Thinking on Talks (parts I & II)

David Landgren david at
Tue Dec 6 15:56:27 GMT 2005

David Cantrell wrote:


> Oh yeah - decommissioning.  Why do nuclear plants have such a short
> life?  Coal plants can just go on working pretty much for ever - Lotts
> Road being an excellent example.  But nuclear plants have a useful
> working life of only two or three - four at the most - decades.  I just
> can't understand why that is.  Obviously they need to be shut down for
> maintenance every so often, but that applies to fossil fuel plants too.

The intense neutron bombardment from fission fucks with everything in 
the reaction chamber. You can replace some of the components (and try 
and dispose of these now-radioactively hot spare parts) but eventually 
the whole chamber just gets too damaged to be safe to operate.

Those neutrons are savage little bastards, a lot like squirrels when you 
think about it.

"It's overkill of course, but you can never have too much overkill."

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