Jiang Mianheng gave the lead-off presentation at the International Thorium Energy Organization 2012 meeting in Shanghai, sponsored by the Shanghai Institute of Nuclear and Applied Physics and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). Jiang Mianheng is the son of former president Jiang Zemin and a leader of CAS. After publication of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors in the July/August 2010 American Scientist he led a delegation to Oak Ridge National Laboratory to learn more about the ORNL molten salt reactors experience. In January 2011 the CAS announced a $350 million 5 year thorium MSR project engaging 400 people.
Videographer Gordon McDowell provided this initial draft of Jiang’s presentation. Jiang explains China’s GDP growth, urbanization, and increasing energy demand and concern about environmental impacts of burning fossil fuels. He presents the potential for using LFTR to solve these problems. You might spot some graphics from the American Scientist article and the Aim High presentation.
After his presentation I presented him a copy of THORIUM: energy cheaper than coal, which he insisted that I autograph.
Our world is beset by global warming, pollution, resource conflicts, and energy poverty. Millions die from coal plant emissions. We war over mideast oil. Food supplies from sea and land are threatened. Developing nations’ growth exacerbates the crises.
Few nations will adopt carbon taxes or energy policies against their economic self-interests to reduce global CO2 emissions. Energy cheaper than coal will dissuade all nations from burning coal. Innovative thorium energy uses economic persuasion to end the pollution, to provide energy and prosperity to impoverished peoples, and to create energy security for all people for all time.
We can solve our global energy and environmental crises straightforwardly – through technology innovation and free-market economics. We need a disruptive technology – energy cheaper than coal. If we offer to sell to all the world the capability to produce energy that cheaply, all the world will stop burning coal. It’s as simple as that. Rely on the economic self-interest of 7 billion people in 250 nations to choose cheaper, nonpolluting energy.
Energy is about 7% of the economy. We, and especially developing nations, can not afford to pay much more for energy. Many environmentalists advocate replacing fossil fuel energy with wind and solar energy sources, blind to the fact that these are 3-4 times more costly! Global economic prosperity requires lower energy costs, not higher costs from taxes or mandated costly wind and solar sources. THORIUM: energy cheaper than coal advocates lowering costs for clean energy – a market-based environmental solution.
1 Introduction: an introduction to world crises related to energy and the environment, and the potential for good solutions.
2 Energy and civilization: the relationship between energy, life, and human civilization, easy energy science, life’s dependence on energy flows, civilization’s progress with the energy of the Industrial Revolution, and the 21st century crises of global warming and energy consumption.
3 An unsustainable world: global warming and its terrifying implications for water, agriculture, food, and civilization; depletion of economical petroleum reserves, deadly air pollution from burning coal, increased competition for natural resources from a growing population, and the solution of new energy technology, cheaper than coal.
4 Energy sources: the character and cost of current and principal emerging energy sources: coal, oil, natural gas, hydropower, solar, wind, biomass, and nuclear.
5 Liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR): the history and technology of liquid fuel nuclear reactors, the Oak Ridge demonstration molten salt reactors, thorium, LFTR, the denatured molten salt reactor (DMSR), builders, and possible contenders for energy cheaper than coal.
6 Safety: the safety of molten salt reactors, comparisons to alternative energy sources, radiation risks, waste, weapons, and fear.
7 A sustainable world: environmental benefits of thorium energy cheaper than coal: reduced CO2 emissions, reduced petroleum consumption, synthetic fuels for vehicles, hydrogen power, water conservation, desalination.
8 Energy policy: current confused policies; failure to reduce CO2 emissions, subsidies, recommendations, leadership.
“This book presents a lucid explanation of the workings of thorium-based reactors. It is must reading for anyone interested in our energy future.”
Leon Cooper, Brown University physicist and 1972 Nobel laureate for superconductivity
“As our energy future is essential I can strongly recommend the book for everybody interested in this most significant topic.”
George Olah, 1994 Nobel laureate for carbon chemistry
“Hargraves’ book contains a wealth of information that I’ve never seen anywhere. Very informative and insightful.”
Steve Kirsch, San Jose entrepreneur and philanthropist
“The book describes mankind’s hope for a sustainable and prosperous future: high-temperature thorium-based reactors. The writing is clear and factual, and the book will helpful to anyone interested in energy choices.”
Meredith Angwin, Director of Energy Education for the Ethan Allen Institute
“A terrific book-length description of the need for energy solutions for this century, leading the reader to the advantages of thorium fissioning in a fluid of of molten salt. He explains the technical basis for how such a power plant works and why it can be cheaper than making power from coal — the dominant fuel for power plants today. This book will be a valuable aid for the many people who will take this demonstrated technology of the 1960s at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee through the rebirth phase and into deployment in this century possibly to dominate the power plants by the later part of the 21st century. Another book about why the molten salt reactor development option was abruptly stopped in early 1970s, even though its demonstration was successful and the use of thorium held great promise is Super Fuel by Richard Martin (2012). For background the reader is referred to The First Nuclear Era by Alvin Weinberg (1994).”
Ralph Moir, retired Lawrence Livermore Laboratory physicist, expert in fusion and molten salt reactors
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.
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).
To that end, eight sites were identified around England and Wales that would be permitted to host new nuclear plants. Each of these sites has or has had a nuclear reactor there previously. Several consortia of utilities and vendors formed to develop new reactors at each of these sites, and one of them, Horizon Nuclear Power, was a joint venture of the German utility E.ON and RWE npower, a UK-based electricity and gas supply generation company.
Horizon had planned to build new reactors at the Wylfa and Oldbury sites in the UK, but today they announced that they would not, citing the global economic crisis and the financial after-effects of Germany’s plan to phase out nuclear power.
Last fall, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) announced that they were pulling out of the NuGeneration consortium, which has planned to build new reactors at the Sellafield site in Cumbria. The NuGeneration consortium still plans to continue without SSE.
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!
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 improve both the environment and the economy.
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On Friday, September 16, we spent several hours being interviewed for a potential future documentary on thorium. Later that afternoon, we had a brief meeting with Robin Grimes of Imperial College, Paul Madden of Oxford, Julian Kelly of the World Nuclear Association about the potential for thorium research in the UK and Europe. In the evening, for the second time Kirk Dorius and I enjoyed beautiful music at St-Martin-in-the-Fields off Trafalgar Square. Continue reading…
On Thursday, September 15, we had an opportunity to present on thorium and liquid-fluoride reactor technology at the offices of Friends of the Earth in London. We were accompanied by Baroness Worthington and several members of the Weinberg Foundation, Laurence O’Hagan, John Durham, and Joanne Fishburn.
We were introduced by Craig Bennett, who recounted the events of the Weinberg Foundation launch a week previous, and encouraged the group to keep an open mind about the potential of thorium technology to fight climate change. Continue reading…
Upon our return from the trip to Sellafield we were pretty exhausted but glad that we had made the trip. The next day, Wednesday, September 14, we met with Baroness Worthington in the Palace of Westminster (Parliament) and she introduced us to Tom Burke, who was a former director of the Friends of the Earth and who is now Environmental Policy Adviser to Rio Tinto, the $81 billion international mining company. Continue reading…