Comment on Nuclear Desalination Report

Thank you for putting this together.
This is a clear, and fairly complete, review of the issues, economics, performance and maintenance of nuclear desalination processors. I just wish that each site’s operational, financial and social impacts were public on the Internet in a form for comparison and optimization. Encouraging open design and review of models and operations might go a long way towards acceptance and usefulness of these systems. The same is true of all groups working on desalination, regardless of power sources used or being evaluated.
So I enjoy the presentation, but the form of the information puts a large burden on readers. If for implementation, not enough to design one. If for social policy, not enough context and detail by country and region. If for financial investment, too many details left out and the margins are tight and variable.
Thank you for doing this. But I strongly encourage you to put it into models of the real plants, and models for design and investment for future projects. Where are people getting their water now? If you think of these devices as ways to serve markets, that part of the model probably sets the bounds on every proposal.
Try doing these models yourself. Encourage all the groups on the Internet to work together on open models and then work hard to be sure they are complete and calibrated fairly. Keep all the parts of the models where they are easy to review and test. Don’t leave out water recycling and space utilization of water, agricultural closed water systems.
Almost all these nuclear power sources also generate electricity, heat, neutrons, and useful radiation. If the models are complete and bolt together nicely, then co-generation, partnerships, collaborations, integrated systems are much easier (perhaps even possible) to evaluate fairly and quickly.
The models of the actual separation of salts and particles from water are scattered all over the world. And, much of it is floating on the Internet in various, mostly incompatible forms. Talking about things doesn’t really get them built.
Go through all the nuclear education programs in the world. They are all mostly working off different, locally devised methods and practices. And almost all on paper. At least try to get things off paper and into working models that bolt together globally.
The diagrams, equations, economic and financial projections – many exist in working models that can be tested and calibrated. But in PDF they are just “ink on paper” requiring human memories and skills to recreate. Give people calculators, simulators, tools and working models. Then don’t get greedy for a few million dollars when these global problems like water for everyone are multi-trillion dollar industries. Help it grow, keep it honest, and don’t forget solar system colonization.
Richard Collins, The Internet Foundation

Thank you. It is well written and useful. I have requirements for the Internet as a whole that are slightly different than individuals and groups trying to design and build things.

I was writing quickly. It is a comment, not a paper or treatise. But I think I got most of the main issues if you are encouraging the use of nuclear heat sources.

Me, I would focus on the actual separation processes at an atomic level. Down in the fine details – based on the local data from actual feed streams. Those are part of the whole set of models needed. But I found, after decades of looking at these sorts of things, effort put into the core process often pays off in smaller and more efficient separations and uses.


Naif Darwish It really only takes a little more effort to share the common information, tools and assumptions for models. Rather than just putting things online in “print” formats. My favorite “bad” example is “fourier transform” with 8,870 entry points.
Are the millions of visitors they get all supposed to write their own FFT tools, test them, then apply them? NO. They need “best in world” tools to use, not to derive and build from scratch. Then they can stand on the shoulders of giants and use what has been learned and refined to tackle the harder problems.
All those pages and much duplication of explanation and equations on paper, but not a single place can you apply the FFT to example data, to your own and see what it does. No, the old “ink on paper” paradigm is to print it, and force every single reader to create from scratch.
Suppose a good paper like yours is read by a few thousand people. Every one of them has to check to see if it is correct by tedious tracing. If even most of the papers mentioned are available. They use their eyeballs and memories. But nothing really happens until they create models of their own, starting from scratch. How long would it take you, already familiar, to write models from scratch? And should a 1000 readers have to do that? Why not share the tools you have already made and tested?
Today I have looked closely at “magnetoseismology”, “particle-antiparticle mixing”, “dielectric resonators”, “speech emotion recognition”, “magnetic losses” and others. Each of these communities is only sharing the words and pictures about what they do, and not much of the tools and data. They are encouraging “readers”, when what is needed is “doers”.
Things are changing a tiny bit. But a good topics like yours can take many decades.
There is a children’s game called “whisper”. In the USA it is called “telephone”. I played it as a child, a standard games at birthday parties. One child whispers a sentence in the ear of the child next to them. They turn and whisper in the ear of the next one. All the way around to the last child, who blurts out what they heard. And it is always scrambled beyond recognition.
Printing things on paper, then reading, then writing on paper, then reading, then writing on paper is a research publication version of this same game. For children it is OK and “fun”. But for human society faced with many issues and opportunities, not so fun. You know many of these – “clean nuclear fuels”, “global climate change”, “cancer”. I have found and tried to get a sense of about 15,000 of these. There are a lot more than most people consider.
To simplify the “print” telephone game, just put the models, associated data online for sharing, and let people see and use the results. And “add” as they are able. One copy that “works” online, not thousands (millions or billions in some cases) of people reading about something.
At its peak (“covid” OR “coronavirus” OR “corona-virus”) had just over 7.5 Billion entry points on Google. Just now (GMT 9 Feb 2022, 10:12 am) it is 13.56 Billion – a new global industry. There are about 4.8 Billion people with some access to the Internet. Are they supposed to search all that mess and make sense of it individually? Multiple the time to gather and individually curate that one topic and multiply by the number of people, then multiply by the value of human time (about $15 per hour globally) and see a huge waste. Those two things – “diffusion by print through human readers” and “massive duplication of untraceable materials” hurts every topic on the Internet.
There are reasons it does not change. But small groups can try to create online journals where rather than print for people to read, you share the tools data and models and ask people to help on the whole. Let everyone see the whole of what is happening. I have had to work rather hard to find some combination of policies that works when things are shared. It is possible.
Sorry to write so much. In 24 years of the Internet Foundation, I have not found even one group that does it right. The Internet is improving, but mostly serves owners of sites, not the people who use them.  I sat in on fusion seminars at UT Austin almost 50 years ago now, and they really are not closer. Because the process forces everyone to write on paper or in forms that cannot be used directly and interconnected to a whole.
Richard Collins, The Internet Foundation
Richard K Collins

About: Richard K Collins

Director, The Internet Foundation Studying formation and optimized collaboration of global communities. Applying the Internet to solve global problems and build sustainable communities. Internet policies, standards and best practices.

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