Friday, August 03, 2012

Shopping for a Nuclear Reactor the AP1000


Window Shopping
A Nuclear Reactor

In the run up to some posts I am planning on a newer, cheaper, smaller, and purportedly much safer nuclear reactor type using Molten Fluoride Salt and the element Thorium, I am,  by way of comparison, doing a bit of window shopping on current reactors.

The Westinghouse AP1000

Today I am taking a look at the Westinghouse AP1000 - a monster reactor - at a monster price.

The above picture is one of the lower half of the containment vessel. Those are not Umpa-Lumpas or ants in white suits below, they are the construction workers.

Here is another picture of the containment bowl - you can gain a perspective from the worker on the cherry picker lift. An aircraft carrier would not have construction as heavy as this baby.

Why the BOMB PROOF casing?

The question immediately comes to my mind is; "why the need for a virtual bomb proof casing?" And the answer that immediately comes to mind is; "because it is housing a BOMB - a nuclear bomb"

Well actually there are TWO bombs involved. One is the reactor itself which can easily go into Run-Away reaction causing a meltdown with possible explosions. The other is the pressurised water system. In order to get enough umph to drive turbine generators they pressure the water to a very high degree, so that temperatures reach several hundreds of degrees Celsius.

Piping that presupposes an explosion

With water / steam at these enormous pressures, you have a bomb on your hands. Have a look at the pipes needed for an AP1000, and ask yourself why such exceedingly thick metal.

Metal pipes that thick immediately suggest cannon guns to my mind, Cannon guns suggest massive explosive force.

So if you were shopping for a gas cooker - would you be happy about a design that has 3" three inch thick metal piping and had to be housed in a massive bomb proof container?

Maybe I will hold off on buying the AP1000!!


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