12 results for month: 05/2009


The world needs greatly increased access to power, not a reduction.

I liked this comment by DaveMart from the EfT discussion section, so I decided to ask his permission to post it. Dave has graciously complied with my request.The world needs greatly increased access to power, not a reductionBy DaveMart'Looking at the alternatives conservation will be very important - but although savings can be made on North American levels of consumption, the vast majority of the world needs greatly increased access to power, not a reduction.The obstacles to providing this by solar are non-trivial, and at minimum involve vast power grids being built and depend on breakthroughs in generation and importantly storage.Certainly for ...

The Thorium silver bullet

A just released report of the Energy Information Administration, titled International Energy Outlook, 2009 highlights just how difficult the fight against AGW is going to be during the next 20 years. A press release which announced the publication of the report states,World marketed energy consumption is projected to grow by 44 percent between 2006 and 2030, driven by strong long-term economic growth in the developing nations of the world, according to the reference case projection from the International Energy Outlook 2009 (IEO2009) released today by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). . . . Total world energy use rises from 472 quadrillion ...

The IFR information drought

I have no problem with support for alternative nuclear technology, but compared to the very techie LFTR crowd, the IFR crowd offers far less technical information. This in turn makes verifying claims about the IFR far more difficult. Yesterday I wrote the following comment to Barry Brook's blog:Barry, One of my complaints about renewable supporters is that they ignore potential debates among themselves. I think it is better for us to lay the cards out on the table, and let the public know that there may be choices to make. Part of the bitterness at ORNL stemmed from the fact that hundreds of millions of dollars that could have been spent or MSR ...

The IFR, The LCFR and the the LFTR

Barry Brook at BraveNewClimate.com is beating the drums for the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR). I am ambivalent for a number of reasons, and will at least point to some. The IFR is not the only potential fast neutron reactor, and one fast neutron concept, the Liquid Chloride Fast Reactor belongs to the Molten Salt Reactor class. The offers significant safety, fuel processing and other technological advantages over the IFR, even though it has never been the subject of a serious R&D effort.I represent the old ORNL tradition about nuclear technology. Oak Ridge scientists quickly rejected the idea of a sodium cooled reactor (1947 to 1950). Indeed ...

Nuclear powered electricity for all

Energy from Thoriumi love this TVA poster, and think that it could serve as a basis for an EfT poster. Can anyone come up with a design?

Advanced nuclear technology and CO2 mitigation

Large scale production of post-carbon energy technology is a key to CO2. The post-carbon technology must must be producible in sufficiently large numbers to have a significant impact on of CO2 emissions, yet have low capital and operation costs. If capital costs foe a carbon replacement technology can be paid for our of fuel cost savings and other efficiencies, so much the chances of successful GHG mitigation will be greatly improved.Massive deployment of post carbon energy technology would almost certainly mean reliance on commodity materials such as stainless steel, and cement. A really desirable post carbon technology would contribute those those ...

Scaling the LFTR: Large Scale Production and Cost

It seems clear that the LFTR cam be highly scalable. The potential exists to manufacture hundreds and even thousand's of LFTRs a year on factory assembly lines. The LFTR would be smaller and less complex than an Airbus 380. The finished LFTR meed not be completed at the assembly factor. Rather the LFTR can be built in several large modules, that can be rapidly assembled like legoes at the generation site. The LFTR could be ships as perhaps a half dozen submodules, plus an assembly kit, with whatever parts are needed to connect the submodules to each other. On site assembly can be added by labor saving machines and need not require a prolonged ...

Secretary Chu's Answer and the Facts

[I]t is incumbent on those in high positions to reach wise decisions, and it is reasonable and important that the public be correctly informed. It is incumbent on all of us to state the facts as forthrightly as possible. - Hyman Rickover testifying before Congress in 1953,QUESTION FROM SENATOR SHAHEENQ3. Of the six Gen IV nuclear power technologies proposed by the US in 2000, DOE Idaho National Labs have been pursuing two - (1) high temperature gas-cooled reactors for hydrogen production, and (2) sodium-cooled fast reactors for waste burning. Separately, liquid-fluoride thorium reactor research is ongoing at UC Berkeley, MIT, Redstone Arsenal, and in ...

Rickover on Academic Reactors and the Case of Amory Lovins

In his recent essay, "New" Nuclear Reactors, Same Old Story, Amory Lovins quoted from testimony which Hyman Rickover gave to Congress in 1953 on "real" and "academic" reactors. Lovins stated: No new kind of reactor is likely to be much, if at all, cheaper than today’s LWRs, which remain grossly uncompetitive and are getting more so despite five decades of maturation. “New reactors” are precisely the “paper reactors” Admiral Rickover described in 1953: But in fact in 1953 Rickover described the mistaken concepts about reactors by poorly informed, self styled experts, who seek by posing as authorities on issues about which they know ...

Confusion about Generation 4 Reactors

There is at present a great deal of confusion about Generation 4 reactors at the moment. In particular a cheer leading section for the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) has emerged during the past few months. The IFR is a sodium cooled fast breeder reactor reactor that includes passive safety features. Like the LFTR the IFR features a negative coefficient of reactivity. As core temperature rises, reactivity slows and then stops completely. Thus a IFR would not experience core melt down due to a run away chain reaction. The core sits in a large pool of liquid sodium that serves as a heat sink that provides passive cooling to the reactor in the event of a ...