18 September 2011
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
Thorium advocates launch pressure group
Huge optimism for thorium nuclear energy at the launch of the Weinberg Foundation
10 September 2011 9:29AM
07 September 2011
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.
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).