An interesting comment...

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Reader Matt posted this comment in my article about the Chinese development of Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactors. Matt (so.smatt@gmail.com) writes from an IP address near San Francisco:
Anybody remember the last time they saw water combust? Another crap 'science' article from the main stream press.
Slight problem here "so smatt" -- the water cooled reactors are designed with fuel elements placed into rods made from zirconium metal alloy (Zircoloy). In the event of a cooling loss, these fuel elements will expand and crack or warp the fuel rods rendering a graceful shutdown difficult. The issue is not with water combusting, the issue is what will happen if you loose the coolant. In the case of the Water Reactors, you are left with a messy cleanup. (TMI anyone?) In the case of the Pebble Bed Reactors, you have a steady flux being created but no thermal runaway and no damage to the fuel elements themselves. Need to restart the generation, just restart the gas flow. The only trade-off is a lower energy density in the core (ie: you need more fuel to generate a specific quantity of energy at any given time) but, because there is an overall greater quantity of fuel in the core, you have a longer lifetime for each fuel element -- it balances out. Add to that the decreased requirements for safety systems and lower manpower, the Pebble Bed comes out ahead in the long run. So, in conclusion:
Anybody remember the last time they saw water combust? Another crap 'science' article from the main stream press.
Is a crap comment to a decent article. Matt, if you want to comment, please be factual. One of the great failings of the left these days (and the primary reason I switched to libertarian/conservative after 9/11) is that they give emotion equal parity to facts. They are so willing to go with whatever tugs at their heartstrings and fail to take the long view and to see the results of their actions in the long run. Grow up please. There is a lot of work to do and we need everyone...

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