4 results for month: 10/2006


Alvin Weinberg's UT Colloquia

At the University of Tennessee (where I have been a distance student for the past three years) they regularly have webcasts of nuclear colloquia that they offer on a variety of topics. In commemoration of Dr. Weinberg I wanted to post a set of links to broadcasts of four colloquia he gave over the last few years.A Question and Answer Interview with Dr. Alvin WeinbergPresented September 1, 2004The Second Nuclear Era--RevisitedPresented September 4, 2002Enrico Fermi and the World's First Controlled, Self-Sustaining Chain ReactionPresented September 5, 2001People and Personalities in the Manhattan ProjectPresented on September 20, 2000Each colloquium is ...

CO2 emissions of a Liquid-Fluoride Thorium Reactor

Brian Wang and I have been having a good time lately talking to environmentalists on their blogs. On a blog from Australia recently, I took the opportunity to go after the old "nuclear emits as much CO2 as coal" canard. This is one that I seem to see all the time on blogs that have an anti-nuclear bent, and it's so easy to refute. I took advantage of the fact that there's an anti-nuclear site that has a very convenient calculator for figuring out the CO2 emissions of the conventional nuclear fuel cycle.Nuclear Fuel Energy Balance CalculatorYou just go in there, tell it you want to see the effect of 1000 MW of electricity produced for a year, and ...

Alvin Weinberg, Thorium Pioneer (1915-2006)

Alvin Weinberg passed away last night at the age of 91 at his home in Oak Ridge. He was the director of Oak Ridge National Lab from 1950 to 1970 and supervised the development and construction of two molten-salt reactors. In his book "The First Nuclear Era", he stated that the reason he took the job in Oak Ridge was because he was enamored with the possibility of developing fluid-fueled thorium reactors to power the entire world, an interest that was stoked by his mentor, Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner, during their association on the Manhattan Project.Despite his poor health and advanced age, I spoke with him briefly on the phone about a year ago. I ...

Denaturing Thorium with Ionium

Bruce Hoglund has brought some very interesting information to my attention in recent months, that I wanted to talk about here.Over the years, the strange beast of "proliferation" raises its head in various forms and fashions to afflict any reactor design. There are all different degrees in how it is interpreted and exercised. Some use the fact that fission bombs have fission reactions as an excuse to say that any nuclear reactor using fission material is a proliferation risk. On the opposite end of the spectrum, for years the nuclear community looked to a future "plutonium economy" where weapons-grade plutonium moved from fast breeder to reproce...