43 years ago today, man first walked on the Moon.
Three years ago today, I went to Google for the first time and gave a talk there. It was a formative event in more than one way. I met Chris Uhlik, who now serves on the Board of Advisors for Flibe Energy. Chris was one of the people, who, in years to come, was a powerful influence on my thinking and was part of the reason we started Flibe Energy. I met Iain McClatchie in person, and Iain has been another voice of advice and guidance as we have attempted to move the development of LFTR forward. And I got to meet “Google”…seeing the campus and the people, how and where they worked, it also had a lot to do with shaping my thoughts for how a high-technology company could and should be.
Baroness Worthington and I were interviewed by Jan Mazotti and Kelly de la Torre of Driving Force Radio and ICOSA Magazine during the Baroness’s visit to Huntsville, Alabama, on Tuesday, June 5, 2012.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jan and Kelly at the Global New Energy Summit in Colorado Springs in March, where we had a short interview. Jan and Kelly are a real pleasure to talk to and they came to Huntsville specially to meet the Baroness.
I hope you enjoy the interview, which you can download in a variety of different audio files or read the transcript (but I think the audio versions are better).
I really enjoyed watching Alex Pasternack’s new short video on Dr. Edward Teller:
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 certainly did not go through what Teller went through, but I have noticed that among Hungarian emigres to the US of a particular age (and I have met several) there is an intensity of personality that I have come to believe must be a product of this environment.
In posting this, I went back to reference an earlier post I had made for Alex’s previous effort, “The Thorium Dream”, and discovered to my horror that I had never posted it on the blog! So in attempting to rectify for that past oversight, here is his enjoyable short documentary on the growing effort to bring an understanding of thorium and the molten-salt reactor to the world.
Finally, Moir references the paper that he and Teller co-wrote, which was Teller’s final paper. For those of you who would like to read it, here it is in PDF form:
Thorium-Fueled Underground Power Plant Based on Molten Salt Technology, by Ralph Moir and Edward Teller, 2004
Last year, Kirk Dorius and I travelled to London to participate in the kickoff of the Weinberg Foundation, an advocacy group for thorium energy. I am pleased to announce with them the formation of an “All-Party Parliamentary Group” or APPG that contains members of both the House of Commons and House of Lords, to consider the potential of thorium as an energy source. This is a press release from the Weinberg Foundation that was issued today. Press contact details are included below.
Safer, cleaner nuclear alternative tops the agenda for new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Thorium Energy
World’s first coalition of cross-party legislators formed to examine thorium-fuelled nuclear power
Westminster, London – 01 March 2012 – The Weinberg Foundation, a not-for-profit advocacy group for thorium energy, announces the formation of a new All-Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Thorium Energy, which held a lively inaugural meeting in parliament yesterday.
Attracting cross-party support from MPs and Peers, the forum will generate critical debate on the potential of thorium as a viable new energy source and examine reactor technology and new fuel designs in planning for the adoption of a viable cleaner, safer and abundant global energy solution. As 10,000 times the energy density of coal, thorium is a convincing nuclear fuel option to tackle fossil-fuel reliance.
Labour Peer Baroness Worthington, who is the patron of the Weinberg Foundation and Chair of the APPG, comments:
“Whilst public opinion is moving towards the acceptance of nuclear power to combat environmentally damaging fossil-fuelled energy sources, Fukushima clearly demonstrated the dangers of traditional solid-fuel uranium reactor designs. If there is a safer ‘green nuclear’ alternative, which also effectively tackles waste, proliferation and energy security, we have a responsibility to future generations to examine it.”
Vice-Chair of the group Dr Julian Huppert MP said:
“As a scientist I am delighted to help establish this platform for evidence based discussion and debate on this most important issue. Nuclear power has always had great potential and the UK was once a world leader in nuclear science research. We intend to explore whether energy from thorium can make a significant contribution to delivering a low carbon economy and help to reinstate the UK’s leadership position.”
The Department for Energy and Climate Change in its recent response to a highly critical House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report into nuclear R&D recently announced its intention to consult on a long term strategy for nuclear power in the UK.
Many of the APPG members have backgrounds in science, climate policy and the energy industry and are well placed to examine the need for the UK to take a considered position on Thorium. Energy-hungry nations like China, Japan, India and others currently look to be leading the march on exploiting the benefits offered by Thorium-fuelled reactors.
The Weinberg Foundation is providing the secretariat to support the APPG.
Notes to the Editor
The list of founding members of the APPG is as follows:
Lord Clark of Windermere
Mike Crockart MP, Lib Dem
Tony Cunningham MP, Labour
Lord Deben, Conservative
Barry Gardiner MP, Labour
Lord Grantchester, Labour
Viscount Stephen Hanworth, Labour
John Hemming, Lib Dem
Lord Jay, Cross bench
The Rt Reverend Bishop of Hereford, Antony Priddis
Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan, Labour
Lord Oxburgh, Cross bench
Lord Stoddart, Independent Labour
Lord Taverne, Lib Dem
Lord Teverson, Lib Dem
James Wharton MP, Conservative
Heather Wheeler MP, Conservative
Lord Whitty, Labour
Simon Wright MP, Lib Dem
Tim Yeo MP, Conservative
For further information contact:
Communications, Weinberg Foundation
Secretariat to the APPG on Thorium Energy
Tel: +44 (0) 7793 555403
Email: Sophia [dot] henri [at] the-weinberg-foundation [dot] org
davidmj [at] parliament [dot] uk
Tel: 07903 434399
david [dot] martin [at] the-weinberg-foundation [dot] org
Yesterday the oldest nuclear power plant in the UK (Oldbury) permanently closed. Perhaps today the door is opening on a bright new thorium-powered future!
Thank you to everyone who supported Gordon McDowell’s new thorium video project! Because of your generous and enthusiastic support he was able to get the funding pledges he needed in only 11 days after he first posted on Kickstarter!
Of course, if you still want to pledge, Gordon can always make the video better…
Gordon McDowell has been an indefatigable force in spreading the message of thorium and LFTR worldwide. Now he has a much greater and more ambitious plan, and he needs our help to make it happen. He needs to raise $20K to make a new video, and he’s using “Kickstarter” to do it.
Here’s how Kickstarter works:
1. You “pledge” an amount. (No money changes hands.)
2. If enough pledges come in in the specified timeframe, then all pledges are collected. (Pledges become donations.)
3. Gord gets a check. (A new thorium documentary is produced.)
So far, nearly two-thirds of the money Gordon needs has been pledged. But he needs more. If 180 people pledged $50 then he would have enough.
Please consider supporting this. I often get emails from people asking “how can I help?” or “I don’t have a lot of money but I’d like to do something…”
I can’t offer equity in Flibe Energy because we are a privately-held company and the SEC says no-no except under certain circumstances. But if you want to help the thorium effort move forward then funding Gordon’s effort is a great thing that you can do. Because the thing we need more than anything else is to get the word out, and video is the BEST way to get a story across to lots of people. I’d love for people to decide they’re going to study “Fluid Fuel Reactors” but let’s be honest, only hard-core nuclear geeks like me do things like that. But lots of people will watch a video. And they’ll learn quickly. And then they might want to read FFR…
I just love Gordon’s appeal for funding in this short video–
Gordon is right–he is a proven resource to getting the thorium message out. He has had a vision that took me a while to see–but the results were magnificent. Just scanning up and down this blog you see the marvelous results of Gordon’s hard work.
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 Timeline” that I have been maintaining.
So last Friday, December 16, I gave this presentation on the Google campus:
I greatly appreciate Iain McClatchie for shooting the video and Gordon McDowell for the editing.
Why didn’t it happen?
Short answer–because all of the political, technological, and financial focus was on the liquid-metal fast breeder reactor. Later on, due to fears about non-proliferation, the US cancelled plans to commercially reprocess spent nuclear fuel to extract plutonium, and the case for the fast breeder reactor was toast. Because there were no fast breeder reactors to take all the plutonium that had been generated from light-water reactors, in 1982 the US government passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and started collecting a tax that would be intended to pay for what would eventually become Yucca Mountain.
The Low-Carbon Earth Summit 2011 is being held in Dalian, China this week. I was originally going to attend but in the end was not able, so I am indebted to Dr. Harold Dodds of the University of Tennessee for giving my presentation at LCES-2011 yesterday.
The presentation is pretty simple and has an attached narration in the notes. I hope you enjoy it and I am very appreciative to Dr. Dodds for presenting it in Dalian.
Gordon McDowell has completed his epic work and released “Thorium REMIX 2011″!
Gordon states in the comments that he is looking for broadcast opportunities and is licensing this under “CREATIVE COMMONS” which means that there is no commercial restriction. Anyone can broadcast this, and I think that is exactly what Gordon wants.