* Posts by Barnaby

7 posts • joined 12 Sep 2007

Hutton: UK must become world No 1 in nuclear power

Barnaby

@frank

Pu239 is a fissionable fuel and is often used in nuclear power plants today, this makes good sense as more energy is produced for each tonne of uranium dug out of the ground. The drawback is that the spent fuel needs to be reprocessed to extract the Pu239, reprocessing spent nuclear fuel is difficult and dangerous.

That may remove the problem of Pu239 but it still leaves plenty of other isotopes with very long half-lives, the technologies available to burn these up are generally in their infancy and problematic.

Barnaby

Re: Nice Graph

The BBC article also notes:

"Nuclear power also looks more cost effective when a financial value is put on carbon dioxide emissions, as assumed in the Royal Academy of Engineers' estimates"

So it looks like the cost of dealing with the waste from fossil fuels is counted but that from nuclear is left out. What sort of a comparison is that?

I would not want to think that the Royal Academy of Engineers sees lots of jobs for the boys in the a future nuclear pork fest, oh no.

Barnaby

Foreign owned

It may be a good idea to let foreign (i.e. probably French) companies build and operate any future nuclear power stations. If the deal was set up such that all waste was returned to the supplier country which would also have to supply guarantees covering the decommissioning costs. Perhaps then the inevitable decommissioning and waste processing/dumping problems could be paid for by someone else's taxpayers for a change.

But then again if one presumes we don't need nuclear reactors with Union Jacks painted on them could not a lot of the power simply be imported?

Barnaby

Waste?

Interestingly the BBC website cited notes:

"Insurance and the cost of potential accidents are complicated concerns to factor in, as is long-term disposal of waste, which is difficult to budget for when no definite solution has yet been established"

- no definite solution eh? Grand.

Patent Office loses software not a patent case

Barnaby

RE: They think its not software

I'm no expert in the technical field but if the method claimed could be proved to have been common practice before the filing date of the patent the EPO patent could have been successfully opposed. This is true for any technical field including "computer assisted inventions".

One of the problems facing the judges / technical boards etc is often not to determine if something is new but if it is inventive since inventiveness or obviousness is difficult to judge objectively. One person's flash of genius is another's common practice.

Microscope-wielding boffins crack Tube smartcard

Barnaby
Thumb Up

Good moral to this story

"moral of the story is that proprietary encryption schemes like NXP's Crypto1 are almost always a bad idea."

Very true, not submitting a scheme to public review only allows the creators to "believe" it is secure which is often a delusion.

At the Toyshop of Doom

Barnaby

Tooling up

The "gun is just another tool" argument doesn't appear to be that strong. Some of the previous posts have underplayed the real purpose of weapons with phrases like "to destroy what it is fired at" or "tools meant to cause harm to objects".

Weapons are tools *designed for* harming people. A different concept to, tools that *could be* used to harm people. Weapons and their use therefore belong in a different ethical context to other tools. Hence having different outlook on weapons is justified.

Certainly the self defense argument is good; walk softly and carry a big stick and so on. However if selling the weapons we build ostensibly for our own defense (a) puts them get into the hands of people who will quite happily use them indiscriminately (with all the misery that entails), (b) means they get used against us and, (c) we as tax payers end up subsidizing (a) and (b) above, there are clear rational and moral imperatives to improve how the arms industry works.

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