• Shortcuts : 'n' next unread feed - 'p' previous unread feed • Styles : 1 2

» Publishers, Monetize your RSS feeds with FeedShow:  More infos  (Show/Hide Ads)

Date: Thursday, 03 Jul 2014 22:42

10 Cool things about Nuclear Waste
Posted by Things Worse Than Nuclear Power × 1:45 AM


The height difference between a man and the moon is like the energy density difference between nuclear and any carbon combustion.
1) It still contains 95% of its energy. That’s like taking a couple tablespoons out of a liter of pop and throwing the rest away… if we don’t make use of it!

2) Nuclear fuel is around 2,000,000 times more energy dense than coal, oil, and biomass. This means the quantity of nuclear waste is super tiny for the super huge amount of energy it produces. 2,000,000 times is like the difference between the diameter of the moon compared to the height of an adult person.

3) It can be recycled, and actually produces energy while being recycled, instead of requiring energy to recycle! This can be accomplished with a Molten Salt Reactor configured to be an actinide burner.






The IFR- Integral Fast Reactor

4) If recycled, the waste lifetime is reduced to around 300 years. This (both point 3 and 4) is possible using fast reactors, which have been demonstrated through over 400 reactor-years of operation or with Molten Salt Reactors.

5) In fact, a cool thing about radioactive elements in general is that they go away with time– and the more radioactive they are, the quicker they go away. Some decay in a few seconds. A general rule of thumb is that after a few decades, the most dangerous elements are effectively gone.

6) You can easily detect even a single atom of radioactive material. You cannot detect arguably more dangerous pollutants such as mercury, lead, NOx or SO2 with near that kind of accuracy or ease– elements that fossil fuel plants are putting out in significant quantities every minute of every day worldwide. These dangerous pollutants do not go away with time, worse, metals like mercury actually bio-accumulate.
7) Fission products save lives. Many critical medical isotopes used for cancer treatment, diagnostics, and more, can only be produced after irradiation in reactors. Cesium 137, a fission product, can be used to protect blood in blood banks, saving lives of babies and the immuno-deficient. This is just one example of possible uses of fission products made in nuclear reactors.

8) Dry cask storage is one of the most robust structures made by man. It can survive being dropped from thousands of feet, direct impact from an airplane crash, or explosives!

Medical isotopes are produced in reactors

9) To that end, there has not been, in the history of worldwide commercial nuclear power, a known case of stolen commercially used nuclear fuel. It is too mixed up with different things and too difficult to handle to be very useful to anyone with bad intentions.
10) Even including the worst accidents in worldwide nuclear history, nuclear has the best safety record (deaths/yr) of any type of energy source, including wind, solar, natural gas, and coal. There have been no deaths in the history of U.S. commercial nuclear power due to exposure to nuclear waste.

Is it “waste” or “used” fuel with lots of value for society?

The post 10 Cool Things about Nuclear waste appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Thursday, 03 Jul 2014 20:43



This paper outlines the investigations into molten salt reactors undertaken at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the 1960s and 1970s. The advantages of the thorium cycle are described and the reason why the work was not taken further is given.

The paper outlines the thorium cycle and assesses its potential for warship propulsion by illustrating how a medium sized surface warship might be powered by a reactor plant based on the molten-salt demonstration reactor plant designed by ORNL.


Nuclear power for submarine propulsion using moderately enriched uranium fuel in a Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) has a long and highly successful history. But there are disadvantages: the high pressure demands high mechanical strength in large components which must be maintained through life; while the moderate operating temperature limits plant efficiency.

In comparison, thorium, used in a suitably designed reactor plant:

a. Operates at high temperature and low pressure simplifying the mechanical design and yielding increased thermodynamic efficiency with consequent reductions of component sizes.

  1. Offers a much improved fuel cycle with fewer and less troublesome radioactive waste products.
  2. Is much more abundant than all uranium isotopes.

The paper that now follows is split into two sections. The first summarises information that is available in the public domain and does not intend, or pretend, to offer new information or insights. Section 2 provides the authors’ view on how a thorium molten salt reactor might be used to provide power for a medium sized surface combatant of around 8,000 te displacement.

The post Study on the Potential of Molten Salt Reactor Use in Ships! appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 20:54

Jiang Mianheng Why Nuclear Power in China Thorium & the Energy Outlook of China @ ThEC12

The post Video of China’s Plan to Exploit Thorium from ThEC12 appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 15:46


Paper ID Number 10990

Presented at the 121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition


  • Miss Yoonjo Jo Jo Lee, University of Missouri
  • Mr. Matthew Paul Simones, Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute, University of Missouri
  • John C. Kennedy, University of Missouri
  • Hakan Us
  • Mr. Philip F Makarewicz, University of Missouri
  • Dr. Janese Annetta Neher, Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute-University of Missouri Columbia
  • Dr. Mark A Prelas, University of Missouri, Columbia

Authors Brief Bio

Miss Yoonjo Jo Jo Lee, University of Missouri

Jo Jo Lee received her bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and minor in Chemistry from the Uni-versity of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2004. After working about a year as a process engineer, she decided to become a lawyer. She received her Juris Doctorate at Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2008 and she was sworn in as an attorney that year. After law school, she worked as a patent analyst for advanced chemical engineering patents. In 2010, she enrolled in the NSEI doctorate program to pursue her PhD in nuclear engineering. Her research areas include graphite oxidation, candidate alloy oxidation, carbon transport in HTGRs and thorium nuclear fuel.

Mr. Matthew Paul Simones, Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute, University of Missouri John C. Kennedy, University of Missouri

Currently a Ph.D. candidate and Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Missouri. Specialize in experiments and numeric modeling of Fluid-Structure Interaction for nuclear fuel applications. Earned a M.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 2012.

Hakan Us

Mr. Philip F Makarewicz, University of Missouri

Dr. Janese Annetta Neher, Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute-University of Missouri Columbia

Janese A. Neher is the mother of two sons, Max Nicklas and Stock William Neher. Janese is a Licensed Professional Engineer; a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Missouri, and a Missouri Bar approved Mediator/Arbitrator. She owns a small business, Counseling and Coaching to Change with Mediation Services.

She has worked in the nuclear industry for 22 years in Nuclear Oversight. She has also worked at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Public Service Commission. In 2010, she received the coveted Patricia Bryant Leadership Award from the Women in Nuclear Organization, the Region IV Women in Nuclear Leadership Award, and the University of Missouri’s Chancellor Award for her support in the area of women’s diversity. She was also awarded the Ameren Diversity award in 2009 and 2010.

She has received the following degrees: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Mathematics and History; a Masters in Environmental Engineering and Education; and PhD in Nuclear Engineering from the Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Dr. Mark A Prelas, University of Missouri, Columbia

Professor Mark Prelas received his BS from Colorado State University, MS and PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Director of Research for the Nuclear Science and Engineering institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His many honors include the Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1984, a Fulbright Fellow 1992, ASEE Centenial Certificate 1993, a William C. Foster Fellow (in Bureau of Arms Control US Dept. of State) 1999-2000, the Frederick Joliot-Curie Medal in 2007, the ASEE Glenn Murphy Award 2009, and the TeXTY award in 2012. He is a fellow of the American Nuclear Society. He joined the University of Missouri nuclear engineering program in 1979 as an assistant professor.


This paper was generated as part of a course on advanced nuclear fuel cycles supported through a curriculum development grant from the Nuclear Regulatory Comission. The course was graduate level and required a research component. The students in the course chose the topic of “Thorium Fuel Cycle for a Molten Salt Reactor: State of Missouri Feasibility Study.” The study consisted of developing a primer to be shared with interested parties in the nuclear community and the state. This paper was generated from this research study and the approach students took towards synthesizing the primer are annotated throughout.

The thorium fueled molten salt reactor concept is one of the most promising nuclear reactor designs currently being studied, but mostly outside of the United States. Thorium reactors are desirable due to the high availability of naturally occurring fuel. However, in order for thorium fuel to be a viable alternative to uranium, a harmonious relationship between the reactor physics and molten fluoride salt transport medium must be fully understood. Chief among these technological hurdles is the use of continuous processing of spent fuel to remove fission products while the reactor is online [1].

The voluminous literature on molten salt reactors mostly dates to the 1960s era. Notably, in the U.S. the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory was an 8 MW(th) reactor that was designed primarily to study the technical feasibility and safety of using a molten salt based fuel and coolant. In addition to demonstrating the practicality of a molten salt reactor, the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment also addressed issues of on-line refueling, fuel makeup, and salt chemistry. Towards the end of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, and continuing after its shutdown, research efforts focused on techniques for separation of waste products, namely protactinium [2]. Given the prevalence of uranium based technology in the military at the time and as a matter of politics, there was little desire in the U.S. to fund nuclear research that did not provide a direct defense-related benefit.

Today, as we aspire as an industry to reduce nuclear proliferation and build safer reactors, research efforts have shifted towards reducing the amount of 235U available, particularly highly- enriched uranium. Current power reactors use low-enriched uranium (235U content of less than 4.95%). In addition to the benefits of avoiding uranium enrichment, thorium for nuclear power production is also supported by a growing demand for clean energy both in the U.S. and abroad.

Internationally, research in thorium fuels and molten salt reactors is underway in Japan, India, China, France and to a lesser extent, the United States. Presently, international research is needed in the development of molten salt reprocessing technology to allow for the active

removal of wastes from the fuel stream, while simultaneously replenishing the fuel supply. This online fuel recycling technology could lead to a significant advantage over uranium based reactors such that a fluid fuel stream allows the reactor to be continuously re-fueled, thereby significantly reducing reactor shutdown time.

Given the future economic aspirations of the nation, and in particular the state of Missouri, it is difficult to ignore the potentially huge impact of a new thorium based economy. The expansion of current mining facilities in Missouri to extract thorium could easily be achieved as thorium is present in the waste products of several mining operations already throughout the region. Moreover, the central and strategic location of the state of Missouri along the Mississippi River naturally postures the state into being a major shipping point and railway center for mineral exports. Intrastate mining, utilities, engineering, and construction companies could benefit significantly from an establishment of a thorium industry. Missouri is perfectly poised geographically, economically and academically to nurture next generation technologies for energy independence of the state and the nation as a whole.

The post New Thorium Feasibility Study appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog, feasibility, Thorium"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 15:09

Executive Summary:

U.S. Development of Affordable Clean Energy

that is Cheaper than Coal


“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

President John F. Kennedy

A problem with most traditional natural energy resources, such as coal and oil, is that they are cheap only when they are abundant, and expensive when they are not. These peaks and valleys in our energy markets are a result of accessibility and abundance. Simply put, the more abundant an energy source is, and the easier it is to access, the more affordable it is. But interrupt supply, or reduce it, and prices skyrocket.

Embracing fossil fuels, along with their constant boom and bust cycle, is a long-term energy plan that will have our economy riding the roller coaster of success and failure respectively in times of boom and bust. It is not a long-term plan to provide any type of lasting stability to the markets. Fossil fuels simply are neither abundant enough nor accessible enough.

What we need is a clean energy resource that is abundant, accessible, safe, reliable, and affordable.

Until now, energy that was cheap tended to be the dirtiest (solid and liquid fossil fuels), and energy that is clean (renewables) was the most expensive. Expensive energy puts the brakes on the economy and hurts those that can least afford it, the poor, by increasing our cost of living. Dirty energy hurts our environment and our health and is not a sustainable long-term policy either.

We are at an energy and environment crossroads: we want clean energy, but we do not want to pay any more for it. If we sacrifice our economy by the government’s mandating the use of expensive clean energy technologies to improve our health, many of us, including our poor, will not be able to afford our energy bills for gasoline and electricity. Our neighborhoods will suffer, and eventually the health effects of poverty caused by the unavailability of cheap and abundant energy will negate any benefits of a cleaner environment.

And it is not just our bills for direct energy consumption that go up. Higher energy costs amount to an increased “tax” on everything we buy and use. Everything we make, everything we grow, everything we transport, uses energy. If the cost of diesel fuel rises, truckers pay more to transport goods, and that increased cost is passed on to the eventual consumer. When a trucking company passes on its increased fuel costs to, say, McDonalds, to keep them supplied with hamburgers and buns, McDonalds covers these increased costs by increasing the price of its hamburgers. If they did not do this, they would not stay in business, and no one would have McDonalds hamburgers any more. When energy prices rise, all of us pay the price in everything we buy, not just for the gasoline and the electricity we use.

But there is a solution to this. What if we had an energy resource that was so common, so abundant, and so cheap that everyone would have the ability not only to sustain themselves, but to thrive? That resource is the element Thorium, and every nation has it! Thorium can provide us with ultra clean energy cheaper than coal!

Dr. Carlo Rubbia, who shared the 1984 Nobel Prize in Physics, described Thorium as having “absolute pre-eminence” over all other fuels, including fossil fuels and Uranium.

China, Russia, and India are all aggressively pursuing the commercialization of Thorium energy technology. A few American companies want the chance to develop this technology. We missed our first and best chance to do that ourselves. America was well on its way to commercializing Thorium technology in the 1970’s, but when there was a downturn in the economy, the technology was shelved at the time due to the cost to commercialize it.

Today, more than ever, we need affordable and accessible energy if we are to remain competitive in the world marketplace, and it must be clean energy. With abundant, low-cost energy from Thorium, our economy will stop shipping jobs overseas because our manufacturing costs will go down, wages will increase, and there will be many more jobs here.


In addition to electricity, Thorium technologies will provide inexpensive fresh water from seawater; inexpensive synthetic gasoline and diesel to get America completely off foreign oil; and two kinds of medical isotopes: one for which there is now no American supply, and is used in over 320,000diagnostic procedures in the U.S. per week; and a second isotope, now very expensive and in short supply, which is needed for cancer research and for a possible cure for many cancers. Finally, Thorium technology will produce isotopes to power NASA’s deep space probes.


To learn more goto: http://www.Th90.org



The post Executive Summary appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog, literature"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Sunday, 29 Jun 2014 20:31

Recent molten salt reactor (MSR) developments in Europe and Russia address an advanced large power unit without graphite in the core. In new MSR concepts neutron spectrum is hard enough and the reprocessing rate strongly reduced compared to prior graphite moderated Th-U MSBR design developed at United States ORNL. The consideration done demonstrates the MSR potential as the system with flexible fuel cycle options which can operate with different loadings and make up scenarios based on transuranic elements from spent LWR fuel without and with Th-U support. This system may operate in the actinide recycler and transmuter, convertor as well as breeder modes without essential changes in the core/blanket configuration and find its place in any scenario of nuclear energy development.



The post The Russian Molten Salt Reactor Program appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Sunday, 29 Jun 2014 19:29

We would like to know how you feel about the following relationship we have with China?


  • Currently, the United States is helping China to develop MSR technology. Many of our legislators have bought the “Beyond Nuclear” accusation that Thorium MSR technology is a proliferation problem.

  • If it were a proliferation problem why are we helping China to develop this technology?

  • Why isn’t “Beyond Nuclear” making more of a stink about us assisting China in the development of a ThMSR?





A Roadmap for U.S.-China Cooperation on Energy and Climate Change from ChinaFile on Vimeo.

The post China and U.S. Global Partnership: All Right! or Outrage? appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Sunday, 29 Jun 2014 18:34


Prepared by 

D. E. Holcomb 

G. F. Flanagan 

B. W. Patton 

J. C. Gehin 

R. L. Howard 

T. J. Harrison


Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-6283

managed by: UT-BATTELLE, LLC


under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725


Fast Spectrum Molten Salt Reactor Options

Fast-spectrum molten-salt reactors (FS-MSRs) have been the subject of periodic investigations since the early 1960s. However, none has ever been built; and the investigations have not proceeded beyond high- level material balance, heat transfer, and chemistry exploration. While the principal concepts underlying FS-MSRs have not changed over the intervening decades, much of the underlying technology base has evolved. The principal purpose of the current report is to provide an integrated overview of FS-MSR design options reflecting the current technology status.

FS-MSRs can be employed to consume actinides from light-water reactor (LWR) fuel or, alternatively, to extend fissile resource availability through uranium-to-plutonium breeding. FS-MSR reactors are highly flexible and can be configured into modified open or full-recycle configuration. The modified open FS-MSR fuel cycle options do not include chemical processing of the fuel salt. A traditional fully open fuel cycle is not an option with a liquid fuel reactor in that the gaseous fission products inherently separate from the liquid fuel. The conversion ratio of an FS-MSR is largely determined by the fissile-to- fertile-material ratio in its fuel salt. Thus, a single reactor core design may be capable of performing both fissile resource extension and waste disposition missions.

Molten-salt reactors can operate with the salt processing and fuel addition being performed in either continuous or batch operations. For thermal-spectrum systems, it is important to remove the fission products from the salt to minimize the parasitic neutron capture that results from fission products with large capture cross sections. In a fast-spectrum system, these parasitic losses are lower since the fission product capture cross sections are lower in fast-spectrum energy range. Hence, for an actinide burner reactor to maintain criticality, only sufficient additional fuel need be added to primarily compensate for burnup. Therefore, a fast-spectrum system may result in a simpler salt-processing approach or in a batch processing approach with relatively long salt-processing intervals. Similarly, a slightly positive breeding gain converter-type reactor may be able to operate for an extended period without any material additions or removal. In comparison, a breeder reactor will require fissile material extraction once the reactor control system cannot compensate for additional reactivity.

FS-MSRs have the potential for incorporating excellent passive safety characteristics. They have a negative salt void coefficient (expanded fuel is pushed out of the core) and a negative thermal reactivity feedback that avoids a set of major design constraints in solid-fuel fast reactors. Thus, an FS-MSR can provide a high power density while maintaining passive safety. The liquid state of the core also enables a passive, thermally triggered (melt plug) core draining into geometrically subcritical tanks that are passively thermally coupled to the environment. FS-MSRs have a low operating pressure even at high temperatures, and FS-MSR salts are chemically inert, thermodynamically lacking the energetic reactions with environmental materials seen in other reactor types (e.g., hot zirconium or sodium with water).

In the context of proliferation resistance, FS-MSR fuel has a uniform isotopic concentration of actinides, including highly burnt plutonium or uranium isotopes along with other minor actinides and fission products. The local fuel processing of the breeder and burner configurations eliminates the possibility of diversion during transport. The fission-product–saturated fuel salt of the minimal fuel processing converter reactor is highly self-guarding during transportation. Further, the transport casks are massive because of the required amounts of shielding. In general, diversion of molten salt materials is difficult. The reactor operates as a sealed system with an integrated salt processing system that is technically difficult to modify once contaminated. The hot salt freezes at relatively high temperatures (450–500°C), so it requires heated removal systems. FS-MSRs operate with very low excess reactivity. Loss of a significant amount of fuel salt would change the core reactivity, which could be measured by a well- instrumented reactivity monitoring system. During operation (with the exception of deliberate fissile material removal for a breeder or addition for waste burner), the fissile materials always remain in the hot, radioactive salt. However, FS-MSRs, with integrated fuel separation, may be unsuitable for deployment in nonfuel-cycle states to minimize dispersal of separation technologies. Also, methods of inspection and materials accountability for liquid cores have not yet been fully developed.

All of the reactor-significant transuranic elements can form chemically and radiolytically stable salts with halide elements. Use of heavier halides results in a harder neutron spectrum. Harder neutron spectra improve the reactor burning and/or breeding. However, little information is available about the chemical and material properties of the actinide bromides or iodides. Hence, the FS-MSR investigation was limited to the actinide chlorides and fluorides. In addition to providing a harder neutron spectrum, chloride salts (compared with their fluoride counterparts) have higher solubility for the actinides, increasing the capability of the reactor to accommodate higher fuel loading and thus maintain criticality as fission products build up.

The two thermal-spectrum MSRs operated previously both employed a fluoride-based carrier salt. Much of the structural material information developed for the prior MSR program can be applied to fluoride salt FS-MSRs. The harder neutron spectrum of an FS-MSR, however, can cause additional atomic displacements within the nearby solid materials. Hence the lifetime of the neutron shielding material proximate to the core will be less for an FS-MSR. Additionally, nickel-based alloys embrittle when exposed to core levels of neutron flux (>1020 neutrons/cm2) at high temperatures (>500°C). Thus shielding of the primary vessel from the neutron flux is imperative.

Chloride-based salts have been employed in the fuel-reprocessing scheme developed for the integral fast reactor. However, the corrosion processes for chlorine are more complex than those for fluorine. Consequently the knowledge base for structural materials tolerant of chloride-based salts is not as mature as that for fluoride-based salts. A confident structural material selection cannot yet be performed for a chloride salt-based FS-MSR.

A light-water reactor (LWR)–transuranic burner can either make use of centralized fuel reprocessing or use much of the infrastructure of its fuel processing system to directly accept used LWR fuel, avoiding the need for a separate reprocessing plant. In addition to helium sparging to extract the gaseous fission products and mechanical filtering to remove the noble metal fission product particles, a fluoride salt– based FS-MSR would employ fluoride volatility and reductive extraction processes to separate the fission products from the fuel salt. Chloride salt–based reactors would employ electrochemical separation, zeolite ion-exchange capture, and chloride volatility processing. In either case, longer-lived fission products could be returned to the salt for fast neutron destruction, albeit with relatively low efficiency because of their primarily thermal absorption cross sections. As the separated fission products have relatively small volume, they can be left in salt form and allowed to solidify and decay in short-term storage.

A uranium–plutonium breeder would require an initial fissile material charge to initiate the breeding cycle. A liquid-fueled reactor is neutronically efficient compared with solid-fuel reactors, because it lacks in-core parasitic neutron absorbing structures. Therefore, a smaller amount of initial fissile material in the core is required to start up an FS-MSR compared with a sodium fast reactor. Note, however, that the FS- MSR will require additional fissile mass as a result of the fuel salt outside the core. The separations processes for a breeder would be nearly the same as for a burner except that the excess fissile material would be electrowon from the salt. Processing can be done in either batch or continuous form.

A minimal separation, modified open cycle, converter reactor would allow fission products to accumulate within the fuel salt. The lower melting points and much higher elemental solubilities afforded by chloride salts, as well as the resultant harder spectrum, make the chloride salts preferable for a limited-separation converter reactor. Sufficient natural (or depleted) uranium chloride or fluoride could be added to the reactor to compensate for any mismatch between fissile breeding and burnup, as well as the small amount of fission product absorption. Alternatively, the breeding ratio could be set to slightly positive to automatically compensate for the buildup of fission products. Helium sparging and mechanical filtering would be employed to separate gaseous and solid fission products. The process would continue until either the reactor vessel (or other major component) needed to be replaced, a fissile material solubility limit was reached, or the overall salt melt temperature had been so shifted by fission product dissolution that it exceeded 550°C. At this point, the fuel salt would be pumped out, poisoned, and allowed to solidify into mechanically robust rock salt. The salt containers would then be sent for disposal or centralized reprocessing. Alternatively, the salt could be allowed to solidify in the reactor vessel and the vessel as a whole transported for reprocessing and or disposal.

The post Fast Spectrum Molten Salt Reactor Options ORNL-TM-2011/105 appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Sunday, 29 Jun 2014 18:17

Presentation by


merle [at] lpsc [dot] in2p3 [dot] fr – Professor at Grenoble INP/PHELMA and in the Reactor Physics

Group of Laboratoire de Physique Subatomique et de Cosmologie de Grenoble (CNRSIN2P3-

LPSC / Grenoble INP – PHELMA / UJF)




MSFR and the European project EVOL

12 European Partners: France (CNRS: Coordinateur, Grenoble INP , INOPRO,

Aubert&Duval), Pays-Bas (Université Techno. de Delft), Allemagne (ITU, KIT-G, HZDR), Italie

(Ecole polytechnique de Turin), Angleterre (Oxford), Hongrie (Univ Techno de Budapest)

+ 2 observers since 2012 : Politecnico di Milano et Paul Scherrer Institute

+ Coupled to the MARS (Minor Actinides Recycling in Molten Salt)

project of ROSATOM (2011-2013)

Partners: RIAR (Dimitrovgrad), KI (Moscow), VNIITF (Snezinsk), IHTE (Ekateriburg),

VNIKHT (Moscow) et MUCATEX (Moscow)

WP2: Design and Safety

WP3: Fuel Salt Chemistry and Reprocessing

WP4: Structural Materials


• Recommendations for the design of the core and fuel heat exchangers

• Definition of a safety approach dedicated to liquid-fuel reactors – Transposition of the

defence in depth principle – Development of dedicated tools for transient simulations of

molten salt reactors

• Determination of the salt composition – Determination of Pu solubility in LiF-ThF4 –

Control of salt potential by introducing Th metal

• Evaluation of the reprocessing efficiency (based on experimental data) – FFFER project

• Recommendations for the composition of structural materials around the core

The post PresentationThEC 2013: Introduction to the Physics of the Molten Salt Fast Reactor appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Sunday, 29 Jun 2014 17:40

Doctoral Dissertation of: CARLO FIORINA

Matr. n. 754131


Background and motivation

Fast Reactors (FR) have been developed in the early stages of nuclear technology for the purpose of breeding fissile isotopes from fertile materials, thus greatly extending the fuel resources available to sustain the rapid growth of nuclear energy forecasted in the past. The U- Pu cycle has been preferred over the Th-U cycle because of the better breeding potential in a fast-spectrum and the sounder technical basis for fuel fabrication, irradiation, and reprocessing. On the other hand, Th use has been historically investigated for its capability to breed fissile material (namely, U-233) in a thermal neutron spectrum, thus possibly avoiding specific technological challenges associated to the development of FRs.

Over the course of the years, interest in fissile breeding has faded, especially in western countries, due to the slow deployment rate of new nuclear power plants and thanks to the availability of natural U resources, including the recent development of techniques for a reasonably economical extraction of U from sea water (ORNL, 2012). Conversely, waste management has emerged as one of the main problems for public acceptance of nuclear energy (Artioli et al., 2010; Salvatores and Palmiotti, 2011). Following these trends, both Th- based thermal reactors and U-based FRs started to be considered in view of their capability to operate with continuous recycle of all actinides, while potentially burning legacy TRU (TRansUranic isotope) wastes, thus drastically limiting the actinide wastes to be disposed.

Under this scenario, Th-based FRs can offer some specific advantages. The lower mass number of Th fosters a very low endogenous generation of TRUs, which could benefit public acceptance and the repository thermal performance. In addition, the low breeding capability of Th cycle may enhance the consumption of an external supply of TRUs. Past studies have also pointed out the Th potential capability to improve safety parameters (Till et al., 1980). Following these considerations, studies about Th use in FRs have started gaining momentum (Rubbia et al., 1995; IAEA, 2002; IAEA, 2005; Gruppelaar and Schapira, 2006). A new impetus to this option has been recently given by the cancellation of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository project in the US, as well as by the Fukushima accident. The latter focused once again the attention of the public opinion on safety-related aspects of the nuclear energy production and on spent fuel accumulation at the reactor pools. For countries that have decided to phase out the nuclear energy option, management of the TRU legacy from Light Water Reactors has become a priority and Th may be the carrier to expedite TRU burning.

Despite the potential advantages, the implementation at an industrial scale of the Th closed cycle needs to overcome formidable challenges, including difficulties in dissolution and reprocessing of used fuel (Ramanujam, 2008), and fabrication of highly radioactive recycled fuel (Wenner et al., 2012). In particular, ThOx fuel is a particularly stable compound, which may benefit fuel disposal in once-through fuel cycle options, but necessitates dedicated dissolution processes for reprocessing. Similarly to PUREX, a nitric acid solution is used to

dissolve ThOx fuel, but addition of HF is required to reduce the dissolution time, leading to exacerbated corrosion of the equipment. As concerns fuel fabrication, problems originate from the build-up during Th-232 irradiation of U-232, mainly via (n,2n) reaction and subsequent neutron capture from Pa-231. The intensity and high energy of the gamma radiation emitted by Bi-212 (0.7-1.8 MeV) and Tl-208 (2.6 MeV), both daughters of U-232, imposes fuel handling and manufacturing behind thick shielding. In this sense, it is worth noting that the first and longest-lived isotope in the U-232’s progeny is the 1.9-years half-life Th-228. By sending Th to the waste stream during reprocessing, the fuel would be momentarily free from the U-232 progeny. Drawbacks would be the necessity of a quick fabrication after reprocessing, and the accumulation of intensely radioactive Th waste. In addition, during the TRU transmutation stage spontaneous neutron emitters (primarily Cm and Cf isotopes) would require remote fuel handling independent of the of the gamma field from U-232’s progeny.

The use of liquid fuel with online reprocessing would avoid most of the issues related to reprocessing, manufacturing and transporting highly radioactive recycled fuel in a closed cycle. The logical technology for the adoption of liquid fuel is the Molten Salt Reactor (MSR). In MSRs, a liquid fuel salt circulates through the core and transfers the heat to external heat exchangers via convection, thus playing the role of both fuel and coolant. The first MSRs developed used fluoride salts and Th fuel. They were conceived during the fifties for military purposes at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the US, and subsequently developed for two decades as graphite-moderated reactors for U-233 breeding and power production (MacPherson, 1985). In 2001, the Generation IV International Forum (GIF-IV) selected the MSR as one of the six innovative nuclear reactors with the potential to meet the compelling need for an increasingly sustainable, economical, safe and proliferation resistant nuclear energy production (GIF-IV, 2002). Few years after the selection of the MSR among the Generation-IV reactors, the concept evolved in the direction of fast-spectrum Th-based MSRs (Mathieu et al., 2006; 2009), identified as Molten Salt Fast Reactor (MSFR) (Merle- Lucotte et al., 2011) and mainly developed in the frame of the EURATOM EVOL (Evaluation and Viability Of Liquid fuel fast reactor system) Project (EVOL, 2012). The subject of the thesis work is the assessment of the novel MSFR technology as a promising route for combining the potential advantages of Th use in FRs with the unique fuel cycle flexibility fostered by a liquid fuel.

Objectives and outline of the work

Use of Th in fast-spectrum MSRs is a relatively recent proposal and only few studies are available in the open literature. Past works on fast-spectrum MSRs were mainly focused on chloride-based reactors for Pu breeding (Mourogov and Bokov, 2006), fertile-free TRU burning, or U-supported TRU burning (Ignatiev et al., 2007). The 30-year research experience developed at ORNL has a limited applicability to the MSFR case. Specifically, use of fluoride molten salts is still envisioned for the MSFR, which has allowed to rely, at least in a first development stage, on the ORNL experiences in terms of structural materials and reprocessing system. Limited studies have been instead carried out on the MSFR fuel cycle performances, waste management issues, thermal-hydraulics and safety aspects. Primary objective of the present thesis work is to offer an evaluation of the MSFR performances in

this sense, including an assessment of the MSFR potential to operate as a flexible conversion- ratio reactor (Chapter 1). A first-of-a-kind comparative analysis with traditional solid-fuelled FRs is performed (Chapters 2, 3, 4) in terms of main performance parameters, namely: breeding capabilities, decay heat and radiotoxicity of wastes, fuel management, TRU burning, safety aspects. For the comparison, two promising FR systems are selected (Appendix B), namely the sodium-cooled Toshiba-Westinghouse Advanced Recycling Reactor (ARR) (Dobson et al., 2008), and the European Lead SYstem (ELSY) (Alemberti et al., 2011). Both U- and Th-based versions of the two selected FRs are investigated in the thesis work. Although this is not a primary objective of the work, a comparison between Th and U use in traditional FRs is a necessary step for a better assessment of the MSFR performances vs traditional FRs, especially in view of the limited information available in literature in this sense (Till et al., 1980; Gruppelaar and Schapira, 2006; Touran et al., 2010). For both the MSFR and the traditional FRs, fuel cycle strategies are investigated envisioning the recycling of all the actinides in the core.

To ease the investigation while excluding major sources of biasing, a common tool is employed to evaluate the performances of the MSFR and of the traditional FRs (Appendix A). Specifically, an existing ERANOS-based (Rimpault et al., 2002) procedure, developed at the Paul Scherrer Institut (Switzerland) for the analysis of solid-fuelled FRs (Krepel et al., 2009), is employed and extended to allow the simulation of Th-containing cores, the possible use of fertile blankets and the online reprocessing system of the MSRs. In addition, dedicated sub- procedures are set up for the calculation of radiotoxicity and decay heat of wastes. The extended procedure is assessed against a tool recently developed at the Politecnico di Milano (Aufiero et al., submitted) and based on the Monte Carlo code SERPENT (Leppänen, 2007). The ORIGEN-S code (SCALE, 2006) is also used to assess decay heat and radiotoxicity calculations.

After characterizing the MSFR through a top-level comparison with the well-developed solid-fuelled counterparts, the work concentrates on two specific aspects of the MSFR that differentiate this technology from the others. The first one is the thermal-hydraulics (Chapter 5) that combines in MSRs a relatively high Prandtl number with the unique feature (in nuclear reactors) of the internal heat generation. This determines specific heat transfer characteristic and requires investigation to single out, or exclude, major impacts on the heat transfer phenomena in the reactor components. In particular, a theoretical investigation is carried out, leading to the derivation of a general form for correlations to be used to predict the Nusselt number for the forced convection of internally heated fluids flowing in turbulent regime in a straight circular channel. A generalized analytic approach previously developed at the Politecnico di Milano (Appendix C) is adopted to derive a specific correlation for the case of molten fluoride salts, and results are used to evaluate the impact of decay heat on the MSFR out-of-core components.

The second distinctive aspect of the MSFR technology is the reactor dynamics (Chapter 6). A liquid and circulating fuel impacts the reactor behavior due to 1) the direct deposition of fission heat inside the coolant, and 2) the movement of the delayed neutron precursors, causing their accumulation in low-flux regions and their partial decay out of the core. In addition, compared to graphite-moderated MSRs investigated in the past, the MSFR fuel is not restrained into graphite channels but flows freely in a wide core, with consequent flow

patterns that requires CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) codes for a proper characterization. These unique features of the MSFR exclude the use of tools developed in the past for solid-fuelled FRs, or for graphite-moderated MSRs. For this reason, a new dedicated model has been developed at the Politecnico di Milano in the frame of this and other 2 PhD theses. It consists of a set of non-linear and time-dependent coupled partial differential equations, which are simultaneously solved in the same simulation environment (namely, the simulation platform COMSOL Multiphysics) and describe the different “physics” (neutron transport, precursor diffusion and convection, thermo-fluid dynamics) occurring in the nuclear reactor. In the present thesis work, this model is presented and assessed against a similar model developed at the Technical University of Delft. The latter relies on a traditional coupling of dedicated neutron transport and thermo-fluid dynamic codes, in which the time- dependent solution is reached using the output from one code (e.g., the neutron kinetics code) as input to another code (e.g., the thermo-fluid dynamic code) at each time step. The results provided by the two codes are first used to investigate the steady-state core behavior. The effect of fuel movement on the precursor distribution is discussed and the core temperature field is investigated, thus extending to the reactor core the analysis of the MSFR heat transfer phenomena presented in Chapter 5. The MSFR transient behavior is then analyzed, pointing out general dynamic features and the most critical issues to be taken into account during core design and optimization.


Alemberti, A., Carlsson, J., Malambu, E., Orden, A., Struwe, D., Agostini, P., Monti, S., 2011. European lead fast reactor – ELSY. Nuclear Engineering and Design 241, 3470-3480.

Artioli, C., Grasso, G., Petrovich, C., 2010. A new paradigm for core design aimed at the sustainability of nuclear energy: the solution of the extended equilibrium state. Annals of Nuclear Energy 37, 915- 922.

Aufiero, M., Cammi, A., Fiorina, C., Leppänen, J., Luzzi, L., submitted. An extended version of the SERPENT-2 code to investigate fuel burn-up and core material evolution of the Molten Salt Fast Reactor. Submitted to Journal of Nuclear Materials. Presentation at NuMat 2012 conference, October 22-25, Osaka, Japan.

Dobson, A., 2008. GNEP Deployment Studies Preliminary Conceptual Design Studies. Technical Report. Volume IV – Advanced Recycling Reactor.

EVOL Project 2012 – Evaluation and Viability of Liquid Fuel Fast Reactor Systems. Available at: http://www .li2c.upmc.fr/.

GIF-IV, Generation IV International Forum, 2002. A Technology Road Map for Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems. GIF-002–00, US DOE Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee and The Generation IV International Forum.

Gruppelaar H., Schapira, J.P., 2006. Thorium as a waste management option. Technical Report. EU 19142 EN.

IAEA, International Atomic Energy Agency, 2002. Thorium fuel utilization: options and trends. Technical Report. IAEA-TECDOC-1319.


To read more click on the Document above!

The post The Molten Salt Fast Reactor as a Fast-Spectrum Candidate for Thorium Implementation appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Sunday, 29 Jun 2014 16:46
Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog, VIDEO POST"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Saturday, 28 Jun 2014 14:17

Seize the Carp picture from the movie


“Seize the Carp” is what a friend of mine said in answer to the question, ”What does the Latin phrase `Carpe Diem` mean in English?”  Of course, my friend watches a lot of TV and is easily amused by viewing videos of people hurting themselves.  Suffice it to say “He is no Rhodes Scholar”.  Furthermore, in demonstration of his intellectual superiority, my friend had the misplaced audacity to passionately defend his position by citing another source to confirm, with absolute certitude, that he was indeed correct – he had heard it in a movie, so it must be true.

The “Seize the Carp” syndrome has stricken so many in our modern culture to rationalize their answers to questions they know not the answers of, by reference to questionable and in many cases nonsensical sources (“I saw it on the internet” so it must be true mentality has become the norm amongst a certain percentage of the population).  The practice of “Seizing the Carp” has become so widespread that such people have become known as “Carpers.”  They have no critical thinking skills, and they have not been taught, or they just ignore, any legitimate knowledge of research and argument.  Just as my misguided friend has done, they take the offensive (and thus offend) in loudly promoting their passionate, quixotic, and demonstrably erroneous positions. And, so it has come to pass that the defense of “Seizing the Carp” has created an ideology of unconscious foolishness, tainted with the prideful ego of never admitting even the possibility that they might be mistaken.

When such hubris applies this ideological passion (born of pride and ego) to the creation of public policy without consideration of the tangible, the real, the obvious, and the provable, even good intentions can have horrific consequences.  In their misguided presentations of specious arguments, which belong on the fiction shelf in the library of facts, they damage people, property, and our economy.

In the real world “Seize the Carp” fiction, posing as fact, has demonstrated little benefit to anyone or anything throughout history.  Passionate ideologues ripe with zeal to prove their point through methods rife with errors and projected biases have from time in memoriam provided a net detriment to man. This has been particularly true when governments use such factitious logic to set special interest policies purportedly for the benefit of man or the environment when in reality it is an indulgence in bureaucracy.  When a coercive government sets special interest driven policy, we are done questioning the policy of consensus with science based facts: “Dare you not question the King when he announces that the Earth is flat, because he is the King and he has provided the driver to create consensus, by fear of the dungeon or guillotine.”

Without the King’s backing foolish beliefs surrender to common sense for the majority of society, though there will always be a few hangers on – no matter what.


Not surprisingly, when the government officially makes prouncements these days equivalent to “The Earth is Flat,” disbelievers who act upon their disbelief are coerced with taxes, monetary penalties, or prison for not adhering to regulations that are based on ideology and junk science.  Eventually, “what goes around comes around,” which, when policies fail or become too obvious to ignore their shortcomings, it may just cost some King’s advisor their head, or at least their job, but hopefully before they do too much damage to us and our economy.


The difference between science and science fiction must be defined and recognized, not by the complex arguments of the rationalization of ideology, consensus, or belief, but by factual observations of the physical world.


The ideological path towards world salvation from a perceived crisis of global warming (whether real or not) (aka “climate change”) and a perceived future hegemony of renewable energy sources, which will “without a doubt” fix the problem, ends in a cliff with a steep economic drop. Rationally and demonstrably, wind and solar should already have faded, faltered, and failed in widespread market use, when faced with the real-world shortcomings of these technologies in a free market – but they haven’t – and that is largely due to government insulation in insulating this industry from the corrective forces of the free markets.  These “alternative energy markets” remain because they have gained a King-like credibility by consensus (consensus driven by penalty and fear – not science).


In effect, the royalty of today and their decrees have been adopted by a litany of the “Carpers” (believers of the King).  “Seizing the Carp” has become the illogical idiom or norm of those willing to sacrifice our virgin of “prosperity” to destroy the symbolic “Volcano God”, the smoking stacks of coal-fired power plants. The present day witch doctors take the form of government policy, formed by bureaucrats and backed by the prevarications of most media, academicians, think tanks, and consumption abolitionists. Woefully impractical policies such as the mandated application and mass deployment of renewable technology (regardless of economic considerations) over time provides scant benefits and results in a dearth of energy, loss of jobs, and a faltering economy.


Green Energy Technology and Job Creation Claims


Quantitative job creation is not the key to building a path to a better future.  If it were, you had best give lots of people lots of shovels to dig dirt in “shovel ready” projects rather than use very efficient modern machinery which requires fewer workers. Creating a multitude of inefficient jobs in pursuit of full employment is a recipe for economic disaster.

The cost of such inefficient labor is high compared to the massively more economically scalable quantities of ingenious creativity afforded by the free market.  After all – if we wanted to create even more retrograde jobs, we could mandate that spoons be used instead of shovels (thusly creating spoon ready projects). When we mandate the use of a retrograde technology and make no consideration for the future inventiveness of man, we are impairing the progress of future generations by creating “bureaucracy by design” and private sector policy parasites driven solely by illicit policy and thereby illicit profit, and all will warp and contort facts, science, and reality in their quest to survive. Mandating technologies is not taking a step towards a better future; it is sacrificing the future on the altar of short-term benefits for the here and now for a privileged portion of our population.

Spoon Ready Projects

If we allow man the freedom to pursue ingenuity, the bulldozer of the creative mind will allow the path to the future to be plowed much more expeditiously than using the hand tools of mandated retrograde technologies. Mandating specific technology as a solution to any problem hinders and stifles the ingenuity and the creativity of the great thinkers and engineers of our time in the pursuit of solutions to our most complex problems.


“Politicians supporting energy growth through the mandates of wind and solar technology are analogous to supporting mass construction while mandating the use of simple hand tools and no heavy equipment to complete said construction.  Thousands of jobs will be created by such a policy, but the cost of the work performed, quality of the job, rewards of the job, and the productivity of each job compared to utilizing current technology would be inherently deficient by every conceivable parameter.”

We simply have much better and much more efficient ways to produce clean and carbon free energy!

If progress is to be realized at a maximum rate of acceleration, the freedom to apply our individual minds to conceive of novel, diverse, and unique solutions must not be infringed upon or encumbered by policies (especially economic policy) that mandate solutions in a free market not based upon science and reality.  Policies that are created by ideologues envisioning a world through the rose-colored glasses of their passion for that ideology should, and must be, abandoned.  We must eschew ideological whimsy and belief-based biases in government planning.

An example of the effects of policies that bastardize the free-market.


The Reality of Renewables


For those that attended a public grade school in the 1980’s: We were all taught that by the time we reached the age we are today that America and the world would no longer be running on fossil fuels. Yet inexplicably, we are. How wrong our government educators were.



Companies like Chevron and Exxon (those evil and vile big oil companies) were pouring money into alternatives – and they had lots of money and the incentive to find alternatives – and there was a big push by academia and the scientific community to be part of the transition to combat the ever-notorious Global Cooling.


Today, students are taught, inexplicably in 180 degree opposition to what we were taught back then, that before you reach my age (50ish) America and the world must stop using fossil fuels because of Global Warming.

Global cooling

The King and all the King’s men had the so-called men of science and climate experts to back up the impending ice age and without a doubt the answer to our problems were renewable energy technologies. Now the King and the King’s men proclaim a sauna is in our future (after one of our worst winters in recent history) and the answer again is? You guessed it, renewable technologies. Even a lemming would start to question the path being charted for them.


Irrespective of Global Warming there possibly is no greater challenge facing mankind today than resolving how we’re going to meet the energy needs of a planet that may have in excess of 9 billion people living on it by the middle of this century. The immensity of this challenge becomes even more adamantine when you consider that 2 billion people on the planet today, of 6.5 billion, don’t have electricity and have never flipped a light switch.


What if everyone strived to have an American lifestyle, an American dream, and a personal energy profile equal to Americans?


The “consensus” formed by the King and all the King’s men, in the mid-1970’s, was that America and the world would soon run out of oil. Ironically, many in the media were claiming a scientific consensus (eerily similar, but exactly opposite, to what is transpiring today with Global Warming) that the planet was cooling, fossil fuels were to blame, and we were all going to freeze in the glaciers that would form in our neighborhoods unless we kicked our nasty and unnatural dependency upon fossil-fuels. We were told and taught we needed to find immediate alternatives to fossil fuels if we were to survive the impending “Snowmageddon”.

The argument was made that the free markets and American ingenuity that had served us so well had failed us, so government needed to act with massive taxpayer subsidies for otherwise uneconomic forms of energy and we were all encouraged to stock up on sweaters for the impending ice age.


With a minority of special interests now fully engrossed in “Seizing the Carp” (because the government said so – so it must be true) led to the now infamous 1977 National Energy Plan, an experiment with central planning that failed miserably. Fast-forward to today, and: déjà vu. This time the “Seize the Carp” movement of fear is not so much that we’re running out of oil, but that we’re running out of time – the earth is getting hotter, the greed of big businesses and politicians are to blame, and we’re all going to die very early deaths if we don’t stop using fossil fuels – and stop using them fast.

As we were told in the 1970’s we’re being told that the job is too important to be left to the free market and that government is the solution to protect humans from human nature.


Who was it that said “Those that do not learn their history are condemned to repeat it?”


Well, the purveyors of the next ice age (our supposedly most brilliant government funded scientists) of the 1970s and 1980s turned out to be incredibly wrong in almost every way conceivable. I was really disappointed  because I really wanted my own personal glacier and pet polar bear!


The seasoned skeptic in me is placing bets that today’s purveyors of our next Holocene-like warming period will be proven ever so wrong and in another 30 years we will be back to the government saying they must spend our hard earned tax dollars to save us from Global Cooling again.


Could this all be a colossal waste of time and money? Could this just be for the benefit of empowering the bureaucracy in the District of Columbia? Is “climate-prediction” an accurate science or would I have an equal chance at finding future weather patterns from calling Dionne Warwick at the psychic friend network?  Could the climate scientist with absolutely horrendous track records be right?


Over the past 40 years (since the 1970’s) mankind has consumed nearly twice the world’s known oil reserves when in 1970 the experts said we were running out – and today proven oil reserves are nearly double what they were before we started and oil from shale reserves are in excess of all the oil ever pumped in the history of mankind (Green River Formation, America).


Instead of running out as all the King’s men said would happen, the free market worked and America is now swimming in oil.


(purveyor of fear, what we have to fear is fear promulgated by the government itself!)


The story with natural gas currently, is even better than it is with oil – here and around the world enormous amounts of natural gas has been found. More will be found. And guess what? The 30-year cooling trend that led to the global cooling scare in the mid-70s abruptly ended in the late 70s, replaced by a 20-year warming trend that peaked in 1998.


These sources of immense energy were created by American ingenuity that was allowed to flourish the free market.


The lesson that we should’ve inferred from the 1970s is that when it comes to determining how much energy gets used, what types of energy get used, and where, how, and by whom energy gets used by –that job is too important not to be left to free market.


Now, I’d love to debate the science of global warming. The media, a host of political special interest groups, businesses dependent upon global warming’s existence, and scientist that derive recompense from the government for their work, of course long ago declared that debate over – global warming is a world emergency, we’ve got to change our lifestyles and sacrifice our prosperity and our rate of consuming resources of this planet.


(If we are skeptical about the science of global warming, like a child trying to marginalize another, the name-calling begins: “Global Warming Denier!” is the label attached to those questioning the science behind the boogey man.)

This is very much like the mass hysteria of Global Cooling that impacted terrible energy policies in the 1970’s but now we have the internet besides schools and media to envelope and inspire entire generations to “Seize the Carp”.


I’ve followed this debate closely for over 30 years and so I tend to be skeptical when environmentalist, so-called climate scientist, journalists, and bloggers hyperventilate about highly politicized science designed to empower the government and liberate my pocketbook – “World coming to an end – details at 11”.


With all due candor, the earth does appear to be warming (is it natural warming or warming caused by man?) – but by a not so unusual and not so alarming one degree over the past 100 years. Global average temperatures have increased by about one degree per century since the end of the so-called Little Ice Age 250 years ago. And, yes CO2 levels in the upper atmosphere have increased over the past 250 years from about 280 parts per million to about 380 parts per million today – that’s .00038. What that number tells me and should enlighten you is that CO2 – the gas we all exhale, the gas in a Coke and Pepsi, the gas that plants need to grow – is a trace gas, comprising just four out of every 10,000 molecules in the atmosphere. But it’s an important trace gas – without CO2 in the atmosphere, there would be no life on earth. And yes, most scientists believe that humans have caused much of that unnatural increase.

The Consensus that there is no man-made global warming 

[Contrary, to the righteous certitude we get from those posing as environmentalist, no one knows how much warming will occur in the future, nor how much of any warming that does occur will be due to man, and how much to nature. No one knows how warming will affect the planet, or how easily people, plants and animals will adapt to any warming that does occur (except maybe Dionne Warwick’s Psychic hotline).]


Many perspectives on global warming – change – when you begin to understand the limitations of the computer models that scientists have built to predict future warming. If the only variable driving the earth’s climate were manmade CO2 then there’d be no debate (Methane from rotting organic matter and from human and animal waste is a very significant driver) (the reduction of trees that consume CO2 is another significant driver of the climate)– global average temperatures would increase by a harmless one degree over the next 100 years. But the earth’s climate is what engineers call a “non-linear, dynamic system”. The models have dozens of inputs. Many are little more than the opinion of the scientist – in some cases, just a guess. The sun, for example, is by far the biggest driver of the earth’s climate. But the intensity of solar radiation from the sun varies over time in ways that can’t be accurately modeled.


We do know that renewable technologies tend to take up a lot of land area and roads must be cut to connect these technologies to the grid and for maintenance and repair. In many cases the use of renewable technologies mean the deaths of many trees just because of their environmental footprint. Newer technologies, such as Thorium based MSRs have a very tiny environmental footprint and because MSRs can produce energy very cheaply they can produce water (desalination) to irrigate arid lands and increase the world population of trees.


[I remember a time in the 1990’s where environmentalist wanted to stop logging because of the impact it would have on spotted owls, today that same environmental movement is advocating logging for wind power installation and the wholesale slaughter of our avian friends with the wind-powered Ginsu blades of death. It is the gift that just chop, chop, chops]


But the reality for American consumers is that whether you buy (have “Seized the Carp”) that the science is settled or not, the political science (science of the King) is settled. With the media cheering them on, Congress and the President has promised to “do something”. CO2 regulation is here, whether it will do any good or not.


Under cap-and-trade schemes, the government creates a market for CO2 by selling credits to companies that emit CO2. They would set a cap for the maximum amount of CO2 emissions. Over time, the cap would ratchet down. In theory, this will force companies to invest in lower-carbon technologies, thus reducing emissions to avoid the cost of buying credits from other companies that have already met their emissions goals. The costs of the credits would be passed on to consumers. Because virtually everything we do and consume in modern life has a carbon footprint the cost of just about everything will go up. This in theory will cause each of us to choose products that have a lower carbon footprint. Any way you slice it, cap and trade is a tax on the way we live our lives – one designed to produce a windfall for government. Policies such as this hurt the most vulnerable in our communities, the poor, and contribute to the old adage of perspective: “The poor get poorer as the rich get richer.”


The long-term goal with cap and trade is “80 by 50”– an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. Let’s do the easy math on what “80 by 50” means to you, using Ohio as an example. Ohio’s carbon footprint today is about 330 million tons of CO2 per year (best numbers I could find and cannot verify their accuracy). Ohio’s population today is 11.54 million (2010 Census). You divide those two numbers, and the average Ohioan today has a carbon footprint of about 29 tons of CO2 per year. An 80% reduction in Ohio’s carbon footprint by 2050 implies a reduction from 330 million tons today to about 66 million tons per year by 2050.


Question: when was the last time Ohio’s carbon footprint was as low as 5.8 tons per person per year? Answer: Probably not since before the Civil War (an anthropology experts guess).


You reach a similar conclusion when you do the math on “80 by 50” for the entire U.S. “80 by 50” would require a reduction in America’s CO2 emissions from about 20 tons per person per year today, to about 2 tons per person per year in 2050. When was the last time America’s carbon footprint was as low as 2 tons per person per year? Probably not since the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620 (again, an anthropology experts guess).


“80 by 50” means that by the time this current generation (those in grade school) reaches our generation’s age (40s to 50s), this generation won’t be allowed to use anything made with – or made possible by – fossil fuels under current US policy.


“How do we expect to replace fossil fuels in just four decades with no mass storage solution for renewables?” That’s a question that everyone, and indeed, all Americans need to ask now – because when it comes to “how” there clearly is no consensus. Simply put, with today’s energy technologies, we can’t get there from here (80 by 50), even with solar and wind. If we try to force the immutable laws of economics and sacrifice our prosperity in the pursuit of “Renewables at any cost” are we then going to reduce our life spans and potentially kill more people through the socio-economic repercussion of the mass implementation of renewables (poverty)?


While affordable grid level storage of energy is the holy grail for renewables – it is equally a holy grail for traditional base load generation. When you think about it, grid level storage would allow traditional base load to run at maximum efficiency and would reduce or eliminate the need for fast ramp power sources (such as natural gas peaker plants) that answers variable demand from consumers. Wind and solar will only create more variability in the energy grid and as their use is deployed in greater numbers the number of grid level storage batteries will rise, far in excess of what would be needed with traditional base load, and thusly creating immense cost relative to base load technologies.


The answer to our problems is not to introduce more variability to the grid but to add more stability to the grid by providing a maximum amount of base load power at all times. The solution to our problem is answered by producing carbon free base load power and possibly an efficient base load power that has variable load following characteristics.


The underling dilemma of the American people is our inability to reconcile our prosperity and our way of life with our environmental ideals. We like our cars. We like our freedom to “move about the country” – drive to work, fly to conferences, visit distant friends and family. Many dream to own the biggest house we can afford. We all would like to keep our homes and offices warm in the winter, cool in the summer. We like devices that use electricity – computers, flat screen TVs, cell phones, the Internet, and many other conveniences of modern life that come with a power cord (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest). We like food that’s low cost, high quality, and free of bugs – which means farmers must use fertilizers and pesticides made from fossil fuels. We like things made of plastic and clothes made with synthetic fibers – and all of these things depend on abundant, affordable, growing supplies of energy.


And guess what? We share this planet with 6.2 billion other people who all want the same things.


While our way of life depends on ever-increasing amounts of energy, we’re downright schizophrenic when it comes to the things that big energy companies must do to deliver the energy that makes modern life affordable for the masses to enjoy. A strict adherence to a renewables only doctrine with current technology means less people are able to make the climb on the ladder of success.


Most of us want energy security – we don’t like being dependent on foreign oil that tends to exacerbate conflict in the Middle East. But our environmental sensibilities also don’t like drilling in the U.S.’s millions of acres of prospective onshore public lands plus the entire east and west coast of the U.S., not to mention the North Coast, i.e. Ohio where there is a plentiful supply of natural gas under Lake Erie, are off-limits to drilling for a variety of reasons. We hate paying $4 per gallon for gasoline – but apparently not as much as we hate the refineries that turn unusable crude oil into gasoline. We haven’t allowed anyone to build a new refinery in the U.S. in over 30 years. We expect the lights to come on when we flip the switch, but we don’t like coal, the source of 40% of our electricity – it’s dirty and mining scars the earth. We also supposedly don’t like nuclear power due to the myths of Chernobyl and Fukushima and propaganda floated by organizations like Beyond Nuclear, the source of nearly 20% of our electricity – it’s clean, France loves it, but we’re afraid of it.


Hydropower is clean, affordable, provides base load power, and is renewable but, it too has been blacklisted by environmental groups– dams hurt fish (Seize that Carp! Screw you spotted owl).


We don’t want pollution of any kind, in any amount, but we also don’t want to be asked: “how much are we willing to pay for environmental perfection?” When it comes to global warming, Time magazine tells us to “be worried, be very worried” – and we say we are – but we don’t act that way.


Let us suggest that our conversation about how to reduce CO2 emissions must begin with a few “inconvenient” realities.


Reality 1: Worldwide demand for energy will grow by 30-50% over the next two decades (even with smart grids and energy efficiency programs) if we are to maintain or improve our lifestyles– and more than double, by the time this generation (grade school) is the age of my generation. Simply put, America and the rest of the world will need all the affordable energy that markets can deliver.


Reality 2: The only near term viable alternative to oil, natural gas, and coal, like it or not, are Nuclear technologies, and one of the most promising technologies with the most benefit are LFTRs (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors). These reactors would be inherently safe, relatively environmentally benign, and produce energy at about half the cost of today’s cheapest energy sources (coal) – all without producing any CO2. The U.S. government’s own forecast shows that fossil fuels will supply about 85% of world energy demand in 2030 – roughly the same as today (because, driven by an unwarranted fear of nuclear energy promulgated by groups like Beyond Nuclear, the federal government resists looking at a good “Nuclear Option” like LFTRs).


Yes, in the near term future, the world may run on economical alternatives like new and safe nuclear technologies. Wind and solar could help in some limited cases, but the technology to allow them to do more is not on the horizon today.  But with the “King and the King’s men” being the driver of consensus and a whole new generation intent on never questioning why they are “Seizing the Carp” and implementing economic catastrophic policies of mandating very expensive technologies, common sense strategies and policies will not be deployed in our future.


To be clear, we need all the power (wind and solar included) the markets can deliver at prices we can afford. But please, wind and solar are not “alternatives” to fossil fuels, they are at very best expensive “supplements”.


Reality 3: You can argue about whether global warming is a serious problem or not, but there’s no argument about the consequences of cap and trade regulation or regulation designed to make industries extinct – it’s going to drive the cost of energy painfully higher and the poor will be hit hardest and those just climbing up to the middle class will be thrown back down the ladder back into poverty.


The whole point of cap and trade is to drive up the cost of fossil fuel based energy so that otherwise uneconomic “alternatives” can compete. Some put the conservative total cost of cap and trade to U.S. consumers at $2 trillion over the next decade and $6 trillion between now and 2050 – not to mention the net loss of jobs in energy-intensive industries (manufacturing jobs that normally do not require a college degree yet provide a very good living) that will no longer be able to compete in global markets.


I hope you’ll ask yourself: will cap and trade work? Europe’s experience with cap and trade in an effort to meet their Kyoto commitments to cut CO2 emissions to below 1990 levels by 2012 actually had their CO2 emissions per unit of GDP grow faster than the U.S.! The U.S. of course did not implement Kyoto – nor did over 150 other countries. There’s a good reason why most of the world rejected the misguided protocols: with today’s energy technologies there’s no current way to sever the link between CO2 emissions and a modern prosperous life.


What would it take to cut U.S. CO2 emissions by 1.2 billion tons per year by 2016? A lot more sacrifice than riding a bicycle to work or school, or changing to compact fluorescent light bulbs.


We could’ve banned gasoline. In 2005 gasoline use in America caused about 1.1 billion tons of CO2. That would almost get us there. Or, we could shut down over half of the coal-fired power plants in this country. Coal plants generated about 2 billion tons of CO2 in 2005. Of course, before we did that we’d have to get over 60 million Americans and a bunch of American businesses to volunteer to go without electricity.


This simple math is not friendly to those who demand that government mandate sharp cuts in manmade CO2 emissions – now.


Reality 4: Even if America does cut CO2 emissions, those same computer models that predict man-made warming over the next century also predict that Kyoto-type CO2 cuts would have no discernible impact on global temperatures for decades, if ever. When was the last time you read that in the paper? We’ve been told that Kyoto was “just a first step.” This generation may want to ask: “what’s the second step?”….a step into oblivion?


Here’s the reality: many Europeans today pay up to 20% more for electricity as a result of their failed efforts to sever the link between modern life and CO2 emissions. Their economy has worsened and they have created more poverty and dependence.


So, if Americans aren’t willing to pay a lot more for their energy, how do we reduce CO2 emissions? Well, maybe our politicians should rethink their overblown fear of nuclear power and if we let markets work, markets on their own will continue to substitute Nuclear and low-carbon natural gas for coal and oil and the markets will develop new modern nuclear technologies like LFTR.


U.S. onshore natural gas production has grown rapidly over the past five years – a feat that most energy experts thought impossible 10 years ago, but thanks to the free market, we are reducing our carbon footprint. America’s known natural gas resource base now exceeds 150 years of supply at current U.S. consumption – and that number is growing, and thanks to failed European energy policies, America is gearing up to sell massive quantities of Natural Gas abroad. Abundant supply means that natural gas prices over the next two or three decades will likely be stable. While prices may spike from time to time in response to sudden, unexpected changes in supply or demand – for example, hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico or extreme cold or hot weather – these spikes should be temporary.


Indeed, the price of natural gas today is a bargain, even without taking into account lower CO2 emissions.
Greater use of natural gas produced in America – by American companies who hire American workers and pay American taxes – will help reduce oil imports.


The same could be true in less than a decade for LFTR, the development of this technology would be a tremendous benefit with no negative drawbacks. Methane is a allegedly a large contributor to global warming, with that being true we should seek to capture and use as much methane as possible from organic matter that would rot and produce methane. A lot of organic waste makes its way into landfills and sewage treatment plants. LFTR will be able to produce electricity so cheap that it makes plasma gasification much more economically viable. Plasma gasification can take organic matter and directly turn it into syngas and other usable products. Syngas can be used to make synthetic methane aka “synthetic natural gas” or can be put through a fisher tropsch process to make many valuable chemicals used in our modern society including synthetic diesel fuel and synthetic gasoline. LFTR could potentially someday lead to the end of landfills and a near complete comprehensive recycling program.


This generation needs to focus on new technology like LFTR and not just assume that because it makes so much sense that it will be developed, as many in my generation did back in the 70s – and as many in Congress continue to do today. Just one example: Coal and other carbon-based feedstocks can be used for much cleaner applications with the inexpensive heat source that LFTRs could provide. The LFTR can provide the energy source to economically convert coal into synthetic gasoline and diesel fuel; the same is true for converting shale into oil – In Situ. Why are we no doing this now? Government interference in the market has distorted the natural order of the market and so there is no incentive to develop this technology!


It’s time to have an honest conversation about alternative responses to global warming other than what is by all accounts a futile attempt to eliminate the use of fossil fuels. What about adapting to warming? In truth, while many scientists believe man’s use of fossil fuels is at least partly responsible for global warming, many also believe the amount of warming will be modest and the planet will easily adapt. Just about everyone agrees that a modest amount of man made warming won’t harm the planet. In fact, highly respected scientists such as Harvard astrophysicist Willie Soon believe that added CO2 in the atmosphere may actually benefit mankind because more CO2 helps plants grow.


You’ve no doubt heard the argument that even if global warming turns out not to be as bad as some are saying, we should still cut CO2 emissions – as an insurance policy – the so-called precautionary principle. While attractive in its simplicity, there are three major problems with the precautionary principle:


First, none of us live our lives according to the precautionary principle. For an example, around the world about 1.2 million people die each year in car accidents – about 3,200 deaths a day. At that pace, 120 million people will die this century in a car wreck somewhere in the world. We could save 120 million lives by imposing a 5 MPH speed limit worldwide. How many of us would be willing to live with a 5 MPH speed limit to save 120 million lives? Most of us won’t – we accept trade-offs. We subconsciously do a cost-benefit analysis and conclude that we’re not going to do without our cars, even if doing so would save 120 million lives.


So before we start down this expensive and likely futile cap and trade path, don’t you think we should insist on an honest analysis of alternative responses to global warming?


Second, “Carpers” dwell on the potential harm from global warming, but ignore the fact that the costs borne to address it will also do harm. Poverty has consequences every bit as bad and as dire as global warming. We have a rate of wealth creation in the world that is not enough to provide prosperity to everyone. We have a long list of problems – hunger, poverty, cancer, malaria, nuclear proliferation, HIV, just to name a few. This generation should ask: how can we do the most good with our wealth creation? The opportunity cost of diverting a large part of current wealth to solve a potential problem 50-100 years from now means we do “less good” dealing with our current problems.
Maybe instead of looking at policies that will create “Spoon Ready projects” and inhibit wealth creation (and greatly accelerate the rate of mediocrity creation) we should look at policies that accelerate the rate of wealth creation by providing opportunity


Third, economists will tell you that the consequence of a cap and trade tax on energy will be slower economic growth. Slower growth, compounded over decades, means that we leave future generations with less wealth to deal with the consequences of global warming, whatever they may be.


In truth, humans are remarkably adaptive. People live north of the Arctic Circle (and we managed to survive the polar vortex in Cleveland, Ohio) where temperatures are below zero most of the year. Roughly one-third of mankind today lives in tropical climates where temperatures routinely exceed 100 degrees. In fact, you can take every one of the theoretical problems caused by global warming and identify lower-cost ways to deal with that problem than rationing energy use through higher cost energy. The answer is not necessarily using less energy but; producing massive amounts of energy. For example, if arctic ice melts and causes the sea level to rise, a wealthier world will adapt over time by moving away from the beach or building retaining walls to protect beachfront property.


The lessons our generation learned from the 1970s and 1980’s energy crisis is that energy choices favored by politicians but not embraced by the markets are destined to fail. If history has taught us anything it’s that we should resist the temptation to ask politicians or special interests to substitute their judgments for that of the market, and let markets determine how much energy gets used, what types of energy get used, where, how and by whom energy gets used. In truth, no source of energy is perfect, thus only markets can weigh the pros and cons of each source. Government’s role is to set reasonable standards for environmental performance, and allow the markets to do the rest.


Prosperity Bears the Fruit of Longevity


One must only observe history to see that as technological progress and prosperity flourish, so too does post-birth longevity.  It is a simple fact of life “The prosperous live longer than the less prosperous.”  While the environmental altruist is quick to “save the planet at any cost” with sustainability policies, the student of economic sustainability and observable history realizes that the “at any cost” mindset results, in this case, in increased health care costs and increased morbidity.


“What earthly good does it accomplish to displace deaths from pollution and global warming, only to replace them with deaths caused by poverty and socio-economic strife?”


Technological progress and prosperity fuel a longer and better quality of life, and themselves are fueled by affordable and abundant supplies of energy.


An evaluation of energy sources based solely on the polluting byproduct of that energy source fails to take into account the net positive benefits to society’s health and wealth, is specious at best.  To be valid, an evaluation must also measure the positive consequences derived from the economic affordability and positive social environmental aspects of an energy source that lengthens and saves lives. An energy source that is abundant and affordable will help produce a society that is prosperous, one where individuals benefit from high employment, great healthcare, low crime rates, and a life marked with much less stress, angst, depression, and frustration.


It is inherently unfair to characterize an energy source such as coal as only adding to a morbidity problem, when it has greatly extended our longevity by acting as an economic driver to improve our quality of life. If pollution from an energy generation source subtracts 10 years from our lifespan, but at the same time the energy produced by that source adds 40 years to longevity through quality of life improvements, removal of this energy source would deprive us of a net 30-year gain in longevity.  This inconvenient reality does not matter to those driven by the Green God of environmentalism.


In any argument for the use of renewables, have fossil fuels ever been given credit for, or has there ever been consideration of, the net positives they provide? Both sides of the energy coin must be considered. It is not projection of the assumptions of a possible future with renewables that must be considered.  That is mostly speculation, because as of now, it appears that renewables cannot now or in the foreseeable future produce a significant percentage of the energy we need at present, or the increased amount we will need in the future, if it is to be provided at affordable market rates.


Rather, consideration must be given to what contemporaneously recorded data show existed before the fossil fuel in question was ever used for energy production. If coal is to be eliminated as a fuel source for electricity production, first we must examine the human post-birth mortality rate before coal was adopted for widespread use as an energy source.  We need this information to create an informed energy policy based upon a quality of life parameter going forward. We already know what will happen if we lose coal, because we have seen a world without coal, and it is not pretty.  What does the future hold? We need a power source that is cheaper than coal (without coal being artificially taxed and fined out of existence) to produce electricity, when we need the electricity, and produce the electricity in an environmentally friendly manner. Currently, mandated wind and solar is not an answer but nuclear technologies are very promising real alternatives.


The use of coal and oil, coupled with the freedom of ingenuity and the pursuit of happiness, fueled the industrial revolution and has created vast amounts of prosperity, which betters our lives. When prosperity creation is considered, fossil fuels have likely added more than 30 years to the life expectancy of every American and thusly has extended and saved countless millions of lives.  You need to merely examine what life was like before coal and oil.


Yet, when the net cost of energy is considered with the implementation of mandated renewable technologies such as wind and solar, we do not see any prosperity-creating benefits that would dramatically save lives or increase lifespans.  Although wind and solar may be able to displace some base load and variable power generation on the grid, it is more than likely that the interaction of these wind and solar power sources with traditional base load fossil fuel sources on the grid that actually increases the production of carbon and other pollutants by creating a grid environment that makes base load fossil fuel electric generation more inefficient, and/or increases the use of more complimentary inefficient fossil fuel sources, such as natural gas peaker plants (instead of highly efficient natural gas combined cycle base-load plants.)


Even if this were not so, replacing low cost energy that has a higher pollution footprint with a high cost energy that has a lower pollution footprint, has a zero, or even a negative, net gain in the quality of our lives!


If we are to create a policy that embraces efficiency, and that is also economical, we must consider the larger picture of a future economy decimated by mandating “Spoon-Ready” non-productive jobs, and/or jobs that are unproductive because they fill no market need.  We should opt instead for an environmental policy that allows us the freedom to use our ingenuity, and thereby use and/or create the most advanced and most efficient technologies, to solve, not merely our environmental problems caused by energy generation, but our economic problems as well.


Opportunity-Driven Job Creation Versus Mandated Job Creation


There is always economic opportunity in a free-market system.  This is why countries that embrace the free market always prosper more than countries that do not. Free-market systems operate on the principles of drive, desire, ingenuity, and the ambition of the individual, and are largely governed by human nature.


Human nature does not always work in the best interest of humans, however, and that is one reason why government is necessary: to create the minimum of regulations required to discourage the negative aspects of the free-market that would be created by human nature. Government management of the market only stifles naturally derived prosperity. Negative aspects created in the market can be attributed to the human traits of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, pride, and envy.


Opportunity always exists in a free-market because there is always a “want” for a cheaper product, a product of better quality, and for products that do not yet exist that fulfill the needs and wants of humans.


If ideologically driven economic imposition-based job creation does not meet these market needs, then the entity creating these jobs will fail to sustain them.


The energy market is driven to serve consumers by lowering the price of energy and improving the quality of energy delivery. We all love “a good value” (getting the most for our money).  It is human nature, and it is a main ingredient in what drives job creation in the free market. Better quality and better prices drive us to use ingenuity to create our own opportunities in meeting the needs of a free market.  All of us are constantly seeking “a good value.”


Wind and solar are not “a good value” for the vast majority of Americans. Wind and solar technologies do have their place, though. Where diesel power generators are used in remote locations, such as islands with small populations, wind and solar may make more sense than other energy sources. In places where it is constantly windy or constantly sunny, wind and solar technologies can also be appropriate.


Wind and solar can also make sense to individuals with the necessary wealth to indulge in them, and who believe these technologies help the environment.  Those individuals can voluntary purchase these renewable technologies as a perceived superior product at a premium price.  But, of course, this is the free market working, as it should.

The post Seizing the Carp appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Tuesday, 03 Jun 2014 14:52

By Jon Morrow

Article has excerpts from Popular Mechanics and  Wikipedia.

In 2013 radiation expert Robert Emery examined a research paper in his office at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston that declared a health crisis was at his door. Authors Joseph Mangano and Janette Sherman claimed they could link 14,000 American deaths to fallout from Japan’s March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. Mangano, the executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP), holds a master’s degree in public health; Sherman is an adjunct professor of environmental studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. “Public health means prevention,” Mangano told Popular Mechanics. “It means removing any potential harm from our world.”

Mangano and Sherman tallied the number of deaths in about 100 U.S. cities in the 14 weeks after the Fukushima accident, compared with the same time period from the year before. Projected across the entire U.S., the difference amounted to thousands of “excess” deaths. The study was titled “An Unexpected Mortality Increase in the United States Follows Arrival of the Radioactive Plume from Fukushima: Is There a Correlation?”

“I read the thing and was taken aback,” says Emery, who has a doctorate in public health and is a licensed medical health physicist. The study implied fallout from Fukushima caused 484 deaths in Houston. If there had been radiation-related deaths in Texas, Emery was well-positioned to know about them. Following the disaster in Japan, he supervised the effort to set up extra air-sampling stations and Geiger counters throughout Houston to monitor any increase in radioactivity; elevated levels were not found.

double face palm

Radiation from Fukushima did reach some parts of the U.S., but Emery says the doses were so low that there is no way they could have caused the immediate fatalities the study claimed. Even at Fukushima, where workers absorbed radiation doses thousands of times higher than Americans on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, no one died from acute exposure.

The paper’s conclusions were based on a remarkably simplistic correlation that didn’t stand up to further scrutiny; at least one scientist pointed out that RPHP saw an increase only because it counted deaths from 119 cities in the year after Fukushima versus 104 cities in the year before. (The authors say the disparity was due to incomplete data for some cities.)

epic fail

The Mangano and Sherman paper is a prime example of a troubling new trend in which junk science is becoming harder to distinguish from rigorous research. It is an example of activists using the trappings of science to influence public opinion and policy. Today there are cottage industries that produce and disseminate skewed research in publications that masquerade as legitimate science journals. Celebrities and mainstream media outlets then tout the results, so that even retracted or clearly biased research can reach larger audiences than ever before. These studies cause real harm—for instance, by denouncing lifesaving vaccines and vilifying foods that could ease famine in developing countries.


People who produce junk science often come from outside the scientific mainstream, and they bend the rules of research in an attempt to legitimize their personal beliefs, says Mark Hoofnagle, a surgery resident at the University of Maryland who runs the science-monitoring blog Denialism.com. “What if your ideology is simply not supported by the evidence?” he says. “You can change your mind or you can hijack the system.”

Joe Mangano is admittedly fixated on the risks of radiation. While low-level radiation can increase a person’s chances of developing cancer over the course of a lifetime, Mangano hypothesizes that it also has short-term effects by exacerbating problems in people who are already sick.

“Saying low-dose radiation is harmless is like saying that if you smoke five cigarettes a day or less, that’s a low dose so you don’t need to do the studies,” he told us. But the lack of evidence linking low-dose radiation to immediate damage was lost in the headline of the RPHP press release: “Medical Journal Article: 14,000 U.S. Deaths Tied to Fukushima Reactor Disaster Fallout.”

“This is the first peer-reviewed study published in a medical journal documenting the health hazards of Fukushima,” the press release announced.

Ten days after the paper was published, United Press International ran a story about the study, quoting Mangano as saying the “findings are important to the current debate of whether to build new reactors, and how long to keep aging ones in operation.” A San Diego ABC affiliate later ran a news segment describing the dangers of fallout from Fukushima, interviewing Mangano and describing “which children may be vulnerable.” On-air reporter Michael Chen noted that “critics say there is no direct evidence” that the low radiation levels could cause harm, but there were no quotes from or on-air interviews with any of those critics.

When a journal publishes a paper outside its area of expertise it should raise a red flag, according to Ivan Oransky, a medical doctor and the cofounder of the Retraction Watch blog, which reports on the retractions of scientific papers. The Fukushima study deals with epidemiology. It appeared, however, in the International Journal of Health Services (IJHS), which specializes in public and social policy, including “the articulation of science and ideology in the pursuit of health.”

The IJHS is peer reviewed. Peer review alone, though an important step in establishing scientific credibility, is no guarantee of accuracy. During the typical review process, a scientist submits his or her research paper to a journal. If the journal editors want to publish it, they usually ask two experts to anonymously assess whether the findings are novel, important, and supported by the data. But journal reviewers don’t typically scrutinize raw data, re-run the statistical analyses, or look for evidence of fraud. “What they’re reviewing are mostly advertisements of research rather than the research itself,” Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis says.

With new Web-publishing platforms, it’s easy to set up a journal that publishes papers indiscriminately and calls them peer-reviewed. There are journals dedicated to sequencing Bigfoot’s genome or supporting creationism, for example. All it takes is a website and an email address.



I wonder how many people have died from the stress created by the fear of radiation that anti-nuclear groups cause? Some Radiation Reality for you.

Open-access journals make their articles available for free—instead of charging for subscriptions, they charge authors. “There’s an inherent conflict of interest,” says Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Denver who maintains a list of questionable open-access journals. “The more papers they accept, the more money they make.” He says some open-access journals, such as PLOS One, manage that conflict well, but others will publish almost anything to collect the fee.

In 2013 scientist-turned-journalist John Bohannon conducted a sting operation to determine just how easy it is to publish bogus research in open-access journals. Under a false name, he wrote a flawed paper about a fake drug and sent it to 304 open-access journals. Of the 255 journals that responded, 98 rejected the article and 157 accepted it.

Once erroneous information is rubber-stamped as peer-reviewed, it can be futile for mainstream scientists to try to counter it. Expert push-back did not banish Mangano and Sherman’s work to obscurity. In a paper that came out in the open-access journal Biomedicine International in 2013, Mangano and Sherman link the 1989 shutdown of California’s Rancho Seco nuclear reactor to 4000 fewer deaths from cancer in Sacramento County. The study is based on the same sort of speculative correlations and selective use of data as the Fukushima paper. “I think these individuals have a bias toward what they believe to be happening,” Emery says. “They’re drawing conclusions that support that bias. Have you ever heard of the Texas sharpshooter? It’s where a guy goes out in the field, shoots bullet holes in a barn, and then paints the target around the bullet holes.”

Despite his work’s scientific flaws, Mangano is popular with antinuclear activists. Actor Alec Baldwin, a supporter of RPHP, wrote an introduction to Mangano’s 2012 book on the risks of nuclear power plants, Mad Science: The Nuclear Power Experiment. In it Baldwin calls him “one of the most dedicated, intelligent, and even-handed public activists I have ever known.”

That doesn’t speak very well to Mangano’s intellect.


look at who is funding RHPH (big surprise Helen Caldicott)



The post Peer Review: It’s Not What It Used To Be! appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Saturday, 31 May 2014 20:49
Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog, Fukushima"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Friday, 30 May 2014 21:01

Commentary by Jon Morrow

Cult of Hypersensitivity

Again, I find myself having to defend a policy that should be based upon science and not passion.

Yes, I personally supported SB310, the law (if Governor Kasich signs it into law) that freezes increasing renewable mandates in Ohio. As an economist I realize the E’s (Environment, Energy, and the Economy) are all connected and you cannot just ignore anyone of the E’s if your are looking to save the planet.

I get rude comments that I am someone’s lap dog or work for some evil giant corporation. I am told I am some libertarian tea-partier that works clandestinely for the Koch brothers, Exxon, and was raised by president Bush and am just a shill for the corporatocracy and banksters. I am told I am simply against renewables because I am dumb and everything I write should be viewed from the perspective that I am Satan.



Chill out! Slow down, and please think for a minute.


When I was in the political world I would see the very same effect of people who invested themselves so much into a candidate they began to believe they were the second coming of Christ. Any question of that candidates policy was either rationalized by supporters in some inane way or you were immediately shouted down for even thinking of questioning anything that came out of the candidates mouth.

Now, I am not saying all followers of all candidates are this way but there are candidates that have their “Cult” followers. You all know who they are! They are on all sides of the aisle and they do not think or act rational because they are so heavily biased towards a jaded perspective they cannot even question the most minuscule of decisions.

This same hypersensitivity is found very predominantly in the energy and environment sector.

I have a personal opinion, based upon research, that I do not think we (the scientific and academic community) understand global warming theory well enough to suggest policy that would prevent our blue marble in the solar system from warming to heights that could potentially be catastrophic.

If you disagree with me, I do not think you are stupid, nor do I think less of you. Everyone is allowed to have their own opinion and I hope everyone is diligent enough to do some research on this topic before they get into an argument about global warming. Someone, anyone, can disagree with me and they can potentially give me information from credible sources that will change my mind……as I am not ideologically heavily invested in global warming not existing. In fact, as an advocate for thorium MSRs (Molten Salt Reactors) I should be inclined to believe in GW because it is a tremendous selling point for thorium based MSRs.

If you want to talk about GW, anthropomorphic GW, climate change and the like, lets sit down and have a scientific discussion and leave out passion. I will have respect for you and you can have respect for me.

Lets talk about wind and solar technologies.

We have been studying these technologies in the modern world for well over half a century….so unlike GW we understand these technologies very well.

Wind and solar are very cool technologies and I really appreciate the cutting edge research that is being done with these technologies. Both of these technologies have marketable applications in the free market

For very remote areas and for islands far from the main land these technologies are economically viable technologies.

For places like Ohio…..not so much. The technology as it currently is conceived just does not makes economical sense for many midwestern states. In fact there are a multitude of better solutions, as in many cases in Ohio, it is argued, that because of our access to clean burning natural gas, that wind and solar are actually preventing Ohioans from having cleaner air, cleaner water, and less GW.

Yes, you can do creative math (and many renewable advocacy organizations do) that shows that wind energy is competing with natural gas. This comparison is disingenuous when you figure in all subsidies into the ultimate cost of the energy wind and solar as compared to natural gas and its subsidies. It is not a lie or a conspiracy, it is just the plain facts when you take the time to do the math.

For places like Hawaii, wind and solar make a tremendous amount of sense.

Even in a world of LFTR (liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors) islands with very small populations (25,000 or less) LFTRs probably will not make any economic sense.

And please quit with the demonization of coal and oil. They are the best thing we got till we come up with something cheaper and cleaner like a LFTR.

To say that coal plants kill thousands of people each day is to totally ignore the billions that they save.

You cannot ignore the economics of saving the planet. Haiti is a great example of policies that lead to very high priced energy versus the relatively low cost of energy in the Dominican Republic. You can see their policies from space in the mass deforestation of Haiti compare to the lush Dominican Republic.




For those of you that do not know Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the same island and the Dominican Republic is very prosperous compared to Haiti.

Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the world (ranked 149 of 182) and they have cannibalized their landscape of trees for an energy supply. These people, because of their policies, have not the means to afford wind and solar.

The same is true of policies in America. If we make unreasonable policies that affect our prosperity the increasing amount of poor will start burning trees and waste as an economical means of sustaining themselves.

We need to start looking honestly at energy, the environment, and the economy as they are inter-related systems. We need to quit being so hypersensitive and we need to quit the ad hominem attacks that are just childish and silly. (as my dad would say time to put on the big boy pants and start acting like a grown up)

I believe that all energy sources should compete to provide us the most affordable and cleanest energy supply and the government should only set pollution based standards and not artificially prop up or mandate any specific technology. If that means pollution is defined as particulate matter or carbon then so be it. That is for the lobbyist and special interest to battle out and for us to hold our politicians accountable with our vote.


The post The Hypersensitivity of the “Cult of Energy” appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog, Hypersensitivity"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Friday, 30 May 2014 16:39

An article that purported to speak to the inaccuracies of Thorium advocates is more of an article on thorium’s use as a solid fuel and not as a liquid fuel and an article about U-233 disposal (none of which have anything to do with modern thorium advocates)

Commentary by Jon Morrow

Robert Alvarez is a columnist for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientist and you can find his bio at the bottom of this post.


Thorium: the wonder fuel that wasn’t

“Thorium-Fueled Automobile Engine Needs Refueling Once a Century,” reads the headline of an October 2013 story in an online trade publication. This fantastic promise is just one part of a modern boomlet in enthusiasm about the energy potential of thorium, a radioactive element that is far more abundant than uranium. Thorium promoters consistently extol its supposed advantages over uranium. News outlets periodically foresee the possibility of “a cheaper, more efficient, and safer form of nuclear power that produces less nuclear waste than today’s uranium-based technology.”

(Jon’s rebuttal) Who besides the most eager conspiracy theorist and the most gullible, ever believed in the thorium powered car? It is pretty disingenuous to compare legitimate science with a product that serious thorium advocates condemn. Any energy base of advocates have those advocates that exist on the fringes (including wind and solar)

Actually, though, the United States has tried to develop thorium as an energy source for some 50 years and is still struggling to deal with the legacy of those attempts. In addition to the billions of dollars it spent, mostly fruitlessly, to develop thorium fuels, the US government will have to spend billions more, at numerous federal nuclear sites, to deal with the wastes produced by those efforts. And America’s energy-from-thorium quest now faces an ignominious conclusion: The US Energy Department appears to have lost track of 96 kilograms of uranium 233, a fissile material made from thorium that can be fashioned into a bomb, and is battling the state of Nevada over the proposed dumping of nearly a ton of left-over fissile materials in a government landfill, in apparent violation of international standards.

(Jon’s rebuttal) we are only struggling with that legacy because policies have been implemented that have not allowed us to deal with those problems such as the development of Molten Salt Reactors. If you accept the status quo, then yes we have to spend billions. Keyword is “appears”, they have not proven conclusively that anything is missing. There has never been a uranium 233 bomb produced (the Operation Teapot bomb was a plutonium and uranium 233 bomb). We do not want fissile material in a landfill either, we would prefer to use it as fuel if possible.

Early thorium optimism. The energy potential of the element thorium was discovered in 1940 at the University of California at Berkeley, during the very early days of the US nuclear weapons program. Although thorium atoms do not split, researchers found that they will absorb neutrons when irradiated. After that a small fraction of the thorium then transmutes into a fissionable material—uranium 233—that does undergo fission and can therefore be used in a reactor or bomb.

(Jon’s rebuttal)  Yet, there are no uranium 233 bombs in anyones nuclear bomb arsenal in all the world. It seems very peculiar to me that there is a very economical means to produce uranium 233 with the fairly ubiquitous element thorium in a Molten Salt Reactor and yet no country is making uranium 233 bombs.  A complicating factor to make U-233 into a bomb is that U-233 is always contaminated with U-232 that has decay products that give off high energy gamma radiation which requires additional measures to protect worker health and safety. This hard gamma signature also means that U-233 can be tracked from space by satellites designed to track nuclear materials. The high radiation dose [from U-232 decay] provides self protection to separated fissile material against diversion and misuse. This makes it almost an impossibility that a rogue state could or would fashion an atomic bomb from U-233, it simply would be too expensive and there are much cheaper and safer ways to produce a nuclear bomb.

By the early 1960’s, the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) had established a major thorium fuel research and development program, spurring utilities to build thorium-fueled reactors. Back then, the AEC was projecting that some 1,000 nuclear power reactors would dot the American landscape by the end of the 20th century, with a similar nuclear capacity abroad. As a result, the official reasoning held, world uranium supplies would be rapidly exhausted, and reactors that ran on the more-plentiful thorium would be needed.

(Jon’s rebuttal) in the United States there were only three solid fuel thorium experiments in the U.S. that involved utilities and there was never an active policy that led economic development efforts of a civilian thorium fuel cycle program. The 40 MWe Peach Bottom HTR in the Harrisburg, PA was a demonstration thorium-fuelled reactor that ran from 1967-74. The reactor itself was considered a success but mismanagement (not technical problems) forced the NRC to shutdown this reactor. 

The 330 MWe Fort St Vrain HTR in Colorado, USA, was a larger-scale commercial successor to the Peach Bottom reactor and ran from 1976-89. It also used thorium-HEU fuel in the form of microspheres of mixed thorium-uranium carbide coated with silicon oxide and pyrolytic carbon to retain fission products. These were embedded in graphite ‘compacts’ that were arranged in hexagonal columns (‘prisms’). Almost 25 tonnes of thorium was used in fuel for the reactor, much of which attained a burn-up of about 170 GWd/t. Though this reactor had many technical problems, they were worked through and solved, this reactor proved to help solidify a design that has the potential to be highly successful after all the bugs were worked out. 

A unique thorium-fuelled Light Water Breeder Reactor operated from 1977 to 1982 at Shippingport in the USA– it used uranium-233 as the fissile driver in special fuel assemblies that had movable ‘seed’ regions which allowed the level of neutron moderation to be gradually increased as the fuel agede. The reactor core was housed in a reconfigured early PWR. It operated with a power output of 60 MWe (236 MWt) and an availability factor of 86% producing over 2.1 billion kWh. Post-operation inspections revealed that 1.39% more fissile fuel was present at the end of core life, proving that breeding had occurred.

With all of these successes there really does not point to any technical problems behind the science of using thorium in a solid fueled LWR (Light Water Reactor)

With the strong endorsement of a congressionally created body, the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, the United States began a major effort in the early 1960s to fund a two-track research and development effort for a new generation of reactors that would make any uranium shortage irrelevant by producing more fissile material fuel than they consumed.

The first track was development of plutonium-fueled “breeder” reactors, which held the promise of producing electricity and 30 percent more fuel than they consumed. This effort collapsed in the United States in the early 1980’s because of cost and proliferation concerns and technological problems.  (The plutonium “fast” reactor program has been able to stay alive and still receives hefty sums as part of the Energy Department’s nuclear research and development portfolio.)

The second track—now largely forgotten—was based on thorium-fueled reactors. This option was attractive because thorium is far more abundant than uranium and holds the potential for producing an even larger amount of uranium 233 in reactors designed specifically for that purpose. In pursuing this track, the government produced a large amount of uranium 233, mainly at weapons production reactors. Approximately two tons of uranium 233 was produced, at an estimated total cost of $5.5 to $11 billion (2012 dollars), including associated cleanup costs.

(Jon’s rebuttal) the estimated total cost seems to be high especially if the U-233 is used as fuel

The federal government established research and development projects to demonstrate the viability of uranium 233 breeder reactors in Minnesota, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. By 1977, however, the government abandoned pursuit of the thorium fuel cycle in favor of plutonium-fueled breeders, leading to dissent in the ranks of the AEC. Alvin Weinberg, the long-time director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was, in large part, fired because of his support of thorium over plutonium fuel.

(Jon’s rebuttal) Uranium-233 is not Thorium and nor are we  talking about MSR’s at this point

By the late 1980’s, after several failed attempts to use it commercially, the US nuclear power industry also walked away from thorium. The first commercial nuclear plant to use thorium was Indian Point Unit I, a pressurized water reactor near New York City that began operation in 1962. Attempts to recover uranium 233 from its irradiated thorium fuel were described, however, as a “financial disaster.” The last serious attempt to use thorium in a commercial reactor was at the Fort St. Vrain plant in Colorado, which closed in 1989 after 10 years and hundreds of equipment failures, leaks, and fuel failures. There were four failed commercial thorium ventures; prior agreement makes the US government responsible for their wastes.

(Jon’s rebuttal) Yes, there were commercial failures and some technical failures for using thorium in solid fueled reactor. The overwhelming majority of thorium advocates today advocate for liquid cored reactors of a molten salt design. Units like the Elk River reactor (America’s first rural reactor) suffered from the politics of nuclear scare tactics, not because of science or the free market system. Indian Point Unit One, was originally designed to use a thorium core but when that did not work as expected it used Uranium Oxide as its fuel source. It operated without any incidents of concern from 1962 to 1974 (12 years) and was only shutdown by the NRC because its cooling system did not meet new regulations. Many of these commercial failures were the result of new and stringent regulations. 

Where is the missing uranium 233? As it turned out, of course, the Atomic Energy Commission’s prediction of future nuclear capacity was off by an order of magnitude—the US nuclear fleet topped out at about 100, rather than 1,000 reactors—and the predicted uranium shortage never occurred. America’s experience with thorium fuels faded from public memory until 1996. Then, an Energy Department safety investigation found a national repository for uranium 233 in a building constructed in 1943 at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The repository was in dreadful condition; investigators reported an environmental release from a large fraction of the 1,100 containers “could be expected to occur within the next five years in that some of the packages are approaching 30 years of age and have not been regularly inspected.” The Energy Department later concluded that the building had “deteriorated beyond cost-effective repair. Significant annual costs would be incurred to satisfy current DOE storage standards, and to provide continued protection against potential nuclear criticality accidents or theft of the material.”

The neglect extended beyond the repository and storage containers; the government had also failed to keep proper track of its stores of uranium 233, officially classified as a Category I strategic special nuclear material that requires stringent security measures to prevent “an unauthorized opportunity to initiate or credibly threaten to initiate a nuclear dispersal or detonation.”

A 1996 audit by the Energy Department’s inspector general reported that the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility, and the Idaho National Laboratory “had not performed all required physical inventories ..the longer complete physical inventories are delayed, the greater the risk that unauthorized movement of special nuclear materials could occur and go undetected.” The amounts of uranium 233 that the Oak Ridge and Idaho national labs have reported in their inventories has significantly varied. Based on a review of Energy Department data, there appears to be  an inventory discrepancy; 96 kilograms or 6 percent of the U-233 produced is not accounted for. The Energy Department has yet to address this discrepancy, which difference is enough to fuel at least a dozen nuclear weapons.

(Jon’s rebuttal) A discrepancy does not necessarily mean any material is missing but it does warrant an investigation. The reason for the estimate of reactors being off is that no one could of predicted the policies generated by a scared public. Reactors that once took 1 to 4 years to build now took 8 to 10 years to build. The best way to protect the public from dying in an airplane crash is to never let them fly in an airplane. The same is true for nuclear energy, during the 1970′s when irrational public sentiment and the media turned against the nuclear industry, their industry was essentially regulated and priced out of competition. Today, more companies are looking at nuclear because coal is being regulated and priced out of competition and renewables, are without regulations, already high in price (including subsidies)

Uranium 233 compares favorably to plutonium in terms of weaponization; a critical mass of that isotope of uranium—about 6 kilograms, in its metal form—is about the same weight as a plutonium critical mass. Unlike plutonium, however, uranium 233 does not need implosion engineering to be used in a bomb. In fact, the US government produced uranium 233 in small quantities for weapons, and weapons designers conducted several nuclear weapons tests between 1955 and 1968 using uranium 233. Interest was renewed in the mid-1960s, but uranium 233 never gained wide use as a weapons material in the US military because of its high cost, associated with the radiation protection required to protect personnel from uranium 232, a highly radioactive contaminant co-produced with uranium 233.

(Jon’s rebuttal) If America and China cannot afford to build U-233 bombs……then who can?

For a terrorist, however, uranium 233 is a tempting theft target; it does not require advanced shaping and implosion technology to be fashioned into a workable nuclear device. The Energy Department recognizes this characteristic and requires any amount of more than two kilograms of uranium 233 to be maintained under its most stringent safeguards, to prevent “onsite assembly of an improvised nuclear device.” As for the claim that radiation levels from uranium 232 make uranium 233 proliferation resistant, Oak Ridge researchers note that “if a diverter was motivated by foreign nationalistic purposes, personnel exposure would be of no concern since exposure … would not result in immediate death.”

(Jon’s rebuttal) “For a terrorist, however, uranium 233 is a tempting theft target” if he and everyone associated with the material wants to live a very short life. Very doubtful that you would be able to find a terrorist with the technical know how to build a nuclear bomb that would be willing to sacrifice their life and even more remote is the possibility that a terrorist organization would actually have he resources to build a facility to make such a weapon.

The end of an unfortunate era. After its 1996 safety investigation at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Energy Department spent millions to repackage about 450 kilograms of uranium 233 that is mixed with uranium 235 and sitting in the lab’s Building 3019, and to dispose of diluted uranium 233 fuel stored at the Idaho National Lab. The Energy Department’s nuclear weapons program managed to shift responsibility for the stockpile in Building 3019 from Oak Ridge to the Office of Nuclear Energy, which envisioned using the uranium 233 to make medical isotopes. This plan fell apart, and in 2005 Congress ordered the Energy Department to dispose of the uranium 233 stockpile as waste.

(Jon’s rebuttal) Uranium 233 is also a treasure trove of isotopes. Especially Bismuth 213 and Actinium 225 which shows the promise of potentially curing cancer and possibly HIV AIDS.

Since then, the Energy Department’s Office of Environmental Management has considered uranium-233 disposal to be an unfunded mandate, disconnected from other, higher-priority environmental cleanup compliance agreements. After several fits and starts, including a turnover of four project managers in less than two years, the Energy Department’s disposition project “had encountered a number of design delays, may exceed original cost estimates, and will likely not meet completion milestones,” the department’s inspector general reported in 2010. The cost of the project increased from $384 million to $473 million—or more than $1 million per kilogram for the disposal of uranium 233.

(Jon’s rebuttal) of course (sarcasm alert) lets pay a lot of money to destroy a promising cure for cancer, a promising cure for AIDS and a material that could be used by MSRs to produce a lot of energy. Why are we talking about U-233 disposal? Wasn’t this supposed to be a relevant article about Thorium?

In an effort to reduce costs, the Energy Department developed a plan to ship nearly 75 percent of the fissile materials in Building 3019, as is, to a landfill at the Nevada Nuclear Security Site by the end of 2014. Because such disposal would violate the agency’s formal safeguards and radioactive waste disposal requirements, the Energy Department changed those rules, which it can do without public notification or comment.  Never before has the agency or its predecessors taken steps to deliberately dump a large amount of highly concentrated fissile material in a landfill, an action that violates international standards and norms.

In June 2013, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and members of the state’s congressional delegation announced their opposition to the landfill disposition planEnergy Secretary Ernest Moniz visited with Sandoval but did not back down from the landfill plan.  Even though the Oak Ridge material in its current form meets the legal definition for radioactive waste requiring geologic disposal, the Energy Department has taken the position that the sweeping authority granted to it under the Atomic Energy Act allows the department to dispose of the fissile material however it pleases, regardless of the state’s objection.

The United States has spent nearly $10 billion to discourage practices like landfill dumping of fissile materials in the former Soviet Union, only to have the Energy Department try it at home. Heedless of the discrepancy between overseas and domestic disposal policies, the department’s agenda—which focuses on saving money on guards who would be needed to secure the uranium 233—is placing the United States in an impossible position when it comes to criticizing the nuclear materials security of other countries. So ends America’s official experience with thorium, the wonder fuel.

(Jon’s comments) The only thing this article proves is that Robert Alvarez is siding with groups such as “Beyond Nuclear” that have a biased towards any type of nuclear energy and is not willing to let science and facts guide policy. There is little to no intellectual honesty in this article and is geared to belittle and smear thorium technology. This article focuses on using thorium as a solid fuel instead of as a liquid fuel as the vast majority of thorium advocates promote.

Biography of Robert Alvarez

A senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, Robert Alvarez served as senior policy adviser to the Energy Department’s secretary and deputy assistant secretary for national security and the environment from 1993 to 1999. During this tenure, he led teams in North Korea to establish control of nuclear weapons materials. He also coordinated the Energy Department’s nuclear material strategic planning and established the department’s first asset management program. Before joining the Energy Department, Alvarez served for five years as a senior investigator for the US Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, chaired by Sen. John Glenn, and as one of the Senate’s primary staff experts on the US nuclear weapons program. In 1975, Alvarez helped found and direct the Environmental Policy Institute, a respected national public interest organization. He also helped organize a successful lawsuit on behalf of the family of Karen Silkwood, a nuclear worker and active union member who was killed under mysterious circumstances in 1974. Alvarez has published articles in Science, theBulletin of Atomic ScientistsTechnology Review, and The Washington Post. He has been featured in television programs such as NOVA and 60 Minutes.

The post Bulletin of Atomic Scientist and Robert Alvarez appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Thursday, 29 May 2014 21:45


The country has been watching Ohio as it freezes it’s mandated use of renewable energy and begins to consider other clean energy technologies such as energy from Thorium!

The verdict: Ohio is doing the opposite of almost every other state and many passionate environmentalist are crying afoul! (let’s not say that Ohio cannot be a trail blazer)

But, really….. Ohio is only questioning “Is the mandated use of renewables solving any problems or is the policy causing more problems?”
“I am baffled as to the logic,” Dan Kammen, professor of energy at the University of California, Berkeley. “For whatever sort of politics, it’s an outlier, because it’s not the direction we’re seeing in communities irrespective of red or blue. It’s not something that makes sense overall.”

The bill to freeze Ohio’s renewable-energy standards passed its last obstacle Wednesday and is headed to Ohio Gov.John Kasich.

The Ohio House and Senate this afternoon approved the bill that has garnered national attention. Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols would not say Wednesday morning if Kasich would sign the bill (SB310).

Alternative energy backers, some industrial users and even religious leaders have pushed back against the bill that would freeze Ohio’s renewable and energy efficiency requirements for two years, making the state the first to do so.

A group of consumer advocates, industry groups and manufacturers last week proposed a compromise that would roll back the proposed two-year freeze to one, but the chairman of the House Public Utilities Committee refused to hear it Tuesday.

Republicans, led by Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, have pushed Senate Bill 310, arguing that it will be too costly for utilities like American Electric Power Company Inc. (NYSE:AEP), which is among the state energy generators to favor the legislation.

Ohio’s existing standards, signed into law by Gov. Ted Strickland in 2008, require utilities to use alternative energy for 25 percent of their power load by 2025. Utilities also have to cut customer power usage by 22 percent.

Ohio Advanced Energy Economy, one of the main opponents of the bill, issued a poll last month that showed most Ohioans approved keeping the state’s standards, but were unaware that legislators were trying to change them.

Bill opponents did score one goal with the new bill. A provision that would allow utilities under a future renewable-energy contract to be released from the agreement “if there is a change in the renewable energy resources requirements” would have effectively killed the alternative energy industry, regardless of a freeze’s end, opponents told me.

That provision was removed from the bill on Tuesday.

“Ohio needs more renewable and alternative-energy sources and it needs a strong system to support them as they get started,” Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said in an email.

“It’s naïve, however, to think that government could create that system perfectly the first time and never have to check back to see if everything’s OK.
“After a lot of hard work we’ve got a solid plan to examine the progress Ohio has made while also holding onto that progress,” he said. “We rejected the efforts by those who’d like to kill renewable-energy and energy-efficiency efforts altogether and instead we’re moving forward in a balanced way that supports renewable energy while also preserving the economic recovery that’s created more than 250,000 jobs.”
More than half of the country has some type of goal in place for utilities to embrace alternative energy, including renewables like solar, wind and biomass. Ohio passed a near-unanimous bill (led by a Republican House and Senate) in 2008 to require utilities get 25 percent of their energy from alternative energy by 2025, half of that from renewables.

An energy-efficiency requirement of 22 percent by 2025 is also required.
But efforts to chip away at the standards have increased in recent years, as utilities and some business groups warn of high costs to ratepayers as utilities comply. The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council has pushed similar legislation in other states with renewable standards, but it hasn’t gotten close to governors’ desks.
Ohio is different. Since the bill was introduced in late March, spearheaded by Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina, the bill has sped toward passage, spawning one committee hearing that stretched into the early morning hours.

Ohio has also been the state hardest hit in the nation by EPA standards that have shutdown coal fired power plants and have doubled and tripled some ratepayers costs for electricity. New wind and solar projects are much more expensive than electricity from natural generation and though Ohio’s economy is booming compared to 2008, it’s economy could be derailed by high energy costs.
“Why it (SB310) was pushed through so rapidly and without careful examination, in an election year, it’s inexplicable in my view,” said Ted Ford, CEO of Ohio Advanced Energy Economy, one of the biggest opponents of the bill. “For those around the Statehouse for a long time, it’s a unique thing. Nobody’s seen anything quite like this before.”
Keith Lake, vice president of government affairs for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, a supporter of the bill, said the dire warnings that the bill will kill renewables and efficiency are embellishments.
“There’s been a lot of hysteria, a lot of hyperbole around this,” Lake told us. “Our mandates that are still in place will resume in two years if the legislature doesn’t do anything else as a result of this study committee, will stay in place – just not go up. To suggest we’re repealing them, taking a step backward, going too far, becoming Rust Belt – that’s ridiculous.”
Lake said the Chamber would have preferred a more immediate, permanent solution.
“Our biggest concern is the compliance cost of mandates,” he said.
Sen. Bill Seitz, the outspoken Republican from Cincinnati and chair of the Senate Public Utilities Committee, has tried for more than a year to pass his own bill to roll back alternative energy. But he could never gather enough support for his bill. Seitz also supported a bill heard in January sponsored by Sen. Kris Jordan, R-Delaware. Senate Bill 34 would have repealed the 2008 standards but was deemed too extreme.
That led to Senate Bill 310, which glided through the Senate and House as dozens of opponents testified against its potential impact on jobs and new wind and solar projects.
“It was very helpful to have leadership at least supporting the concept,” Jordan told me.
Alternative-energy companies employ more than 25,000 workers in Ohio, according to the most recent data.
Jordan still prefers to end the standards completely and will work to weaken the mandates during the two-year freeze. He’s against all government mandates and the subsidies the alternative-energy industry enjoys. Alternative-energy backers point to the subsidies fossil-fuel burning utilities receive, but those comparisons are not apples-to-apples, Jordan said.
“They’re comparing kiwis to cantaloupes,” he said, because traditional sources provide much more of the state’s energy than renewables do.
Coal generates 70 percent of Ohio’s energy. Renewable and advanced energy provides 1.70 percent.

The post Ohio First State to say “Whoa, Maybe there is a Better Way!” appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Thursday, 29 May 2014 21:08

Gordon McDowell does it again!


Dr. Helen Caldicott is the most prominent anti-nuclear activist in the world. She’s been featured on CNN, 60 Minutes, CBC and Democracy Now.

In the 80s, Helen Caldicott campaigned against nuclear weapons testing in the pacific (still responsible today for the majority of tritium we’re exposed to), and against the notion of a winnable nuclear war. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts.

She has always made inaccurate statements regarding civilian nuclear power.

But, since the Fukushima-Diachii radiation release has caused (and is projected to cause) zero fatalities…


…her tone has changed. I’d hope any person or media outlet check Caldicott’s statements (on any subject) against a domain expert.

MY ERROR: At 36:30 “1000 Mt GHG” means 1000 Megatonnes (million metric tons) of Greenhouse Gasses, and NOT merely metric tonnes.

Theme Music by: http://KiloWattsMusic.com

“Electric Car” by “They Might Be Giants”:http://youtu.be/jAv6M1Bai0c

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beard Seinfeld 102nd episode

http://youtu.be/IrEQiOclEUI Robert Stone @ FCCJ

http://youtu.be/GZ0X6zOiuUA Caldicott “Loving This Planet” @ New School

http://youtu.be/u-Of-3VontE Caldicott “Shut Down All Nuclear Power Plants!” @ RT Google Hangout

http://youtu.be/UHMor_mprp4 Caldicott @ N.H. Peace Action

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/3/30… Caldicott vs Monbiot @ Democracy Now!

http://youtu.be/NOmAsdYG3F8 Ben Heard @ IQ2

http://youtu.be/ayIyiVua8cY Robert Hargraves “Energy Cheaper Than Coal” @ ThEC12

http://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates Bill Gates “Innovate to Zero!” @ TED

http://fora.tv/2011/05/03/Bill_Gates_… Bill Gates “Energy Innovation” @ WIRED

http://atomicinsights.com/atomic-show… Dr. Arjun Makhijani “Carbon Free Nuclear Free” @ AtomicInsights

http://youtu.be/pLkBdD-sM8E Pandora’s Promise @ Google

http://youtu.be/iLX8jCKL9I4 Jiang Mianheng @ ThEC12

http://youtu.be/N2vzotsvvkw Kirk Sorensen @ TEDxYYC

http://youtu.be/whkvDTdI9yo Q&A with Robert Stone & Michael Shellenberger @ Texas A&M University

http://youtu.be/EArymchGU18 Busy Sidewalk

http://youtu.be/tfOpPnfW0lo Pumps “Boom with No Boundaries”

http://youtu.be/IYwXJYpTzlk Wave “Ocean Film Tour”

http://youtu.be/jdl1OOK7kMQ Sombrio Bridge Time Lapse

http://youtu.be/px5Pt-w7Vls Aluminum MacBook Unboxing

http://youtu.be/BugnfrZlZC4 Pumpjack Oil Pumps Deliver Texas Crude Oil

http://www.whokilledtheelectriccar.com/ Who Killed Electric Car? GM EV1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penn_%26… Penn & Teller “Environmental Hysteria”

“Dr. Helen Caldicott” is Thorium Documentary Part 11, build of iteration v504f.

The post Beyond Helen Caldicott! appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog, GORDON MCDOWELL, VIDEO POST"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Thursday, 22 May 2014 13:31

by Jon Morrow


Columbus, OH — Just as the war is raging on whether to repeal state mandated renewable portfolio standards across the U.S. that would allow for other technologies (such as thorium based energy technologies) to compete to cleanup our environment, the Obama administration has won a politically decisive victory that may render any free market solution point mute.

Ground zero is Columbus, Ohio and senator Bill Seitz’s attempt at freezing Ohio’s progressive implementation of ever increasing state mandated use of state mandated renewables. When legislators in Ohio passed Senate Bill 221 into law in 2008 it had yet to realize the benefits of the clean energy that a boon of natural gas discovered in the Marcellus shale formation would provide. With Ohio already suffering from coal fired power plants that had to be shut down before planned, Ohio rate payers are suffering from astronomically high rates for electricity because they must finish pay for the plants shutdown due to federal regulation.

Electricity rates have not decreased with the addition of mandated renewable energy and since the coal fired power plants have been shutdown and/or are being replaced with much cleaner burning natural gas, many legislator have seen fit to stop the dramatically rising price of electricity by freezing current renewable standards.

Senate Bill 310 (the bill to freeze renewable energy mandates in Ohio) had a long and hard fought victory to make it out of the Ohio senate and it is now being considered in the Ohio house.

A recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme court may render SB310 mute as far as the intention of saving Ohio rate payers money on their electric bills.

The question asked by the Obama administration “Who should pay for air pollution that crosses state lines?” The answer, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, is blowing in the wind.

States in the Midwest and South whose polluted air flows north and east must comply with a federally imposed solution, a 6-2 majority of justices ruled.

The decision, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and joined by two of the court’s conservatives, was a boon for the Obama administration and its environmental regulators. They had required 28 upwind states to slash ozone and fine particle emissions from power plants because of their downwind effects.

Most of those states had rebelled against the solution, and a federal appeals court sided with them in 2012. But the justices reversed the lower court’s ruling.




This ruling affects Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia because they have the most coal fired power plants and new EPA NESHAP rules make the replacement of these coal fired power plants with any new coal fired power plants nearly impossible. Many local economic development directors worry that rising electricity costs will prevent Ohio manufacturers from competing in the world marketplace and that savings that would be realized by SB310 would be eaten up by the ruling in favor of the EPA.

The ruling focuses on air currents miles overhead but has down-to-earth consequences.

The Environmental Protection Agency blames exposure to ozone and fine particles in the air for one in 20 deaths in the United States, 90,000 hospital admissions, 200,000 non-fatal heart attacks and 2.5 million cases of aggravated asthma.

Given the depth of the problem, the court majority concluded that the EPA chose a sensible solution — basing required reductions in pollutants that cause soot and smog on the least costly means available. That puts an added burden on states that have done less in the past to control their power plant pollution.

“We are satisfied that EPA’s construction of the (Clean Air Act) reasonably responded to a perplexing problem the statute itself does not resolve,” Ginsburg said from the bench.

Attorneys for the objecting states and industries argued that the EPA was imposing a solution on the states before they could devise their own emissions control plans.

It’s known as the “good neighbor” provision, but the neighbors haven’t been playing nice. Twenty-four states had urged the justices to uphold the federal appeals court ruling striking down the EPA rule. Nine states and six cities had asked them to reverse the appeals court decision and reinstate the rule.

Justice Antonin Scalia dissented from the ruling along with Justice Clarence Thomas, arguing that upwind states should be responsible only for their proportional share of downwind pollution. He said the decision will create “government by the bureaucracy” and feed “the uncontrolled growth of the administrative state at the expense of government by the people.”

The high court first dealt with the issue of cross-state air pollution in 1907, when Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes ruled against two copper smelters in Tennessee for the “wholesale destruction of forests, orchards and crops” in Georgia. In 1963, Congress passed the Clean Air Act, the nation’s most powerful tool against air pollution, and has updated it several times since.

The cross-state transport rule was born in 1977 and tightened in 1990, but federal regulators never have been able to make it work. The most recent effort set tough standards for “upwind” states and their polluting industries, mostly coal- and oil-fired power plants.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck that down last year. It ruled that the EPA didn’t give states enough time to devise their own emissions reduction plans and didn’t limit the fix to each state’s “significant contribution” to the overall problem.

But the court’s majority ruled that with air pollution blowing in the wind, it would be impossible to apportion blame precisely, making a federal solution based on costs and other factors more palatable.

“The proportional approach, EPA persuades us, works neither mathematically nor in practical application,” Ginsburg said. “Proportionality as to one downwind state will not yield proportionality as to others.”

The justices also noted that Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states cannot meet federal emissions control standards without help from their neighbors to the west and south. Maryland, which spent $2.6 billion on its own emissions control efforts between 2007-10, estimates that 70% of its air pollution floats in over its borders.

Ginsburg was joined in the decision by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Justice Samuel Alito had recused himself from the case, presumably because of a potential conflict of interest.

Environmental groups hailed the decision. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy called it “a resounding victory for public health” that “serves to support the ongoing work to see that air quality in downwind states continues to improve.”

Industry groups were warned that the ruling would impose new costs on power plants, possibly forcing more power plants in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia to shut down.

“EPA continues to abuse the Clean Air Act, imposing overreaching regulations that promise little gain with great pain for American consumers and the broader American economy,” said Laura Sheehan of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Many industry experts believe, that if rulings like this stand that states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, will have to either develop new nuclear technologies very quickly or risk having their economies severely devastated.

The American Traditions Institute is worried about the precedent that this ruling will set as their research shows that there are other clean energy alternatives. The below videos accurately state their position as declaring expensive renewable mandates as un-constitutional.


Here is Green Energy Ohio’s position on the renewable standard.

The post New Pollution Ruling Favors the Development of Clean Energy Sources appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Date: Saturday, 17 May 2014 17:07

For those that the State Department has blocked on you tube.

A Movie on the Environment that Both the Right and Left Can love


Can those that endorse new nuclear technologies like Thorium based technologies get a long with renewable energy advocates? Can renewable energy advocates get along with Thorium advocates?

Please watch this documentary and see if it changes the way you look at energy production

Whoa: Talk about apocalyptic! And from the mouth of babes. Just a second! Cool it!

That, Lomborg and Timoner have said, is the goal of Cool It: to give us a rational time-out amid all this global doom and gloom. Cool It is a riposte to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, a film Lomborg and Timoner say helped whip up an enviro-hysteria in which rational debate has been replaced by emotional rhetoric. Trouble is, Lomborg is hardly a dispassionate observer – he’s an interested player in the debate. And his ideas are nothing if not controversial. The Danish statistician launched a firestorm a decade ago with the publication of his best seller The Skeptical Environmentalist, which attacked some of the assumptions made by the world’s leading environmentalists. Some critics denounced the book as bad science and Lomborg as a charlatan. Others championed it as a breath of fresh air.

In “Cool It!” Lomborg presents himself as a laid-back, cheerful pragmatist. He doesn’t deny that global warming is real but argues that its effects won’t be as dire as some experts claim. And he criticizes most efforts to forestall Global Warming as unrealistic and too expensive.

The movie identifies policies that will help the world to deal with climate change.

The post Cool It! (an environmentally rational documentary) appeared first on The Energy From Thorium Foundation.

Author: "Jon Morrow" Tags: "blog"
Comments Send by mail Print  Save  Delicious 
Next page
» You can also retrieve older items : Read
» © All content and copyrights belong to their respective authors.«
» © FeedShow - Online RSS Feeds Reader