7 results for month: 01/2009


My Father's Last Report

Last night I was awakened by the news that my father had lapsed into what was to prove a brief coma, that was to end with his death. I was unable to sleep, and my thoughts turned to my father's final unpublished report to the National Academy of Science.During my father's (C.J. Barton, Sr.) last 18 months before his retirement much of his time was spent preparing a report for the National Academy of Science. The report encountered many objections from peer reviewers, and main objections focused on research that was being conducted at ORNL and which was reflected by the report. The topic of my father's report was the movement of radioisotopes in ...

My father's contributions to fluid salt reactor technology.

My father, Dr. Charles J. Barton, Sr. had his 97th birthday last Friday. I wish to make note of his many contributions to fluid salt reactor technology, while he is still with us. He was in on the ground floor of LFTR/MSR development.I suspect, but it is now beyond verification that my father was consulted on the viability of the molten salt concept, and after a literature review, he supported the project. It is likely that he has forgotten the role he played in the inception of project to develop a molten salt reactor, but typically in Warren Grimes group my father was the one who did the literature reviews. Since Alvin Weinberg says he asked Grimes ...

Choices and the Thorium Grand Plan

Creating a Thorium Grand Plan has been one of the major, ongoing projects of the Energy from Thorium discussion section. At the moment that plan is far from complete, and perhaps the most significant reason why this is the case is that participants in the discussion, including myself, have not yet asked the questions to which the plan must provide answers. In order to do that, we need to cast the creation of the plan into a top down mode, beginning with plan goals, and then proceeding to identifying critical steps that would have to be taken in order to implement the plan goals. The Grand Thorium Plan can be seen as a response to the necessity ...

The Flawed Renewables Paradigm

When I first began thinking about renewable generation of electricity, the first question I asked was "how are you going to provide electricity when the sun is not shining, or the wind is not blowing?" I got two different answers in response, The first answer was that we will use the existing generating resources of the grid to bridge any gap when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine. The existing resources being "nuclear", a word that causes most renewable advocates to foam at the mouth whenever it is mentioned. Almost all of the grid resources that renewables advocates would depend on bun fossil fuels. Coal, which every renewab...

Nuclear Nonsense from Sovacool and Cooper: Part II

The big message of anti-nuclear fanatics at the moment is the cost of new nuclear facilities. Sovacool & Cooper jump right in: Nuclear plants are grotesquely capital intensive and expensive at almost all stages of the fuel cycle, especially construction, fuel reprocessing, waste storage, decommissioning, and R&D on new nuclear technology. These exceptionally high costs are connected, in part, to the history of nuclear power itself, as neither the United States nor France—two countries largely responsible for developing nuclear power—pursued nuclear power generators for their cost effectiveness. Now current reactors produce electricity is ...

Nuclear Nonsense from Sovacool and Cooper: Part I

I have followed Ben Sovacool's escapades as an anti-nuclear scholar and/or pseudo-scholar for sometime, and recently noted an improvement in his scholarly discipline in a review on one of his recent papers. But alas the improvement may turn out to be a fluke. David Sella-Villa, the Editor-in-Chief of the William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, has kindly provided me with a copy of Sovacool's most recent paper, “Nuclear Nonsense: Why Nuclear Power Is No Answer to Climate Change and the World’s Post-Kyoto Energy Challenges,” which Sovacool coauthored with Chris Cooper. The paper is long, but unfortunately contains numerous flaws ...

Gauging Future Changes in Nuclear Construction Costs

The future inflation of construction costs would appear, at the moment seem to be impossible to project. First the great housing crash of 2008 may not be over yet. Millions of American home owners owe more on their homes than can be recovered by the sale of the homes. As unemployment grows, and home owners will be unable to make payments on their mortgages. With mortgage default, the home's ownership passes back to banks that will be unable to recover mortgage costs, and indeed will have difficulty finding buyers. With the contraction of home sales, more homes will go on the rental market. This will deflate rental cost. As rental costs go down ...