7 results for month: 07/2009


You Win Some, You Lose Some…

(On a personal note--today has been a very good day for me. My dad is having open-heart surgery and I've been so concerned for him, and just received word that his surgery was successful and he is doing well.)So I'm very happy about that. But I did get some disappointing news today. I was part of a proposal team, led by the University of Tennessee and including Oak Ridge National Lab, to look at fluoride/chloride reactors for burning up nuclear waste. The proposal was made to the new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E.Well, out of 3500 proposals they picked 70 to go to the next level, and we weren't one of them.3500 proposals is a ...

MSRP Reports Table of Contents Available

The semiannual reports issued by the Molten-Salt Reactor Program (MSRP) at Oak Ridge National Lab from 1958 through 1976 are an absolute gold-mine of information. The problem is, despite the fact that nearly all of them are available in the Document Repository, it's a bit difficult to parse through 20-30 different PDFs, each about 30-60 MB in size, looking for the piece of information you need.So I had the idea to extract the tables of contents from the reports and put it in a single, small, easy to search file. Here it is:MSRP Reports Tables of Contents (PDF, 362KB)I hope you find it as useful as I have!Discuss this on the thorium-forum.

Thorium is a Denser Form of Energy than LNG

My friend Rod Adams has encouraged me to make comparisons between thorium and fossil fuels, and did one today that I thought might be worth posting.It compares the recently constructed Cameron Liquefied-Natural-Gas (LNG) terminal on the Calcasieu Channel, 18 miles from the Gulf of Mexico in Hackberry, LA. Cameron was started in August 2005 and commercial operations will begin mid 2009. It has three huge tanks holding 180,000 cubic meters of LNG each. Based on an industry estimate of roughly 3100 kilowatt*hours of electricity that can be produced from each cubic meter of LNG, Cameron holds 1.5 billion kilowatt*hours of potential electrical energy.I ...

A "TechTalk" in Tech Paradise…

I think that if a technophile like myself were to design their dream work environment, it would look very much like the Google campus. Coming from the sweltering summer heat of Alabama to the cool evening breezes of Mountain View, one might say that they started out ahead--but the Google experience just kept getting better.I often tell my wife that the single word that exemplifies the spirit of what it is to be an engineer is "efficiency", and every where I looked at Google, everything looked so...optimized. There were signs in the bathroom teaching you how to write better code. There were ping-pong tables next to displays telling you how to best ...

Finishing Watts Bar Unit 2

(note: I have a blog post about the Google-trip all written and ready to go, as soon as the video is posted...in the meantime...)In January of 2008, I had the pleasure of touring the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant with a student group from the University of Tennessee. Watts Bar is the newest reactor in the US, and was originally intended to have two operating units. Both were ordered in 1973. Both reactor containment buildings were built. Both cooling towers were built. A turbine hall big enough for two 1200-MWe turbogenerators were built. But only one of the two reactors was finished.Ever since 1996, Watts Bar Unit 1 has been generating clean electr...

LFTR and the Manchester Report

I should have known right from the moment I walked in the building that this was going to go well. Right inside the main door are two large statues; one of James Prescott Joule, the famous physicist and thermodynamicist, and the other of John Dalton, chemist and pioneer of atomic theory. As I walked by, Joule whispered that I better tell them a bit about thermodynamics, and Dalton reminded me that chemists could build the best reactor of all.The Manchester Town Hall is truly magnificent, at least to my poor American eyes. Stone and statues and staircases sweep upwards to ornately decorated ceilings, and a visitor to the Manchester Report would ...

Early Reports from Manchester

I've just returned from having an opportunity to brief the Manchester Report panel and it went very well. I will give a fuller report after returning home tomorrow. In the meantime, I wanted to point you to some stories that are already written in the UK Guardian on the Manchester Report that describe the scope of the activity and the first day's presentations:UK Guardian: The Manchester ReportUK Guardian: Can cloud-making ships, giant algae "stomachs" and the lessons of the Serengeti save us?