Re: Thankfully, the world is simple
1. The longest lived nuclear isotope in the world today is the natural uranium we burn to make nuclear power, thus reducing the total amount of radioactivity in the world.
2. There are ~4 billion tonnes of it in the worlds oceans, yet people get excited when a few pounds of radioisotopes were released into the sea at Fukushima.
3. the longer lived the isotope, the less active and the less dangerous it is. If the Romans had had reactors by now they would have decomissioned themselves.
4. If the Romans had had reactors, their Empire would not have collapsed
5. The science now tells us what we didn't know in the Cold War period, that chronic exposure to low level radiation up to 200msV/year has absolutely no discernible effect on cells. And total dose is not what counts - peak dose is what counts.
6. If reactors were built and waste dispaosal were done to reflect what we now know about radiation - that its about 1000 times less dangerous than those old cold war regulations suggest - as evinced by the zero death count from radiation at 3MI and Fukushima and the piddling death count at Chernobyl - less than a hundred people, all exposed to massive single doses fighting fires - then most of the cost would vanish.
Nevertheless this project is, while sexy, not really commercial. We dont need advanced reactors, we need cheap reactors, and that means trying to meet regulatory ratcheting driven by anti-nuclear sentiment paid for by other energy interests with simple cost effective boring ordinary 50 year old technology that is developed to be quick to manufactire and install, and cheap.
If the nuclear industry spent one percent of the money it spends on trying to meet insane and ever moving safety goal posts, on educating people on how safe it was...
Having said that, heatbanks as a way of storing heat energy before conversion to electricity are interesting and may be more cost effective at supplying peak demand than building either pumped hydro (if handy nesaby mountains and water exist) than overcapacity of reactors running below full capacity much of the time.
What is disppointing in reading posts by El Reg readers is that one would have expected the readership to be both techically savvy and capable of researching what this project actually is, and yet the majority of comments betray utter ignorance of either.