01 December 2011

I Despair at the Despair of Global Warming Alarmists!

Yes! Global Warming is happening! Even the best of the sceptics/deniers like Richard Linzden acknowledge this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATqQ0F6wRjY

But when I see the rantings of the ranks of minimally informed Private Frazers out there (  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=w7RIgs3eygo&NR=1  ) , it makes me despair. They pick up the catastrophe messages from what are no more than the prognostications of the AGW scientific community, via the IPCC press releases and then amplify, spin and distort these 'guesstimates' until there's no other sensible alternative to mass suicide.

Who knows? Maybe more good than harm will come from watching the mercury rise every year!

25 November 2011

"Oil Crisis this Decade.....Ending Globalisation and Restoring Local Economies"

So, you think Global Warming will change your life? Well, have a look at this video!

At 08:30 - "Ending Globalisation and Restoring Local Economies" is predicted. Now that is a life-changer!

What do you think?

Is Peak Oil for the good or for the bad?

We need to stop burning all hydrocarbons for energy and save them for the essential things we need.

The way to do it - Get the first-of-a-kind LFTR built and get the proof of its inherent safety into the faces of the general public - Oil Prices will do the rest - and the rest is:  Worldwide deployment of LFTRs for electricity and for the creation of a hydrogen-economy for fuelling transportation and for fertiliser production.

24 November 2011

Martin Durkin - We Need You! Tell the Story of Alvin Weinberg and LFTRs

Martin Durkin


This is my email to Martin Durkin on 11 November 2011. So far, it has gone unanswered. 

Dear Mr. Durkin,

I am a Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) advocate and host the only UK Blog on the topic "LFTRs to Power the Planet":  http://lftrsuk.blogspot.com/

The history of this uniquely safe and affordable nuclear power-generating reactor is a Greek Tragedy because, had it been deployed 40 years ago when the technology was 90% proven on an operating reactor, the world would not be in the polluted mess it is now. Since LFTRs can be used for the manufacture of liquid fuels, Peak Oil would still be in the distant future as hydrocarbons would only have been used for the stuff we need and not just burned for energy. 

Instead, it was side-lined in favour of the Light Water Reactor (LWR) which produced plutonium for bombs; Three Mile Island was a Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) plant, which is a one version of a LWR and Fukushima had the other version, a Boiling Water Reactor (BWR).

The story which needs to be told is that of Alvin Weinberg, under who's Directorship, at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) was conducted; this operating reactor produced power from 1965 to 1969 and the design is the basis for what we now call the LFTR.

After working on the Manhattan Project, Weinberg joined forces with Admiral Rickover in designing a nuclear propulsion reactor for the Nautilus Class Submarines and it is he who invented and patented the LWR. However, when LWRs were being considered for civil power generation, Weinberg predicted the loss-of-coolant/meltdown accidents (since witnessed at Three Mile Island and Fukushima) and railed against their use. Instead, Weinberg championed the intrinsically safe Molten Salt Reactor (MSR - now LFTR) and for his troubles, in 1972 he was asked to resign from his pursuit of further MSR development at ORNL, by a Congressman in the LWR camp.

Worldwide deployment of low-cost, modular LFTRs, capable of being transported on flat-bed vehicles and container-ships are affordable by the developing world. LFTRs can supply all of the energy requirements of every individual on the planet (at developed world standards), for hundreds of thousands of years, from the near inexhaustible resources of thorium fuel. Thorium is so energy dense that the ground under your feet can supply energy more cheaply than any other fuel - Weinberg described it as "mining the rocks..."

There is no other form of energy supply that is less environmentally destructive and capable of worldwide deployment. We have to dream that the raising of the standard of living of the most deprived and deserving will solve many of the worst problems facing humankind.

This 40 year stasis of a solution to the world's energy woes has brought us to turbulent times of great inequality; if this is not the saddest 'Accident of History', I don't know what is.

Would you consider telling the story, in your much-admired fashion?


Colin Megson.

23 November 2011

Global Warming is not a Crisis - Please tell me this is True!!

How people long to be told that Global Warming is not a Crisis. This could not have been demonstrated more forcefully than in a debate called:
Global Warming is not a Crisis - one debate - 3 speakers for the motion - 3 speakers against the motion. Before the debate: the audience poll showed:  30% in favour - 57% against - 13% don't knows. After the debate the polled figures reversed:  46% in favour - 42% against - 12% don't knows. 

Many of those present were obviously swayed by the forcefulness of the protagonists’ emphasis on scientific uncertainty and demonstrated that their earlier opinions, formed from computer models with scary projections, were reactions to the hyperbole of alarmists. The same hyperbole was repeated by those against the motion but, with their palpable feet of clay, there was little conviction in what they had to say.http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9082151 
For LFTRs, the enemy should be atmospheric pollution and particulates from the burning of fossil fuels, which are responsible for 2 million premature deaths per annum. Everyone can agree on such FACTS (more reliable than computer model projections involving unknowable positive feedbacks) and all our endeavours should be aimed at deploying clean energy sources.

See the heading to this Blog to get an instant perspective on the relative environmental degradation caused by energy supplied from - Coal - Uranium - Thorium.

12 November 2011

LFTRs are 'in the air' in the Corridors of Power

But not in a short term, optimistic way. Email your local MP - http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/  and find out their views.

House of Lords - Written Answers

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Energy: Nuclear Reactors


Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon
    To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the desirability of supporting the building of thorium-fuelled nuclear power stations in preference to uranium-fuelled stations.[HL12948]
Baroness Stowell of Beeston: Ultimately it is for industry to propose what type of fuel to use in any future nuclear reactors, the designs of which would be subject to independent regulatory assessment and acceptance. To date, no potential operator has put forward proposals for a thorium-fuelled plant in the UK.
That said, the department is aware of the potential of thorium-fuelled nuclear reactor designs and is in the process of assessing claims regarding its suitability as an alternative to uranium based reactors in the longer term.
The current view of thorium reactor technologies from the nuclear industry is that, whilst the science is reasonably sound, developing reactors based on a thorium fuel cycle would carry major technological and commercial risks. The resources required to develop these technologies to the point at which they might be deployed successfully at a commercial scale are also very significant.
To date, both in the UK and elsewhere in the world, this has prevented private industry and government from investing significantly in the development of the technology. No thorium reactor design has been implemented beyond relatively small, experimental systems, whilst many either only exist on paper or have only had specific subsystems demonstrated.
As an indicator of the challenge of taking this technology further, the Chinese Academy of Sciences estimates that a development period of at least 20 years will be required before a demonstration thorium molten-salt breeder reactor might be available.
While thorium does not appear to have a part to play in the UK's near to mid-term energy market, we do maintain an interest in its development. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State has asked the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) to look further into the wider benefits of next-generation reactor designs and to compare the use of thorium and uranium fuels in them. We are expecting the findings to be available in due course.

04 November 2011

Keeeeeep Voting! We're in the Top 40 now!


Have a look at this! Votes coming in thick and fast!

Vote for it now, if you haven't already done so. If you have already voted and you're convinced that LFTR manufacture in the UK can benefit us all, then become a LFTR advocate and convince family, friends and acquaintances to vote with us.

It won't be long now before the 38Degrees machinery gets behind a manufacturing future for the UK!

25 October 2011

Prime Minister David Cameron: Save £50 billion of our Hard Earned Taxes.

One last gasp effort from me:  I've just created a Downing Street e-petition which, if we get enough votes, can force a Parliamentary debate to manufacture the first-of-a-kind LFTR in the UK and encourage investment in production-line manufacture of Modular LFTRs.

From the best estimates of costs, we can get £50 billion chopped off the £110 billion Chris Huhne has earmarked for spending on energy efficiency, renewables and CC&S. So, please sign this petition and, if you feel so inclined, please write to the PM to suggest better ways of spending £50 billion than spending it on inconsequential renewables and CC&S.

e-petition: Save £50 billion in taxes of the £110 billion carbon target spend

11 October 2011

A Foot Soldier's Adieu - OR - The Last Post.

It's been great - trying to 'save' the planet, but now my humble endeavours have reached an end.

The Weinberg Foundation takes the fight to a higher plane and I really can't believe that a function of trying to enlighten the general public can achieve any worthwhile objective. I've never known the promise of a technology take root in the public's imagination and become a force to be reckoned with. Our politicians need a piece of working gear to intrude into their 'electorate-centred' consciousness, before they'll respond. So, a UK built, first-of-a-kind LFTR, has to be the Foundation's primary objective. 

I'll leave the Blog in place for a while, as there might be some useful archived material, but from now on it's keeping as fit as I can and sequence and ballroom dancing into the sunset.

18 September 2011

Wind Farms paid to produce no electricity and save half the carbon emissions as previously claimed!

Sunday 18 September 2011

Wind farm paid £1.2 million to produce no electricity

Along with this linked Headline and observation:

Promoters overstated the environmental benefit of wind farms

The wind farm industry has been forced to admit that the environmental benefit of wind power in reducing carbon emissions is only half as big as it originally claimed.

It is beyond comprehension as to how politicians can reach such error-strewn conclusions and waste billions of taxpayers' £s. I just had to add the following comment:
The Weinberg Foundation was launched 08 09 2011, to centralise UK efforts to promote them. BBC's Horizon documentary, presented by Professor Jim Al-Khalili: Fukushima: Is Nuclear Power Safe? talks about their safety attributes.

LFTRs have it all. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors - at last a safe nuclear reactor. You could bury the reactor vessel and primary circuit of a LFTR under the centre spot at Wembley Stadium and be hard pressed to design an accident to expel radiotoxic substances to the endangerment of a capacity crowd. Only gravity acts on the liquid fuel of the reactor core, to drain it down to a safe place in the event of an accident. It would take a direct hit by an asteroid or bunker-buster to blast stuff upwards and out into the environment.

Half a dozen UK companies have the expertise and capacity to be part of the supply chain to manufacture these (glorified) atmospheric-pressure, hot-salt, chemical plants. Vote for 'UK Manufacture of LFTRs' on 38Degrees, the Campaigning Website (Baroness Bryony Worthington has just voted).

Do the sums and LFTR deployment would chop £50 billion off the £110 billion Chris Huhne is committing to meet carbon targets, with his crazy mix of renewables schemes. Has anybody got any ideas about putting the odd £50 billion to better use?

The Weinberg Foundation Launch - I was there!!

After my plea from the heart, Laurence O'Hagan, one of the Founder members of the Weinberg Foundation, was kind enough to invite me to the launch.

Who'd think that 57 years after a 16 year old lad had walked half a mile from his pit-house, to his first job with the National Coal Board, he'd be walking amongst luminaries of the scientific, political and media worlds, in the River Room of the House of Lords.

Kirk's speech was concise and, as usual, from the heart and full of hope for rapid progress. He makes the art, of presenting important technicalities in a digestible form to the uninitiated, look so easy.

Baroness Worthington determinedly shifted LFTRs up the political agenda, as well as encouraging probing investigation of the technology by the media and opening the door widely to welcome environmentalist converts into the fold. Politically significant was the announcement that The Foundation would lobby for the formation of an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) of LFTR supporters. Maybe we UK advocates could pressurise our own MPs; even if they're not interested, we could ask them to inform political friends and acquaintances of the need for such a group.

Optimism of a promising future was the take-home message from John Durham's speech; optimism marks out LFTR advocates. John contrasted this with an audience embalmed with depression after watching the film he backed - Age of Stupid, starring the late, great, Pete Postlethwaite. What we have already done to the planet and what might happen in (a business-as-usual) future is enough to depress everybody - EXCEPT US!

It was indeed a pleasure and a privilege to see, hear and shake the hand of Richard Weinberg, Alvin's son. The spitting image of his father and so unassuming, he recalls a kind and generous father, but one steeped in his scientific work and surrounded by papers - the tools of the trade. I just had to express my opinion to him, that if LFTRs fulfill their energy-supply potential, his father will be marked out as the most significant person in recorded history, to so beneficently affect humankind.

For an hour, questions came thick and fast from the floor; from a Friends of the Earth representative, from the BBC World Service, from members of the Press and from LFTR supporters and those with only 'passing-interests'. From all corners, that persistent 'chestnut': 'If they're so good, why aren't they wall-to-wall already?' kept popping up. I would hope that the Foundation adopts Alvin Weinberg's own words in response to this question, on every occasion - and express them in quotes. Being in the midst of people and events, his words will always be more authoritative than any 'explanation' we can concoct; I haven't heard one that couldn't be tagged with a 'conspiracy theory' label.

Afterwards, we had a couple of hours in a local pub, where optimism, enthusiasm and, gradually, a load of twaddle filled the air.

What a memorable day - I so hope this is the (UK) start.

10 September 2011

Read All About It: Media Alive with Launch of Weinberg Foundation.

Environment blog badge

Thorium advocates launch pressure group

Huge optimism for thorium nuclear energy at the launch of the Weinberg Foundation

Here are a couple of mine: 


10 September 2011 9:29AM
Here's a bit of hyperbole - if the rare earth mines ever stop paying us to take away their 'waste' thorium ore, and we ever run out of ideas of where to get the stuff for next to nothing, we can 'mine' the fly-ash tips from our coal-fired power stations. If you crunch the numbers, at an average of 17 ppm, the energy we could get from the extracted thorium would be 50x greater than that from the original coal. There's enough thorium in our fly-ash tips to provide all of the UK's electrical energy for the next 50 odd years.

Vote for UK manufacture of LFTRs on 38Degrees, the Campaigning Website. If we get enough votes, we can maybe force the Government to put some money into LFTR R & D. We're at about 60th now!!


10 September 2011 12:26PM
If LFTR technology achieves widespread adoption, Alvin Weinberg, the Father of LFTRs, will become the most influential person, in the whole of recorded history, to enhance humankind's progress. Weinberg referred to a Molten Salt Breeder Reactors, or LFTR, as "The Breeder"; no words express the potential of LFTRs more eloquently than his, when he wrote in his essay "Energy as an Ultimate Raw Material, or Burning the Rocks and Burning the Sea": .....I spoke of "Burning the Rocks": the breeder, no less than controlled fusion, is an inexhaustible energy system. Up till then we had thought that breeders, burning 50% instead of 2% of the uranium, extended the energy derivable from fission "only" 25-fold. But, because the breeder uses its raw material so efficiently, one can afford to utilize much more expensive-that is,dilute-ores, and these are practically inexhaustible. The breeder indeed will allow humankind to "Burn the Rocks" to achieve inexhaustible energy!
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 .....

Continuing in this essay, he doesn't reveal a conspiracy theory - he thinks the human natures of the responsible parties simply keep them on a track to which they are already committed. He wrote: ..... Why didn't the molten-salt system, so elegant and so well thought-out, prevail? I've already given the political reason: that the fast breeder arrived first and was therefore able to consolidate its political position within the AEC. But there was another, more technical reason. The molten-salt technology is entirely different from the technology of any other reactor. To the inexperienced, molten-salt technology is daunting. This certainly seemed to be Milton Shaw's attitude toward molten salts-and he after all was director of reactor development at the AEC during the molten-salt development. Perhaps the moral to be drawn is that a technology that differs too much from an 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, the molten-salt technology will be resurrected .....

07 September 2011

Alvin M. Weinberg's Legacy.

What does humankind already owe Alvin Weinberg - Well, he invented Light Water Reactors, so how many millions or billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions has that saved? How many millions of premature deaths from fossil fuel burning pollution has that prevented?

If LFTR are widely deployed, Weinberg's obsession becomes reality. In his autobiography Weinberg confessed:
"I became obsessed with the idea that humankind's whole future depended on the breeder. For Society generally to achieve and maintain a standard of living of today's developed countries depends on the availability of relatively cheap, inexhaustible sources of energy."

Of course, he was talking about breeding fissile uranium from thorium, with thorium's abundance capable of supplying all of our energy needs for hundreds of thousands of years (to all intents and purposes - inexhaustible)

Let's hope and let's dream it happens and then, in terms of the debt humanity owes to an individual, Weinberg will be at the pinnacle.

Let's Hope! Let's Dream!

The Weinberg Foundation will be formally inaugurated at a talk and reception on 8th September 2011 at the House of Lords.

The event will be hosted by Bryony Worthington, and addressed by Kirk Sorensen, founder of Energy from Thorium and co-founder of the newly established Flibe Energy; dedicated to the design, development, manufacture and operation of Liquid-Fluoride Thorium Reactors.
“ The world desperately needs sustainable, low carbon energy to address climate change while lifting people out of poverty. Thorium based reactors, such as those designed by the late Alvin Weinberg, could radically change perceptions of nuclear power leading to widespread deployment. ”
-Baroness Worthington, Patron

Named in honour of Alvin Martin Weinberg (1915 - 2006), the nuclear physicist who pioneered peaceful nuclear technology and Thorium power, the Weinberg Foundation was co-founded by Laurence O’Hagan, JoAnne Fishburn and John Durham.

Baroness Worthington, Labour Life Peer, experienced climate campaigner and a key member of the team that drafted the UK's Climate Change Bill is the Patron

LFTRs in the heart of the capital!

"Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors" and "LFTRs" echoing through the corridors of power.

Is the UK Government going to sit up and take notice?
Is UK manufacturing going to get a slice of the action?

Let's Hope!     Let's Dream!

(Oh! and all being well, I might have got myself an invite to the launch).

30 August 2011

Open Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury
House of Lords,

Dear Archbishop Rowan,

Re: Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs).

I have written to you on 2 previous occasions about LFTRs, but the replies made clear that the letter contents were not appropriate for your attention. However, in September of last year, I wrote to many of the Lords Spiritual, including the Bishop of Hereford,  and in May of this year was most gratified to see in Hansard, several written LFTR-questions posed by the Bishop  and written replies from Lord Marland. 

It is virtually certain that the Government's future nuclear policy and any prospects of considering thorium technology, will be 100% influenced by the NNL's report due for publication imminently (late summer). I have a letter from Professor Paul Howarth, Managing Director of NNL, which completely rules out the thorium fuel cycle for use in any form of future UK reactor.

Were you to study the Bishop of Hereford's questions and the platitudes of Lord Marsland's replies, you might conclude, as I did and the Bishop probably does, that the NNL is locked into the existing uranium-fuel lobby and therefore lacks independance. The Government will accept their recommendations and thorium technology could be in stasis for decades.

There should be a Christian perspective on the lack of independance of a commercial operation as influential as the NNL. "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" "Heaven will direct it".

Would you please have your energy advisors get under the political skin of this unsavoury situation?

Yours sincerely,

Colin Megson.


Doesn't it stink to high heaven?

Is the NNL independant? - Does David Cameron love Nick Clegg?

The Bishop of Hereford spotted it. But Lord Marland trots out the usual platitudes knowing full well that the vested (URANIUM) interests behind the NNL and Professor Paul Howarth (see his letter below) will hold sway.

Nothing - NOT A SINGLE PENNY - of taxpayers money will be spent on assessing the benefits that LFTR research and development could mean to UK economic growth, manufacturing jobs and prosperity.

There is a Christian and Church of England perspective on such deviousness. Maybe it's time the Archbishop of Canterbury took an interest in a technology that the British manufacturing industry can readily accomodate. More importantly,  at half the price of equivalent PWRs, LFTRs are affordable by the developing world - with all the implications of:  

                          affordable energy = reduction in population growth.   

The Rt Revd Lord Bishop of Hereford - Batting for LFTRs

Lord Bishop of Hereford, Rt Revd Anthony Priddis   

Written Answers

       Tuesday 24 May 2011                   

Energy: Nuclear Reactors


Asked by The Lord Bishop of Hereford
    To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Marland on 4 May (WA 157) on liquid fluoride thorium reactors, what assessment they have made of the independence of the assessment undertaken by the National Nuclear Laboratory, given the involvement of Nexia Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of British Nuclear Fuels.[HL9194]
    Written Answer By: The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Nexia Solutions was a subsidiary of British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL), which focused on research and development. In 2008, it was transferred out of BNFL under the Energy Act Transfer Scheme to form the National Nuclear Laboratory, which is an independent company, owned wholly by Her Majesty's Government and is operated as a commercial entity under the management of a consortium led by Serco. The assessment referred to in (WA 157) was a position paper produced entirely by the NNL at its own initiative. While it is assumed that the technical expertise retained by the NNL from Nexia has underpinned the opinions in the paper, no assessment of the paper has been undertaken by my department.           
    To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the independent assessment undertaken by the National Nuclear Laboratory, what plans they have to undertake further independent work to address issues associated with liquid fluoride thorium reactors.[HL9195]
    To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the readiness of the Government of China to undertake research and development work on liquid fluoride thorium reactors, whether they will commit to more work, either nationally or with international partners, on this source of energy.[HL9197]
    Written Answer By: The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland):
    As noted in the Answer to your Question of 26 April 2011, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State has asked the NNL to conduct further analysis of the wider benefits of next generation reactor designs and to compare the use of thorium and uranium fuels in them. This study includes assessments of safety, radio-toxicological hazard, scale, economics, and outstanding technical barriers. Molten salt reactors, within which category liquid thorium fluoride reactors fall, are one of the reactor designs being considered. We are expecting the findings of this study to be available by the end of the summer.                                                     ----
    To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will commission independent work specifically on the safety, cleanliness, scale and economics of liquid fluoride thorium reactors and any particular advantages they may offer in the United Kingdom context. [HL9196]
    Written Answer By: The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Government support relevant R&D into nuclear technologies through a range of mechanisms and organisations, including universities and research councils, the National Nuclear Laboratory, the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and others. Any future R&D on liquid thorium fluoride reactors would be done through these organisations. Findings of the NNL's forthcoming study and the position of potential international partners on this technology would be expected to inform any decision to support any new R&D.

29 August 2011

Professor Paul Howarth of NNL puts up the Shutters.

This is my letter to Professor Howarth. I'm not asking a lot, am I? I'm just asking for the NNL to apprise themselves of the latest thinking on LFTRs, before they commit the politicians of the UK to a generation of thorium oblivion: 
                                                                                         16 July 2011.

National Nuclear Laboratory,
CA20 1PG

For the attention of: Professor Paul Howarth.

Dear Professor Howarth,

07 July 2011, Question from Baroness Smith on Nuclear Reactors:

In his reply, Lord Marland announced that the Secretary of State has asked the National Nuclear Laboratory to prepare a report on the use of thorium in nuclear reactors. He referred to a previous NNL assessment (probably your Position Paper ‘The Thorium Fuel Cycle’ of August 2010), and stated “the risks and resources involved in achieving commercial deployment are significant”.

You will be aware that the Position Paper made no mention of the successful performance of thorium fuel in molten salt reactor operation at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), under the Directorship of Alvin Weinberg, from 1954 through to 1969. The accompanying ‘Hand-Out’ is one I use, at gatherings discussing energy’s future, and it does carry the ‘Timeline’  to which I refer.

Kirk Sorensen rediscovered the paper archives of the ORNL’s molten salt reactor designs, operations and experimentation and has painstakingly made these available, in PDF format, on his Blog Energy from Thorium. As a taxpaying voter, now retired after 53 years in mechanical engineering, I am more anxious than ever that the taxes taken from my very limited income are spent wisely. Lord Marland clearly demonstrated in his comments, the utter dependence politicians engaged in energy matters have, on expert advice. What you and your colleagues say this time about thorium will dictate the UK’s direction for the foreseeable future.
In my humble opinion, before you reach your conclusions and issue your report, I think you owe it to the tax-paying public to invite Kirk Sorensen over, to present the case for the latter-day molten salt reactor: the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR). Are you able to do this? Are you willing to do this?

I would most appreciate your early reply, as I believe your report is to be before the Secretary of State, by late summer.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Megson.

This is Professor Howarth's predictable reply:

Would anyone reading this please put pen to paper and write to Professor Howarth, to try to pursuade him and the NNL to put a bit more effort into UK involvement in the future of LFTR technology?

British Science Festival at Bradford - LFTR Flyer - Handout.

It's a pretty miserable attempt as Sales and Marketing efforts go, but if there are any publicity specialists, amongst LFTR supporters out there, perhaps he/she/they could make a far better Flyer available online, for we other enthusiasts to use. 

Landscape orientation. Print front and back, to make 2 x A5 Flyers.
Any Takers?

Should be good fun to hand these out at local Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth events.

09 August 2011

Lord Hutton wants to use all of the tools in the (nuclear power) box!

Lord Hutton, chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association was interviewed by Oliver Wright of The Independant on 06 August 2011 :
The report concluded with this statement: "The industry faces a very big challenge in responding to Fukushima and we will have to use all of the tools in the box to do so," Lord Hutton said.

There are a lot of unwieldy cross-cut saws in your tool box, Lord Hutton, which are safe most of the time but can take your finger off, if you don't watch out (PWRs). On the other hand, the spokeshave  so elegant in design and so inherently safe, is utterly absent and not even discussed (LFTRs).

Surely, sometime, somewhere, someone in Government or advising Government has to take this technology to heart and give UK manufacturing a chance at a piece of the action, before it's too late and the imports from China start to roll in.

I can only keep plugging away - anyone who reads this can have a pop at anyone who they think should be listening. This is my letter to Lord Hutton: 

                                                                                     06 August 2011.

     Lord Hutton of Furness
     House of Lords,
     SW1A 0PW.

Dear Lord Hutton,

Fukushima has changed the game:

Your interview with The Independent, reported by Oliver Wright today has prompted me to write to you regarding my correspondence with Professor Paul Howarth of the NNL. I enclose my original letter and a copy of his reply.

Please note that I am asking no more than an opportunity for Kirk Sorensen, the world’s leading authority on Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs), to present the case to you, or the Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change, or your NNL or other nuclear advisors.

You could bury the primary circuit of a 100 MWe LFTR in the middle of Wembley Stadium and you would be hard pushed to design an accident that would expel radiotoxic substances to the endangerment of a capacity crowd. Gravity is the only force acting upon the molten reactor core of a LFTR and nothing short of a direct hit by an asteroid or a ‘bunker-buster’ will move stuff upwards and out.

If you want to get the UK public onside, in respect of promoting the safety of nuclear power generation, find the cheapest way of meeting our carbon targets and kick-start a technology with which UK manufacturing can fully cope, then LFTRs become the unique front-runner for consideration.

I would be most interested to know if you have fully investigated LFTR potential. If you have, would you be kind enough to apprise me of your findings. If you have not, are there any prospects of you inviting Kirk Sorensen over to present the up to date information to you and your colleagues and staff?

Yours sincerely,

02 August 2011

BBC Radio 4 - Home Planet.

LFTRs make it to the UK airwaves! Is this it? Fame at last! Catch it while you can - it's only available for 7 days. This is the webpage link and you can download it as a podcast or just listen to it. The LFTRs bit starts at 18:03:

Get some emails into Home Planet or Radio 4 - let's see if we can get a bit more exposure.

24 July 2011

If you are Anti-Nuclear, Non-Scientific and Fearful of Radioactivity - Read this Post

This is most of a paragraph from Wikipedia - Ecological Footprint - with nothing apparently disputed:

"Claims exist that the problems of nuclear waste do not come anywhere close to approaching the problems of fossil fuel waste.[35][36] A 2004 article from the BBC states: "The World Health Organization (WHO) says 3 million people are killed worldwide by outdoor air pollution annually from vehicles and industrial emissions, and 1.6 million indoors through using solid fuel."[37] In the U.S. alone, fossil fuel waste kills 20,000 people each year.[38] A coal power plant releases 100 times as much radiation as a nuclear power plant of the same wattage.[39] It is estimated that during 1982, US coal burning released 155 times as much radioactivity into the atmosphere as the Three Mile Island incident.[40] In addition, fossil fuel waste causes global warming, which leads to increased deaths from hurricanes, flooding, and other weather events".

If you are still opposed to nuclear power plants being part of the mix, to replace all fossil-fuel power production as soon as possible, study the next paragraph from Wikipedia:

"Paranoia is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. Historically, this characterization was used to describe any delusional state".

Radioactive Nuclear Waste from LFTRs - There's Almost None!

I failed to spot this 14 June 2011 comment to my 09 January 2011 post, about a couple of excellent articles from two of the foremost LFTR proponents Robert Hargraves and Ralph Moir: 

Anonymous said...
Excellent article; One question: Fig.6 , the decay graphs is hard to reconcile with the 330 years decay to one 10,000th of waste from the LWNR

Similar graphic information is available from:  LPSC. the Laboratory of Subatomic Physics and Cosmology that published this paper, in July 2001: Nuclear Energy With (Almost) No Radioactive Waste. It is a comprehensive analysis of fast/thermal spectrum reactors and solid/liquid fuel reactors. It channels the wide-ranging data to thorium fuelled, thermal Molten Salt Reactors (aka: LFTRs), as producing less, even orders of magnitude less, radiotoxic waste than the others.

This graph, from the paper, shows that in the 300 to 500 year period, MSR waste is indeed 4 orders of magnitude less radiotoxic than PWR waste. This is the crucial comparison, in respect of the UK's new-build reactor programme.

Adding the line of background radiation level (natural uranium ore) shows when the waste can be regarded as safe:

LFTR actinides are safe after 150 years and the fission products, which are (approximately) common to LFTRs and PWRs are safe after about 500 years. This graph is available from another article by Robert Hargraves and Ralph Moir on an American Physical Society website:  http://aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/201101/hargraves.cfm


21 July 2011

Dylan Ryan of Glasgow, Age 32. Speaks English, and writes it very verbosely indeed.

Read the first paragraph of the 1200 word introduction to his blog ‘daryanenergyblog’ and he seems quite a reasonable chap. Obviously ‘daryan12’ self-described as: Engineer, expertise: Energy, Sustainability, Computer Aided Engineering, Renewables technology is going to answer his rhetorical question: “how do we continue to meet the worlds insatiable desire for energy?”

Read a little bit of the 3300 words of ‘Nuclear Reality Check – Chapter 2’ and there’s no doubt the vitriol, ridicule and selective ‘facts’ and opinions are the characteristic utterances of a typical anti-nuclear campaigner. Read a bit of the 7100 words of ‘Nuclear Reality Check – Chapter 3’ and you get the lot! What this guy doesn’t know about the nuclear industry – what it’s doing and where it’s going – isn’t worth knowing.

Part 8 – The Molten Salt Reactor concept: in 9100 words, Dylan debunks 18 years of work, by Alvin Weinberg and his team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Just a reminder: Alvin Weinberg was a protégée of Nobel Laureate, Eugene Wigner, when they worked together on the Manhattan project. Weinberg won the Enrico Fermi Award in 1980; the Citation reads: In recognition of his pioneering contributions to reactor theory, design, and systems; for untiring work to make nuclear energy serve the public good, both safely and economically; for inspiring leadership of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and for wise counsel to the executive and legislative branches of the government.
The MSR debunker’s level of expertise: What a howler - but you can see how it came about! When the thrill of debunking gets ahead of your brain, it’s easy to put his interpretation of the Wikipedia diagram as the operating fluid of the (Brayton) turbine being ‘a mixture of molten salt and fluoride fuel’ – because it’s yellow (like the core salt in the diagram). From this howler, he concludes by telling the world that the turbine will cost more than the reactor.
But, debunker-extraordinaire, this is how it really works: the (primary circuit) core salt passes heat to a coolant salt, via a low-pressure salt/salt heat exchanger; this non-radioactive (secondary circuit) coolant salt exits the primary containment and passes heat to a high pressure helium gas, via a salt/gas heat exchanger, and it is the helium which drives a closed cycle Brayton gas turbine.

The 3000 word ‘Part 11 – Summary and Conclusions is well worth suffering, as the excitement builds up in anticipation of the sagacious answer to the question posed at the very beginning. In the penultimate paragraph, the question has decayed (excuse the nuclear pun) to: “can renewables close the gap?” and further:Can we seriously power the world without (neither) fossil fuels nor nuclear power?”
And his answer is – wait for it – wait for it: “I’m going to take the coward’s way out and answer that I honestly don’t know! The answer to that question depends entire on the context in which one asks it (I’m planning a future article where I will tease this one out).” What does that mean? Can’t wait to find out the answer, you little tease you! Only kidding – I don’t intend to read another word of your expert comment!

PS: thanks for the links to ‘LFTRs to Power the Planet’. Any chance you could add your vote to ‘UK manufacture of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors’ on ‘38 Degrees’? We’re down to 86th now.