11 results for month: 03/2011


A Review of Presidential Energy Policy

A new presidential speech on energy policy means it's time again to trot out this historic overview of the subject: The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c

Fukushima and The Perception of Risk

(Kirk's note: I'd like to welcome Rick Martin as an author on Energy from Thorium. Rick is a prolific author whom many of you might remember from his WIRED article on thorium. Rick is writing a new book on advanced nuclear technology--keep your eye out for it! Welcome Rick!) In the wake of the serial failures of cooling and containment systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, the public is once again being asked to re-consider the dangers of nuclear power technology. Plenty of the responses have taken predictable courses. At U.S. PIRG (the association of state public-interest groups), the issue is closed: “Unacceptable ...

Sorensen Rebuttal of IEER/PSR Thorium Paper

Several people who have recently learned about thorium have contacted me with regards to a "fact sheet" about thorium issued by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) and Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) called "Thorium Fuel: No Panacea for Nuclear Power." The authors of this sheet were Arjun Makhijani and Michele Boyd. Last year, Dr. Alexander Cannara wrote a letter to IEER/PSR pointing out errors and omissions in the "fact sheet" and requesting IEER/PSR to implement corrections. To the best of my knowledge no amendment or correction was ever issued. I have taken it upon myself to write a more extended rebuttal to the ...

Power Restored at Fukushima-Daiichi

Power has been restored to all six reactors at Fukushima-Daiichi. Now reactor coolant can be refilled and circulated and spent fuel pools can be refilled. Improvement in reducing radiation levels should be rapid now.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard tells the Financial World about Thorium

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Safe nuclear does exist, and China is leading the way with thorium Welcome Telegraph readers!

1962 AEC Report to Kennedy on Nuclear Power

In trying to answer the persistent question about LFTRs: "why wasn't this done before?" I've obtained a report from 1962 made to President Kennedy where future development options for nuclear power were laid before him. Alvin Weinberg specifically references this report in his 1994 memoir ("First Nuclear Era") and goes on to say that it recommends both the plutonium fast-breeder reactor and the liquid-fluoride thorium reactor as technologies that should be developed. Here's what Weinberg had to say in his book: "Until then I had never quite appreciated the full significance of the breeder. But now I became obsessed with the idea that humankind's ...

Fukushima-Daiichi Spent Fuel Pools Likely Contain Water

Recent satellite images and helicopter crews flying over Fukushima-Daiichi indicate that the spent fuel pools contain boiling water (which is not surprising, and boiling is a very effective way to shed heat) but that there is water. This means that the fuel can't be nearly as hot as feared. This is a Very Good Thing! UPDATE: The IAEA is reporting that the temperatures in the spent fuel pools at units 5 and 6 measured on 3/17 are around 62 to 65 deg C, significantly below boiling temp of 100 deg C. The last measurement of the temperature in the spent fuel pool at unit 4 was on 3/13 and was 84 deg C.

Fukushima-Daiichi Severity Increasing

From a nuclear expert: Spent fuel in the pools in Units 3 and 4 is now uncovered. Unlike the releases from damaged fuel in the reactor cores of Units 1, 2, and 3, which were largely filtered by scrubbing in the containment suppression pools, releases of volatile fission products (Cs, I) from these pools have direct pathways to the environment. Efforts to deliver water to these pools have proven to be very difficult, and fuel damage is occurring. The use of the evaporation of salt water as a heat sink over periods of more than a few days is not viable because the quantities of salt deposited as the water evaporates becomes large in volume and plugs ...

Thoughts on Fukushima-Daiichi

In the mid-afternoon on Friday, March 11, 2011, the seismic sensors at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant in the Fukushima Prefecture of Japan registered the earliest indications of the largest earthquake in modern Japanese history. They executed a preprogrammed response and began to drive all of the long control rods into the three reactors that were currently operating at the site. The control rods caused each generation of fission to produce fewer neutrons and fewer fission reactions. In three minutes the reactors were making 10% of their rated power from fission; in six minutes they were making 1%, and within ten minutes nuclear fission as ...

TEAC3 Invite from John Kutsch

I want to encourage everyone to attend and I will definitely be going! I want to personally invite you to the 3rd Thorium Energy Alliance Conference. The gathering will be on Thursday May 12th 2011, in Washington DC. It will take place at the Top of the Hill conference center at the Reserve Officers Club. We will be just steps away from the Capitol building, and all the congressional offices. This will be an extraordinary event with several historic announcements that will be made. There will be representatives from government, academia, the staff of Embassies, members of Think Tanks, and other important creators policy and decision makers. In these ...