10 results for month: 11/2008


Is a LFTR Business Plan Possible?

James Watt was an obscure instrument maker, whose shop was located on the campus of University of Glasgow in the mid-18th century. The University of Glasgow was probably the only place in the world at that time where scholars would encourage a bright young man to build things with his hands, and Watt's career as an instrument maker had been nurtured by university professors, who had recognized his talent and had encouraged him to develop and use his skills. Watt was unusual because his education had taught him to think in terms of physics. Thus when Professor John Anderson called Watt's attention to the Newcomen pump which Anderson was invest...

If you design it small, they will come

Rod Adams has had the right idea for a long time. Make reactors small, Rod keeps saying. Of course Rod's small is my mini. Rod has focused on reactors under 100 MWe. My interest is in Reactors in the 100 to 300 MWe size range. In addition to our reactors being small in output, I see a big advantage in small physical size. My focus on smallness started out with the idea that reactors could be built more quickly and more cheaply in factories than on site. Factory construction favors small, compact and easily transportable reactors. The transportable part limited upward size. Size does not have to be fixed. Dr. David LeBlanc has some interest...

The Rosy-fingered Dawn of the Second Nuclear Era

Our Day Will ComeRuby & The RomanticsOur day will comeAnd we'll have everything.We'll share the joyFalling in love can bring.No one can tell meThat I'm too young to know (young to know)I love you so (love you so)And you love me.Our day will comeIf we just wait a while.No tears for us -Think love and wear a smile.Our dreams have magicBecause we'll always stayIn love this wayOur day will come.(Our day will come; our day will come.)Our dreams have magicBecause we'll always stayIn love this way.Our day will come.Our day will comeFrom the Amidah (Shemoneh Esreh)Return in mercy to thy city Jerusalem and dwell in it, as you have promised; rebuild it ...

James Hansen, global warming, and LFTR

The issue of human-induced global warming has been a concern of mine for many, many years and has been the subject of several of my previous blog posts. It is clear to anyone who takes the time to examine the problem that the "low-hanging fruit" for CO2 reduction is the elimination of coal-fired electrical generation, and I have also written emphatically, since the start of this blog, that we should be striving to eliminate the use of coal. Coal is filthy, coal is dangerous, coal is a proven killer.My co-author on this blog, Charles Barton, has also written in a similar vein on these same issues.Thorium and the liquid-fluoride reactor offer a very ...

Joe Bonometti's "Tech Talk" at Google

Dr. Joe Bonometti, a great friend of this blog and the cause of thorium, gave a "Tech Talk" at Google this past Tuesday on the subject of Liquid-Fluoride Thorium Reactors. The video of his talk is available on YouTube and embedded here.You can also download a copy of his slides here:LFTR Google PresentationWe really appreciate all of Joe's efforts to advance and promulgate this important technology!

An Introduction to Nuclear Fuel for David McKay

David McKay made what I would categorize as a blunder in his new book, "Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air". McKay asks, Could nuclear power be “sustainable”? Then he asks a two more questions How great are the world- wide supplies of uranium, and other ?ssionable fuels? Do we have only a few decades’ worth of uranium, or do we have enough for millennia? These are excellent questions, but unfortunately McKay goes about answering them in a totally wrong headed fashion and muddies the waters rather than producing greater clarity on the subject. First McKay relies on USGS estimates of Uranium and Thorium reserve. Secondly he greatly ...

The Green Reactor: The LFTR and Green Chemistry

The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor is considered a chemists reactor. As such its operations will probably be evaluated by the so-called 12 principles of green chemistry. The Wikipedia describes the 12 principles of green chemistry. According to the Wikipedia:"the principles cover such concepts as:* the design of processes to maximize the amount of raw material that ends up in the product;* the use of safe, environment-benign substances, including solvents, whenever possible;* the design of energy efficient processes;* the best form of waste disposal: do not create it in the first place.The 12 principles of Green Chemistry are:1. Prevent waste: ...

The Green Reactor: LFTR Green Engineering

The "green" status of nuclear power has been challenged because nuclear power allegedly does not conform to alleged Green principles; whether or not the supposed Green principles are in fact environmentally sound is of course open to question. The current post, however will not travel down that route, rather I intend to demonstrate that one form of nuclear reactor, the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor, conforms to "green" standards.The 12 Principles of Green Engineering are said to be:Principle 1: Designers need to strive to ensure that all material and energy inputs and outputs are as inherently nonhazardous as possible.Principle 2: It is better to ...

Are Nuclear Costs Unreasonable?

We are in the middle of an energy paradigm shift about. Old assumptions are no longer true and even the outlines of the new world is not clear to most people. They were however, clear to a few far sighted people long ago. Both M. King Hubbard and Alvin Weinberg (see numerous posts in Nuclear Green) foresaw the transition form fossil fuels to nuclear energy over a generation ago. We can call this the nuclear energy paradigm. A second post fossil fuel paradigm has been offered the renewable energy paradigm The Gore Plan and the Google Clean Energy 2030 Plan might be considered as poorly thought out examples of the renewables paradigm. My argument ...

Methods for the Study of Energy: The Case Study

I do not count myself as a top down thinker. Top down thinkers spend a great deal of time thinking about their methods before the start working on problems. During my father's scientific career his approach to an assignment was to always do a literature review first. Once he completed the literature review he had identified what was known about the subject, how new knowledge could be acquired, and obstacles, if any to acquiring that knowledge. His approach can best be illustrated by the assignment he received in the mid-1950's to report of the compatibility of plutonium with liquid fluoride salts. People in the small community of interest that ...