London CGLN Conference talk, September 6, 2022

This is the talk that I gave over lunchtime at the Clean Growth Leadership Network conference, held in London on September 6, 2022: We’re all glad to be here and enjoying one another’s company as we talk about these important issues, but there’s no denying that we’re meeting under a shadow. All of us are seeing the news articles about what is happening across Europe. Factories shutting down. People unable to heat their homes. Small businesses shutting down because the power bill arrives and it’s ten times bigger than anything they’ve ever seen before. We’re staring down the barrel of […]

PNAS SMR waste study rebuttal

A recent paper by Lindsay Krall, Allison Macfarlane, and Rodney Ewing has garnered a great deal of attention: Stanford-led research finds small modular reactors will exacerbate challenges of highly radioactive nuclear waste Nuclear waste from small modular reactors The paper claims that small modular reactors (SMRs) will generate waste streams that are disproportionately large relative to larger reactors, and that overall, the SMR technical approach is inferior to the approach we’ve taken today. I’m sure that no one will be surprised to learn that various media outlets have seized upon this paper to paint the entire small modular nuclear reactor […]

Overdue Homework for DOE

The Department of Energy has some overdue homework, and the US Senate is asking about it. To receive testimony on the Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration on atomic energy defense activities in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2023 and the Future Years Defense Program, from 57:04 to 62:27 Here’s a transcript from the exchange between Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. Last Wednesday, Sen. Tuberville recently submitted S.4242, the Thorium Energy Security Act, to the Senate for its review and consideration. The next day, on Thursday, May 19, he sat […]

Quotes from Glenn Seaborg’s autobiography

These are notable quotes from Glenn Seaborg’s 1993 autobiography “The Atomic Energy Commission Under Nixon“. Breeder Reactor Beginnings In the United States and several other countries, decisions were made quite early that a reactor employing fast neutrons, utilizing the uranium cycle, and cooled with liquid sodium, the so-called liquid metal fast breeder reactor (LMFBR), was the most attractive concept to pursue. Utilizing fast neutrons seemed preferable because non-productive absorption of neutrons is less in fast breeders than it is in thermal breeders; thus, the breeding ratio would be greater in fast than in thermal breeders. The uranium cycle was selected […]

Quotes from Alvin Weinberg’s autobiography

These are notable quotes from Alvin Weinberg’s 1994 autobiography “The First Nuclear Era, the Life and Times of a Technological Fixer“. Thorium will create the Second Nuclear Era Until then I had never quite appreciated the full significance of the breeder. But now I became obsessed with the idea that humankind’s whole future depended on the breeder. For society generally to achieve and maintain a living standard of today’s developed countries depends on the availability of a relatively cheap, inexhaustible source of energy. Although the AEC established an office labeled “Fast Breeder,” no corresponding office labeled “Thermal Breeder” was established. […]

“Thorium Energy Security Act” released

Today our hopes for a thorium-powered future took a huge step forward as Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama and Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas introduced the “Thorium Energy Security Act” in the United States Senate. S.4242 – A bill to provide for the preservation and storage of uranium-233 to foster development of thorium molten-salt reactors Text of the bill. PDF Press Release: Tuberville, Marshall Introduce Bill to Save Clean, Safe Nuclear Power This bill states it is in the best economic and national security interests of the United States to resume development of thorium molten-salt reactors that can minimize long-lived […]

Huff confirmed as DOE-NE1

Huff approved to head Office of Nuclear Energy Katy Huff has been confirmed by the Senate to lead the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy. I’d love to be happy about this confirmation, but I’m not, because Katy has taken a pretty hard-line opinion against thorium energy. What’s even more baffling about that to me is that I’ve personally explained how the whole thing works to her. Then she turned around and intentionally misrepresented thorium’s potential in Congressional hearings. I was shocked that scientist would ever do such a thing. What happened to her? I don’t know, but I wonder if […]

Congressional testimony to save U233

For many, many years now, we have endeavoured on this blog to help the public understand the value of uranium-233 and the unique advantage that the United States possesses with their U-233 inventory. But for just as long, we have lamented that the Department of Energy is bent on the destruction of this valuable material. The Office of Nuclear Energy made a determination back in the 1990s that they didn’t see any value for U-233 in their future programs. They’ve never asked industry whether they saw a value for it, and they’ve never reconsidered this bad decision. But it set […]

U-233: key to the second nuclear era

Senator Roger Marshall, M.D., of Kansas, a Republican, serves on the Energy and Natural Resources; Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committees. Will U.S. or China hold keys to the 2nd nuclear era? With Weinberg’s departure from the lab, the seed of the thorium fuel cycle, Uranium-233 (U-233), sat at Oak Ridge National Lab mostly forgotten. With the discussion on a closed fuel cycle dimming, the Department of Energy deemed the U-233 waste and transferred ownership to the Office of Environmental Management DOE’s trash collectors. However, it has become clear that U-233 […]

50th anniversary of MSRE shutdown

Fifty years ago, the era of operating molten-salt reactors came to a prolonged conclusion with the shut down of the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment. In a personal interview in 2012, Paul Haubenreich had told me the story of the Christmas shutdown of the MSRE. He had described how Milton Shaw, the head of the Atomic Energy Commission’s Division of Reactor Development and Technology (AEC-RDT), wanted the MSRE shut down so more funds could be devoted to his pet project, the Liquid-Metal Fast Breeder Reactor. Others have described to me how it was even more than that: that Shaw wanted molten-salt thoughts […]