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Atomic Power Station

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Atom / Atomic Power

The Headmaster
Posted on: 13 May 2006, 1:25pm

Also Nuclear - though "Atom" is more C19th in my view. Plus we need the vowels.

In the decades following Hiroshima and Nagasaki we were promised that the mighty power that had been unleashed from the atom would soon bring us electricity "too cheap to meter". This 'clean' source of power would solve all our future energy needs.

We were then treated to the worrying sight of governments promising A) that we have the technical skills to produce these safely* while B) we plainly haven't the arithmetical skills to accurately assess how much it is actually going to cost, once you'd taken into account the huge subsidies to start the industry and the huger sums to clean up after it, however that is to be done. Not to mention the failure of statisticians to count the victims of little mishaps such as Chernobyl - is it 'just' 4,000 fatalities? Or ten or even fifty times that number?

Anyway, despite recent attempts by politicians to bring back the shine, the glowing future that atomic power once promised (unfortunate choice of words I know) has become tarnished.

I think an illustration of our friend the atom, with a power station behind?

*Back in the late 70s I was tasked to examine the behaviour of hotspots caused by spacial xenon oscillations in nuclear reactors at start-up and shutdown. Nuclear reactors work best at a steady rate, but the real world demands that sometimes they be turned down, or off, by withdrawing fuels rods or inserting dampers. The effect of this on the interacting equations governing the chemical make-up of the core is similar to the effect of getting in or out of the bath too quickly - there's a risk of waves bouncing back and forth and the water sloshing over. In this case areas of the core might get a bit too lively, these areas will move up and down, bump into each other and cause hot spots. I was slightly disturbed to discover that at the time, although this was a known problem with potentially dire consequences, there had been only rudimentary investigation of how to cope with it.

AtomThe Headmaster
Posted on: 19 May 2006, 2:12pm

My time in nuclear physics apparently didn't go to waste - up goes an atomic power station, complete with ancilliary buildings and cooling pond. Atom drawn not to scale. According to most graphic designers all the atoms that ever were have just three orbiting electrons, each of a type that Lord Rutherford might pick up with his teaspoon, rather than the uncertain quantum theory version. It certainly makes things simpler.

After I'd drawn this I came across this delightful 1961 atomic power plant assembly kit. If you're quick and go to www.gasolinealleyantiques.com you can buy it for me, a snip at just $650.

The Lawyer
Posted on: 12 June 2006, 12:53pm

The power station kit is lovely, but the Iranian government is probably in the bidding and I doubt your pockets are that deep. Or some terrorist group. I wouldn't have that model on display, if I were you. Or even mention that you have it. You might get raided and held at gunpoint by Britain's finest acting "on intelligence" (as opposed to 'with').

The text on this page is archived from The Politically Incorrect Alphabet Forum - which unfortunately broke on August 2nd 2006 through overuse. A list of completed un-PC illustrations and their archived threads can be found here.

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