March 27, 2012
No analytic difference between inefficient ditch digging and inefficient power generation
|Dr James Mahaffey|
A letter to Mr. Loïc Fauchon, President of the World Water Council:
Dear Mr. Fauchon,
At the recent meeting of President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron, they said: ".....As two of the world’s wealthiest nations, we embrace our responsibility as leaders in the development that enables people to live in dignity, health and prosperity....."
When you launched the 6th World Water Forum this week, you succinctly described what needs to be provided for 'people to live in dignity, health and prosperity', when you said ".....first and foremost, energy and water so they can finally pull themselves out of poverty....."
The developing world is now and will be, for a couple of decades to come, spending £billions or maybe even £trillions on coal fired power stations. And who can blame them, with 40,000 people per day dying from preventable diseases, for the sake of affordable energy and potable water?
Coal fired power stations use and contaminate vast volumes of fresh water to cool the waste heat from the steam turbines used to generate electricity. This heat, which contains nearly two thirds of the heat from the coal, is truly wasted.
In the 50s and 60s, whilst the UK trod a path to a nuclear technology dead end, the US Administration withdrew funding to technological development of Molten Salt Breeder Reactors (MSBRs) in what is surely the 'Saddest Accident of History'. See: http://lftrsuk.blogspot.com/2012/03/follow-up-to-i... .
MSBRs, now known as Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs), use gas turbines to drive the electrical generators and the 'waste' heat from these (just over half of what the reactor produces) is at a high enough temperature to desalinate water. So, nothing is 'wasted'; huge volumes of potable water can be produces from brackish ground water or sea water - and the running (energy) costs are next to nothing.
Can your Organisation communicate this information to the Heads of State of the developing world, to create an opportunity for them to urgently debate this issue? Getting the first-of-a-kind LFTR up and running, for a minuscule amount of money will get investment stimulated to the point that venture capitalists and fund managers should be knocking the door down to get into the most essential technology of the 21st Century.
In the days of slide rules and compasses, when all machining and planning was done manually, the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) was funded in 1960, switched on in 1965 and ran for many thousands of full power hours until 1969. The MSRE was two thirds of what a LFTR is, so in these days of CAD/CAM, computerised 3D modelling and planning, with the right will, a LFTR could be ready for action in 5 years. Within not much more than a decade, we could have factory built, transportable modular units coming off production lines. Their safety is inherent, their 'greenness' unrivaled and their affordability half that of equivalent, conventional nuclear power plant. See: http://lftrsuk.blogspot.com/p/benefits-of-lftrs.ht...
And, incidentally, LFTRs emit no CO2 or other greenhouse gasses, so political Nirvana awaits developing world politicians, who can not only satisfy their own National needs, but reap the benefits forthcoming from the grateful communities of the developed world, stupefied by fears of global warming.
In hoping you can help and take some action, I remain,