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The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest

Moving Forward with Nuclear

We use a lot of power in our computing infrastructure. And while I’m mindful of the concerns over safety, environment, etc., I think nuclear power should be part of the solution moving forward in the US. I can’t speak for other countries, but having worked in a plant here in the US, I’m comfortable with it.

I found this article about a number of companies filing applications for licenses for new plants. Apparently there have been 17 companies looking to build 26 new plants. I’m guessing a number of them are on existing nuclear sites, which often had been “approved” but not licensed for financed for another plant. One of the plants I worked at, the North Anna plant in Virginia, actually had been approved for 4 reactors, 2 were built, a 3rd barely started and stopped after Three Mile Island.

I’m sorry there aren’t plants in Colorado being started, especially with our good geological sites here, but at least there are quite a few being considered. I think we’re definitely a better site than Florida!

I think part of the key here is building better designs, simpler, with more cookie cutter technologies. That lowers costs, and it makes it easier for people to be trained to work on these plants. All 4 of the reactors I’d worked near had lots of one-off stuff in them, which i inefficient, and arguably not as safe.

The next few energy updates won’t talk nuclear, so I thought I’d get this out here in the blog. We need more power, and given the fact I love my computers, I want it to be stable, plentiful, and cheap!

Comments

Posted by Jack Corbett on 24 April 2009

I agree.  One of my friends from church works in the Nuclear industry.  He started out building plants, now he is mainly involved in dismantling plants, but he is seeing a comeback in the U.S.  

It's too bad that we haven't done more already because we've fallen behind other countries in this area.

Posted by Dugi on 25 April 2009

Ha, we have problem with electricity everyday, too bad and sure that we need just part of that nuclear plant!

Posted by WayneS on 26 April 2009

I agree that we need to do more with nuclear power. As an ex-Navy nuclear reactor, operator, I know that this is an extremely safe industry. However, my one and only issue with nuclear power is the safe storage of the spent, highly radioactive fuel and other items contaminated by it. This stuff will remain radioactive (at lethal levels) for tens of thousands of years. Until we can find a safe, permanent storage for it, I feel that we should NOT be building any additional reactor plants.

Posted by Steve Jones on 27 April 2009

Wayne,

I hear you, but we've been storing spent fuel at current plant for decades with no issues. Newer plants even produce less spent fuel and waste, and if we went with reprocessing, there would be even less.

I'm not sure how to store it better. Out in the open, open containers, might be the best solution. Easy to see if we start having issues. Heck, I might store a few here at the ranch, put up a big fence, charge a few $$$$$ :)

Posted by Lynn Pettis on 29 April 2009

I think this is where the French did it right with their nuclear power program.  They also built research facilities to develop processes that allow them to process the spent fuel rather than than trying to figure out where to just store it "forever".

Had our Nuclear Power Program been approached the same way, who knows where we would be today, perhaps we also would have nearly 80% of our electric power generated by nuclear power plants.

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