+18 votes
in Suggestion by (230 points)

One of the biggest (currently) late game challenges in Satisfactory is storing the nuclear waste generated by your reactors, requiring large areas of the map to be quarantined due to radiation. But what if I were to recommend a real life solution, that has been used since the 1960's, which can use most types of radioactive material as fuel? This type of reactor is called a 'Fast Neutron Reactor', and can "burn up" nuclear wastes, releasing more energy than most normal reactors per uranium / plutonium used. 

To unlock this magnificent machine, I was thinking about having to research a new recipe, called "Reactor Blanket" (will explain later), which unlocks a new product in the manufacturer requiring:

25 nuclear waste + 3 heavy modular frames + ~50 concrete 

60 second construction time

stacks to 200

(should be able use the waste from 5 reactors without causing surplus). 

As well as providing a new blueprint in the power tab, called the 'Burner Reactor', requiring: 

15 heavy modular frames + 5 supercomputers + 5 turbo motors + 60 alclad aluminum sheets + 15 high speed connectors. 

The new reactor will have 2 inputs and no output, and will require: 

1 nuclear fuel rod + 4 reactor blankets = 3200-3800MW (not sure yet) 

IRL, these 'reactor blankets' would be composed of nuclear wastes and/or non-fissile isotopes like U238, placed around a central 'core' of more fissile material like U235 or Pu239, either to burn them (like this proposal) for more energy, or fission them into other materials like Plutonium (the vast majority of Pu is synthetically made like this, though small amounts can be found within natural uranium). However, this kind of reactor requires highly enriched uranium or plutonium, enough to make a practical nuclear weapon, which is a security risk, as well as being expensive to refine the uranium and plutonium to levels that make the reactor run efficiently. I don't know the enrichment level of the satisfactory nuclear fuel rod, but for this proposal, to reduce complexity, I will assume it's high enough to be used in the burner. 

With such a building (5 reactors feeding 1 burner), not only will you get rid of your nuclear waste, but you will increase your power supply by 25-30%! There is still a radiation hazard around the site(s) these buildings are located, but no longer will you have to suffer with massive reactor waste depots that will, given enough time, fill up if using lots of nuclear power. I believe the resources required to build this reactor, as well as the extra machines and space, will help balance out the fact that you no longer have to worry about waste storage, and will make nuclear energy in game a more attractive option to (over)produce! 

What do you think of my suggestion? Is there anything I missed or you would like me to elaborate on? Leave a comment, and upvote if you think this will help clear up all the nuclear waste you're accumulating! 

Stay productive, Lord James

1 Answer

+1 vote
by (18k points)
You're not supposed to do anything with nuclear waste in-game except store it. That adds a challenge and penalty to using nuclear waste. If they implemented your idea (Or anything to "do anything to consume nuclear waste") in-game then it would completely remove the entire challenge/penalty portion of using nuclear power. It's supposed to produce waste and you're supposed to figure out how to store it.
by (1.5k points)
Just because real world has to deal with that problem because of too high of a security risk to use high speed neutron fission, does not mean that you have to carry those politics into the game.  

The technology exists and is viable, it is able to increase the consumption efficiency by several factors, and it doesnt remove nuclear waste, technically it continues the consumption process that it was SUPPOSED to go through and it becomes something that is less radioactive. (100yrs halflife instead of 1000yrs)

The purpose isnt to eliminate radioactive waste as I agree that it should be one of the challenges of dealing with nuclear, the purpose is to flesh out the nuclear branch a bit more to make it possible to go full scale nuclear power.
by (230 points)
Hmmmm, ok, I see both of your points.

I wasn’t trying to bring the nuclear proliferation politics into game, that was more of a fun fact on why there are relatively few fast reactors around.

I know it only technically reduces the waste, but doesn’t get rid of it entirely. I was unsure if I should add that level of complexity to the suggestion, as it might turn players away, but then again, this process won’t be on the level of the heavy modular frame or supercomputer, so I guess it could work.

I’ll edit the suggestion; I’m now thinking the burner would have 2 inputs (as previous) and an output for ‘depleted waste’, which will be less radioactive than normal waste, so it’s safer to store. Could also include a recipe I saw previously (called compacted waste, or something like that) to further help mitigate the radiation hazards of storing waste, but not completely nullify the hazard.

A little bit of extra brain power would help, though: was there anything I did well, or shouldn’t change from the original? Or is there something else I haven’t thought about?

Stay productive, Lord James
by (1.3k points)
If we had depleted waste, it could be turned into ammo for the rifle.
by (230 points)
2 things:

1. You’re think of depleted uranium (100% pure U238), which is often not a by-product of fast reactors. The ‘depleted waste’ mentioned are isotopes like cesium 137 and co. Which would make poor projectiles while also being strong sources of gamma radiation. The half lives of these isotopes are often less than 50 years, but no greater that 110, which makes them more desirable that the hundreds of thousands of years U238 takes.

2. I agree that this waste should be mostly unusable, as there are very few uses for these isotopes. My main goal is to increase the  viability of using nuclear power, while reducing the radiation hazards the waste produces, which (I believe) conforms with the Ficsit motto of “We do not Waste”.
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