7 results for month: 01/2010


There is Another Way

Recently it was reported in Defense Daily that the White House Office of Management and Budget has moved to remove all research in fast-spectrum fission reactors from the DOE budget. This in turn prompted an outcry from the Secretary of Energy, Stephen Chu, who stated:"Prohibiting research and development on fast reactors under the fuel cycle research and development budget line effectively selects the once-through fuel cycle as the only fuel cycle to be pursued in the United States"With all due respect to the Secretary, there is another option. This is precisely the fork in the road that visionaries like Wigner and Fermi saw back in the late 1940s. ...

Comparing LFTRs and IFRs to LWRs (part 2)

In a previous post I began comparing how a utility that operated nuclear reactors might look at a liquid-fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) or an integral fast reactor (IFR) relative to their existing light-water reactors, with a specific look at whether or not operating these advanced reactors would confer an economic advantage for them.Despite how much LFTR and IFR advocates like to talk about fuel efficiency and reduction in nuclear waste, I concluded that neither would be particularly compelling to a utility with today's fuel costs and regulatory environment.Which leads us into fuel reprocessing, because both LFTR and IFR plan to incorporate fuel ...

How OTEC Technology Influenced LFTR

Several weeks ago, an engineer who has been involved in ocean-thermal-electric conversion (OTEC) technology wrote a piece in the Huffington Post quite favorable to thorium, based in large part on the recent article in WIRED magazine.Patrick Takahashi: There is Something About ThoriumI enjoyed the article, and it caused me to reflect about my past enthusiasm about OTEC technology, and how at one point I thought it would play a large role in our energy future. It also caused me to reflect on how much my exposure to OTEC later influenced my concepts of LFTR and how it might be deployed and used.For those who aren't familiar with how OTEC works, let me ...

Comparing LFTRs and IFRs to LWRs (part 1)

There is a fundamental fork in the road when it comes to plotting an energy future, a fundamental difference between two approaches, grounded in the very principles of nuclear physics. It was recognized at the dawn of the nuclear age by luminaries like Eugene Wigner and Enrico Fermi. This division went on to be implemented in national policies and national laboratories.It is the basic difference between abundant thorium and abundant uranium, and how to use them.Abundant thorium needs a fissile starter, but once started it can "burn" indefinitely in a thermal spectrum reactor. Thermal spectrum reactors are the only kind of reactors that can be built ...

Dr. Buzz goes after the LNT Hypothesis (YEAH!!!!)

I love it when Stephen gives stupidity the treatment it deserves:Depleted Cranium: On LNT and Nuclear Energy

A Graphical Comparison of World Energy Consumption

Thanks to monitoring the Twitter feed for "thorium" I find some really wonderful things on the net, like this--on their blog, "Global Artwork" did a size comparison of the amount of firewood, coal, oil, uranium, and thorium it would take to meet all of the world's energy needs. The pictures speak for themselves!Global Artwork: How much fuel do we use in a year?

New Year's Resolution: Save the Uranium-233!

Regular readers of this blog know that saving the uranium-233 is a very high priority of our small but enthusiastic thorium community. For those who are new, please read some or all of these posts:EfT Blog: Why Should We Save the Uranium-233?EfT Blog: Save the Uranium-233!EfT Forum: Save the Uranium-233!Saving this precious substance, and saving the $300 million that will be WASTED trying to destroy it, would go a long way towards helping us have the thorium-powered future that we dream about.Take a look at Dr. Robert Hargraves' proposed new version of the Thorium Energy Independence Act.