1965 MSRE editorial from Oak Ridge

Several days after the successful start of the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment, the local paper, the "Oak Ridger", published this editorial: THE OAK RIDGER FRIDAY, JUNE 4, 1965, page 4 Editorial: Significant Step To 'Burning The Rocks' Many important stews lead up to the "going critical" of a new reactor. For instance, in the case of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, one of the key moments was in January when the pumps were turned on and the molten salts of the system were first circulated. Perhaps the most important phase of ...

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MSRE 50th anniversary

For many nuclear engineers, the moment a new reactor first achieves criticality is considered the "birth" of their creation, the moment it "comes alive". Criticality is special, because it means that the reactor is generating new neutrons at precisely the rate at which they are consumed in fission. Unlike a rocket launch, or a ship sliding into the harbor from its construction dock, the moment of criticality has no outward excitement attached to it. Were one to be looking at the reactor at that moment, it would be unlikely that one would even discern that criticality ...

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MSRE…that ORNL youngster…

We were visiting Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) yesterday and during a lunchtime discussion, the topic of the most recent reactor at ORNL came up. A little discussion ensued and we realized that, with its first criticality in June of 1965, the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) was the second-youngest reactor (in terms of first criticality) on the ORNL site. If you consider the operation on U-233 fuel, and the MSRE was the first reactor anywhere to operate on U-233, then it would be the youngest! The first reactor on the ORNL site was the Manhattan-Project-...

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Baroness Worthington at the US Space and Rocket Center

Several weeks ago Baroness Bryony Worthington of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom came to visit Flibe Energy in Huntsville, and as we in Huntsville are wont to do, we took her to the US Space and Rocket Center, where I gave her a guided tour of America's race to the Moon. I couldn't help but throw a few insights and analogies towards LFTR development in there as we talked. Video editing and filming was done by Gordon McDowell and Cameron Frisby.

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Interview with Paul Haubenreich, June 13, 2012

Over the last several weeks we at Flibe Energy have spent a fair amount of time supporting the progress of Gordon McDowell's "Thorium Remix 2012" effort, and one of the activities has been interviewing some of the people who actually worked on the Molten-Salt Reactor Program at Oak Ridge back in the 1960s and 1970s. One of the leaders of the MSRP effort was Paul Haubenreich, who was the co-author along with Dick Engel of the journal article "Experience with the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment" in February 1970. Mr. Haubenreich is a WWII veteran and graduated from the ...

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1973 Newspaper Article about MSR Cancellation

This newspaper article was published on February 13, 1973 in a local Oak Ridge newspaper, and it was recently recovered from the personal archives of one of the key persons on the Molten-Salt Reactor Program. Molten Salt: 500 Worked For 25 Years By CAROLYN KRAUSE The recent termination of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Molten Salt Reactor Program was a bitter disappointment to the 100 people directly connected with it, but it was hardly unexpected. Some could see the dark clouds on the horizon as early as 1967. For them, it has been only a question of when, not whether ...

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Great Videos from Alex Pasternack!

I really enjoyed watching Alex Pasternack's new short video on Dr. Edward Teller: Motherboard TV: Doctor Teller's Strange Loves, from the Hydrogen Bomb to Thorium Energy Ralph Moir had told me this story about Teller before, but watching it presented this way with the video interviews of Teller and short descriptions of projects that we worked on, was much richer. Teller was indeed a very unique kind of person, whose early experiences with Communism in Hungary shocked his mind into responses that others struggled to understand. I hesitate to cast any judgements since I ...

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Google Tech-Talk: "Why Didn't Thorium MSR Happen?"

Last week I had an opportunity to travel to the San Francisco Bay Area and to give a "TechTalk" at Google. I chose to expand on some remarks that I had made earlier in the year at the ThEC2011 conference in New York about why the thorium molten-salt reactor wasn't developed. I had done quite a bit of research on the political circumstances in the late 1960s and early 1970s that accompanied the decision by the US Atomic Energy Commission (USAEC) to end the research at Oak Ridge on the MSR. Much of the material that I found I incorporated into the "Nuclear Historical ...

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