09 June 2012

One Visionary is all that's needed - Can this Minister of State be the One?

A Plea by Email to Rt Hon Mr Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

Dear Mr Davey,

Are you aware of the international interests and activities, regarding Molten Salt Breeder Reactors (MSBRs)? The extracts below indicate investment and research in China, Japan and the USA are well underway:


China Initiates Thorium MSR Project  Sunday, January 30th, 2011

The People’s Republic of China has initiated a research and development project in thorium molten-salt reactor technology, it was announced in the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) annual conferenceon Tuesday, January 25. An article in the Wenhui News followed on Wednesday 

Only a few weeks ago, Japanese actions came to the fore:  The researcher, Takashi Kamei, told a thorium conference in Chicago last week [31 May 2012] that Chubu Electric Power Co. has launched a research program..... and that, “This research center includes the use of thorium as a future fuel.”. A later communication stated:     "....concerning thorium molten salt reactors....We announced our plan of stepped-up efforts for nuclear R&D....Subjects of research will include future nuclear energy like thorium rectors. This program will start in 2013. Our main activity will be to support institutions and universities financially. We consider thorium as one of future possible energy resources, but there are many challenges to be solved toward actual utilization. Therefore we  considered basic studies to be very important from a long-term view point and decided to support institutions’ basic study on thorium utilization...."
Flibe Energy, a USA Start-Up Company, has this to say in the final paragraph of their 'Introduction':  We submit for your consideration that the development of a thorium-fueled, liquid-fluoride reactor is a compelling and achievable goal with broad environmental and societal benefits. Flibe Energy has been created to bring this development to reality. 
What will emerge in this decade is the possibility of factory produced Small Modular Reactor (SMR) versions of these reactors, capable of being shipped by road, rail and container ship. MSBRs are 'glorified' hot-salt chemical plants, operating at atmospheric pressure; you can run by the design and specification of an MSBR and know it will only be half the price of the equivalent PWRs being considered for our 'New Nuclear'. The UK has the capacity and expertise to manufacture this type of plant in its entirety, whereas with new PWRs, we are left watching from the sidelines.
IMHO, the Government need to invest in this technology, to kick-start interest from the private sector for the building of the first-of-a-kind Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR), which is the best configuration of an MSBR, for electricity generation. You are on the right path by deploying a GE Hitachi PRISM reactor, which is a Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor (LMFBR), for burning our plutonium stockpile and Professor Paul Howarth is in favour of generating electricity  from the plutonium, instead of burying it. The logical next step is to consider the far safer and more affordable breeder reactor, the LFTR.
To do so, gives us not only energy security, but also emission-free electricity generation to meet our carbon targets in one fell swoop. And, we will see manufacturing growth and prosperity not witnessed in three generations. The APPG on Thorium Energy will certainly be able to contribute towards the debate and I sincerely hope you will be the Minister to open your mind to the enormity of the chance to get our Country to the forefront of LFTR technology and the immensity that this technology holds for peace and prosperity for every individual on the planet.
Colin Megson.

04 June 2012

Problems, Problems - But LFTR takes care of them all.

A cooling tower at the Big Sandy coal-fired plant near Louisa, Ky.

This study was covered by about 20 publications and the study's 'answers' (Adaption strategies) were:  "putting new plants near the sea or building more gas fired power plants"

Nuclear, coal power face climate change risk: study

SINGAPORE | Mon Jun 4, 2012 5:54am BST
(Reuters) - Warmer water and reduced river flows will cause more power disruptions for nuclear and coal-fired power plants in the United States and Europe in future, scientists say, and lead to a rethink on how best to cool power stations in a hotter world.

In a study published on Monday, a team of European and U.S. scientists focused on projections of rising temperatures and lower river levels in summer and how these impacts would affect power plants dependent on river water for cooling.

The authors predict that coal and nuclear power generating capacity between 2031 and 2060 will decrease by between 4 and 16 percent in the United States and a 6 to 19 percent decline in Europe due to lack of cooling water.

The likelihood of extreme drops in power generation, either complete or almost-total shutdowns, was projected to almost triple.

"This study suggests that our reliance on thermal cooling is something that we're going to have to revisit," co-author Dennis Lettenmaier, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle, said in a statement.

Thermoelectric power plants supply more than 90 percent of electricity in the United States and account for 40 percent of the nation's freshwater usage, says the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

In Europe, such plants supply three-quarters of the electricity and account for about half of the freshwater use.

Coal, nuclear and gas plants turn large amounts of water into steam to spin a turbine. They also rely on water at consistent temperatures to cool the turbines and any spike in river water temperatures can affect a plant's operation.

Disruptions to power supplies were already occurring, the authors noted.


I just had to post this comment and managed it on about a dozen of them:

4 hours ago (12:48 PM)

Let coal decline - we all want it to. But for nuclear, the answer is so simple - generate our electricity and process heat using high temperature reactors which, if the 'waste' heat can't be put to a useful purpose, can be air cooled. However, high temperature 'waste' heat can be used to desalinate, to produce vast quantities of potable water from brackish groundwater and seawater. It can also be used to implement a hydrogen economy, whereby all liquid fuels can be made carbon neutral, by using atmospheric CO2 in their production. Likewise carbon-neutral ammonia can be made from atmospheric N2 and used as feed stock for fertilisers, to maintain agricultural production to feed 9 billion people. 

There is one outstanding reactor that can do all of this and also is inherently safe - it shuts down according to the laws of physics, even if all safety systems and all electrics are lost. The fuel in the reactor core starts life in the molten state, so no more TMI or Fukushima-Diiachi style meltdowns. It operates at atmospheric pressure, so there is no high powered 'driver' available to expel radiotoxic substances upwards and outwards into the environment. Also, its fuel is thorium - 3½ X more common than uranium and in sufficient abundance to be economically available until the end of time. 

This silver-bullet answer to the most significant problems facing humankind, is the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR). Google: LFTRs to Power the Planet for all of the benefits.