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.