31 October 2010

Dan Brown - Get your teeth into this!!

40 Years of Planetary desecration - Maybe
theWorst 40 Years in History.
Is it more than just deeply irreligious?
Is it a Conspiracy Theory??
Scary or what? - Had LFTRs made the breakthrough those 40 years ago: Would sea-ice be melting? Would glaciers be retreating? Would permafrost be releasing methane? Would oceans be as acidic? Would the developing world be developed? Would population be declining? Would resource availability crises be postponed? Would Chernobyl, Three-Mile Island, The Gulf of Mexico have happened? Would all of those millions of early deaths from pollution have been avoided?
The Da Vinci Code has got nothing on this! It is so mind-blowingly incomprehensible that the LFTR concept did not rocket into existence, that dark forces must be at work.
If, like Dan Brown, you can invoke forces for good, versus forces for evil, playing on the stage of human development, you'll need a lot of imagination to introduce black, rolling, thundering-and-lightening clouds into the plot, when the only manifestation, in the developed world, is mass complacency, apathy and an air of 'life's pretty good, what's the problem?'. Truly, 'out of sight, out of mind' is as dark a dark force as it gets and it's common to the general public, politicians and all other pillars of society.
Because there is something almost irreligious about the whole issue, I sense that attacking the human failures holding development and production of LFTRs at bay,can best be achieved through the symbiosis of religion and politics. The Lords Spiritual have politically committed to: 'development of environmentally friendly sources of energy' and 'rethinking the development agenda in a way that makes sense of the unprecedented human security challenges posed by climate change'.
I have written to the Public Affairs office of The Archbishop of Canterbury, to see if opportunities exist, to present the wider context of the LFTRs case to a wider religious audience.
Watch this space!

25 October 2010

The UK National Strategy for Next-Generation Reactors!

So now we know - We [The British Government] do not have a National Strategy to develop the next-generation [Civil Nuclear Reactor] systems!

See Industrial Apathy Tab

23 October 2010


I managed to attend the Conference for the final 2 days, Tuesday and Wednesday 19 and 20 October. What a thrill it was to tread those hallowed halls, where paragons of science, like Michael Faraday and Sir Humphrey Davy had once trod.

My personal thanks to Andreas Norlin for his interests in my blogging endeavours in the UK and, since I didn't get the opportunity to say it to him, I think he organised the whole proceedings in a top-class, professional manner; everything ran like clockwork.

I have only a limited understanding of nuclear physics, beyond the essential knowledge required for the applied use in mechanical engineering design and materials for nuclear engineering applications. LFTRs are relatively simple engineering products, but there were many presentations describing what I could only regard as adding much more complexity, such as accelerator driven systems. I could not readily appreciate their necessity, nor reach any emotional conclusion that they were 'good ideas' and readily marketable.

I had a couple of chats over coffee with Tim Norris, who gave a presentation on 'Patent Right Protection' and it quickly became clear that a kindred spirit of 'Keep It Simple Stupid' existed. We were both for LFTRs - as soon as possible - (meaning let the first subsidies go to LFTRs) and let all of the other, longer timescale and competing technologies find their own market level, in the fullness of time.

The one lingering thought that has remained with me, when competing technologies are battling it out for the hearts and minds of the public, is: will it all end up like the VHS - Betamax 'war' and will these complications have the potential to delay progress to the cleaner future we are all striving for?

17 October 2010

We've Hoped! We've Prayed! Now Let's Do Something!!

They ought to do something about it!

Every time you see it, your heart feels like a brick, and somebody, somewhere should do something to make it right!

Those of us who have beliefs, pray for intervention and their relief from such deprivation. The rest of us just hope that politics, free-markets, capitalism, world banks, charity, anything...will improve things and stop this from happening again. After we've done our praying and hoping, it's back to life; we've got a living to make, mortgage to pay, clothes to put on backs, heating and lighting bills to pay and our favourite charities to support. It's not all that sumptuous, but life's pretty good.

Couldn't life be just that little bit fairer?

At the very least, everybody ought to have food on the table! And then, shouldn't they have clothes on their backs? Then shelter? Then warmth? Then light?

LFTRs to Power the Planet!

What's the latest plan?

The latest plan is to contact religious leaders of every conceivable denomination, in the UK, to establish if a policy can be implemented to inform, persuade, cajole or even instruct congregations to vote for a single-issue party 'The LFTRs to Power the Planet Party' at the next election. If one or more denominations are prepared to politicise their religion, over this one issue, then political impact would be ensured.

Plan 'B' would be to seek ways and means from religious leaders as to how congregations and followers can be inspired to become politically active or activists in support of LFTR production in the UK?

I'll be doing the writing and emailing to all of the multifarious leaders and I'll be reporting on the volume and nature of their responses.

09 October 2010

A Virgin Rebirth - Polluter to Environmentalist

I've just posted the 'Comment' below on 'Richard's Blog' to test the 'Carbon Credentials' of the paradox that is Sir Richard Branson. I strongly suspect I will not hear a dickey bird from Sir Richard, but: What's to lose?

Dear Sir Richard,

"The idea should be simple - simple enough for an individual to turn it into reality

I have just emailed a proposal to Virgin Green Fund, regarding the financing of the development of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs), which are capable of delivering clean (emission-free), safe, cheap, electrical energy to everyone on the planet, forever (from inexhaustible thorium fuel). This profusion of clean electricity production will power the creation of a hydrogen economy along with the manufacture of carbon-neutral synthetic fuels, for all of our transport energy (including aviation).

I host the only UK Blog on these reactors, 'LFTRs to Power the Planet' (Google: lftrs - and it's about the third down) and I shall be posting my Proposal action and its outcome which, for the sake of UK jobs, growth and prosperity, I hope is successful. I am linked to several USA blogs, where activity on LFTRs is pronounced and if they are the first to take LFTR development by the horns, the UK will be left trailing in their wake.

I have suggested in the proposal to the team, that it is difficult to think of an individual (that is, somebody famous), more fitting than you, who might wear the crown of 'The World's Worst Polluter', but your efforts to try to do something about fossil fuel pollution are more than noteworthy. However, if you were to support LFTR development, it would place you well ahead of Mr. Bill Gates KBE (who's championing of the 'Travelling Wave Reactor' will surely prove inconsequential) in the 'World's Best Environmentalist' competition.


I sent the Proposal below to the 'Virgin Greenfund Team' (See them in action on: http://www.virgingreenfund.com/team ); (See the companies signed up on: http://www.virgingreenfund.com/companies/list ):


Dear Sirs,

Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs)

I host the only UK blog, 'LFTRs to Power the Planet' (Google: lftrs and it's about the third down) to promote their 'Sustainable Energy' quality.

LFTRs can supply cheap, safe, clean energy to everyone on the planet forever (See 03 October 2010 posting: 'Oh Ye of Little Faith').

My Business Plan is detailed under the 'Science Apathy' tab, in Paragraph 6 of the posting headed: PHYSICS WORLD NUCLEAR POWER THE ROAD AHEAD.

Mr. Bill Gates KBE has invested in a privately funded research company, Terra Power, to develop a Travelling Wave Reactor. Mr. Gates sees nuclear energy as the way forward, but Sir Richard Branson can do more than his share in this regard, by ensuring the UK development of LFTRs, according to my business plan. I'm sure you gentlemen are aware, with your deep sector knowledge and expertise, that LFTRs perform exactly the same function as Travelling Wave Reactors, but produce their energy from the inexhaustible fuel source, thorium and not from problematic uranium.

While Mr. Gates KBE can be loosely, but personally linked with the detrimental environmental effects of worldwide PC manufacture and use, there is possibly no other business celebrity like Sir Richard Branson, who can be associated, as an individual, with the title 'The World's Worst Polluter'; somebody has to wear the crown! Do you think you could ask Sir Richard if, in the rarified atmosphere of the business circles in which he operates,he knows of anyone else who might challenge for 'The Title'?

I'm sure Sir Richard Branson is more concerned about humankind's future than most of us, and I'm sure he ponders the 'protection value of wealth', when considering the 'Limits of Growth' predictions of Professor Dennis Meadows, showing that by 2050, population will increase by nearly one third, but food production will be half what it is now? Could your 'OUR COMPANIES' page, add a 'Sustainable Energy' category to accomaodate LFTRs, should my application be acceptable? Without being disrespectful, I'm sure you would acknowledge that the contribution LFTRs could make to 'Cooling global warming' would dwarf your other companies' contributions.

In my Blog, I shall be posting my efforts, documenting my proposal, and await with interest, your response.


03 October 2010

Oh Ye of Little Faith!

It's weird that in my desperation to make (ultimately) politicians and the general public see the light I have to turn to religious utterances, to spread the gospel of rock-solid science,that was proposed at the very dawn of the nuclear age.
Clean Energy: 1 tonne of thorium (a 45 x 45 x 45 cm cube) provides 1 GW year of electricity, enough to supply a city of 1 million people. It produces a minuscule amount of 'waste', the worst of which is down to background radiation levels in 300 years (easily and cheaply manageable). It emits no greenhouse gasses. The coal equivalent is 3,200,000 tonnes, producing 900,000 cubic metres of toxic, radioactive, fly-ash and 8,500,000 tonnes of greenhouse gasses; ironically, the amount of thorium in the fly-ash could produce more electricity than the coal from which it came.
Safe Energy: Reactors operate at atmospheric pressure. If the load reduces, the nuclear reaction rate reduces, so no control rods or emergency cooling systems are needed. There are no driving forces, such as high pressure steam, or explosive chemical reactions to scatter radioactivity into the environment, in the event of a breech of the reactor vessel. They are 'walk-away' safe: if all power is lost, the liquid core drains out, under gravity, into a safely configured drain-tank. Reactor fluid has a radioactive component which emits radiation that would seriously endanger persons trying to utilise it in weapons; since there are far easier ways of making weapons using existing techniques, it is effectively, proliferation-proof.
Cheap Energy: You can run by a LFTR system design (including reactor equipment and containment, fuel reprocessing and 'waste' storage) and know it won't cost a tenth as much as current reactor designs.1 GW year of electrical energy requires the mining of 800,000 tonnes of 0.2% uranium ore, resulting in 35 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel. Although thorium is 4 times more abundant than uranium, considering a 0.5% ore, only 200 tonnes has to be mined, resulting in 0.8 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel. Factory built, on production lines, ten 100 MW units, each transported on a flatbed truck and fitting inside a building the size of a supermarket, would supply a city of 1 million people.
For all of Humankind: shall have all of their energy supplied from the electricity generated by LFTRs; all fossil fuel use for electricity, transport, fertilisers and much else shall cease and, every year, between 1 and 2 million people will be saved from premature death due to air pollution. Greenhouse gas emissions shall cease (nearly) and cheap, abundant electricity from LFTRs shall manufacture carbon-neutral synthetic fuels, hydrogen (to support an hydrogen economy) and fertiliser feedstock. About 1900 of the 100 MW units would supply all of those energy needs in the UK. Other of humanity's problems, including that of drinking water can be substantially alleviated by LFTR deployment; the high temperature of operation results in high quality waste heat, which can produce potable water from sea water or contaminated fresh water or groundwater; it can be used as process heat for industry. LFTRs can also use existing nuclear 'waste' as fuel, to relieve a current and potentially rapidly escalating problem.
For All Eternity: There is so much natural thorium, that Weinberg, a scientific colossus at the creation of the nuclear industry had an epiphany, later recorded in his autobiography: ""I spoke of "Burning the Rocks": the breeder, no less than controlled fusion, is an inexhaustible energy system""...We need to ensure that such prophetic wisdom becomes reality, in supporting a way of life for all Homo sapiens for all of its existence, whilst caring for other species on the planet, in a much better way than we do now.
Who knows What about Energy?

Alvin Weinberg - Who is he anyway? And what does he know about energy?

He won the Enrico Fermi Award in 1980 - honouring scientists of international stature for their lifetime achievement in the development, use, or production of energy.

He invented and held the patents on the Light Water Reactor (LWR), one of which is the Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR), used on our Nuclear Sub's.

In his autobiography, he wrote:

""I spoke of "Burning the Rocks": the breeder, no less than controlled fusion, is an inexhaustible energy system"".....

"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".....

"Although the molten salt system was never allowed to show its full capability as a breeder, a 233U - 232Th thermal breeder was demonstrated in Admiral Rickover's Shippingport reactor...Whether, as cheap uranium becomes scarce, other reactors will be fuelled with 233U and thorium remains to be seen".....

"Why didn't the molten salt system, so elegant and so well thought-out, prevail?...Perhaps the moral to be drawn is that technology that differs too much from existing technology has not one hurdle to overcome - to demonstrate its feasibility - but another even greater one - to convince influential individuals and organizations who are intellectually and emotionally attached to a different technology that they should adopt the new path. This, the molten salt system could not do. It was a successful technology that was dropped because it was too different from the main lines of reactor development. But if weaknesses in other systems are eventually revealed, I hope that in a second nuclear era, molten salt technology will be resurrected"


Are we in a second nuclear era now? Are there weaknesses in other systems?

Nuclear reactors built using current technologies are very, very expensive.
You can run by a schematic design of a LFTR and know it wouldn't be one-tenth of the price of the simplest PWR, electrical kWhr for kWhr.

Nuclear reactors built using current technologies are inherently unsafe - there are 'driving-forces' - nuclear, chemical or mechanical, which require shut-down intervention and layers of containment to reach the safe condition.
LFTRs are inherently safe: there are no driving forces; they are 'walk-away' safe; there is no need for layers of containment.

Some of the nuclear wastes from current technologies need to be stored for hundreds of thousands of years to reach background radiation levels of safety.
Some LFTR wastes needs a maximum of 300 years (inexpensively very manageable).


Kirk Sorensen - Who is he anyway? And what does he know about energy?

Kirk (Indiana) is Chief Nuclear Technologist with Teledyne Brown Engineering and studying for a PhD at the University of Tennessee. Hidden from human view for over 30 years before Kirk's re-discovery, Weinberg's records, written on real paper, about the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE), (thorium) fuelled Kirk's fertile mind, initiating a chain reaction amongst like-minded people, which is building towards criticallity as we speak.

Kirk managed to talk to Weinberg, before he died in 2006, who responded to his current thinking on Molten Salt Reactors by saying it was a good idea then and it's still a good idea now.

In his Google Tech Talks video, Energy from thorium: A Nuclear Waste Burning Liquid Salt Thorium Reactor, Kirk Says (00:22:22) "When he [Weinberg] says breeder, he means the ability to burn up thorium ... I understand that kind of zeal and passion, because I feel the same way myself. I really feel like this discovery of thorium and its potential has Earth shattering consequences for us. And that indeed, if we are going to have a sustainable and industrial society on this planet, that its going to be dependant on this technology"

Kevin Hesketh - Who is he anyway? And what does he know about energy?

Andrew Worrall - Who is he anyway? And what does he know about energy?

They are co-author of the August 2010, National Nuclear Laboratory Position Paper: The Thorium Fuel Cycle, concluding in the Summary: "The thorium fuel cycle does not currently have a role to play in the UK context, other than its potential application for plutonium management in the longer term".

They would probably not believe themselves to have the esteem of, or achieved as much as, Alvin Weinberg, but their honest endeavours have scuppered any prospects of private capital going in to LFTR development in the UK (even though they don't mention LFTRs in the document).

Gentlemen, you are raining on our parade and we need explanations. Battling apathy amongst all pillars of society, including Science, can be demoralising at times and it would be an emotional relief if the case was shown to be technically hopeless; we could all get back to normal, aboard the Buffer-Bound Express.

Would you please explain fairly simply, why it is (technically) not possible for LFTRs to: supply clean energy and safe energy and cheap energy to everyone on the planet forever?