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Proponents of nuclear power have come up with a new potential auxiliary use for the power plants: generating hydrogen fuel from the steam generated by the cooling process for nuclear reactors.

Ibrahim Khamis, Ph.D., of the International Atomic Energy Agency, speaking at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, explained how the idea could work with existing plants and how those built in the future could be designed to take advantage of the proposed technology, as well as its potential benefits.

“Hydrogen production using nuclear energy could reduce dependence on oil for fueling motor vehicles and the use of coal for generating electricity. In doing so, hydrogen could have a beneficial impact on global warming, since burning hydrogen releases only water vapor and no carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. There is a dramatic reduction in pollution,” said Khamis.

At present, most hydrogen production is generated using natural gas or coal, which released carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the American Chemical Society says. An alternative method of production known as electrolysis, involves heating water to generate steam, then using an electric charge to separate hydrogen from oxygen.

Because steam is already generated in the water cooling system for nuclear reactors, and electricity is produced on site, hydrogen could be produced at nuclear sites with minimal waste. Khamis suggests using power generated during hours of low demand by the world’s 435 active nuclear generating facilities, potentially including San Diego’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, to produce hydrogen fuel.

“Nuclear hydrogen from electrolysis of water or steam is a reality now, yet the economics need to be improved,” says Khamis. He says the International Atomic Energy Agency is currently working through its Hydrogen Economic Evaluation Programme to assess the technical and economic feasibility of converting nuclear plants for such use.

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Comments

MarkGoldes March 26, 2012 @ 2:03 p.m.

Revolutionary alternatives are emerging in the energy arena.

One example is a hydroelectric fuel cell invented in Vietnam. Fueled only with water - fresh, salt or waste, it may begin to be sold in June. Priced at merely $1,600 for a 2,000 watt generator.

See Moving Beyond Oil and Cheap Green at www.aesopinstitute.org for an overview.

That site opens with "400 Chernobyls?" an unrecognized mortal nuclear threat.

Solar flares can collapse power grids worldwide for months or even years.

Nuclear plants without grid power for a few days are meltdown candidates.

Survival has become an unrealized challenge - and an opportunity.

Wise action can prevent grid collapse with new technology.

Other new technology can decentralize electric power production with cost-competitive breakthroughs such as the hydroelectric fuel cell.

If we act boldly, soon enough, the effort can provide the missing boost to the world economy and generate large numbers of jobs.

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Founder March 26, 2012 @ 2:29 p.m.

I'm supportive o using Hydrogen but do it by using SOLAR to disassociate water, NOT Nuclear!

Beware the Nuclear Baloney (NB) that the Pro Nuclear folks are slinging...

Solar (of all flavors) is far cheaper NOW and has none of the RISK that Nuclear does!

San Onofre is a LEAKING RISK that SoCal cannot afford!

Great discussion here: http://sanclemente.patch.com/articles/report-hints-summer-blackouts-possible-if-san-onofre-units-stay-offline?ncid=following_comment#comment_2859193

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Founder March 26, 2012 @ 2:33 p.m.

Here are some more links:

Solar-less-expensive-nuclear: http://is.gd/if6MWH and if nuclear goes BAD, check out this map of fallout, just click SD NRDC Nuclear Fallout Map of U.S. http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/fallout/

SoCal cannot afford a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima!

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Founder March 26, 2012 @ 2:54 p.m.

The IAEA is the lap doggie of the Nuclear Industry and has been shown to be their marketing "arm" and ...

IAEA: Safety division is a “marketing channel” for nuclear technology http://is.gd/ZHUbIC

IAEA-Widespread Corruption at the International Atomic Energy Agency http://www.jm-rico.at/

IAEA - Propaganda And Lies Of The IAEA - YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOtDGG...

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Twister March 26, 2012 @ 4:55 p.m.

Misappropriation of government money?

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Founder March 26, 2012 @ 3:01 p.m.

Seems the nuclear Industry now wants to ALSO position themselves as a provider of Liquid Hydrogen...

Imagine if Fukushima also had huge tanks of highly flammable liquid Hydrogen inside their Complex!

Using Solar (of all flavors) to disassociate water into Hydrogen is fine by me but adding liquid Hydrogen and Nuclear reactors together is a MAJOR radioactive explosion just waiting to happen...

These folks are in Nuclear Denial*.

*Nuclear Denial http://is.gd/XPjMd0 The illogical belief that Nature cannot destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365!

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sulfur63 March 26, 2012 @ 11:07 p.m.

No Nuclear... Period! You (nobody) cannot control it ... when it goes bad it goes bad for everyone! Gimme a break! Water took out Fukushima! Earthquake??? Lets be honest!

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/orange_county&id=8310315

http://enbridge.rawintegrated.com/hybrid/hybrid_complete.html

LETS STICK WITH SOMETHING THAT WE KNOW!

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Cheezit April 8, 2012 @ 3:57 p.m.

Hey, Dave Rice, the idea is not new. I've found references to the process as far back as 1979. Also, in 2003, George Bush went all-in on Hydrogen, and the plan was to build more nuclear plants along with the idea to use waste heat to electrolyse hydrogen. It's been out there: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0360319980900208 http://www.nirs.org/factsheets/hydrogenbynuclear.pdf

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Cheezit April 8, 2012 @ 4 p.m.

BTW, all you guys overreacting to nuclear. There is technology out there now that is safe. You can take these old plants offline. Thorium reactors are one idea. There are several. We've come a long way.

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