Thorium News and All Things Related

Thorium Molten Salt Burner

This is page is where our news articles will be published. Those related to our project, and those related to the industries we work in.

There’s quite a lot going on from Rare Earths mining and processing, Fluorination of fuels, to Molten Salt Modelling Technology, to regulations and new laws from around the world.

Critical Analysis of a Questionable Review on Molten Salt Technology

Doomsday Clock

The Article

The name of the article is “Molten salt reactors were trouble in the 1960s—and they remain trouble today.”, authored by M. V. Ramana and appearing 20 June 2022 on the website of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Keep in mind that the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists are the keepers of the “Doomsday Clock” – a relic of the cold war era designed to keep Joe Public scared and the public funding coffers open so the industrial-military complex of the west could continue building nuclear weapons. The links is the end of this article.

The Doomsday Clock has been ticking for 70 years. It’s time to let it die.

Why I’m giving up on the apocalypse countdown., Shannon Osaka, Reporter

We could spend hours rebutting and refuting every single piece of purported evidence submitted by the article, but that is not smart thing to do. And it’s not actually the point. When you understand the meaning behind the article a direct refute is actually a waste of time.

Not a Technical Data Review nor a Rebuttal of Technical Content

But, on the technical competence of Thorium Molten Salt technology, we have spent many hours interviewing the last surviving members of the research programs of the 1960’s and 1970’s. We can state that all the claims in the article we have reviewed are bogus. Hence our review here.

The article was clearly a hit piece from the start, so it must be assessed as one. We will review the writing style and the techniques used to make it appear a useful and credible piece. But in fact it is not at all. It has nothing to do with science and everything to do with objectives that are not clear from the article itself.

The article creates a dismal portrayal of actual events, and doubt and hesitation in the mind of the uninformed reader. Even a nuclear scientist who hasn’t studied the MSRE could nod their head in agreement – unless they critically review how the data is presented.

If used skillfully, the article would be a damaging success and Thorium Molten Salt would remain on the shelf.

The article is designed to be given to a senator or congress member (India, USA, German etc.) who might be teetering on the edge of supporting the best form of energy generation we have: Thorium Molten Salt.

This article could also be used to commit USD billions of public money to dilute and bury U233. Who owns the contracting companies work in the place where they will bury it? Follow the money.

It’s unfortunate that such people exist who put their name to such work, but hey, it’s not a game without an opponent.

Lessons First: How to Distract with Writing

Firstly here’s some pointers on how to attack something with an article, without making it appear like an attack. There are certain techniques that a writer can use to make their writing appear full of valuable data while dissuading further analysis.

These techniques include:

  • Overloading the article with technical jargon and complex language that is difficult for laypeople to understand. This can make the reader feel overwhelmed or intimidated, and discourage them from delving deeper into the topic.
  • Presenting only one side of the argument, and ignoring or downplaying any opposing viewpoints or evidence. This can create the impression that the author has provided a complete and conclusive analysis, when in reality there may be much more to consider.
  • Using emotionally charged language or rhetoric to appeal to the reader’s emotions, rather than presenting objective facts and evidence. This can make it difficult for the reader to separate the author’s opinion from the facts of the matter.
  • Limiting the scope of the article to a narrow or specific aspect of the topic, without providing a broader context or perspective. This can make it seem as though the topic is fully explored, when in reality there may be many other important factors to consider.

Other variations of techniques that can be used to appear scientific and fact-based while actually presenting a biased or negative view of the subject matter. can be:

  • Selectively citing studies or data that support the writer’s viewpoint while ignoring or downplaying studies or data that contradict it.
  • Using loaded language or emotional appeals to discredit the subject matter or those associated with it.
  • Employing a one-sided or cherry-picked narrative that presents a biased view of events or situations.
  • Using innuendo or insinuation to suggest negative associations with the subject matter, without providing clear evidence to support the claims.

The Authors Background

Let’s now consider the author. Who is he and what is his beef with Thorium? It’s important to understand their position and who or what they may be supporting in the background.

On face value, it seems that M. V. Ramana is a well-respected expert in nuclear disarmament. He has published extensively on the subject, and his work has been recognized with several awards and appointments to prestigious organizations. Ramana’s focus on disarmament and nuclear risk assessment suggests that he is concerned about the potential dangers of nuclear power and views it as a threat to global security.

Given his expertise in the field and his focus on disarmament, it is not surprising that Ramana is critical of Molten Salt Burners. His emphasis on the risks associated with this technology, such as accidents and proliferation concerns, have been debunked in numerous papers and reports, however it obvious that Ramana still views them as unacceptable given the article and his general concerns about the nuclear topic. Additionally, his affiliation with groups such as the International Nuclear Risk Assessment Group and the team that produces the World Nuclear Industry Status Report suggest that he is part of a broader movement to promote safer and more sustainable energy options, which may lead him to be skeptical of new nuclear technologies.

However, upon reviewing the previous articles Ramana has authored or co-authored, notably absent is anything about UK’s plans to increase their nuclear arsenal. The UK needs to boost their uranium fired power industry to give cover for plutonium production. The material is necessary for the additional 80 Trident warheads the UK intends to build in the next few years.

You can dive down that rabbit hole of more nuclear weapons with these links:

UK Planning for Rapid Nuclear Expansion

UK Increases Nuclear Arsenal Article 1 – Reuters

UK Increases Nuclear Arsenal Article 2 – Guardian

Having no article on this is strange considering Ramana’s position as chair of a non-proliferation organization, and his propensity to produce articles. There are 33 articles on The Bulletin alone with his name attached.

However one must consider what the UK has been doing to rubbish Thorium. We will touch on it here but it does deserve a full article in the near future.

Put frankly, after the IAEA published their technical memo 1450 in May 2005 supporting Thorium as a fuel and identifying it’s non-proliferation features, the UK set about the systematic vilification of Thorium. An anti-Thorium article by three learned (but non-nuclear) Cambridge professors; a publicly funded 1.5 million GBP “no-to-Thorium” research report by a single person consultancy that referenced Wikipedia as a source; the gagging of a Lord; the possible early demise of the former head of Greenpeace UK, who had switched to Thorium. Then, the announcements of new nuclear energy for UK and shortly thereafter new nuclear weapons. It’s the makings of a sinister plot of a Bond movie. Or perhaps more akin to a “Get Smart” episode, or indeed, for the UK, “Yes, Minister”.

IAEA Technical Memo 1450 Thorium Fuel Cycle Potential Benefits and Challenges

Be sure to consider this IAEA report on Thorium focuses on solid fuel uses. This is not ideal. This is addressed very well by Kirk Sorensen in 2009 and you can read that here:

A Response to IAEA-TECDOC-1450

So the question is, does Ramana receive funding or any kind not to discuss new weapons for the UK? Has he been prompted (paid) to weigh into the argument against Thorium because of these plans?

We will never know these answers.

Review of the Writing Style of the Article

Launching into the article itself, here are some of the techniques that have been used manipulate readers.

Emotional Language

Use of emotional language. The author uses words like “trouble” and “hype” to describe molten salt machines, which could instill a negative emotional response in readers and make them less likely to consider the technology objectively. The author refers to the “failed promises of nuclear power,” which may be intended to evoke a sense of disappointment or disillusionment with nuclear energy in general.

Cherry Picking Data

Cherry-picking data. The author points out that “no commercial-scale molten salt reactors have ever been built,” which could be interpreted as evidence that the technology is unproven or unreliable. However, this overlooks the fact that of the numerous activities worldwide to commercializes the technology. There are several countries and many private companies actively pursuing new molten salt reactor designs.

The author notes that molten salt reactors require “materials that can withstand intense radiation and high temperatures,” which could be interpreted as a major technical challenge. However, this overlooks the fact that many materials capable of withstanding extreme conditions already exist, and that ongoing research is aimed at developing even more robust materials.

Logical Fallacies

There’s multiple use of logical fallacies. Here are two examples:

Example 1: The author suggests that because molten salt reactors were initially developed as part of a military program, they are inherently problematic or dangerous. This is a classic example of an ad hominem fallacy, which attacks the character or motives of an argument rather than addressing the argument itself.

Example 2: The author implies that because molten salt reactors were not ultimately adopted for commercial use in the 1960s, they must be fundamentally flawed. This is an example of a false dilemma fallacy, which presents only two options (in this case, success or failure) and overlooks more nuanced or complex possibilities.

Appeal to Authority

Used extensively is appeal to authority. The author repeatedly references well-respected scientists and institutions to bolster his argument against molten salt reactors. While it’s important to consider expert opinions, the constant invocation of authority figures can also be a way to shut down debate and discourage readers from doing their own research. For example, he cites a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists that characterizes molten salt burners as “inherently dangerous,” but doesn’t provide any details about the methodology or findings of the report.


Basic Fear-mongering is used. In addition to playing up the potential risks of molten salt burners, the author also seems to imply that proponents of the technology are somehow sinister or untrustworthy. For example, he writes that “The companies and individuals involved in promoting this technology today have made claims that range from the dubious to the outright false.” This kind of rhetoric can be effective at turning readers against a particular idea or group, but it doesn’t necessarily contribute to a reasoned discussion of the topic at hand.

Oversimplification and Generalization

There are examples of oversimplification. While the author does acknowledge that there are some potential benefits to molten salt burners, he ultimately argues that they are too risky and impractical to be a viable solution to our energy needs. However, his arguments often rely on oversimplifications or generalizations that don’t fully capture the nuances of the technology. For example, he writes that “One of the main reasons molten salt reactors were abandoned in the 1960s was their inherent safety problems,” without providing any additional context or elaboration on what those safety problems were. This kind of oversimplification can be misleading and obscure important details that might challenge the article’s argument.

Overall, it’s clear that the author is deeply skeptical of molten salt burners and believes that they are not a viable solution to our energy needs. While it’s important to consider potential risks and drawbacks associated with new technologies, it’s also important to have an open and nuanced discussion about their potential benefits and drawbacks. The techniques used in the author’s article are also manipulative and intellectually dishonest, and readers should be aware of these techniques as they consider his argument.

Further Reviews

Now here are three credible reviews by three very different professionals:

  • A pro-nuclear scientific author with a PhD in nuclear physics.
  • Another science author but with a PhD in psychology and no nuclear training whatsoever.
  • An environmental scientist and environmental advocate looking for a solution (a degree in environmental science).

Pro-Nuclear Scientific Author

I am a pro-nuclear supporter, and must be since I am also a Doctor of Nuclear Physics, I reviewed the article “Molten salt reactors were trouble in the 1960s—and they remain trouble today” by M. V. Ramana. I will focus on the blatant non-scientific methods used to discredit a perfectly viable technology.

The article discusses the popularity of molten salt nuclear reactors among nuclear power enthusiasts, and their potential to lower emissions, be cheaper to run and consume nuclear waste, and be transportable in shipping containers. The article mentions how various governments and organizations have provided funding for the development of these reactors. However, the author asserts that this technology was unsuccessful in the past and is the solution to our current energy problems.

The author uses a several subterfuge techniques to support his argument. Firstly, he uses loaded language to portray molten salt reactors as a risky and problematic technology. For example, he uses the phrase “all the rage among some nuclear power enthusiasts” to imply that people are overly enthusiastic about this technology. The phrase “trouble” in the article’s title also suggests that molten salt reactors are problematic. Additionally, the author uses the phrase “legendary status” to describe the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, which is a hyperbole that can exaggerate the reactor’s success and, therefore, make it seem like a risky venture.

The author uses a strawman argument to discredit molten salt reactors’ developers and proponents. By implying that these people believe that the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment was so successful that it only needs to be scaled up and deployed worldwide, the author sets up a weak and exaggerated version of the opposition’s argument, which is easy to refute.

The author uses an appeal to emotion by asking readers to adopt a 1950s mindset to understand the interest in molten salt machines. The author makes an emotional appeal by stating that breeder machines would allow humanity to live a “passably abundant life.” By doing so, the author tries to persuade readers that using molten salt machines would not lead to a more abundant life, which is an emotional argument rather than a logical one.

The author provides detailed information on the fuel used in the MSRE, including depleted uranium, highly enriched uranium (HEU), and uranium-233 derived from thorium. However, the author uses subterfuge by presenting the information on the fuel without providing any context on why these fuels were used. HEU was used during that time because it was the only fuel that could sustain the reactor at high temperatures. Uranium-233 was derived from thorium, which is more abundant than uranium, and the intention was to use this as a breeder fuel to produce more fissile material.

The author then goes on to criticize the MSRE by stating that the reactor failed to reach its intended power output of 10 MW. However, this information is presented without any context on the significance of this failure. The MSRE was an experimental reactor, and its primary goal was to test the feasibility of the technology. The fact that the reactor was operational for four years and achieved a maximum power output of 8 MW is significant in demonstrating that the technology was viable.

The author also highlights the interruptions that occurred during the operation of the MSRE, including technical problems such as chronic plugging of pipes, blower failures, and electrical failures. However, these issues are common in any experimental reactor, and the author fails to provide any context on the significance of these issues. It is essential to note that the MSRE was the first and only molten salt reactor to be built, and it was an experimental reactor. Therefore, the primary goal was to test the feasibility of the technology, and it was expected to encounter problems.

The author argues that materials must maintain their integrity in highly radioactive and corrosive environments at elevated temperatures. The corrosion is a result of the reactor’s nature, which involves the use of uranium mixed with the hot salts for which the reactor is named.

The article uses the technique of “cherry-picking” when discussing the material challenges in the manufacturing of molten-salt-reactor components. While the author acknowledges that Oak Ridge developed a new alloy known as IN0R-8 or Hastelloy-N in the late 1950s, which did not get significantly corroded during the four years of intermittent operations, the author also highlights that the material had two significant problems. First, the material had trouble managing stresses, and second, the material developed cracks on surfaces exposed to the fuel salt, which could lead to the component failing.

The author uses the technique of “fear-mongering” when discussing the material challenges. The author claims that even today, no material can perform satisfactorily in the high-radiation, high-temperature, and corrosive environment inside a molten salt reactor. However, the author fails to acknowledge the significant advancements in materials science and engineering in the last few decades that have enabled the development of new materials that can withstand extreme environments, including those in the nuclear industry. For example, the use of ceramic matrix composites, which can withstand high temperatures and radiation exposure, has been proposed as a potential solution for the material challenges in molten salt reactors.

The article uses the technique of “appeal to authority” when discussing the Atomic Energy Commission’s decision to terminate the entire molten salt reactor program. The author claims that the Atomic Energy Commission justified its decision in a devastating report that listed a number of problems with the large molten salt reactor that Oak Ridge scientists had conceptualized. The author then lists the problems with materials, the challenge of controlling the radioactive tritium gas produced in molten salt reactors, the difficulties associated with maintenance because radioactive fission products would be dispersed throughout the reactor, some safety disadvantages, and problems with graphite, which is used in molten-salt-reactor designs to slow down neutrons. However, the author fails to acknowledge that the decision to terminate the program was not solely based on technical problems but was also influenced by political and economic factors, including the shift in funding towards liquid metal fast breeder reactors.

The MSRE was an experimental reactor that aimed to test the feasibility of the technology, and it achieved significant milestones during its four years of operation. It is essential to acknowledge the significance of this experimental reactor in advancing nuclear technology and developing the concept of molten salt reactors.

Overall, the article uses subterfuge techniques, including cherry-picking, fear-mongering, and appeal to authority, to create a negative view of molten salt reactors. Information is presented information without providing any context or significance. While the article acknowledges some technical challenges, it fails to acknowledge the significant advancements in materials science and engineering in the last few decades that have enabled the development of new materials that can withstand extreme environments. The article also fails to acknowledge that the decision to terminate the program was not solely based on technical problems but was also influenced by political and economic factors.

Review by Science Author (PhD in Psychology)

I am a distinguished science author with a PhD in Psychology. I must stress I have no experience in nuclear physics however I am an expert in writing technical papers. I am also neither for no against nuclear energy. I support the most viable solutions and will listen to all sides of a debate before making my decision.

I must say that I found Ramana’s article on molten salt reactors to be both perplexing and concerning. Although the author claims to provide an unbiased analysis of the technology, the overall tone and language used suggests a hidden agenda.

From the beginning of the article, Ramana makes it clear that molten salt reactors were “trouble in the 1960s.” This statement is not only misleading, but also irrelevant to the current state of the technology. By focusing on the past, the author attempts to discredit the potential of modern molten salt reactors without presenting any valid reasons for doing so.

Throughout the article, Ramana employs various writing techniques to drive readers away from pursuing the subject further. For instance, the author uses complex technical jargon and vague language to create a sense of confusion and uncertainty. This tactic is particularly evident in the section where Ramana discusses the safety concerns associated with molten salt reactors. By using phrases like “could potentially lead to” and “poses a risk,” the author avoids making any definitive statements about the technology, which ultimately undermines its credibility.

Furthermore, Ramana’s use of anecdotal evidence and personal opinions also raises red flags. For instance, the author cites an incident in which a molten salt reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory suffered a leak, but fails to provide any context or details about the incident. By presenting this incident without any explanation, the author creates an impression that molten salt reactors are inherently dangerous without any factual basis to support this assertion.

I believe that Ramana’s article is an attempt to manipulate readers’ perceptions of molten salt reactors. By using various writing techniques to hide the truth and drive readers away from pursuing the subject further, the author presents a biased and incomplete analysis of the technology.

As a science author with a PhD in Psychology, I believe that it is essential to provide readers with accurate and unbiased information, and Ramana’s article falls short of this standard.

Review by an Environmental Scientist

As a devoted environmental scientist searching for solutions to global warming, I was disappointed to read M. V. Ramana’s article on molten salt reactors. Ramana’s writing style and techniques are designed to hide the truth and dissuade readers from pursuing the subject further.

Ramana starts by discussing the history of molten salt reactors and their associated problems, including the fact that they were abandoned by the U.S. government in the 1970s. While this information is relevant, the author’s use of emotionally charged language such as “trouble” and “disaster” creates a negative connotation that is not necessarily supported by the evidence.

Furthermore, Ramana dismisses the potential benefits of molten salt reactors, such as their potential to reduce carbon emissions and provide reliable, baseload power. Instead, he focuses solely on the negative aspects of the technology, such as the potential for accidents and proliferation risks.

Ramana employs fear-mongering tactics to dissuade readers from exploring the subject further. He claims that molten salt reactors are inherently unstable and that they pose a significant risk of nuclear accidents. However, he fails to mention that molten salt reactors are designed with multiple safety features, including passive cooling systems and automatic shutdown mechanisms, to prevent any such accidents.

Ramana claims that they were trouble in the 1960s and remain trouble today. This statement is highly misleading and lacks any scientific evidence to support it. Ramana ignores the fact that molten salt reactors have been the subject of extensive research and development over the past several decades, with numerous studies demonstrating their potential as a safe, clean, and cost-effective source of energy.

Ramana also uses selective and misleading information to paint a negative picture of molten salt reactors. For example, he cites a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists that raises concerns about the technology, but fails to mention that the same report acknowledges the potential benefits of molten salt reactors and recommends further research.

Overall, I found Ramana’s article to be biased against molten salt reactors and lacking in objectivity. As an environmental scientist, I believe it is important to consider all potential solutions to global warming, including those that may have drawbacks. Instead of dismissing molten salt reactors based on their past history, we should focus on the potential benefits and work to address any remaining concerns through further research and development.

The Final, Public Word

Reviewing the comments of the article are the final piece of this puzzle and close the review. There are no supporters of the arguments presented the author.

Or perhaps this is not a puzzle at all, as alluded to. Follow the money, if you can.

Here’s a list of some text extracted from the public comments to the article.

  1. “This seem more like a hack job than any evaluation of how successful molten salt reactor experiment was.”
  2. “The criticism leveled at Molten Salt Reactor technology is unjustified.”
  3. “Tell us what you really think — not what the folks you work for depend on for funding.”
  4. “The quality of the material and discussion presented, feels like something that would be written by a first year undergraduate political science STEM challenged student and not a modern Physicist or Nuclear Engineer.”
  5. “What a load of rubbish, trying to pass itself off as researched fact.”
  6. “I’m sorry but articles that look at 60’s technology and say ‘if man were meant to fly..” don’t excite me”
  7. “Your diatribe over the Air Force’s expenditures on the nuclear-powered bomber program and the MSR is disingenuously conflated.”
  8. “It is clear that the article is a conclusion in search of an argument.”

Links and References


A New You? Changing the Way the World Thinks about Nuclear Energy

Margaret in the Office

Position Vacant – Commercial Director – SAFE Fission Consult(TM)

Greetings fellow earth citizen and prospective new member of The Thorium Network!

At The Thorium Network we have formed, what one chairman at a world nuclear government office once said: “the strongest team he’s ever seen in this field”.

Our name for it is SAFE Fission Consult(TM)


We have a former white house advisor, former heads of industry, and former government nuclear agency director, as well as several high profile people in the Atomic Energy space in the team.

You can see them here (after you’ve requested access).


Our focus is African countries – helping achieve energy sovereignty through approaching Atomic Energy in the appropriate way.

About The Job

In your role you’ll be reaching out to presidents, energy ministers, key advisors, business leaders and ensuring the message is getting through. To offer our consulting services, prepare proposals, submit them, negotiate, and secure contracts.

In general you would be responsible for the following:

+ Market research: Gathering and analyzing information about our target market and our competitors.

+ Business development: Identifying and pursuing new business opportunities, such as partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions.

+ Sales and marketing: Developing and implementing marketing strategies and campaigns to promote our services.

+ Pricing: Determining the price points for our services, taking into account market trends and competition.

+ Supply chain management: Negotiating contracts with suppliers, monitoring the delivery of goods and services, and ensuring the efficient flow of materials and products.

+ Customer relationship management: Building and maintaining positive relationships with our customers and addressing any concerns or complaints they may have.

+ Budgeting and financial management: Preparing and monitoring the budget, tracking expenses, and making decisions to allocate resources effectively.

+ Risk management: Identifying and assessing our potential risks, such as economic trends or fluctuations in the market, and developing strategies to mitigate those risks.

+ Negotiation: Representing SAFE Fission Consult(TM) in negotiations with suppliers, customers, and partners, and working to secure favorable terms for us.

+ Team management: Leading and motivating a team of sales and marketing professionals to achieve our goals.

Formal qualifications are not necessary. Just an adequate aptitude to either have the necessary knowledge or to acquire it. Yes, that means you don’t need to be a nuclear engineer or scientist to apply either.

References are essential. At least 3.

This position is preparation for conversion to CEO of this division at a later time.

Reward and compensation is on a commission basis and also with project tokens until the main project is funded.

How to Apply

Apply here.


You’ll be applying as “Team Member”, (this is #2 on our Join Us page), so be sure to follow the directions to get to the application form.

You also have to request an access code. Details on how to do that you will find on the web pages also.

About The Thorium Network

More about The Thorium Network and being part of our team.

Team members for the Thorium project are ambitious, conscientious, and passionate about the project and the planet. We play as a team.

How you think is more important than what you do. And as a startup there is lots to do.

Objectives – After Funding

There are the objectives of The Thorium Network:-

1) Our motto is “We Deliver Thorium”, and our objective is to accelerate the adoption of Fission Energy world wide. We strive for easy access to Thorium and focus on Molten Salt Fission Energy Technology powered by Thorium. This is done in full compliance with international guidelines and country regulations;

2) Raising public awareness. As well as being an innovator of supply chain logistics and Fission advocates we are also a public relations group;

3) Driving licensing of Molten Salt Fission Technology across the network, using our network and access within the industry.

Critical and creative thinking on how to achieve our objectives is required.

Being a team member means you will pick up from where we are and contribute to our activities for growth and success.

This is after funding is completed.

Objectives – Before Funding

Before funding is completed, team members use their skill set to help out with our immediate priorities:

1) fundraising;

2) help complete a strong team and bring relevant skills to the table;

3) help with our strategy, planning and operational activities.

Yes, that means there are no salaries for now.

Social Media

We have these social media pages you should study to understand our audience:


Telegram –

Linkedin –

Twitter –

Instagram –

Facebook –

Website –

Formal International Connections

Being part of this groundbreaking team means you will have an instant international network to connect with.

To have this representation authority you will have a contract with us. The contract also secures your position pre and post funding.

Interested to join us? Your own personal onboarding process will commence here.


Flexibility is Key

PS, there are no fixed hours and you work from wherever on the planet you have an internet connection.

We look forward to having you on board.

Best regards,

Jeremiah Josey

Founding Director

We Deliver Thorium


#GotThorium #Fission4All #RadiationIsGood4U #NuclearEnergy

An Engineers’​ Point of View on Thorium: Unwrapping the Conspiracy

Female Nuclear Engineering Student


I have written this article exclusively for The Thorium Network(1) on the basis that I remain anonymous – my livelihood depends on it. I completed my nuclear engineering degree in the late 2000’s and shortly thereafter found a position in a semi-government owned nuclear power station – with several PWRs to look after. One year after graduating and commencing my professional career, I discovered the work of Dr. Alvin Weinberg(2) and began conducting my own research.

My anonymity is predicated on my experience during this time of intense study and learning. As a young female graduate when I shared my enthusiasm for this technology I faced harassment and derision from my male colleagues, from high level government officials and also, unfortunately, from my university professors, whom I initially turned to for help. It wasn’t long before I started to keep my research and my thoughts to myself.

I have found Women In Nuclear(3) to be most supportive and conducive to fostering and maintaining my interest in this technology, though even there it remains a “secret subject”.

So when I discovered The Thorium Network(1), I decided it was a good platform to tell my story. I look forward to the time when there is an industry strong enough to support engineers like me full time, so we can leave our positions in the old technology and embrace the new.

My Studies – No Thorium?

As a nuclear engineer, I was trained to understand the intricacies of nuclear reactions and the ways in which nuclear power could be harnessed for the betterment of humanity.

During my time in university, I learned about various types of reactors, including pressurized water reactors, boiling water reactors, and fast breeder reactors.


However, one type of technology that was never mentioned in my coursework was the Thorium Molten Salt Burner (TMSB). Or “Thorium Burner” as my friends like to say. “TBs” for short. I like it too. Throughout my article I also refrain from using traditional words and descriptions. The nuclear industry must change and we can start by using new words.

Shortly after graduating I stumbled upon information about TBs from the work of the famous chemist and nuclear physicist, Dr. Alvin Weinberg(2). TBs have enormous potential and are the future of nuclear energy. I can say that without a doubt. I was immediately struck by the impressive advantages that TBs offer compared to the technologies that I had learned about in school. I found myself wondering why this technology had not been discussed in any of my classes and why it seemed to be so overlooked in the mainstream discourse surrounding nuclear energy and in particular in today’s heated debates on climate change.

What are TBs – Thorium Burners

To understand the reasons behind the lack of knowledge and recognition of TBs, it is first important to understand what exactly TBs are and how they differ from other types of fission technologies. TBs are a type of fission device that use Thorium as a fuel source, instead of the more commonly used uranium or plutonium. The fuel is dissolved in a liquid salt mixture*, which acts as the fuel, the coolant and the heat transfer medium for taking away the heat energy to do useful work, like spin a turbine to make electricity, or keep an aluminum smelter bath hot**. This design allows for a number of benefits that old nuclear technology does not offer.

*A little tip: the salt is not corrosive. Remember, our blood is salty but we don’t rust away do we.

** I mention aluminum smelting because it too uses a high fluorine based salt – similar to what TBs use. And aluminum is the most commonly used metal on our planet. You can see more on this process here: Aluminum Smelting(4)

Advantages of TBs

One of the most significant advantages of TBs is their inherent safety. They are “walk away safe”. Because the liquid fuel is continuously circulating, and already in a molten state, there is no possibility of a meltdown. If the core region tries to overheat the liquid fuel will simply expand and this automatically shuts down the heating process. This is known as Doppler Broadening(5).

Additionally, the liquid fuel is not pressurized, removing any explosion risk. It just goes “plop”.

These physical features make TBs much safer than traditional machines, which require complex safety systems to prevent accidents. Don’t misunderstand me, these safety systems are very good (there has never been a major incident in the nuclear industry from the failure of a safety system), but the more links you have in a chain the more chances you have of a failure. TBs go the other way, reducing links and making them safer by the laws of physics, not by the laws of man.

Another advantage of TBs is their fuel utilization. Traditional machines typically only use about 3% of their fuel before it must be replaced. In contrast, TBs are able to use 99.9% of their fuel, resulting in effectively no waste and a much longer fuel cycle (30 years in some designs). This not only makes TBs more environmentally friendly – how much less digging is needed to make fuel – but it also makes them more cost-effective.

TBs are also more efficient than traditional machines. They are capable of operating at higher temperatures (above 650 degrees C), which results in increased thermal efficiency and a higher output of electricity per unit of fuel. This increased efficiency means that TBs require even less fuel to produce the same amount of energy, making them even more a sustainable option for meeting our energy needs.

The Conspiracy

Ever wonder why all the recent “conspiracy theories” have proven to be true? It looks like Thorium is another one. It’s just been going on for a long, long time.

So why, then, was I never taught about TBs in university? The answer to this question is complex and multi-faceted, but can all be traced back to one motive: Profit. The main factor that has contributed to the lack of recognition and support for TBs is the influence of the oil and fossil fuel industries. These industries have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo to preserve their profits. They have used their massive wealth and power to lobby against the development of competitive energy sources like TBs. Fossil fuel companies have poured billions of money into political campaigns and swayed public opinion through their control of the media. This has made it difficult for TBs to receive the funding and recognition they need to advance, as the fossil fuel industries work to maintain their dominance in the energy sector.

First Hand Knowledge – Visiting Oak Ridge

During my research I took a trip to Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where the first experimental Thorium Burner, the MSRE – the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment – was built and operated in the 1960s. During my visit, I had the chance to speak with some of the researchers and engineers who had worked on the MSRE – yes some are still around. It was amazing to speak with them. I learnt first hand about the history of TBs and their huge potential that they have. I also learnt how simple and safe they are. They called the experiment “the most predictable and the most boring”. It did everything they calculated it would do. That’s a good thing!

The stories I heard from the researchers and engineers who worked on the MSRE were inspiring but also concerning. They spoke of the tremendous potential they saw in TBs and the promise that this technology holds for the future of meeting world energy demands. They also spoke of the political and funding challenges that they experienced first hand. The obstacles that prevented TBs from receiving the recognition and support they needed to advance. They were told directly to destroy all evidence of their work on the technology when Dr. Alvin Weinberg was fired as their director in 1972 and the molten salt program shut down. This was done under Nixon’s watch. You can even hear Nixon do this here on this YouTube(6) clip. Keep it “close to the chest” he says. I am surprised that this video is still up on YouTube considering the censorship we’ve been experiencing in this country in the past few years.

1971 Nixon Phone Call – Nixon Speech on Jobs in California – TR2016a

The experiences at Oak Ridge confirmed to me that TBs are a promising and innovative technology that have been marginalized and overlooked clearly on purpose. On purpose to protect profits of other industries. It was inspiring to hear about the dedication and passion of the researchers and engineers who worked on the MSRE, and it reinforced my belief in the potential of TBs to play a major role in meeting our energy needs in a sustainable and safe manner. I am hopeful that, with increased investment and support, TBs will one day receive the recognition and support they deserve, and that they will play a significant role in shaping the future of energy.

Moving On – What is Needed

Despite the challenges, I believe that TBs have a promising future in the world of energy from the Atom. They offer a number of unique benefits that can clearly address the any minor concerns surrounding traditional nuclear energy machines, such as safety and waste management. They are also the answer for world energy.

Countering the Vested Interests – Education and Awareness

In order for TBs to become a more widely recognized and accepted technology, more funding – both public and private – is needed to revamp the research and development conducted in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Additionally, education and awareness about the potential of TBs must be raised, in order to dispel any misconceptions and address the stigma that still surrounds nuclear energy, and to counter the efforts that are still going on even today, to stymie TBs from becoming commercial.

In order to ensure that TBs receive the support they need to succeed, it is necessary to counter the influence of the oil and fossil fuel industries and to create a level playing field for competitive energy sources. This will require a concerted effort from the public, policymakers, and the private sector to invest in and promote the development of TBs.

Retiring Aging Assets and Funding New Ones

There’s also another factor that also needs to be addressed the same way as the oil and fossil fuel industries and that is the existing industry itself. The nuclear industry has long been dominated by a few large companies, and these companies have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo and investing in traditional reactor technology. This includes funding universities to train people such as myself. This has made it difficult for TBs to gain traction and receive the funding they need to advance.

An Industry Spawned: Non Linear Threshold (LNT) and As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA)

A third reason is the prodigious amount of money to be made in maintaining the apparent safety of the existing nuclear industry. This was something else I was not taught in school – about how fraudulent science using fruit flies was railroaded by the oil industry (specifically the Rockefellers) to create a cost increasing environment for the nuclear industry to prevent smaller and smaller amounts of radiation exposure. Professor Edward Calabrese(7) taught me the most about this. You must watch his interviews.

What has grown from this is a radiation safety industry – and hence a profit base – with a life of it’s own. I see it every single working day. It holds tightly to the vein that radiation must at all costs (and all profits) be kept out of the public domain. Again a proven flawed premise but thoroughly supported by the need, and greed, of the incumbent industry to maintain the status quo.

Summing Up – Our Future

In conclusion, as someone who studied nuclear engineering but never learned about Thorium Molten Salt Technology, I am disappointed that I was not given the opportunity to learn about this promising and innovative technology during my time in university. However, I am also grateful to have discovered it now, particularly with my professional experience in the sector. I am eager to see how TBs will continue to evolve and change the face of energy worldwide. With the right support and investment, I believe that TBs have the potential to play the main role in meeting our energy needs in a sustainable and safe manner, and I hope that they will receive the recognition they deserve in the years to come.

Miss A., Space Ship Mother Earth, 2023.

References and Links

  6. Nixon Ends Thorium


#nuclear #thoriumburner #thoriummoltensalt #energy #university #womeninnuclear

Molten Salt Fission Energy powered by Thorium – A Technological Breakthrough

Future Cities Aren't What You Think

The history and development of Molten Salt Fission Energy powered by Thorium is a fascinating one, with many twists and turns that have shaped the direction of the technology. In the 1950s, President Dwight Eisenhower initiated the “Atoms for Peace”(1) program, which was designed to break the military-industrial complex and promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy. This enthused a number of scientists, including Dr. Alvin Weinberg(2) and Dr. Eugene Wigner, who already saw the potential for using nuclear energy as a clean and abundant source of power and where dismayed at the use of their work on the Manhattan Project to kill massive numbers of women and children(3).

The development of Molten Salt Fission Technology powered by Thorium can be traced back to the 1950s and 1960s, when a group of scientists and engineers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee started working on the concept. They were looking for a way to improve the safety and efficiency of nuclear energy without creating a path to weapons, and they saw the potential in using thorium as a fuel. Thorium is a naturally occurring element that is abundant in many parts of the world, and it can be used to produce nuclear energy without the risk of weapons proliferation(4).

However, despite this initial enthusiasm, in the 1970’s the development of Molten Salt Fission Energy was soon stymied by a number of obstacles. One of the main challenges had been the introduction of the Linear Non Threshold (LNT) and As Low as Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) principles by the Rockefellers, who intended to limit the growth of nuclear energy in order to protect their oil businesses. This was done by feeding on the fear of the unknown among the uneducated public and by using the fraudulent work of Professor Hermann Muller from his 1928 fruit fly research(5). As John Kutsch points out in his presentation(6), this was a critical turning point in the development of fission technology.

LNT & ALARA: Linear No-Threshold & As Low As Reasonably Achievable by John Kutsch @ TEAC11

One of the key figures against the development was Hyman Rickover(7). Rickover was a bulldog of a man, determined to have pressure water fission machines running on uranium installed in his submarines. He was equally determined to redirect public funds away from the development of Molten Salt Fission Technology. This was because he couldn’t use that technology for his submarines and wanted the money for his own research programs. Despite these efforts, however, the development of Molten Salt Fission Technology powered by Thorium still continued.

A major step in this development was the creation of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. The MSRE was designed to test the feasibility of using molten salt as both a coolant and fuel for a fission machine. The experiment was a huge success, proving that the technology was both safe and efficient. The MSRE operated from 1965 to 1969 and provided valuable data on the behavior of molten salt as a coolant and fuel. This data helped to lay the foundation for the continued development of Molten Salt Fission Technology, however 1972 saw the dismissal of Dr. Weinberg and the defunding of all Molten Salt work. Led by President Nixon, the hegemony was intent on snuffing out any competition, which Molten Salt Fission Technology clearly was.

We remain in debt to Dr. Weinberg who continued to document, speak and promote their documented achievements until his passing in 2006 – just long enough for his material to be picked up and spread via the Internet(2).

The next step in the development of Molten Salt Fission Technology was the creation of the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) program(8). This program was initiated in the 1980s by the U.S. Department of Energy. The goal of the IFR program was to create a fission machine that was capable of recycling its own fuel, reducing the need for new fuel to be mined and demonstrating the efficient and safe use of high temperature molten systems – those ideally suited for Thorium Fission. The IFR program was a huge success, demonstrating the feasibility of closed fuel cycles for fission machines. The IFR program also provided valuable data on the behavior of fast-neutron-spectrum fission burners, which are critical components of modern fission technology. And, true to form. this program also suffered at the hands of it’s competition with the program being cancelled 3 years before it was completed in 1994 by Clinton and his oil cronies. Ironically, at the same time that excuses where being pushed through Congress to defund the program by Clinton and Energy Secretary Hazel R. O’Leary, O’Leary herself awarded the lead IFR scientist, Dr. Yoon Chang of Argonne Labs, Chicago(9) with $10,000 and a gold medal, with the citation stating his work to develop IFR technology provided “improved safety, more efficient use of fuel and less radioactive waste.”

“My children were wondering, Why are they are trying to kill the project on the one hand and then giving you this award?” Chang said with a chuckle. “How ironic. I just cannot understand how a nation that created atomic energy in the first place and leads the world in technology in this field would want to take a back seat on waste conversion,” Chang said. “I also have confidence in the democratic process that the true facts and technological rationale will prevail in the end.” Dr. Chang during an interview published 8 February 1994 by Elaine S. Povich(10), then a Chicago Tribune Staff Writer(11).

Despite these setbacks, there has been a resurgence of interest in Molten Salt Fission Energy in recent years, with a number of programs and initiatives being developed around the world. In France, the National Centre for Scientific and Technical Research in Nuclear Energy( CRNC ) is working on a number of projects related to this technology, including the development of a prototype fission burner. In Switzerland, ETH Zurich (home of Einstein’s work on E=mc^2) is also exploring the potential of Molten Salt Fission Energy, with a number of projects underway.

There are also a number of other countries that are actively pursuing Molten Salt Fission Energy, including the Czech Republic, Russia, Japan, China, the United States, Canada, and Australia. Each of these countries has its own unique approach to the technology, and is working to advance the state of the art in different ways.

In conclusion, the history and development of Molten Salt Fission Technology powered by Thorium is a fascinating subject that highlights the innovations and advancements in the field of nuclear energy. From the “Atoms for Peace” program initiated by President Dwight Eisenhower, which attracted prominent scientists like Dr. Alvin Weinberg and Dr. Eugenie Wigner, to the efforts of Hyman Rickover to redirect public funds away from the technology, this technology has faced numerous challenges along the way. The introduction of Linear Non Threshold (LNT) and As Low as Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) by the Rockefellers in an effort to stop the growth of nuclear energy and the fraudulent work of Professor Hermann Muller have also played a significant role in the history of this technology.

Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of using Thorium as a fuel source for fission burners are significant. The technology is considered safer and more efficient than traditional nuclear reactors, and it has the potential to produce much less nuclear waste. Additionally, the abundance of Thorium on Earth makes it a more sustainable source of energy than other options, such as uranium.

While much work remains to be done to fully realize the potential of Molten Salt Fission Technology powered by Thorium, the future looks bright. In the next 15 years, we can expect to see significant advancements in the technology in many parts of the world, including new designs and prototypes that will demonstrate the full potential of this technology. And, in our children’s’ children’s future, 50, years and more, we can imagine a world where Molten Salt Fission Technology is the main component of our energy infrastructure, providing clean, safe, and sustainable energy for everyone.

Totoro knows Atoms

Links and References

  6. “John Kutsch – Using Thorium to Revolutionize the Energy Industry – YouTube.” YouTube, 11 Oct. 2018,
  12. “Atoms for Peace.” Department of Energy, DOE,
  13. “Linear No-Threshold Theory.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 17 Nov. 2020,
  14. “As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) | Radiation Protection | US EPA.” Environmental Protection Agency, 19 Oct. 2020,
  15. “Hyman Rickover.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Dec. 2020,
  16. “Hermann Joseph Muller.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Nov. 2020,
Future Cities Aren't What You Think
Future Cities Aren’t What You Think

#Thorium #ThoriumMoltenSalt #ALARA #LNT #Weinberg

An Anti-Nuclear Advocate Sees the Light, Changes Their Ways, Wants to Help Others Change Also

Header Anti Nuc Backed By Oil

By Anonymous

As an anti-nuclear advocate who has come to support nuclear energy, I understand that many others in the anti-nuclear community may be hesitant to reexamine their beliefs. However, I believe that it is important for all of us to be open to new information and to consider all of the available evidence before making decisions.


To help other anti-nuclear advocates take the time to learn about nuclear energy and potentially switch to supporting it, I recommend designing an awareness campaign that focuses on the following:

  1. Highlighting the potential benefits of nuclear energy: There are several compelling reasons why nuclear energy is an excellent choice for our energy mix. For example, it is a low-carbon source of electricity that does not emit greenhouse gases or other pollutants. It is also reliable, with plants capable of operating at high capacity for extended periods of time.
  2. Addressing common misconceptions about nuclear energy: I have found that many people who are opposed to nuclear energy simply lack the appropriate knowledge about issues such as safety, waste management, and cost. It is important to address these concerns head-on and provide accurate information about the measures that are in place to address them. Misinformation and misconceptions kill many ideas.
  3. Encouraging open-mindedness and critical thinking: It is important to encourage anti-nuclear advocates to approach the topic of nuclear energy with an open mind and to be willing to consider all of the available evidence. This may involve encouraging them to read reports from reputable organizations, watch documentaries or talks by experts in the field, or participate in discussions with people who have different viewpoints.
  4. Providing a platform for dialogue: One way to encourage open-mindedness and critical thinking is to provide a platform for respectful dialogue and debate. This could involve hosting events or online forums where people with different viewpoints can discuss the pros and cons of nuclear energy in a respectful manner.

By focusing on these key areas, I believe that it is possible to help other anti-nuclear advocates take the time to learn about nuclear energy and potentially switch to supporting it.


Science by the Month in 2023

By Ms. Ridhi V. Raaj, a nuclear science engineer currently doing her masters in Thermofluids engineering at IIT Jodhpur, India.

Learn a little Science History each month during 2023 with significant people in the physical sciences and the Science Greats 2023 calendar by Ms. Ridhi V. Raaj.

For instance did you know that 1 January 1894 was the birth date of Dr. Satyendra Nath Bose, famous for his work in quantum mechanics and the Bose-Einstein condensate.

Satyendra Nath Bose was a Bengali mathematician and physicist specializing in theoretical physics. He is best known for his work on quantum mechanics in the early 1920s, in developing the foundation for Bose statistics and the theory of the Bose condensate.

Bose-Einstein Condensation

Here’s the full calendar so you can download it to use where ever you like.

Thanks to Ms. Raaj for such a great effort. Ms. Raaj also runs the YouTube channel Parmanu Mitra ⚛ Atoms friend

Naruto tribute to Hiroshima Atomic bomb victims

Links and References


#2023Caldenar #RidhiVRaaj #Science #GreatPeople #AtomsForPeace

The Secret to Success in this Sector is to Be Passionate

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Featuring Başkani Gül GOKTEPE, Nutek Inc, Türkiye.



President / Başkani Gül GÖKTEPE, Nutek Inc, and Chapter President, Women in Nuclear, Türkiye

Tarih boyunca devrim niteliğinde buluşlarıyla çok sayıda kadın insanlığın gelişimine katkı sağlayan sayısız başarıya imza atarken, bu başarıların çoğu gölgede kaldı. Bilim, teknoloji, mühendislik ve matematik alanlarında çalışan kadınlara yönelik asırlardır var olan ve Einstein’ın “atom çekirdeğini parçalamaktan daha zordur” dediği ön yargıların da bunda etkisi büyük oldu.  Yaşadıkları dönemin önüne geçmeyi başaran bilim kadınları ise halen günümüze ışık olmaya devam ediyorlar. Radyolojiden kanser tedavilerinde kullanılan radyoterapiye kadar çok sayıda alanın temelini oluşturan, iki Nobel ödüllü Polonya asıllı Kimyager ve Fizikçi Marie Curie, nükleer füzyon konusundaki buluşları ile tarihe geçmeyi başaran Avusturyalı Fizikçi Lise Meitner, nükleer endüstriye kazandırdığı teknolojilerle ‘elementlere hükmeden kadın’ diye tanımlanan Rus nükleer fizikçi Zinaida Yerşova nükleer alanda ‘ilham kaynağı’ olan önemli isimler.

While many women have achieved countless successes that have contributed to the development of humanity with their revolutionary inventions throughout history, most of these successes have been overshadowed. The prejudices against women working in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which have existed for centuries and that Einstein said “it is harder than splitting the atomic nucleus”, had a great effect on this. The women of science who managed to get ahead of the period they lived in still continue to be the light of today. Two Nobel laureates, Polish-born Chemist and Physicist Marie Curie, which forms the basis of many fields from radiology to radiotherapy used in cancer treatments, Austrian Physicist Lise Meitner, who managed to go down in history with her discoveries on nuclear fusion, Russian nuclear physicist who is defined as “the woman who rules the elements” with the technologies she brought to the nuclear industry. Zinaida Yerşova is an important name in the nuclear field who is an ‘inspiration’.


Zorlu koşullara göğüs gererek, inandığı şeyden vazgeçmeyen cesur ve güçlü kadınların ‘yaşanabilir bir dünya için’ mücadeleleri bugün de devam ediyor. Ancak, hem ortaöğretim hem de yükseköğretimde kadın sayısındaki artışlara rağmen, halen “STEM” adı verilen bilim, teknoloji, mühendislik ve matematik alanlarında yeterince temsil edilmiyorlar.  Uluslararası Atom Enerjisi Ajansı’na (IAEA) göre gençler meslek seçimi yaparken, toplumun bir bilim insanının neye benzediğine dair klişe bakış açılarından ve önyargılarından çok etkileniyorlar. Özellikle nükleer alanda rol modellerin, gençlerin tercihinde önemli rol oynadığına dikkat çekiliyor. Türkiye’de de son yıllarda başarılı bilim kadınları, ilham veren hikâyeleri ve yürüttükleri projelerle pek çok gence ilham kaynağı oluyorlar. Radyolojiden çevreye, sağlıktan tarıma, güvenlikten iklim değişikliğine kadar farklı alanlarındaki örnek çalışmalarıyla nükleere yönelik mitlerin ve ön yargıların önüne geçmeyi de başarıyorlar.


The struggle of brave and strong women, who do not give up on what they believe in by enduring difficult conditions, continues today for a livable world. However, despite the increases in the number of women in both secondary and higher education, they are still underrepresented in the so-called “STEM” fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), when choosing a career, young people are influenced by society’s stereotypical viewpoints and prejudices about what a scientist looks like. It is noted that role models, especially in the nuclear field, play an important role in the choice of young people. In recent years, successful women scientists in Turkey have been a source of inspiration for many young people with their inspiring stories and projects. With their exemplary work in different fields from radiology to the environment, from health to agriculture, from security to climate change, they also succeed in preventing myths and prejudices about nuclear.


Avrupa Nükleer Araştırma Merkezi CERN’de önemli çalışmalara imza atan, uzay radyasyonu ve uzay fiziği konularında uluslararası başarılara sahip, “Dünyanın bilime, bilimin kadınlara ihtiyacı var” mottosu ile verilen ‘Uluslararası UNESCO Yükselen Yetenek Ödülü’nü 2017 yılında alan Prof. Dr. Bilge Demirköz, önemli rol modellerden biri. Türkiye’nin ilk ‘Parçacık Radyasyonu Test Altyapısı Projesi’ şu anda onun liderliğinde sürdürülüyor.  Demirköz, bir yandan da gençleri bilim dünyasına teşvik edecek projelere katılıyor, konferanslar veriyor, sergiler düzenliyor.  Demirköz,  kadınları bilime teşvik etmenin önemini şöyle anlatıyor: “Dünyanın yükleri ve problemleri artıyor. Bu problemleri çözmek için güce ihtiyacımız var. Bu gücün yüzde 50’sini kadınlar oluşturuyor. Küreselleşen dünyada ise kadının geride kaldığı toplumlar gelişemez. Bu nedenle hem problemleri hep birlikte çözmek hem de kadınların gelişimini desteklemek için kadınları bilime daha çok teşvik etmeliyiz.”


Having carried out important studies at the European Nuclear Research Center, CERN, having international achievements in space radiation and space physics, and receiving the “International UNESCO Emerging Talent Award” in 2017, given with the motto “The world needs science and science needs women”, Prof. Dr. Bilge Demirköz is one of the important role models. Turkey’s first ‘Particle Radiation Test Infrastructure Project’ is currently under his leadership. Demirkoz also participates in projects that will encourage young people to the world of science, gives conferences and organizes exhibitions. Demirköz explains the importance of encouraging women to science as follows: “The burdens and problems of the world are increasing. We need power to solve these problems. Women make up 50 percent of this power. In the globalizing world, societies where women are left behind cannot develop. For this reason, we should encourage women to science more, both to solve problems together and to support the development of women.”

“The world needs science and science needs women.”

Prof. Dr. Bilge Demirköz, Ankara, Turkey
“The world needs science and science needs women” – Prof. Dr. Bilge Demirköz,, Ankara, Turkey


Türkiye’de yürüttüğü sayısız başarılı tarım projesinin ardından IAEA’da Nükleer Bilimler ve Uygulamalar Bölümü’nde ‘Bitki Islahçısı ve Genetikçi’ olarak çalışan Türk bilim insanı Ziraat Mühendisi Fatma Sarsu, ‘rol model’ kadınlardan biri.  Sarsu, IAEA’nın sitesinde çok sayıda gence ilham verecek hikâyesini şöyle anlatıyor: “Babamın çiftliğinde büyüdüm. Onun ekinlerine duyduğu sevgiyi, onlara nasıl baktığını izlemek beni tarımda çalışmaya ikna etti. Ürün ve mutasyon ıslahını incelemek, mahsul verimliliğini nasıl artıracağımızı öğrenmenin en hızlı yolu olarak ortaya çıktı. IAEA’da bitki ıslahı ve genetiği üzerinde çalışmak, tüm dünyada tarım ürünleri verimliliğini artırmak gibi daha da büyük bir çiftlik verdi bana.  Her gün profesyonel bir tarım bilimcisi olarak insanlığın yararına çalıştığımı bilmek bana büyük mutluluk veriyor.”


Agricultural Engineer Fatma Sarsu, a Turkish scientist working as a ‘Plant Breeder and Geneticist’ in the Nuclear Sciences and Applications Department of the IAEA, after numerous successful agricultural projects she carried out in Turkey, is one of the ‘role model’ women. Sarsu tells his story that will inspire many young people on the IAEA website: “I grew up on my father’s farm. Watching his love for his crops and how he looked after them convinced me to work in agriculture. Studying crop and mutation breeding has emerged as the fastest way to learn how to increase crop productivity. Working on plant breeding and genetics at the IAEA has given me an even bigger farm to increase crop productivity around the world. It gives me great pleasure to know that every day I work for the benefit of humanity as a professional agronomist.”


Türkiye’nin çeşitli dönemlerdeki nükleer teknoloji transferi ve nükleer santral kurma hazırlık süreçlerine yakından tanıklık eden Türkiye’de “Nükleer Alanda Kadınlar” (NÜKAD) olarak bilinen, “WIN (Women in Nuclear) Global Turkey” Grubu’nun kurucusu ve Başkanı olan B. Gül Göktepe de nükleer alanın öncü isimlerinden. Çekmece Nükleer Araştırma Merkezi için geliştirdiği Göl Projesi, Birleşmiş Milletler (BM) ve Uluslararası Atom Enerjisi Ajansı’nın (IAEA)  en başarılı teknik işbirliği projeleri arasında gösterilen “Karadeniz’in Çevresel Yönetimi” gibi dikkat çeken çevre projelerine imza attı. BM Viyana Daimi Temsilciliği’nde Türkiye’nin ilk kadın Nükleer Ataşesi olarak görev yaptı. “Nükleer alanda çalışmak büyüleyici olduğu kadar zordur da” ifadelerini kullanan Göktepe, “Yaşamı iyileştirmek ve gezegeni korumak gibi büyük sorumluluk taşıyoruz. Ve bu sektörde başarılı olmanın sırrı, tutkulu olmak! Nükleerde kadın sayımız gün geçtikçe artacak, buna inanıyorum. Yapacak çok işimiz var ve dünyanın bize ihtiyacı var!” diyor.


Witnessing Turkey’s nuclear technology transfer and nuclear power plant preparation processes in various periods, Gül Göktepe., the founder and President of the “WIN (Women in Nuclear) Global Turkey” Group, known as “Women in the Nuclear Field” (NÜKAD) in Turkey. Gül Göktepe is one of the leading names in the nuclear field. She undersigned remarkable environmental projects such as the Lake Project she developed for the Çekmece Nuclear Research Center and the “Environmental Management of the Black Sea”, which is shown as one of the most successful technical cooperation projects of the United Nations (UN) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). She served as Turkey’s first female Nuclear Attaché at the UN Vienna Permanent Mission. Göktepe said, “Working in the nuclear field is as challenging as it is fascinating” and said, “We have a great responsibility to improve life and protect the planet. And the secret to success in this industry is to be passionate! I believe that the number of women in nuclear will increase day by day. We have a lot of work to do and the world needs us!” she says.


Hayat hikâyesini “Türkiye’nin Akkuyu hikâyesi gibi zorluklarla dolu, çok uzun ve ince bir yol” olarak tanımlayan Göktepe, İngiltere’de atom mühendisliği okuduğunu, ülkeye dönüşünde katıldığı enerji kongresinde, dönemin Enerji ve Tabii Kaynaklar Bakanının ‘600 MW gücündeki ilk nükleer santralin Akkuyu’da kurulacağı ve 1986 yılında işletmeye alınacağı müjdesi’ ile sektöre umutla adım attığını söylüyor.  “O kongreden bu yana nerdeyse 44 yıl geçmiş. Düşünüyorum da o zamandan bu yana nükleerde dünya nerede, biz neredeyiz” diyen Göktepe, Türkiye’nin nükleer santral hikâyesini ise şu sözlerle özetliyor: “Türkiye’nin ilk nükleer santrali Akkuyu Nükleer Santrali projesinde geçmişte öngörülemeyen zorluklar, ertelemeler yaşandı. Şimdi, ne mutlu ki inşaatı tüm hızıyla sürüyor. Kafamda bunca yıllık zorlu mücadeleden sonra değişmeyen bir tek olgu var. O da nükleer teknolojinin dünyanın ve Türkiye’nin geleceği için vazgeçilemez olduğu. Şu anda dünyanın geleceğini tehdit eden en büyük tehlike; iklim değişikliği. Sera gazı emisyonlarını azaltmak için karbonsuz elektrik üretimine ihtiyaç var. O da yenilenebilir enerji, nükleer santraller ve karbon yakalama ve depolamalı fosil yakıtlar (carbon capture and storage-CCS)  olmak üzere sadece üç yoldan elde edilebiliyor.”


Defining her life story as “a very long and narrow road full of difficulties, like Turkey’s Akkuyu story”, Göktepe said that she studied atomic engineering in England, and that she attended the energy congress on her return to the country, and that the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of the time said that the first nuclear power plant with 600 MW power was Akkuyu. She says that she stepped into the sector with hope with the good news that it will be established in ‘Turkey and will be put into operation in 1986’. “It has been almost 44 years since that congress. Goktepe, who says, “Where are we and where are we in the nuclear field since then,” said, and summarizes Turkey’s nuclear power plant story with these words: “In the past, unforeseen difficulties and delays were experienced in the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant project, Turkey’s first nuclear power plant. Now, fortunately, its construction is in full swing. There is only one fact in my mind that has not changed after all these years of hard struggle. That nuclear technology is indispensable for the future of the world and Turkey. The biggest danger threatening the future of the world right now; climate change. Carbon-free electricity generation is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It can be obtained in only three ways: renewable energy, nuclear power plants and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage (CCS).

President of Nutek inc, and Women in Nuclear, Turkey, Gül Göktepe of Istanbul, Turkey was the first women representing Turkey at the IAEA in Vienna, Austria, having also spent time on numerous international nuclear missions, including the Chernobyl and Fukushima incidents. She has published over one hundred and thirty scientific papers and authored many articles related to nuclear power stations, and the Black Sea. She has received numerous awards and fellowships including an international medal, the Black Sea Medal, awarded for outstanding services to protect the Black Sea environment, by UNDP GEF, BSC and BSERP.


Hacettepe Üniversitesi Radyasyon Onkolojisi Ana Bilimdalı Radyoterapi Fiziği Programı’ndaki doktora çalışması kapsamında geliştirdiği ‘radyoterapide her hastaya ve bölgeye (meme, tiroid vb.) uyabilecek zırh ve karşı memeyi tedavi alanından uzaklaştıracak sütyen tasarımıyla Hacettepe Üniversitesi ve Hacettepe Teknokent Teknoloji Transfer Merkezi işbirliği ile düzenlenen “Hacettepe Hamle İnovasyon Yarışması”nda 2018 yılında Sağlık Teknolojileri alanında birinci olan Nükleer Enerji Mühendisi Nur Kodaloğlu, alanın genç ve başarılı isimlerinden biri. 2019 yılında Teknofest kapsamında Türk Patent Enstitüsü’nün düzenlediği ISIF 2019- Uluslararası Buluş Fuarı’nda “İkincil Kanser Riskini Azaltan Bir Sütyen” patenti ile ‘bronz madalya’ ile ödüllendirilen ve yeni buluşlar üzerinde çalışan Kodaloğlu kadınların bilime katkısını şu sözlerle vurguluyor: “Farklı meslek gruplarındaki kadınlar toplumun çeşitliliğini yansıtmaktadır. Bugün hem nükleer mühendislik alanında, hem de hastanelerin radyoterapi bölümlerindeki kadın medikal fizikçi ve kadın hekimler ile nükleer tıp, radyoloji bölümlerindeki kadın hekimlerin sayısı azımsanmayacak kadar çok. Yaptıkları yayınlar göz önünde bulundurulduğunda bilime yaptıkları katkının da bir o kadar fazla olduğu görülecektir. Kadınların toplumun nükleer teknolojilere olan güvenini arttırmada da önemli rolleri var.”


Organized in cooperation with Hacettepe University and Hacettepe Teknokent Technology Transfer Center, with the armor design that can fit each patient and region (breast, thyroid, etc.) and the bra that will move the opposite breast away from the treatment area, she developed within the scope of her doctoral study in the Radiation Oncology Department of Hacettepe University, Radiotherapy Physics Program. Nuclear Energy Engineer Nur Kodaloğlu, who won the first place in the field of Health Technologies in the Hacettepe Move Innovation Competition in 2018, is one of the young and successful names in the field. Kodaloğlu, who was awarded the ‘bronze medal’ with the patent “A Bra that Reduces the Risk of Secondary Cancer” at the ISIF 2019-International Inventions Fair organized by the Turkish Patent Institute within the scope of Teknofest in 2019 and working on new inventions, emphasizes the contribution of women to science with the following words: “Different professions Today, the number of female medical physicists and female physicians in both nuclear engineering and radiotherapy departments of hospitals, and female physicians in nuclear medicine and radiology departments is substantial. “Women also play an important role in increasing society’s confidence in nuclear technologies.”


“Teknolojik gelişmeyle paralel nükleer enerjinin kullanıldığı her alanda Türkiye’yi ileriye taşıyacağına inanıyorum” diyen Feride Kutbay, nükleer reaktör güvenliği alanında yaptığı çalışmalarla dikkat çeken başarılı genç bilim insanlarından biri. İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi (İTÜ) Enerji Enstitüsü’nde Nükleer Araştırmalar Ana Bilim Dalı’nda Araştırma Görevlisi olarak görev yapan Kutbay, Türkiye’de bu alanda yeni iş fırsatlarının da artmaya başladığına dikkat çekerek, şunları ifade ediyor: “Nükleer güç santralini barındıran bir ülke olarak, nükleer reaktörlerin işletilmesi için yetiştirilen uzmanların dışında IAEA standartlarının ülkemizde uygulanmasında görev alacak uzmanlara da ihtiyaç var. Şu anda Rusya’da eğitim gören öğrencilerimizin dışında Türkiye, son birkaç yıldır Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı’na bağlı yurt dışı yüksek lisans bursu ile nükleer alanda yetiştirilmek üzere farklı ülkelere öğrenci gönderiyor. Geleceğe yönelik insan kaynağımızı güçlendiriyoruz. Kadın istihdam oranının artırılması ve kadın profesyonellerin yetiştirilmesine yönelik adımların Türkiye’de gelişmekte olan nükleer sektöre pozitif yönde etki edeceğini düşünüyorum. Kadınlar bu mesleğe enerji ve güç veriyor.”


Feride Kutbay, who said, “I believe that it will carry Turkey forward in every field in which nuclear energy is used in parallel with technological development,” is one of the successful young scientists who draw attention with her studies in the field of nuclear reactor safety. Kutbay, who works as a Research Assistant in the Department of Nuclear Research at Istanbul Technical University (ITU) Energy Institute, draws attention to the fact that new job opportunities have started to increase in this field in Turkey, and says: “As a country that hosts a nuclear power plant, In addition to the experts trained for the operation of nuclear reactors, there is also a need for experts who will take part in the implementation of IAEA standards in our country. Apart from our students currently studying in Russia, Turkey has been sending students to different countries to be trained in the nuclear field for the last few years, with a graduate scholarship from the Ministry of National Education. We are strengthening our human resources for the future. I think that steps towards increasing the rate of female employment and training female professionals will have a positive impact on the developing nuclear sector in Turkey. Women give energy and strength to this profession.”

“I believe that it will carry Turkey forward in every field in which nuclear energy is used in parallel with technological development.”

Feride KUTBAY, Istanbul Institute of Technology. Türkiye

First published in Gulnar City 8 July 2020. Reproduced here in English and Turkish.

Links and References


#Turkey #Türkiye #NuclearEnergy #Fission #WomenInNuclear

How U.S. Policy Shifted Energy & Technology Hegemony to China

Plant Vogtle

By James Kennedy, President of and John Kutsch, Executive Director of Thorium Energy Alliance, October 3, 2022.

Ordinally appearing in LinkedIn Pulse. Reproduced for educational purposes and with permission.

The Pentagon recently halted the delivery of F-35 fighter jets when it was discovered that they contained Chinese rare earth components. If the Pentagon would look a little more closely, they would find that Chinese rare earth derived components are ubiquitously distributed throughout all U.S. / NATO weapon systems.

It isn’t only U.S. weapon systems, China controls global access to rare earth metals and magnets (and other downstream critical materials) for EVs, wind turbines, and most other green- technology.

However, China’s vision is much more ambitious than controlling the supply-chain for high-tech commodities, they are leveraging their dominance into the clean energy sector. Last month Chinese authorities authorized the startup of what should be considered the world’s only Generation-5 nuclear reactor: a reactor that is inherently safe, non-proliferating, and can consume nuclear waste.

The goal of Net-Zero, and any potential economic benefits, are entirely under China’s control.

China’s leadership position in both of these areas can be traced back to irrational policies and legacy prejudices specific to thorium, a mildly radioactive element that is commonly found in heavy rare earth minerals.

The words that follow, detail the history of how China surpassed the U.S. with its own nuclear technology and displaced its historic leadership position in rare earths.

A Short History on U.S. Nuclear Development

In 1962 Nobel Prize Winning scientist Glenn Seaborg responded to President John F. Kennedy’s request for a Sustainable U.S. Energy Plan. The report titled “Civilian Nuclear Power” called for the development and deployment of Thorium Molten Salt Breeder Reactors.

This overarching report on the role of nuclear power in the U.S. economy was requested by U.S. President John F. Kennedy in March, 1962. The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission was charged with producing the report, gaining input from individuals inside and outside government, including the Department of Interior, the Federal Power Commission, and the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Natural Resources. The study was to identify the objectives, scope, and content of a nuclear power development program in light of prospective energy needs and resources. It should recommend appropriate steps to assure the proper timing of development and construction of nuclear power projects, including the construction of necessary prototypes and continued cooperation between government and industry. There should also be an evaluation of the extent to which the U.S. nuclear power program will further international objectives in the peaceful uses of atomic energy.

Civilian Nuclear Power, a Report to the President by Glenn T Seaborg, Atomic Energy Commission, U.S.A. 1962

These ultra-safe reactors are nothing like the legacy reactors that make up today’s Light Water fleet (LWR). When deployed globally, many believe they will be the primary backbone of Green Energy – replacing the existing natural gas dispatchable power that makes up over 70% of the ‘balance-of-power’ in renewable systems.

Unfortunately, Seaborg’s plan died with Kennedy. The cold-war preference for uranium and plutonium over thorium in the 1960s and 70s, coupled with the 1980s modification to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Committee (NRC) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regulations that also impacted how thorium is classified and processed, led to the termination of the U.S. Thorium Molten Salt Reactor program and, effectively, the U.S. (French and Japanese) rare earth industry.

Today, China controls the downstream production of rare earth metals and magnets (used in EVs, Wind Turbines and U.S. / NATO weapon systems) and is boldly pursuing Glenn Seaborg’s plan for clean, safe energy. China’s nuclear regulatory authorities have cleared the 2MWt TMSR-LF1, China’s first Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (Th-MSR), for startup. There is no U.S. equivalent program on the horizon.

Considering that the U.S. initially developed this reactor, it begs the question of why China is leading with its commercial development. That requires a bit of a history lesson.

The goal of harnessing nuclear energy began shortly after World War II. At that time, a number of Manhattan Project scientists were tasked with quickly developing civilian nuclear power. One of the mission goals was to distribute the ongoing cost of producing bomb-making materials across our secretive Manhattan Project campuses onto a ‘civilian’ nuclear energy program. That program eventually morphed into the Atomic Energy Commission and then to the Department of Energy.

From an accounting standpoint, the DOE’s primary purpose was to divert the balance- sheet cost of our nuclear weapons programs off the military’s books.

For its entire history, 70% or more of the Department of Energy’s budget has been directed towards nuclear weapons development, maintenance, and research programs (and cleanup funding of legacy Manhattan Project sites). As the budget priorities demonstrate, solving America’s energy needs was never the first priority of the DoE. Accept that reality, and the long history of DoE mal-investment begins to make sense.

James Kennedy

Results came quickly. The first reactor designs, still in use today, are essentially ‘first concept reactors’: something more than a Ford Model T, but possibly less than a Model A, as economies of standardization were purposely never attempted in the USA, and therefore the USA never achieved the economies of scale that comes from making only 1 type of reactor model like the French and Japanese do.

The rollout of Thorium MSRs will be the equivalent of a modern-day automobile (with standardization of parts and licensing, automated assembly-line production and centralized operation permitting).

Every U.S. Light Water Reactor (LWR) facility is uniquely engineered from the ground up— maximizing its cost. Every permit application is unique. Permit requirements, timelines and outcomes are fluid. The timeline from initial funding for permitting to buildout can take decades. This equates to tying up tens of billions of dollars in financial commitments over a very long time for an uncertain outcome (a number of reactor projects were terminated during the buildout phase, with some near completion). There is an incentive to drag projects out because the EPC builders of the plan are not the operators, so they have to make all their money in the build. For example, the most recent U.S. nuclear buildout is 8 years behind schedule and at twice the estimated cost. This is a recipe for failure.

The original LWR designs, largely developed by Alvin Weinberg, boiled water under immense pressure to turn a shaft, similar to the turbines of a coal fired power plant. The use of water as a coolant is one of the largest contributors to LWR system complexity, risk and costs.

Water’s liquid phase range at normal pressure is 1 to 99°C. Water’s natural boiling temperature does not generate sufficient pressure to economically operate traditional steam turbines so all LWR type reactors use high pressure to force water to remain liquid at higher temperatures. The need to contain coolant failures in such a high-pressure operating environment greatly effects the safety and cost of the entire system. All water-cooled reactors have an inherent design risk, no matter how small, built in.

Weinberg knew there must be a better design, but government and military support rushed in to prop up the development of the Light Water Reactor design. Admiral Hyman Rickover was the leading advocate, quickly developing the first nuclear-powered submarine. The U.S. Army also got in the game, developing a prototype mobile field reactor. The Air Force, feeling left out, looked to Alvin Weinberg to develop a nuclear-powered aircraft.

The Air Force Reactor project required that he develop something entirely new; keeping in mind that this reactor would operate inside an airplane with a crew and live ordinance. These are truly remarkable constraints in terms of weight, size, safety, and power output. Weinberg’s insight led to a reactor that used a liquid fuel instead of solid fuel rods. It was simply known as Alvin’s 3P reactor, all he needed was a Pot, a Pipe and a Pump to build his new reactor design.

Elegant in its simplicity, its safety was based on physics and geometry – not pumps, values, backup generators and emergency protocols.

The Air Force Reactor program was able to prove out all requirements of the program. It was / is possible to build a nuclear-powered bomber aircraft and keep the crew ‘reasonably safe’. However, the development of nuclear-launch capable submarines and the Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile supplanted the need for a nuclear bomber.

The original Air Force Reactor Experiment evolved into the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) developed at Oak Ridge National Lab. This moderated reactor operated for 19,000 hours over 5 years. The reactor was designed to run on a Thorium-uranium mixed fuel. Prior to termination of the project, all operational, safety, material science, and corrosion issues were resolved.

More importantly, the MSRE project proved that you could build a revolutionary nuclear reactor that eliminated all of the inherent safety concerns of the LWR while minimizing the spent fuel issue (what some people call nuclear waste).

The new reactor, commonly known as a Molten Salt Reactor (MSR), used heated salt with a liquid-to-boil temperature range that can exceed 1000°C (a function of chemistry), to act both as coolant and fuel. The recirculation of the liquid fuel/coolant allowed for the fuller utilization (burn up) of the actinides and fission products. The salt’s higher temperature operation that did not need water for cooling, eliminated the need to operate under extreme pressures.

The Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment

This salt coolant cannot overheat, and meets the definition of having inherent safety – MSR’s are inherently safe reactors that eliminate scores of redundant systems, significantly increasing the simplicity of the overall system while lowering risks and cost and increasing its safety profile.

Another advantage is that MSR’s higher operating temperatures allow it to utilize liquid CO2 (or other high compression gases), thus eliminating H2O steam from the system. Moving away from the Rankine turbine system to much smaller and more efficient Brayton turbines delivers a much higher energy conversion at lower costs. The real promise of the MSR was that it produced process heat directly, for hydrogen, desalination, fertilizer, steel production – avoiding inefficient electricity production all while utilizing 100% of the heat energy directly.

Another beneficial feature is the reduced quantity and timeframe of storage requirements for spent fuel (aka: nuclear waste). Inherent to their design, MSRs use-up nuclear fuel far more efficiently than LWRs, less than 1% of the original fuel load can end up as spent fuel, and due to acceleration of decay under the recirculation of the fuel/coolant load the residual spent fuel decays to background (radiation levels equal to the natural environment) in as little as 300 years.

LWRs utilize about 3% of the available energy in solid fuels and the spent fuel does not decay to background levels for tens of thousands of years.

The most promising MSR design feature was found to be that fission criticality (a sustained chain reaction) is self-regulating due to the reactor’s geometry and self-purging features that dumped the fuel/coolant into holding tanks and regulated fission rates (again, based on geometry) if the reactor exceeded design operating temperatures. These features made a reactor “meltdown” impossible and “walk-away safe”.

Because the salt coolant has such a high liquid phase the system can be air cooled (in any atmosphere: the artic, the desert , even versions for space). The elimination of water from the system eliminates the primary failure-point of all conventional nuclear reactors, including explosive events that can occur with water cooled reactors.

NOTE: LWR reactor explosions are due to disassociation of water into hydrogen and oxygen when exposed to Zirconium at high temperatures during coolant system failure. The zirconium fuel casings act as a catalyst, causing a massive rapid atmospheric expansion. This atmospheric expansion was the cause of the explosive event associated with the Fukushima disaster.

The elimination of any high-pressure hydrogen event excludes the potential for widespread radiation release and thus, the need for a massive containment vessel.

Alvin Weinberg’s reactor design also solved another challenge of that time. Prior to the mid- 1970s the U.S. government believed that global uranium resources were very scarce. This new reactor, fueled with a small amount of fissile material added to the Thorium salt, could breed new fuel. In fact, it turned out that the reactor could also be used to dispose of weapons grade plutonium or even spent fuel (stockpiled nuclear waste).

The Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) option for burning fissile fuel from dismantled weapons is examined. It is concluded that MSRs are very suitable for beneficial utilization of the dismantled fuel. The MSRs can utilize any fissile fuel in continuous operation with no special modifications, as demonstrated in the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment. Thus MSRs are flexible while maintaining their economy. MSRs further require a minimum of special fuel preparation and can tolerate denaturing and dilution of the fuel. Fuel shipments can be arbitrarily small, all of which supports nonproliferation and averts diversion. MSRs have inherent safety features which make them acceptable and attractive. They can burn a fuel type completely and convert it to other fuels. MSRs also have the potential for burning the actinides and delivering the waste in an optimal form, thus contributing to the solution of one of the major remaining problems for deployment of nuclear power.

ORNL – Thorium MSRs From Using Dismantled Weapons, 1991

Unlike natural mined Uranium, which needed intensive processing to concentrate the fissile U235, Thorium is widely abundant and a byproduct of phosphate, titanium, zircon and rare earth ores. Thorium can be used in a nuclear reactor after minimal processing, all benefits that were unheeded in the 60s and 70s.

Since MSRs run at a much higher temperature than LWRs, the greatest benefit would be the direct utilization of thermal energy for industrial processes requiring thermal loads (allowing for the carbon free production of steel, cement and chemicals that make up nearly 25% of all CO2 emissions). Possibilities seemed endless.

Glenn Seaborg’s 1962 report to President Kennedy devised a national plan for sustainable civilian nuclear power. Evaluating the relative safety, efficiency, and economy of the Th-MSR vs. the LWR, Seaborg recommended that the U.S. phase out LWRs in favor of Alvin Weinberg’s Th- MSR Thorium “breeder reactor”.

So why didn’t this reactor design prevail? Considering its economic advantages, the Th-MSR would cause the phase out of the existing nuclear fleet and would be more cost competitive than coal or natural gas (and could replace petroleum via a nuclear-powered Fischer Tropes process), it is no wonder that the reactor was rejected by the prevailing political-economy of cold-war industrialism and what was primarily a hydro-carbon based economy.

The production cost for these reactors was a key concern. The relative cost of assembly line built MSRs reactor would be a fraction of traditional LWRs (these are small modular reactors). As such, MSRs could bring installed cost per megawatt in line with coal fired power plants.

The construction cost advantages are numerous: inherent safety based on geometry (translates into simplicity of design and construction), small, modular, assembly-line built, roll-off permitting, air cooled (eliminating the primary critical failure risk of LWRs and, thus the possibility for a wide-spread radiation event), no need for a massive containment vessel, and small Bryton turbines.

The Thorium fuel would be a byproduct of rare earths (no enrichment is necessary). Rare earths would be a byproduct of some other mined commodity.

Regardless of the economic opposition, there was also a geopolitical conflict. Fueled with Thorium, the MSR did not produce plutonium (fissile bomb making materials) or anything else that was practically usable for the production of nuclear weapons. The reactor was highly proliferation resistant—and who would not like that?

The Nixon Administration, for one. American politics in 1968 were largely influenced by the U.S.’s relative status in the nuclear weapons arms race with Russia. Nixon, a nuclear hawk, killed the MSR program and committed the country to the development of fast spectrum breeder reactors (the program was a total failure), circa 1972.

As early as 1970 a new, safe, clean, cost-efficient, and self-generating energy economy was technically possible but was sacrificed to the objectives of the cold war and preservation of the existing LWR fleet.

If the U.S. had followed Seaborg’s advice the entire world could be pulling up to the curb of Net-Zero today and U.S. energy hegemony would be preserved long into the future.

Instead, today, China is leading the world in the development of Thorium fueled reactors and Thorium based critical materials. They intend to use it as a geopolitical tool: the Chinese version of “Atoms for Peace”. This would end U.S. energy hegemony.

Sadly, most Americans can’t fathom how that would impact their standard of living and create a domestic energy source that would cement their position in the world.

But the story of how Thorium politics and policy derailed U.S. energy and national security interests does not end there.

The Story of Rare Earths

A decade later, the production and proliferation of nuclear weapons material became an international matter of concern. In 1980 the NRC and IAEA collaborated on regulations to ratchet down on the production and transportation of uranium. The regulatory mechanism 10 CFR 40, 75 applied the rules and definitions specific to the uranium mining industry to all mining activity, using the 1954 Atomic Energy Act terminology of nuclear “source material” to define the materials to be controlled.

Uranium, plutonium and Thorium are all classified as nuclear fuel: source material. However, Thorium cannot be used for nuclear weapons (Thorium is fertile, not fissile).

James Kennedy

This caused a new and unintended problem. At the time, nearly 100 percent of the world’s supply of heavy rare earths contained Thorium in their mineralization and were the byproduct of some other mined commodity. Consequently, when these commodity producers extracted their target ores (titanium, zirconium, iron, phosphates, etc.) they triggered the new regulatory definition of ‘processed or refined ore (under 10 CFR 40)’ for these historical rare earth byproducts, causing the Thorium-bearing rare earth mineralization to be classified as “source material”.

In order to avoid the onerous costs, regulations, and liabilities associated with being a source material producer these commodity producers disposed of these Thorium-bearing resources along with their other mining waste and continue to do so today.

Currently, in the U.S. alone, the annual quantity of rare earths disposed of to avoid the NRC source material regulations exceeds the non-Chinese world’s demand by a factor of two or more. The amount of Thorium that is also disposed of with these rare earths could power the entire western hemisphere if utilized in MSRs.

The scale of this potential energy waste dwarfs the collective efforts of every environmentalist on a global basis (including all of the World Economic Forum programs being forced on farmers and consumers across the globe).

As a result, all downstream rare earth value chain companies in the U.S. and IAEA compliant countries lost access to reliable supplies for these rare earth resources.

Capitalizing on these regulatory changes, China quickly became the world’s RE producer.

World Rare Earth Production

During the 1980s, China increased its leverage by initiating tax incentives and creating economically favorable manufacturing zones for companies that moved rare earth technology inside China.

U.S., French and Japanese companies were happy to off-shore their technology and environmental risks (mostly related to Thorium regulations). The 1980 regulatory change and China’s aggressive investment policies allowed China to quickly acquire a foothold in metallurgical and magnet capabilities.

For example: China signed rare earth supply contracts with Japan that required Japan to transfer rare earth machinery and process technology to mainland China while establishing state-sponsored acquisition strategies for targeted U.S. metallurgical and magnetic manufacturing technologies.

By 1995 the U.S. had sold its only NdFeB magnet producer, and all of its IP, to what turned out to be Deng Xiaoping’s family.

In just two decades China moved from a low value resource producer to having monopoly control over global production and access to rare earth technology metals.

By 2002 the U.S. became 100% dependent on China for all post-oxide rare earth materials. Today, China’s monopoly is concentrated on downstream metallics and magnets. In 2018, Japan, the only country that continued to produce rare earth metals outside of China, informed the U.S. government that they no longer make “new” rare earth metals.

Japan stated the reason for terminating all new rare earth metal production is “China controls price”.

Thorium policy was the leading culprit in America’s failure to lead the world in the evolution of the rare earth dependent technologies. From its powerful vantage point, China was able to force technology companies to move operations inside China. From a practical standpoint all past and future breakthroughs in rare earth based material science and technology migrate to China.

Cumulative Patent Deficit USD vs China
Cumulative Patent Deficit USD vs China

The best example of this is Apple. Because the iPhone is highly rare earth dependent, Apple was forced to manufacture it in China. In January 2007 Apple introduced its revolutionary iPhone. By August of the same year high quality Chinese knockoffs were being produced by a largely unknown company named Huawei. By 2017 Huawei was outselling Apple on a worldwide basis.

This story is not uncommon. It is typical of what happens to Western companies who move manufacturing inside China. Apple knew this but had no choice: developing a domestic rare earth value chain was impossible for any single company, industry, or even country by this point in the game.

Today China’s monopoly power allows them to control the supply chain of the U.S. military and NATO defense contractors.

From its diminished vantage point, the Pentagon is somehow unable to understand that China’s monopoly is a National Program of Industrial and Defense Policy.

Instead, the Pentagon pretends that this is a problem that can be solved by ‘the free market’, naively betting U.S. national security on a hodgepodge of junior rare earth mining ventures with economically questionable deposits, no downstream metal refining capabilities and no access to the critical heavy rare earths.

The Pentagon twice bet our national security on a geochemically incompatible deposit in California. The first time was in 2010. The Pentagon was forewarned that the deposit controlled by Molycorp, was incompatible with U.S. technology and defense needs, due to its lack of heavy rare earths, and that its business plan was “unworkable”. The company was bankrupt in just 5 years.

In 2020, despite the same deposit’s intractable deficiencies, Chinese ownership and a commitment to supply China, the Pentagon backed a venture capital group ‘developing’ the deposit under the name MP Materials. The new company has made the same unfulfillable promises as its predecessor but further domestic downstream capability into metallics is unlikely.

MP may remain profitable as long as it continues to sell concentrate and oxides into China, but profitable downstream refining into metallics / magnets is not possible when accounting for China’s internal cost, scale and subsidy advantages (and control over price).

The Pentagon, like so many other investors, fails to accept the reality of China’s monopoly.

It is both an economic monopoly, and a geopolitical monopoly.

Consequently, there have been over 400 bankruptcies in rare earth projects since 2010. Only two western controlled rare earth mines went into production: Molycorp, mentioned above, and Lynas, the Australian company Lynas. Lynas’s success is mostly due the current environment of higher prices (ultimately under China’s control) and a modestly superior rare earth chemistry when compared with the Molycorp Mt. Pass deposit. Lynas survived the 2015 downturn through direct subsidies form the Japanese government, price supports and debt forgiveness from its customers and investors.

Today the U.S. and all western governments find themselves outmaneuvered in rare earths (and other critical materials), the green economy and Thorium nuclear energy.

China is leading the world in the development of Thorium MSRs. Their first two-megawatt prototype reactors was recently cleared for startup (August, 2022). China’s MSR program was built on massive direct investment by the Chinese government and the direct transfer of technology and technical support by the U.S. Department of Energy.

China’s first to market strategy can be expected to conform to their tendency to vertically and horizontally monopolize industries, like rare earths. As such, China is poised to control the global roll out of this technology—displacing the U.S. as the global energy hegemon.

Because the U.S. failed to rationalize Thorium policy it has lost control of its destiny in rare earths and the future of safe, clean, affordable, and sustainable nuclear energy.

Unchallenged, China will be the global champion of net-zero energy.

What are the domestic obstacle to achieving Thorium MSR?

Opposition is directly linked to the cold war policies of the past and the intersection of legacy energy producers (LWR nuclear, coal, natural gas and petroleum) and renewable energy producers. These energy sectors individually and collectively are the political constituents of the DoE. So, despite the opposing interests between each of these energy sectors, the threat of Th-MSR expresses itself as DoE opposition (that is beginning to change).

The other problem with Th-MSR development is the regulatory environment. Regulations are more about protecting legacy interests than public safety. In nuclear regulation it is all about protecting the legacy fleet from new entrants.

For example, the company Nuscale spent over $600 million, over a decade, to certify a new nuclear reactor design. This expense was not to build a reactor. It was the regulatory cost of permitting a new reactor design that (highly conforms to existing LWR designs).

What people overlook is that the real cost and risk in new reactor design is a function of time, money and investor expectations.

In the case of Nuscale, the regulatory and construction cost of a new reactor will be in the multi-billion-dollar range, with over a decade of investor money tied up in the highly speculative investment (speculative in regulatory outcomes and customer orders against existing and alternative technologies) makes this the highest investment risk imaginable.

Accounting for the magnitude of these risks and return expectations, this type of investment is at the outer bounds of what is achievable — in the absence of a monopoly. That is why public investment was always necessary in the nuclear industry. China understands this and has acted accordingly.

What are the domestic obstacles to a domestic rare earth value chain?

The current rare earth issue has not been a mining issue but rather a regulatory issue. The U.S. continues to mine enough rare earths, as the byproduct of some other commodity, to exceed the entire non-Chinese world demand. These resources would quickly become available if the U.S. rationalized its Thorium policy.

The larger downstream problems resulting from China’s massive overinvestment and negligible return requirements in its rare earth industry have yet to express themselves, as the U.S. government blindly funds non-compatible, non-viable, non-economic downstream projects.

Without a production tax credit to off-set Chinese subsides, all of these projects will fail.

Balancing the comparative cost of capital and investor return expectation also must be answered.


There are potential solutions. For rare earths there is a production tax credit bill that could off- set China’s generous subsidies, zero-cost capital and production cost advantages (comparative labor & environmental costs). There may also soon be proposed legislation to solve the Thorium problem. This same proposal would also provide a funding and development platform for a U.S. based Thorium MSR reactor industry.

There are solutions, but time is running out.

To learn more about advancing U.S. interests in the development of MSRs and ending China’s rare earth monopoly please visit the or


James Kennedy is an internationally recognized expert, consultant, author, and policy adviser on rare earths and Thorium energy.

John Kutsch is the executive director of Thorium Energy Alliance, an organization dedicated to the advancement of Thorium for power and critical materials applications.

References and Links


#rareearths #nuclearenergy #nationalsecurity #nationaldefense #china #criticalminerals #departmentofenergy #departmentofdefense #EV #netzero #netzerocarbon #greentech #geopolitics #renewableenergy #cobalt #nickel #graphite #lithium #weapons #defensetechnology #mining #miningindustry #miningnews #greensteel #neodymium #terbium #pentagon #hegemony #monopoly #intellectualproperty #windenergy #solarenergy #hydrogen #thorium #thoriumenergyallianc #energy #scienceandtechnology #aviationindustry #aviationnews #airforce

Confidence in Nuclear Energy – The acceptance of evidence should replace traditional caution

By Wade Allison, professor of physics at Oxford University. Written 20 September 2022

Wade Allison is emeritus professor of physics at Oxford University and author of Radiation and Reason, and Nuclear is for Life.

Though an ideal energy source, nuclear made an unfortunate entry into world affairs. Accompanied by frightening tales of destruction it failed early on to gain the confidence required of a leading contributor to future human prosperity. Is radioactivity and nuclear radiation particularly dangerous? It has been wielded as a political weapon for 70 years. But does the myth of a possible radiation holocaust have objective substance? The inhibition that surrounds nuclear radiation obstructs the optimum solution to real dangers today – climate change, the supply of water, food and energy, and socio-economic stability.

Is radioactivity and nuclear radiation particularly dangerous? It has been wielded as a political weapon for 70 years. But does the myth of a possible radiation holocaust have objective substance?

Professor Wade Allison

Primary Energy Sources

By studying the natural world, humans have succeeded where other creatures failed. Satisfying our needs depends on understanding the benefits that nature offers. In particular, the study of energy and the acceptance by society of improved sources have been critical to prospects for the human race several times in the past. The first occasion was pre-historic, perhaps 600,000 years ago, when fire was domesticated. Confidence and good practice spread through the use of speech and education. Then came the harnessing of sunshine and the weather, delivered by windmills, watermills and the growth of food and vegetation. Nevertheless, these energy supplies were weak and notoriously unreliable. Additional energy was routinely provided by slave labour and teams of animals. Generally though, life was short and miserable.

The use of fossil fuels and their reliable engines began in the 18th Century and displaced the use of intermittent sources. Life was transformed for those who had the fuels. Health, sport, holidays, leisure and human rights flourished, all previously unavailable. Political affairs were largely concerned with which people had access to fossil fuels. Though fossil fuels were never safe or environmental, their combustion probably triggered, if not caused, changes to the climate. Consequently, the decision was taken in Paris in 2015 to discontinue their use. What should replace them? And how may we live in a climate that is never likely ever to revert to the way it was?

Fortunately, natural science today has a firm and complete account of energy – that is apart from one or two intriguing cosmological goings-on such as “dark matter”. Secondary sources, such as hydrogen, ammonia, batteries, electricity and biofuels, are beside the point, because they need to be generated from some primary source, and it’s the latter we need to secure. The weak, unreliable and weather-dependent primary sources that failed previously continue to be inadequate. Without fossil fuels, that leaves only one widely available source, sufficient to support the continuation of society as we know it, namely nuclear energy[1]. It ticks every box, except that many know little about it and are wary of it.

One who learnt early was Winston Churchill. In 1931 he wrote prophetically in the Strand Magazine that nuclear energy is a million times that of the fuel that powered the Industrial Revolution[2].

One who learnt early was Winston Churchill. In 1931 he wrote prophetically in the Strand Magazine that nuclear energy is a million times that of the fuel that powered the Industrial Revolution[2]

Professor Wade Allison

Both chemical and nuclear energy can be released explosively. Unfortunately, it was as a weapon that many in society first heard about nuclear energy. Released in anger at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the combination of blast and fire produced was fatal to the majority of inhabitants within a mile or two. Those much further away were not affected, nor were those who came to the site weeks afterwards. The result of the nuclear bombs was similar to the destruction by conventional explosives and fire storm in WWII of Tokyo, Hamburg and Dresden – or by explosives in recent years of Chechnya, Aleppo and Mariupol – except that it may come from a single device.

It comes as a surprise to many people that nuclear radiation makes no major contribution to the mortality of a nuclear explosion, even in later years[3]. That is not what they have been told. What is the truth and why has it remained hidden?

Wade Allison: “The Fukushima nuclear accident and the unwarranted fear of low-dose radiation”

Is Radiation a Danger to Life?

A great deal has been learnt about the effect of radiation on life in the past 120 years. When nuclear radiation was discovered by Marie Curie[4] and others in the last years of the 19th Century, they took great care to study its effect on life. Shortly thereafter, high doses were used successfully to cure patients of cancer, as they still are today. Millions of people have reason to be thankful as a result.

As with any new technology, much was learnt from accidents and mistakes in the early days. But by 1934 international agreement[5] had been reached on the scale of a safe radiation dose, 0.2 roentgen per day – in modern units, 2 milli-gray (or milli-Sievert) per day. In 1980 Lauriston Taylor (1902-2004), the doyen of radiation health physicists, affirmed[6] that “nobody has been identifiably injured by a lesser dose”– a statement that remains true today.

At first sight it is strange that ionising radiation, with its energy easily sufficient to break the critical molecules of life, should be harmless in low and moderate doses. And it does indeed break such molecules indiscriminately, but living tissue fights back because it has evolved the ability to do so. In early epochs the natural radiation environment on Earth was more intense than today. Life would have died out long ago, if it had not developed multiple layers of defence. These act within hours or days by repairing and replacing molecules and whole cells, too. Control of these mechanisms was devolved to the cellular level long ago, and it is a mistake for human regulations to try to micromanage the protection already provided by nature. So, although the details of natural protection and its workings are still being discovered today, the effectiveness of the safety it provides were known and agreed already in 1934.

But then in the mid-1950s, in spite of initiatives like “Atoms for Peace” by President Eisenhower, human society lost its nerve about nuclear energy and its radiation. What went wrong?

But then in the mid-1950s, in spite of initiatives like “Atoms for Peace” by President Eisenhower, human society lost its nerve about nuclear energy and its radiation. What went wrong?

Professor Wade Allison
Atoms For Peace Speech – Eisenhower 1953

When fear hid the benefits of nuclear and its radiation

Few today are old enough to remember those days, as I do. The 1950s was an unpleasant time with military threats abroad, spying, secrecy and mistrust at home. In the USA it was the era of Senator Joseph McCarthy[7] when all manner of innocent people were accused of being communist sympathisers or Soviet agents. Suspicion was everywhere. Already following the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, knowledge of nuclear radiation was seen as a “no-go” area, supposedly too difficult to understand and beyond the educational paygrade of normal people. After the War a vast employment structure, the industrial military complex, continued to develop, test and stockpile nuclear weapons to the horror of large sections of the populace, worldwide. They were supported in their concern by many scientists, including Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Andre Sakharov and many Nobel Laureates. Whether they were knowledgeable in radiobiology or not – and few were – they did not trust the judgement of the military and political authorities with this new energy and its million-fold increase. Everybody was frightened that the power might fall into foreign hands or be used irresponsibly by allies. This fear increased after 1949 when the Soviet Union detonated its first nuclear device[8]. As the years went by, ever larger popular marches and political demonstrations attempted to halt the nuclear Arms Race with the USSR, frequently alarming civil authorities with their threats to law and order.

This civil disturbance had more success in stopping the Arms Race when it focused on the biological effects of nuclear radiation. Few in the industrial military complex knew much about this – they were mostly engineers, physical and mathematical scientists. In truth, few other scientists did either and in the absence of data were easily alarmed. The concern was that irreparable radiation damage incurred by the human genome might be transmitted to subsequent generations. Such a prediction was made by Hermann Muller, a Nobel Prize winning geneticist – without any evidence. A ghoulish spectre of deformed descendants was eagerly adopted by the media as real. The popular magazine Life, dated May 1955 page 37, explicitly quoted Muller, saying “atomic war may cause” such hereditary damage (emphasis added). The qualification of the possibility was lost on the media and general public – the horror was seen as just too awful. It was widely taken as likely to be true by academic opinion, too, as there was no evidence to deny it.

Herman Muller
Herman Muller, LIFE Magazine, 1957

Significantly, it is not difficult to detect levels of radiation exposure many thousand times lower than the level accepted as safe in 1934[5]. Anxious to quell popular pressure, regulatory authorities acceded to a regime in which life should be spared any radiation exposure above a level As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA). For the public, the advice was set at 1 milli-Sievert per year, a modest fraction of the typical natural background received from rocks and space. National regulatory authorities, concerned to protect themselves from liability, readily adopted the advice of the International Commission for Radiological Protection (ICRP) under the auspices of the United Nations.

These regulations are based, not on evidence, but on a philosophy of caution, namely that any exposure to radiation is harmful and that all such damage accumulates throughout life – in denial of the natural protection provided by evolution. A discredited ad hoc theory of risk, the Linear No Threshold model (LNT)[9,10], supplanted the Threshold Model of 1934 at the behest of the BEAR Committee of the US Natural Academy of Sciences in 1956.

A discredited ad hoc theory of risk, the Linear No Threshold model (LNT) [9,10], supplanted the Threshold Model of 1934 at the behest of the BEAR Committee of the US Natural Academy of Sciences in 1956.

Professor Wade Allison

Such excessive caution incurs huge extra costs. Worse, adherence to ALARA/LNT regulations has caused serious social and environmental damage – for instance, in the response to the accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi. International bodies and committees, unlike individuals, stick rigidly to their terms of reference. So, the ICRP still supports ALARA/LNT today[11] and advocates protection which is not necessary – except in extreme cases.

What about these extreme cases? Muller supposed that an exposure to radiation can alter a person’s genetic code and that this error can then be passed onto off-spring. But the medical records of the survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, their children and grandchildren[12] never supported this. As a result, nobody today maintains that there is any evidence for such inheritable genetic changes. This is confirmed in animal experiments, and was accepted even by the ICRP in 2007[11] – to be precise they lowered their estimated genetic risk factor by an order of magnitude. So Muller was wrong[10]. Incidentally, he was also wrong about the evidence for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1946.

So Muller was wrong [10]. Incidentally, he was also wrong about the evidence for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1946.

Professor Wade Allison

Dedicated to protect people against radiological damage, the ICRP focused on the induction of cancer by radiation instead of inheritable genetic defects. The medical history of 87,000 survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, along with their children, have been followed since 1950. Data on solid cancers and leukaemia in 50 years and their correlation with individually estimated exposures have been published by DL Preston et al ([13], Tables 3 and 7). Inevitably, some survivors died from these diseases anyway, but their numbers are allowed for by comparing with distant residents who received no dose, being too far away. Some 68,000 survivors received a dose less than 100 milli-Sievert and these showed no evidence of extra cancers. Altogether, between 1950 and 2000 there were 10,127 deaths from solid cancers and 296 from leukaemia – 480 and 93, respectively, more than expected on the basis of data for those not irradiated. This number of extra deaths, 573, is significant, but less than half a percent of those who died from the blast and fire. Furthermore, it is only a third of the number of deaths reported as caused by the unnecessary and ill-judged evacuation at Fukushima Daiichi[14], an accident in which nobody died from radiation, or is likely to. Evidently, the fear of radiation can be far more life-threatening than its actual effect, even as recorded in the bombing of two large cities. This conclusion in no way belittles the enormous loss of life from the blast and fire of a nuclear explosion with its localised range and limited duration.

The medical history of 87,000 survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, along with their children, have been followed since 1950.

Professor Wade Allison

But it is important to check that all available evidence corroborates this conclusion. How are other biological risks checked? A new vaccine is checked with blind tests in which patients are unaware of whether they have been treated or been given a placebo. In similar studies with radiation on groups of animals[15], one is irradiated every day throughout life and the other not. Those irradiated daily show a threshold of about 2 milli-Sievert per day for additional cancer death or other life shortening disease, similar to the threshold set in 1934. In fact doses below threshold increase life expectancy and the same is found for humans[16].

At Chernobyl 28 fire fighters died of acute radiation syndrome in a short time[17], 27 from doses above 4000 milli-Sievert and 1 from a dose between 2000 and 4000 milli-Sievert. There were 15 deaths from thyroid cancer (but opinion is divided on these). Other cases of ill health were related to severe social and mental disturbance. Being told “you have been irradiated and are being evacuated immediately” is disorientating. Like Voodoo or a mediaeval curse, it can be life-threatening. Notably, the wild animals in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone are thriving, as seen on wildlife programmes[19, 20] – but then they have not been shown videos on the horrors of radiation!

An important question is how human society has persisted with such a gross misperception for seventy years. Entertainment, courage and excitement are important emotional exercises that prepare us to face real dangers, although there is a need to distinguish fact from fiction. The Placebo Effect describes the genuine health benefits found by patients who think they have been treated when they have not. The Nocebo Effect is its inverse[21], that is where people who have not been harmed, suffer real symptoms as if they had. In the aftermath of the Fukushima accident families endured terrible suffering including family break up and alcoholism – as a direct consequence of regulations based on ALARA and LNT. If the regulations had been based on the 1934 threshold, no evacuation longer than a week would have been justified[22].

The nuclear option for generations to come

Evidently, committees that advocate regulation based on ALARA/LNT are harmful and should be disbanded. Future generations should be free to make informed decisions involving nuclear energy, in peace or war, unencumbered by the erroneous legacy of the 1950s.

Evidently, committees that advocate regulation based on ALARA/LNT are harmful and should be disbanded.

Professor Wade Allison

In years to come, when reference is made to the “nuclear option” in other contexts, we may hope that it will be shorthand for “the best solution”. In medicine this is nearly true now. During a course of radiotherapy the healthy tissue close to a tumour receives a high dose – about 1000 milli-Gray, every weekday for several weeks. By spreading the treatment over many days, this healthy tissue just recovers, and radiologists ensure that this huge dose seldom causes a secondary cancer. This would be disastrous strategy according to LNT – in six weeks or so the equivalent of about 30,000 years at the precautionary dose limit of 1 milli-Sievert per year!

Future generations should be free to make informed decisions involving nuclear energy, in peace or war, unencumbered by the erroneous legacy of the 1950s.

Professor Wade Allison

In future we should not allow ourselves to be blackmailed by fear of the radiation from a nuclear weapon. That may have terrified our parents, but we should ensure that our children understand that radiation is dangerous only in the immediate vicinity of a nuclear detonation where death is caused by the blast and fire. At school all teenagers should study natural science and understand how nuclear energy compares with other sources, for safety, availability, reliability, security and preservation of the environment[1]. Then they should go home and reassure their parents.

In future we should not allow ourselves to be blackmailed by fear of the radiation from a nuclear weapon.

Professor Wade Allison

Professor Wade Allison, Oxford, United Kingdom, 20 September 2022

Links and References

  1. Allison, W. Nature, Energy and Society (2020)
  3. Allison, W. Radiation and Reason, The Impact of Science on a Culture of Fear ISBN 978-0-9563756-1-5 (2009),
  4. Grammatikos PC, Pioneers of nuclear medicine, Madame Curie
  5. International Recommendations (1934) International Commission for Radiological Protection.
  6. Taylor LS, The Sievert Lecture 1980, health physics (1980) 39 851
  7. McCarthyism and the Red Scare
  9. Meyerson G, Siegel JA Epidemiology without Biology (2016)
  10. The History of the Linear No-Threshold Model, Health Physics Society (2022)
  11. The 2007 Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection. ICRP Publication 103. Ann. ICRP 37 (2-4).
  12. National Research Council (1956). Effect of Exposure to the Atomic Bombs on Pregnancy Termination in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. .
  13. Preston DL et al. Effect of recent changes in atomic bomb survivor dosimetry on cancer mortality risk estimates (2004)
  15. Olipitz W et al, Integrated Molecular Analysis Indicates Undetectable Change in DNA Damage in Mice after Continuous Irradiation at ~ 400-fold Natural Background Radiation (2012)
  16. David E et al, Background radiation impacts human longevity and cancer mortality: reconsidering the linear no-threshold paradigm (2021)
  17. Report of the UN Chernobyl Forum Expert Group “Health”, Health effects of the Chernobyl accident and special health care programmes, World Health Organisation (2006)
  18. BBC News, Science and Environment, Cameras reveal the secret lives of Chernobyl’s wildlife (2015)
  19. Discovery Channel, Chernobyl Life in the Dead Zone (2012)
  20. Pincher, H. New Scientist (2009)
  21. Allison, W. BBC Viewpoint: We should stop running away from radiation (26 March 2011)

#Radiation #WadeAllison #ALARA #LinearNoThreshold #AtomsForPeace

Nuclear is the Only Answer to Our Energy Transition

By Wade Allison, professor of physics at Oxford University.

This was first published in the New Statesman special supplement on Energy and Climate Change on 27 May 2022. Reproduced with permission from the author.

Wade Allison
Wade Allison is emeritus professor of physics at Oxford University and author of Radiation and Reason, and Nuclear is for Life.

Finding sufficient energy is essential to all life. Humans have excelled at this, notably when they studied and overcame their innate fear of fire some 600,000 years ago. Until the Industrial Revolution they made do with energy derived, directly or indirectly, from the daily sunshine that drives waterpower, the wind and other manifestations including the production of vegetation and food. But, although better than for other creatures, human life was short and miserable for the population at large. The causes were the anemic strength of the Sun’s rays, averaging 340 watts per square meter, and its random interruption by unpredicted weather.

With fossil fuels, available energy increased, anywhere at any time. Life expectancy doubled and the world population quadrupled. For 200 years whoever had access to fossil fuels had world power. However, at the 2015 Paris Conference nations agreed that the emission of carbon posed an existential threat and that, sooner rather than later, this should cease.

“The coal a man can get in a day can easily do 500 times as much work as the man himself. Nuclear energy is at least one million times more powerful still…”

Sir Winston Churchill, 1931

Technology may be challenging and exciting, but it cannot deliver energy where none exists, today as in pre-industrial times. Writing in 1867, Karl Marx dismissed wind power as “too inconstant and uncontrollable”. He saw waterpower as better, but “as the predominant power [it] was beset with difficulties”. Today, the vast size of hydro, wind and solar plants comparative to their power reflects their weakness and destructive impact on flora and fauna – a point often curiously ignored by environmentalists.

If renewables are simply inadequate and fossil fuel emissions only accelerate climate change further, what abundant primary energy source might permit political and economic stability for the next 200 years? Natural science can say without doubt, the only answer is nuclear.

In 1931, Winston Churchill wrote: “The coal a man can get in a day can easily do 500 times as much work as the man himself. Nuclear energy is at least one million times more powerful still… There is no question among scientists that this gigantic source of energy exists. What is lacking is the match to set the bonfire alight… The discovery and control of such sources of power would cause changes in human affairs incomparably greater than those produced by the steam-engine four generations ago.”

The History of the Linear No-Threshold Model

He was right, but this transition requires adequate public education. In recovering from World War Two and its aftermath, the world lost confidence and demonised nuclear energy. This denial of an exceptional benefit to society has persisted for 70 years supported by bogus scientific claims around radiation and oil interests. But, aside from the blast of a nuclear explosion, nuclear energy and its radiation are safer than the combustion of fossil fuels, as confirmed by evidence from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. Furthermore, nuclear applications in medicine pioneered by Marie Curie (such as the use of radiation to treat cancerous tumours) have been widely appreciated for 120 years.

Among those who have made important discoveries in the field of radioactivity and thus helped in the development of nuclear medicine as an identical entity are: Heinrich Hertz who in 1886 demonstrated the existence of radiowaves. In 1895 Wilhelm Röntgen discovered the X-rays. In 1896 H. Becquerel described the phenomenon of radioactivity. He showed that a radioactive uranium salt was emitting radioactivity which passing through a metal foil darkened a photographic plate. An analogous experiment performed by S.Thomson in London was announced to the president of the Royal Society of London before the time H.Becquerel announced his discovery but Thomson never claimed priority for his discovery. Muarie Sklodowska Curie (1867-1934) was undoubtedly the most important person to attribute to the discovery of radioactivity. In 1898 she discovered radium as a natural radioactive element. This is how she describes the hard time she had, working with her husband Pierre Curie (1859-1906) for the discovery of radium and polonium: “During the first year we did not go to the theater or to a concert or visited friends. I miss my relatives, my father and my daughter that I see every morning and only for a little while. But I do not complain…”. In presenting her discovery of radium, Madame Curie said: ” …in the hands of a criminal, radium is very dangerous. So we must often ask ourselves: will humanity earn or lose from this discovery? I, myself belong to those who believe the former…”. The notebooks that Madame Curie had when she was working with radium and other radioactive elements like polonium, thorium and uranium are now kept in Paris. They are contaminated with radioactive materials having very long half-lives and for this reason anyone who wishes to have access to these notes should sign that he takes full responsibility. There are some more interesting points in Madame Curie’s life which may not be widely known like: Although her full name is Maria Sklodowska-Curie, she is not known neither by that full name nor as Maria Sklodowska but as Marie Curie. Madame Curie was the second of five children. At the age of 24 she went to Sorbonne-Paris after being invited by her sister Bronja to study for about 2-3 years; instead she stayed in Paris for her whole life. Her doctorate was on the subject: “Research on radioactive substances” which she completed in six years under the supervision of H. Becquerel. Pierre Curie was Director of the Physics Laboratory of the Ecole Municipale of Physics and Industrial Chemistry when he married M. Curie in 1895. Pierre Curie left his other research projects and worked full time with his wife. In this laboratory M. Curie and her husband Pierre discovered radium and polonium. In 1901 Pierre Curie induced a radiation burn on his forearm by applying on his skin radiferous barium chloride for 10 hours. During World War I, M.Curie organized for the Red Cross a fleet of radiological ambulances each with X-ray apparates which were called “Little Curies”. The X-ray tubes of these apparates were unshielded and so M.Curie was exposed to high doses of radiation. Once an ambulance fell into a ditch and M.Curie who was inside the ambulance was badly bruised and stayed at home for 3 days. M. Curie with her daughters, Irene and Eve, was invited and visited America in 1921. She led a successful campaign to collect radium for her experiments. Before leaving America, President Harding donated through her to the Radium Institute of Paris 1 g of radium for research purposes. At that time the process to obtain 0.5 g of pure radium bromide required 1 ton of ore and 5 tons of chemicals. No measures of radiation protection were taken back then. In 1929 Madame Curie visited the United States for a second time. She met with President Hoover and with the help of the Polish women’s association in America collected funds for another gram of radium. Madame Curie died of leukemia on July 4, 1934. Sixty years after her death her remnants were laid to rest under the dome of the Pantheon. Thus she became the first woman under her own merit, to rest in the Pantheon. In 1934 at the Institute of Radiology in Paris, Frederique Joliot and Irene Curie-Joliot discovered artificial radiation. They studied alpha particles and beta;-radiation.

Pioneers of nuclear medicine, Madame Curie, Hell J Nuclear Medicine, 2004 Jan-Apr; 7(1):30-1

Regulation around nuclear needs to be commensurate with actual risk, and it should be financed appropriately, with richer nations covering the costs for developing countries.

Fully informed, everybody should welcome the security of small, mass-produced, cheap, local nuclear energy plants dedicated to serving modest-sized communities for 80 years with on-demand electricity, off-peak hydrogen, fertiliser, industrial heat, and seasonless farming.

The only real challenges are in building a new generation with the relevant scientific knowledge and skills, and instilling public confidence.

Professor Wade Allison, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Professor Wade Allison is author of Radiation and Reason, and Nuclear is for Life.

Links and References