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).