95 (at least) Killed for Gasoline in Nigeria

More poor, desperate people died today trying to get gasoline from an overturned tanker than in the history of nuclear power. At Least 95 Killed in Nigeria Tanker Truck Fire A truck carrying fuel veered off the road into a ditch, caught fire and exploded in Nigeria's oil-rich delta on Thursday, killing at least 95 people who had rushed to the scene to scoop fuel that had spilled, an official said, in a tragic reminder of how little of the country's oil wealth has trickled down to the poor. Shall we ban the use of gasoline?

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Nuclear Ammonia

The liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) has the potential to make electric power cheaper than from coal. Typical costs for electric power bought by US utilities average around 5-6 cents per kilowatt hour generated by coal, hydro, and natural gas sources. Government regulations are requiring utilities to buy solar- and wind-generated power at 20-30 cents/kWh. LFTR's potential cost advantage of 3 cents/kWh is the economic incentive to stop burning CO2-emitting coal, without economically injurious carbon taxes and politically obscured feed-in tariffs. In this way LFTR can ...

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Green Energy at Fortune Brainstorm

After the luncheon panel on “Green Technology: What’s Now & What’s Next” at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference, in Aspen, I confronted Amory Lovins and asked him a simple question: “Is there any potential technological innovation that would cause you to reconsider your views on nuclear power?” Lovins is the founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute and his anti-nuclear stance is well-known, as exemplified by this article entitled “Forget Nuclear.” Lovins claim is that nuclear is both unsafe and uneconomical as compared to new wind and solar capacity. ...

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Interview with Jim Puplava's "Financial Sense"

I really enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of Jim Puplava's "Financial Sense Newshour" recently. Jim opened the interview with almost exactly the question I wanted to talk about: what are we going to do about our staggering dependence on fossil fuel? Before I ever knew about thorium or LFTR, I would read about a lot of different energy technologies that promised to someday be 5% or 10% of our overall energy picture. I was always left wondering--what's the 80% answer? What's the 90% answer? What's the technology that's going to shoulder the burden of the planet's ...

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Renewable Energy's Gloomy Outlook

At the Clean Energy Ministerial meeting in Abu Dhabi, the International Energy Agency yesterday released its first Clean Energy Progress Report. While the report grasps at some notable success stories – “at least ten countries now have sizeable domestic markets, up from just three in 2000,” the authors wrote – the general outlook is actually rather gloomy. Almost half of new electricity demand over the last decade has been generated from coal, meaning that “achieving the goal of halving global energy-related CO2 emissions by 2050 will require a doubling of ...

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Why we need a Small Rugged Reactor…

This is why: Militants in Pakistan attacked a fuel supply convoy yesterday, killing at least four, that was bound for US military facilities inside Afghanistan. Twelve tankers were set ablaze and crews struggled throughout the night to put out the fire. What does this have to do with thorium or LFTR? A small rugged LFTR could provide electrical energy to these bases in Afghanistan that currently rely on shipments of vulnerable petroleum. Furthermore, the high-temperature capabilities of LFTR mean that we could also synthesize hydrocarbons to fuel vehicles on site, ...

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China Initiates Thorium MSR Project

The People's Republic of China has initiated a research and development project in thorium molten-salt reactor technology, it was announced in the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) annual conference on Tuesday, January 25. An article in the Wenhui News followed on Wednesday (Google English translation). Chinese researchers also announced this development on the Energy from Thorium Discussion Forum. Led by Dr. Jiang Mianheng, a graduate of Drexel University in electrical engineering, the thorium MSR efforts aims not only to develop the technology but to secure intell...

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Electrical Generating Capacity Graph

For some time now, I've been working on a simulation of our electrical generation system, and as part of that I've fed in a lot of data about nuclear and coal-fired powerplants into a database. The simulation isn't quite finished yet, but I wanted to share a very interesting observation. How many times have you heard that "Three Mile Island was when we stopped building nuclear reactors..." I've heard it a lot. And it turns out to be very untrue. The incident at Three Mile Island-2 happened in March of 1979. Take a look at this graph: Specifically, look how much ...

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Another Fossil-Fuel Tragedy, 11 missing

11 workers are still missing and presumed dead after an explosion and fire on an oil-drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Once again, we see that fossil fuels kill. Regularly. So far in this still-new year we've had an explosion on February 7 at a natural gas plant killing six, a refinery explosion on April 2 killing five workers, a terrible coal mine explosion on April 5 killing 29 miners, and now an oil rig explosion on April 20 likely killing 11. So coal, oil, and gas have killed 51 people, or nearly a person every other day. Is this acceptable in our modern ...

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Energy Cheaper than from Coal

I look forward to presenting Liquid Fuel Nuclear Reactors talk at the Thorium Energy Alliance symposium at the Googleplex next week. Part of that talk will remind us that the liquid fluoride thorium reactor is capable of producing energy cheaper than from coal. Cap and trade and carbon taxes have faded from public attention. No agreement was reached in Copenhagen because the developing nations would not accept taxes that limited their potential for economic growth. From their point of view, the OECD nations achieved their wealth from cheap energy, from burning coal. A ...

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