Third and Fourth Generation Nuclear Reactors PDF Print E-mail

Third generation nuclear power reactors, which are replacing the older second generation reactors, have safety factors which operate automatically instead of relying on human action and have standard designs so the approval process is shorter.  Like the second generation reactors, they produce nuclear waste which lasts hundreds of thousands of years.  Both second and third generation reactors use water to cool the reactor core. 

Currently scientists in many countries are working on fourth generation reactors which would use new technologies.  Their design uses a variety of methods to enhance safety, to minimize radioactive waste by recycling and using waste in the generation process, and to eliminate proliferation of weapons grade materials.   The aim is to have a reactor which produces very little radioactive waste which has a much shorter life span, a few centuries.   The United States has research groups working on a sodium cooled fast reactor and on a very high temperature reactor.   China, the USA, the UK, France, Japan, Canada, Argentina, South Korea, Republic of South Africa, Switzerland, and Brazil, are leading the development of the fourth generation reactors.  They hope to have designs certified for commercial use by 2030.  The lead laboratory for the U.S. is the Idaho National Laboratory.  For further information, see the Department of Energy's Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems.



MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


steve simon


Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

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How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

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