Nuclear Pebble-Bed Reactor Makes A Comeback
In 1943 a chemist named Farrington Daniels joined the Manhattan Project and proposed a
nuclear reactor containing enriched uranium "pebbles" and using gaseous helium to transfer
energy to a generator. The competing idea for nuclear power generation was one that was not
intrinsically safe and included the now familiar rod-fueled water-cooled reactor. The US Navy
backed the rod-fueled design and the negative results of having chosen the intinsically
unsafe design has given the whole concept of nuclear power a bad name.
Attempts to bring back the pebble reactor recently in Germany and South Africa has been met
by scientifically ignorant but well intentioned opposition. The last chance for nuclear power
may now rest with a new initiative by China which is thirsty for new power sources.
We shall see how long it takes for rationality to defeat stupidity. Stay tuned.
See: Wired Magazine, September 2004, "Let a Thousand Reactors Bloom"
See: Donbot's First Law