2007
If people are worried about these being in their backyards, then why not take a few dozen of them, put them together in a remote site and create a power plant that can power a city?
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Nuclear....zero emission
written by A, December 03, 2007
I like it how everyone seems to call nuclear power zero emission. It's like calling electric trains zero emission. The trains run on electricity produced by coal/gas etc which produce emissions.... Nuclear uses uranium which is mined. The mining produces massive amounts of emissions. We are unlikley to have nuclear powered mining machinery or even electric ones. Those machines require huge amounts of energy. How do you intend running them on zero emissions ? I doubt you be able to produce enough bio-fuel to power the worlds mining either.

Efficiency is the 1st best step to take. You can reduce your usage considerably without affecting your lifestyle. I have reduced mu electricity usage by about 40%. If everyone did similar, then theres a considerable reduction with little effort.
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Settle down now...
written by Burp, December 04, 2007
Looking at these comments, a lot of assholes decided to show up, most of them defending nuclear energy. Telling people waste management issues are a problem... that's a joke. That being said i support nuclear energy. But for god's sake, don't be such dickheads, insulting people and downplaying or ignoring serious concerns like waste security are not ways to win people over!
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think for a second...
written by lolz, December 04, 2007
I read most of the responses, and it appears that a lot of you have given up on renewable energy. Most cited the reason, they won't provide enough power for us.

1) Well, why don't you reduce the amount of power you use? There's no reason the US should have to buy power from Canada, or having scheduled blackouts. It's ridiculous. Wake up and realize your using more then you can produce, and THAT'S a problem.

2) Look at what every other country is doing. Are they going to nuclear power? No. Wind power? Yes. Solar power? Yes. The list goes on and on...

3) Do you honestly believe this is going to give you cheaper power? The answer should be no. Why? If everyone actually switched to this, the company running the show would simply jack prices as they now have a monopoly. You certainly can't run it yourself. I bet you think they wouldn't do that. Right... because that's never happened before.

Personally I believe we should all move off the grid. Generate our own power, supply our own water, so what if we have to use less. They maybe we'd actually have some respect for what it means to have such luxuries.
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Best invention ever
written by Carl Kenner, December 05, 2007
This is the best invention ever in human history. Unfortunately the anti-nuclear fascist biggots will prevent it from ever seeing the light of day, even when they know preventing this is destroying the planet.
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Only part of the solution
written by K, December 08, 2007
I didn't read all of the comments above so I'm not sure if this is mentioned. A problem with this idea is that every reactor would require all of the steam side equipment such as the steam generator and turbine and http://www.shoreacres.net/buying-real-cialis-without-prescription all of the auxiliaries associated with them. This would require a substantial amount of money to build. It would also require a large number of people to operate the steamside equipment even if the reactor takes care of itself, and North America is already experiencing a sever shortage in skilled labour.
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Only one solution
written by kasper, December 15, 2007
We just have to see what energy is the most effective one at this moment in time and yes it's nuclear energy. It's impossible for us all to wait another 10, 20 or more years till there is a better solution. We have to act, not keep discussing things over and over. Look at nuclear energy..it has more possitif things then negatif at this moment in time till someone invents something better. Nothing more and nothing less!
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uber eco geek here: and something you ha
written by g510geek, December 20, 2007

By way of introduction:


I'm the guy who invented the telecommuting feature that lets someone call you at your company's office and the PBX (phone system) transfers the call to your home office.

At my house, "purge water" from the shower (the cold water that is in the pipes before the hot water reaches the shower) goes into a storage tank for use as input to the laundry. And the used water from the laundry goes into another storage tank to flush the toilet. And the washer uses 10 watt-hours per pound of laundry (e.g. 60 watt-hours for a 6-lb load).

I built my own refrigerator/freezer system that saves 1,000 KWH (1 megawatt hour) per year compared to the wasteful old thing that came with the place.

As I write this, my household temp is 62.6 Fahrenheit, and I'm snug & warm in long underwear, knit cap, and scarf, using a 40-watt heating pad on my body instead of a 1,000 watt portable heater for supplemetary warmth.

And my total refuse output per week is less than a 5-gallon bucket, including recyclables.

So I think it's safe to say that, short of going into hunter/gatherer mode, I'm doing more than my share to cut energy & resource consumption and also develop technologies that can be used in the wider market to help others cut consumption levels as well.

With that in mind, I wholeheartedly support these micro reactors, for a reason you haven't heard yet.

There are numerous places that a) have gusty wind that's strong some of the time and weak some of the time, b) are rather remote, and c) only have enough space for a small wind installation, by which I mean 50 MW or less.

These sites are not economically viable to develop for wind power, primarily because of the cost of running the transmission lines to them unless those lines could be kept "full" or nearly so most of the time.

However, with a micro-reactor on the site, that problem is solved. The micro reactor can make up the difference in the power output when the wind isn't blowing, and adjust its output automatically as the inverse of the wind output. Suddenly it becomes viable to pay for those transmission lines. And the micro reactor, running as "backup" to a small wind farm, would need to be refueled far less often.

One could do likewise for solar sites, as backup power overnight (rather than large battery banks that also have to be replaced every five to ten years) and in cloudy weather conditions. You could have a city with photovoltaics on every roof, and a couple of micro-reactors.

In essence, these Hyperion micro-nukes could give us an effectively 100% renewables-based grid, by providing the backup power to overcome the intermittency of wind and sun.

About tritium (re the person who posted that the system relies on turning hydrogen into tritium): the stuff is sufficiently harmless that British Telecom used it to power the lighted dial on their Trimphone in the 60s and 70s. Under the dial number-plate is a capsule of tritium. Has a nice turquoise glow, and is perfectly safe to have on the bedside table. (You can still find these phones around as collectors' items, but by now the tritium has decayed to the point where the glow is very faint.)

And yes, I'd gladly have one in my backyard or in my basement. With one difference. I'd want to install it above-ground, under a small concrete dome for the "retro-cool" look of classic nuclear plant design!
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We need to consdier all possible green e
written by 728huey, December 20, 2007
I, for one, think that a lot of the current fear of nuclear energy, particularly in the USA, stems from the accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl in the late 1970's and mid 1980's, but we were also dealing with the first wave of nuclear energy technology. Since then, the USA and Russia have been running nuclear submarines which use much smaller reactors that are not a threat to cause major environmental damage or meltdowns. While I propose that we should create a hydrogen-based energy source, we should be using all renewable sources as a way to ween ourselves off of dependence on foreign oil and reduce CO2 emissions from coal. I personally like solar and wind energy, but not every place has abundant sunshine, and the wind doesn't blow everywhere all of the time either, and what good is tidal energy going to do in Tibet? Having said that, instead of trying to propose one renewable energy solution as the be all and end all of energy dependence, why not use all of the sources of renewable energy together to ween us off of fossil fuels and in a way that complements each other. These nuclear mini-reactors would be a way to generate energy in poor or remote areas where there is no massive electrical grid and there is not consistent sunshine, wind, or access to geothermal sources, and where there is some energy like in big cities, coal-fired energy plants could be retrofitted with these mini-reactors to create electricity.

Secondly, as far as renewable energy is concerned, we're only on the first generation of clean energy solutions. The 1970's could be called the beta testing period, and our current renewable energy systems are at stage 1.0. There's no reason why we cannot implement these strategies now and improve on them in the future.

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