Thread: Prime Base
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Old 12-15-2011, 10:05 PM
robj3 robj3 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Newcastle NSW
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Terry Sofian wrote the 'Prime Base Repairman' article.
He has a background in fire and radiation safety (I think he mentions this).

A pdf copy can be found in the files area of the Morrow Project yahoo group.

Prime Base needs a rewrite.

The only advantage to the Nevada location is a relatively low amount of
post-attack fallout exposure (from FEMA's NAPB-90); the lack of water,
arable land and proximity to targets like Nellis AFB, Hawthorne and Sierra Army Depots are big problems.

The location of ELF transmitters is limited by the conductivity of rock, hence the location of the U.S. system in Wisconsin and Michigan where the geology is right. The Project isn't going to have an ELF transmitter.

Alternate communication modalities with continental range include shortwave and meteor burst. The problem with these are reliability in the post attack environment, but data rates are high and large transmitters and receivers are not required.

Other options include "stratellites" (balloons or UAVs) to act as very tall antennae.

Really big Projects could use something like 'Perimetr' or the US ERCS (Minuteman ICBMs with transmitters) to send the wake up signal.

I agree with many of the comments upthread.

The neutron bombardment from an operating reactor[1] may produce considerable amounts of radioactive material (e.g. the reactor walls and heat exchange machinery).

However, the half life of induced radioactivity is short (30 years), and after 150 years detectable but harmless levels would be present.

A hardened complex with the cover story of a mine or waste storage facility
makes the most sense - it provides a good cover story. For later collapses,
archival storage or secure data centres could be another cover story.


Rob

========

[1] Criteria for Project fusion fuels:
- Stability - nothing with short half-lives (e.g. tritium's [T] 12 years)
- Relatively cheap (helium-3 is 1 part in 10,000 of the helium obtained from
gas and oil fields, so is horrendously expensive)
- Minimal neutron production.
- Net positive energy yield (reaction energies below are expressed in mega
electron volts [MeV]; 1 MeV = 1.6 x 10^(-13) joules).

This leaves us with:

a. Deuterium (hydrogen-2, D)
Found in seawater (0.02%); stable.

D + D -> T + p + 4.03MeV (50%)
D + D -> He-3 + n + 3.27MeV (50%)

Proton (p) can be trapped electrically and its kinetic energy harnessed.
Neutron (n) has an energy of 2.45 MeV and is a radiation problem.
It may be possible to encourage the first reaction over the second.

Optional reaction to use the He-3:
D + He-3 -> He-4 + p + 18.3MeV

Big advantages: one fuel type, storable as heavy water. Relatively easy to
initiate, high energy density.

Big disadvantage: neutron production - major radiation hazard. Need for
coolant jacket, heat exchangers, etc. to efficiently produce electricity.

b. Lithium-6 (Li-6)
Makes up about 6% of naturally occurring lithium. Stable.

D + Li-6 -> 2He-4 + 22.4MeV

Alternate (side) reactions:
D + Li-6 -> He-3 + He-4 + n + 2.56MeV
D + Li-6 -> Li-7 + p + 5 MeV
D + Li-6 -> Be-7 + n + 3.4MeV

If the fusion plant includes a proton source (synchotron) and supply
(hydrogen) we could use:
p + Li-6 -> He-4 + He-3 + 4MeV

The big problem for the Project is the military demand for lithium-6 (for
the fusion stage of nuclear weapons).
Another, lesser one is the need for deuterium or hydrogen (2 fuel
materials).
It's also relatively hard to start (worse than boron) and energy density is
low.

c. Boron-11 (B-11)
80% of natural boron; stable.

p + B-11 -> 3He-4 + 8.7MeV

Needs a source and supply of protons.

On reflection, the best candidate. Minimal messy neutrons from helium-boron
side reactions (~0.2%), no proliferation potential, no diversion of
traceable materials with military applications.

The biggest disadvantage is that it's relatively hard to start (~16x harder
than deuterium).

Last edited by robj3; 12-15-2011 at 10:06 PM. Reason: failed to refer to footnote
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