Today, approximately 20 percent of the electricity in the world is being generated by Nuclear Power Plants. They are very efficient, but have a huge disability; the Nuclear fuel rods that they use are extremely toxic when they are “spent” or used-up.
To make the fuel rods, uranium 235 must be enriched to about 20 percent. Once two, or more, rods are put in close proximity to each other, in a specially designed water tank, the water boils and makes steam. The steam is used to turn turbines to make electricity.
So… What is happening in this process? When you turn on your electric stove, electrons flow into heating elements which provide resistance and heat. The electrons experiencing the resistance transition into heat. It is a similar process for nuclear fuel rods; the electrons are drawn to each other in both fuel rods. As they are drawn to each other through the water, the water provide resistance and most of the electrons transition into heat creating boil water and then, steam.
Ok. Why are the rods not like stove heating elements? The fuel rods are made out of radioactive materials based primarily on Uranium “Yellowcake” which is processed Uranium ore. In this Yellowcake, there are other radioactive elements to include: Strontium, Cesium as well as various kinds of Uranium (235 and 238). What happens to the electrons in the fuel rods is that they get “stipped” from the atoms of each element to make heat. By stripped, I mean the outer electron rings are taken first and then the inner rings and so forth. What happens is that the atoms must have electron rings and start cannibalizing their protons to make more electrons. In this process, those electrons are taken as well until the atoms have no more protons that can be cannibalized. This takes about six months and the fuel rods become “spent” fuel rods.
Why are “Spent” Fuel Rods so dangerous? The elements contained in a spend fuel rod are all very highly reactive; they will take electrons from almost anything. They are totally starved of electrons and will take them from people and animals and anything that can give electrons; they cannot be dumped into a landfill as it would be far too dangerous to the environment.
Another reason for caution is that all of these “spent” elements are radioactive and the nuclear fision process has also created small amounts Plutonium. Ok. What do the authorities do with these spent fuel rods? They are stored in concrete cylinders by the hundreds at each nuclear generation plant. The solution being pursued around the world is to bury them deep within a mountain or dumping them into the ocean; neither of these is a solution.
I have a solution. Yes, because there is weapons grade Uranium and Plutonium in the spent rods, this must be a controlled process. I have a way of putting elelctrrons back into the spent rod materials; electrons to restore protons and the complete electron ring configuration. By putting electrons back, the elements can re-normalized themselves and be used, over and over, again as fuel rods. Using this process, the Uranium 235, needed for fision, can be much more efficiently enriched.
Using this process, we have enough “spent” rods in un-safe storage that Uranium Yellowcake mining and production could cease almost immediately. This electron re-enrichment process can make nuclear power the power of choice for space exploration.
This is also a solution for all of those nuclear-powered ships; what do they do with all of their “spent” rods?