Submitted by Jeff Buster on Fri, 04/15/2011 - 12:01.

MIT nuke nuclear reactor on Massachusetts Ave in Cambridge

This is a tiny 5 megawatt nuclear reactor right in the middle of  Cambridge, Mass.   It has been in operation since the mid 1950's.  MIT wants to up it to 10 megawatts.

All the waste heat from the reactor is dissipated through the wet cooling tower - in the image above only the left half of the cooling tower is in operation.

In Cleveland we have the Cleveland Thermal coal heating plant downtown, and the Medical Center coal heating plant at University Circle - both of those plants have been poisoning their neighborhoods and the globe for decades.

How about a Nuke in the Hood?   No problem unless there is a problem.  Right?  

With a nuke the neighborhood remains unpolluted - unless the unit goes Fukushima.   Then the neighbors have a simple task. 


What do you think? 

Nuke pollution uncertainty, or coal pollution certainty.


nuke_in_the_hood_P1490400.jpg190.58 KB
MIT_nuclear_reactor_jpeg_2.jpg72.06 KB
( categories: )

Lost heat & neighborhood nuke

I never understood why the extra heat from a power generating plant is sent into the atmosphere through a hyperbolic cooling tower. What about co-generation with this heat?

Newer designs for nuclear power plants involve relying on gravity to shut down operations instead of electrically powered pumps (by diesel generators no less). This is for the reactor core. I haven't heard anything about how to lower the risk of the spent radioactive fuel rods waiting in pools right at the generating site.

How much spent fuel is sitting in Cambridge Mass.?




One attraction of a neighborhood nuke is compactness

Hi Lee,

This is a CBS image of a model of the 5 megawatt MIT reactor.   The core is about 15" in diameter.

Compare this to the size of the same amount of power in  Diesel locomotives - about 2 1/2 locomotives produce 5 megawatts of power. 

It is easy to see why a compact nuclear power source is ideal for submarines or aircraft carriers.  

Just as in an automobile, heat is wasted because the heat is too dilute to utilize efficiently - it (used to be anyway, with cheap oil) would cost more for the round trip piping system to take it to the neighborhood to warm up homes than the waste heat would save in home fuel costs.   I don't know how much spent fuel is stored at MIT.  Here is a link to the MIT nuclear reactor web site - the site is worth spending time reviewing.