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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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Well, there could be ways to make driving around with a small modular nuclear reactor on the safer side of driving around with 20 gallons of flammable liquids.

But people, press, general gossip and uneducated opinions are very poorly educated on such matters. They think every reactor is like Chernobyl, but don't know one end of a xenon burn-out transient from the other.

... and if you don't know anything abut what I just said there at the end of that last sentence then you don't either. (Happy to throw the options around a bit with anyone that does know what that means.)

Of course, I am not saying there is any 'good' solution that is better than being able to plug into a charge point connected to a nuclear power station a few 100 miles away, but concept cars are put in place on the assumption that technologies might improve sufficiently in the future to make them viable. Maybe it might for nuclear. Probably not, but it is not totally inconceivable, just a little bit inconceivable.
 

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Renault Zoe 50
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So what would the cost per mile be for a uranium fuelled car these days?
 

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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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The technology doesn't yet exist to use the fuel so not possible to say how much the machinery for that would cost, but I can work it out based on the actual fuel, i.e. cost of uranium. A bit like the price of petrol, forgetting you had to buy an engine to burn it in, or the price of electricity forgetting the cost of a battery to put it in.

Give me a few moments .... I'll just figure it out ...
 

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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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For enriched uranium, it's currently around the $100/kg, give or take.

In a typical reactor of today's technology, all steam powered and heat losses, you'd get 44,000 kWh from that, so say 150,000 miles worth.

So that's around 0.05p/mile.
 

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For enriched uranium, it's currently around the $100/kg, give or take.

In a typical reactor of today's technology, all steam powered and heat losses, you'd get 44,000 kWh from that, so say 150,000 miles worth.

So that's around 0.05p/mile.
That’s a complete bargain.

Maybe the future is to have a small home reactor where you can plug in your EV?
 

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With current domestic electricity costs in the UK the greatest cost is already the depreciation of the vehicle, not the fuel. Making a nuclear fuel cell sufficiently crash proof is unlikely to change that equation.
 

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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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That’s a complete bargain.

Maybe the future is to have a small home reactor where you can plug in your EV?
Well, I was thinking more like you'd have a small fast breeder type reactor at about 1kW output. It'd just sit there all day and all night throwing 1 kW into your battery. And you can rapid charge on the longer journeys if you had to.

In a fast breeder type configuration, in material terms you could start off with a few 10's of grammes of thorium (even cheaper, I was tempted to work out costs for a fast breeder, but again based on what technology?) another few 10's of g of u-238 and 1 or 2 g of u-235 (10 to 20% enrichment) and the end result would be that you'd never have more than microgrammes of long-lived fission products, so if you could package that up somehow in a crash-resistant structure and get electrical energy out of it, then it might even be too small an amount to trigger IRR regulations even if the reactor core was breached.

The material costs for a fast breeder would be a further order of magnitude lower than above.

Such fuels could be TRISO beads, or something similar where all the fuel is locked into tough little structures. In a crash with a breach, just go around with a geiger counter and a big magnet and pick up all the pieces. TRISO Particles: The Most Robust Nuclear Fuel on Earth

There could also be other ways to encourage nuclear fission energy with minimum waste products, perhaps with a miniature Rubbia energy amplifier.

So, you see what I mean, don't let today's big GW nuclear power stations, for all their compromised design to generate materials for military means, confuse the long-view on what might be possible in the future.
 

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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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With current domestic electricity costs in the UK the greatest cost is already the depreciation of the vehicle, not the fuel. Making a nuclear fuel cell sufficiently crash proof is unlikely to change that equation.
I agree. But don't let today's challenges, problems and concerns let us miss a chance to master new technologies for future challenges. For example ... not everywhere has access to domestic electricity ... like Mars ....
 

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Which at the time of the Nucleon was widely predicted to be before now. Where IS my jetpack?
 

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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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Which at the time of the Nucleon was widely predicted to be before now. Where IS my jetpack?
Exactly.

And I think that's the point of concept cars, isn't it (or at least it used to be); to illustrate a potential future, not to attempt to 'design' the future from today's technology and not really with too much attention to today's world-econo-political context either?
 

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Nuclear energy is actually relatively safe. I’ve seen attempts at calculating deaths per unit energy for different sources of electricity. They’re crude calculations but the conclusions are generally similar. Fossil fuels are relatively dangerous with significant deaths from extraction to be added into deaths from transport, and of course pollution from use of the fuel.
Nuclear energy has by comparison been relatively safe.
Solar and wind are relatively safe but people fall off roofs etc so not completely so.
Part of the problem is that people dying of many causes is mundane and every day so not newsworthy. Nuclear accidents are very rare and can be quite scary hence attract a lot of attention.
As @donald alludes to, If the nuclear industry had been started with a bit more focus on safely and efficiently generating electricity and a bit less focus on making weapons grade materials... public perceptions might also be different.
 
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