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Suicidesoldier#1's avatar

Fanatical Zealot

I know that, with the production of uranium power, very little of it's cost is actually in the uranium, and more so in the safety protocols of shipping it, storing it, and using it in reactors (you need a lot of security personnel), in addition to it's breeding process.

So I was wondering, how much, in a ballpark range, does somebody who say, works with it, thinks it costs?


I have a general idea but it's hard to find raw information for it. The safety protocols are generally pretty expensive, as is the breeding process, but how much of the cost of uranium does it take up?

I know that uranium is currently cheaper than coal, at like, 90% of it's cost, but how cheap could it be; or if we used something safer, like say Thorium, how safe could it be? Or something like U-238 somehow with, something, idk, say fusion fission hybrid, it doesn't matter.


If you removed the breeding process and immense safety restrictions alone, how expensive would uranium be?

I think if we're talking about market availability and capabilities if we have a surplus of energy, that this is incredibly important. xp


I mean for instance, if the electricity cost was less, than carbon fiber would be less; if just 3-4 times cheaper, carbon fiber could compete with steel in terms of cost, which the bulk of it's cost is in energy and of course, the manufacture since carbon is everywhere. So cars could be considerably lighter weight, maybe not the full 1/5th since the entire car isn't made out of steel or iron, but they could have higher efficiencies and range, at the same size and level of protection (if not better) enough say to maybe even be electric.

So, a lot of cool stuff could happen if costs were eliminated. But, how much could you theoretically eliminate?!
Being a capitalist when it comes to nuclear power is a good way to get yourself blown up, irradiated, or flash boiled.

natural (unrefined) uranium costs about ~125usd/kg, give or take a couple dozen dollars depending on market conditions. Historically this number has jumped between 300 to 25 dollars a kg with in the past 30 or so years.

Nuclear power is just one of those power sources that's being slowly and surely relegated to specialty niches. Submarines, Space exploration, pretty much only in places with no outlets, no sun, and where batteries won't work. I'd be surprised if nuclear uranium power were to be expanded at any time, and I'd be even more surprised if the US were to lead the work on creating a thorium reactor. Geographically speaking, India is the most likely candidate to do what will be done with thorium within the foreseeable future.

All this being said, nuclear power is just so last century. Its all about the nano technology now which means batteries and solar power, baby.
Suicidesoldier#1's avatar

Fanatical Zealot

Vannak
Being a capitalist when it comes to nuclear power is a good way to get yourself blown up, irradiated, or flash boiled.

natural (unrefined) uranium costs about ~125usd/kg, give or take a couple dozen dollars depending on market conditions. Historically this number has jumped between 300 to 25 dollars a kg with in the past 30 or so years.

Nuclear power is just one of those power sources that's being slowly and surely relegated to specialty niches. Submarines, Space exploration, pretty much only in places with no outlets, no sun, and where batteries won't work. I'd be surprised if nuclear uranium power were to be expanded at any time, and I'd be even more surprised if the US were to lead the work on creating a thorium reactor. Geographically speaking, India is the most likely candidate to do what will be done with thorium within the foreseeable future.

All this being said, nuclear power is just so last century. Its all about the nano technology now which means batteries and solar power, baby.


Even if the graphene solar panels are 4 times more efficient, for the same cost, that's still 1/2 the cost coal is.

With Thorium it would be way cheaper, and there's no chance of a melt down.


But more to the point, uranium powers 20% of the U.S.'s power, and we only use about 6000 tons a year, so at 125 per kilogram that's only 750 million dollars. We peaked MINING about 16,000 tons (which we haven't even used) which is only about 2 billion dollars, compared to the roughly 200 billion dollars worth of electricity it produces.

In other words, the cost of uranium is nilch, less than 1% of the total cost of actual uranium power. If we removed safety cost restrictions and the breeding process with thorium, which is inherently safe, producing alpha particles, and not having a chance of a melt down or a proliferation risk (since Thorium can't be turned into an atom bomb) it could be, at least, 10 times cheaper, with the potential for being 100 times cheaper, also considering that Thorium is about 3-4 times more abundant than uranium as is, meaning it's probably cheaper as well.
Its not like uranium power isn't a lovely option, or that thorium isn't even better. It's just not going to happen. Fukushima was a thing and it did change things more than I think you realize. It'll either be a long time or desperate times before we go back to actually making new reactor plants.

What I see being most likely is that as India grows, the need for raw power for so many people suddenly all wanting to do something as simple as charge a new third gadget everyday (in addition to cellphone and laptop) they'll probably go thorium (not to mention its a rather abundant resource there, comparatively).

The US, though, is a different story. We've got a serious boner for the word nano technology. I mean if you ever wring a funding proposal, the words you should try to use are military, cancer, and nanotechnology in that order.

Solar power is just one of those things that are going to get really cheap. We're doing to be sticking these things everywhere. Windows, rooftops, on trees on highways, where ever you can get some light.

Hopefully the nano research allows us to figure out a good catalyst to start a fusion reaction, and somewhere along the line of progress I just see us skipping over fission except on space craft and submarines.
Suicidesoldier#1's avatar

Fanatical Zealot

Vannak
Its not like uranium power isn't a lovely option, or that thorium isn't even better. It's just not going to happen. Fukushima was a thing and it did change things more than I think you realize. It'll either be a long time or desperate times before we go back to actually making new reactor plants.

What I see being most likely is that as India grows, the need for raw power for so many people suddenly all wanting to do something as simple as charge a new third gadget everyday (in addition to cellphone and laptop) they'll probably go thorium (not to mention its a rather abundant resource there, comparatively).

The US, though, is a different story. We've got a serious boner for the word nano technology. I mean if you ever wring a funding proposal, the words you should try to use are military, cancer, and nanotechnology in that order.

Solar power is just one of those things that are going to get really cheap. We're doing to be sticking these things everywhere. Windows, rooftops, on trees on highways, where ever you can get some light.

Hopefully the nano research allows us to figure out a good catalyst to start a fusion reaction, and somewhere along the line of progress I just see us skipping over fission except on space craft and submarines.


Nano research, in terms of fusion, will probably be better as a containment walls that will last against stronger power levels, actually allowing us to extract considerable power, what with the constraints we have, considering the energy required with magnets and whatnot, containing and compressing the fusion stuff, so it won't take more energy than we can extract in a certain time frame, mostly due to nuetron degradation and heat. In other words, while we can control how much energy is released, for it to be economical you have to gather more energy in a certain time frame then you spend keeping the fusion reaction under control, so you need something that can take a lot of damage in order for it be economical, which theoretically graphene can.

Anyways, again, 20% of our nation's power is already nuclear. It wouldn't take much to bump it up to 100%, a few hundred plants, which is a hell of a lot less than the millions of coal plants we have.


So...

It probably won't be an issue plus we only need like, 1, or 3-5 if you want to be prudent, given the efficiencies an accelerator driven method can produce, with Thorium and whatnot.


Also nanotechnology has like, 200 times the strength of steel and whatnot, on stuff we can currently mass produce.

Yeah since the substrate to graphene is rice husks, it can be virtually free if we eliminate what's, mostly, energy costs; so, when fusion rolls around, we can have infinite graphene so, everything will be made out of it. Or we could just use thorium. Even if it only produced nanotechnology, cars would be WAY lighter weight and safer, meaning fuel efficiency could easily be like, 8-10 times better etc., solving that issue as well; a 200 mile battery is now a 2000 one, not to say graphene super batteries won't solve the range and short term recharge problems, as well as battery life.


Anyways, by the time we can economically produce that many solar panels we'll probably have decided to coat both poles in them.

24 hours of sunlight, no-one lives there, with super efficient wires it won't matter etc.


In other words, if you want the production of low cost thermal and solar cells, you'll need a cheap power source for manufacture, which will ironically require, thorium, or some other cheap power source; before you can get cheap solar power, you need cheap regular power.

Then we'll coat the poles with a huge graphene blanket that will like, never get destroyed and blam, free power for the next couple billion years, and a great power source for terraforming planets and stuff.


But again, if you want to produce high grade, high quality, cheap solar graphene panels... you'll need cheap energy.

To give an understanding of the situation, some of the cheapest graphene stuff is about 100 dollars per square centimeter. That's 1 million dollars per square meter. Even if it was 100 times cheaper than that, it would still be 10,000 dollars per square meter; you'd be better off with a lot of silicon solar panels in a protected place, say Antartica, where it's cold and there's tons of sunlight, and lots of open land, perfect conditions for solar panels. Unless of course, you lowered energy costs, in production of some forms of graphene, drastically; then it would be possible to produce it economically, thermodynamics and money included.

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