Episode 23 – Can’t Afford a Model T? How About a LFTR? – Unintended Consequences – Chapter 8 Part 7

15 Millionth Ford Model T
The Model T Ford made motoring what it is today: affordable, reliable, ubiquitous with 20th century living. It’s this same dogmatic approach to manufactured simplification that will make Fission the energy of the 21st Century.

Can’t afford it?

A modern, 1 GW LWR generates 9,000,000 kWhrs per year which, at 10 cents per kWhr, creates revenue of USD 900,400,000 per year. Deduct USD 220 million for operating expenses for a profit of USD 680 million per year. California’s Diablo nuclear plant generates electricity for about 3 cents per kWhr.

If the plant’s two reactors cost USD 7 billion, their combined profit will repay the 7 billion in 5.7 years, after which they will net USD 1.3 billion/year while employing about 1,000 well-paid workers.

While we temporise, Russia and South Korea are building modular reactors (conventional and MSRs), for sale abroad, some of which will be mounted on barges that can be towed to coastal cities, thus making long transmission lines, with their 10% power loss, unnecessary. In 2020, the first of these barges began operation in Pevek, a town in eastern Siberia. (China makes a 1 GWe reactor for USD 3B in less than 5 years – Dr. Alex Cannara.)

MURMANSK, RUSSIA – AUGUST 23, 2018: The Akademik Lomonosov, a barge containing two nuclear reactors, is pictured in Murmansk during its departure for Pevek, Chukotka Autonomous Area, on Russia’s Arctic coast where it will function as a nuclear power station; built at St Petersburg’s Baltic Shipyard, the Akademik Lomonosov was towed in 2018 from the Baltic Sea to an Atomflot base in Murmansk on Russia’s Barents Sea coast to be loaded with nuclear fuel. Lev Fedoseyev/TASS (Photo by Lev Fedoseyev\TASS via Getty Images)

In 2016, Russia inaugurated a commercial Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) that extracts nearly 100% of the energy value of uranium. (LWRs utilize less than 5%.) The FBR creates close to zero waste and guarantees that we will never run out of thorium, uranium and plutonium, which yield 1.7 million times more energy per kilogram than crude oil.

Russia Sets New Domestic Nuclear Generation Record

Canadian Government agrees to work with United Kingdom on nuclear power

Instead of pursuing these profitable programs, we [USA] have spent USD 400 billion on worthless F-35 jet fighters plus USD 2 billion PER WEEK in Afghanistan – AND there’s that missing USD 8.5 TRILLION that the Pentagon can’t find. [The Pentagon’s $35 Trillion Accounting Black Hole, by Michael Rainey, January 23, 2020]

The US Air Force Quietly Admits the F-35 Is a Failure

Penta-Gone! – The Pentagon’s $35 Trillion Accounting Black Hole

Meanwhile, according to the GUARDIAN, “in 2013, coal, oil and gas companies spent USD 670 billion searching for more fossil fuels, investments that could be worthless if action on global warming slashes allowed emissions.”

Leave fossil fuels buried to prevent climate change, study urges

California plans a USD 100 billion high speed train to serve impatient commuters between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and in 2014, Wall Street paid over USD 28 billion in bonuses to needy executives. If you include greedy sports team owners and players who, between 2000 and 2010, received 12 billion tax dollars to help pay for their arenas, the total could exceed USD 1 trillion.

“When you’re in a hole, stop digging,”

Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org

With that money, we could easily build enough MSRs to end the burning of fossil fuels for generating electricity while drastically cutting carbon dioxide production.

Russia offers nuclear desalination bundle

According to WORLD NUCLEAR NEWS, Russia’s Rosatom Overseas intends to sell desalination facilities powered by nuclear power plants to its export markets: Dzhomart Aliyev, the head of Rosatom Overseas, says that the company sees ‘a significant potential in foreign markets,’ and is offering two LWRs producing 1200 MW each to Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity as part of a combined power and desalination plant.

“Desalination units can produce 170,000 cubic meters of potable water/day with 850 MWh of electricity per day. This would use only about 3% of the output of a 1200 MWe nuclear plant. In addition, two desalination units are also being considered for inclusion in Iran’s plan to expand the Bushehr power plant with Russian technology, and another agreement between Argentina and Russia also includes desalination with nuclear power.” Dzhomart Aliyev, chief executive officer of Rusatom Overseas.

In 2016, the Vice President of Rosatom reported that the company plans to build more than 90 plants in the pipeline worth some USD 110 Billion, with the aim of delivering 1000 GW by 2050.

“By 2030 we must build 28 nuclear power units. This is nearly the same as the number of units made or commissioned over the entire Soviet period… ROSATOM, the Russian nuclear power corporation and builders of the Kundamkulam nuclear power plant in India, has orders for building many nuclear power units abroad.” (XXII Nuclear Inter Jura 2016 Proceedings of the Congress)

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia

Stratfor Global Intelligence reported in an October, 2015 article titled Russia: Exporting Influence, One Nuclear Reactor at a Time that “Rosatom estimated that the value of orders has reached USD 300 billion, with 30 plants in 12 countries. From South Africa to Argentina to Vietnam to… Saudi Arabia, there appears to be no region where Russia does not seek to send its nuclear exports.”

In addition, China has purchased four, 1200 MW Russian reactors. Rosatom will also supply the fuel for a new Chinese- designed fast reactor.

However, our [USA] nuclear industry, opposed by Climate deniers like Donald J Trump, fervent “greens” and powerful carbon companies that put profit before planet, struggles to stay alive.

In Why Not Nuclear? Brian King described our failure to build Generation IV nuclear plants that, unlike LWRs, take advantage of high-temperature coolants such as liquid metals or liquid salts that improve efficiency.

“Argonne National Laboratory held the major responsibility for developing nuclear power in the U.S. By 1980, there were two main goals: Develop a nuclear plant that can’t melt down, then build a reactor that can run on waste from nuclear power plants…

“In the early 80’s Argonne opened a site for an experimental breeder reactor in Idaho. About five years later [two weeks before Chernobyl], they were ready for a demonstration. Scientists from around the globe were invited to watch what would happen if there was a loss of coolant to the reactor, a condition similar to the event at Fukushima where the cores of three reactors overheated and melted.

“Dr. C. Till, the director of the Generation IV project, calmly watched the gauges on the panel as core temperature briefly increased, then rapidly dropped as the reactor shut down without any intervention!

“The Argonne Generation IV project was a success, but it couldn’t get past the anti-nuke politics of the 1990’s, so it was shut down by the Clinton administration because they said we didn’t need it.

“One can only imagine what the world would look like today, with a fleet of Generation IV nuclear plants that would run safely for centuries on all of the waste at storage sites around the globe. No heat-trapping carbon dioxide would have been created – only ever increasing amounts of clean, reliable power. So why not nuclear power?

“Unfortunately, most environmentalists oppose nuclear power, as do many liberals. The Democratic Party is afraid of anti-nuclear sentiment… like the Nation Magazine, the Sierra Club and others. Why are all these people against such a safe and promising source of energy?

“… nuclear power has been tarred with the same brush as nuclear weapons. Nuclear power plants can’t explode like bombs, but people still think that way….

“There is also a matter of group prejudice, not unlike a fervently religious group or an audience at a sports event of great importance to local fans. People are afraid to go against the beliefs of their peers, no matter how unsubstantiated those beliefs may be.

Biden launches $6 billion effort to save nuclear power plants, to help combat climate change, 22 April 2022

”Finally, some good news: In July, 2018, Advanced Reactor Concepts (ARC) and Canada’s New Brunswick Power agreed to build a sodium-cooled, small modular reactor (SMR) – and thereafter at other sites worldwide.

The ARC-100 Advanced Small Modular Reactor

“The ARC-100 includes a passive, “walk away-safe” design that ensures the reactor cannot melt down – even if the plant loses all electrical power. The ARC-100 can consume the nuclear waste produced by LWRs and operate for 20 years without refuelling. Ontario approves nuclear.

OPG paving the way for Small Modular Reactor deployment, 6 October 2020

Small Modular Reactors

  • Their operation can be based on Gen II or Gen IV technologies.
  • Most of them generate less than 300 MW.
  • They run independent without active cooling (or offsite power)
  • They are small enough to have the entire reactor module fabricated at a central facility and then shipped by rail or by truck.

TerraPower advances plans for next-gen nuclear plants, earning Bill Gates’ praise

Starting in 2018, China will begin turning coal plants into nuclear reactors, by Graham Templeton,  23 November 2016

Why a Greenpeace co-founder went nuclear, by Erika Lovley 4 March 2008

Patrick Moore: Why I Left Greenpeace

Canada to boost nuclear power to help meet climate target, 15 March 2015

South Korea reactors That “Won’t Melt Down” approved for US in contract between Doosan and NuScale Power.

August 2020

South Korea companies develop molten salt reactor for shipping, power generation, 24 June 2021

Under the agreement, the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute and Samsung Heavy Industries plan to develop molten salt reactors for marine propulsion and floating nuclear power plants, using molten fluoride salts as the primary coolant at low pressure.

KAERI, 17 June 2021

Poland goes nuclear with plan to build six reactors by 2040, by David Rogers, 9 November 2020

Dr Richard Steeves at Rethinking Nuclear

Advanced Nuclear Reactors by Dr Richard Steeves

Dr. Steeves drives an electric car and flies an electric airplane.

Dr. Richard Steeves

Nuclear Q&A prepared by The Finnish Greens for Science and Technology

The Tennessee Valley Authority announces new nuclear programme

Nuclear Power: The Road to a Carbon Free Future, IAEA 9 Jan 2020

Coming up next week, Episode 24 – Blowing in the Wind

Links and References

  1. Next Episode – Episode 24 – Blowing in the Wind
  2. Previous Episode – Episode 22 – The Pros of LFTRs. Why They Are So Cool
  3. Launching the Unintended Consequences Series
  4. Dr. George Erickson on LinkedIn
  5. Dr. George Erickson’s Website, Tundracub.com
  6. The full pdf version of Unintended Consequences
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Model_T
  8. https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-cannara-6a1b7a3/
  9. https://rosatom.ru/en/press-centre/news/rosatom-world-s-only-floating-nuclear-power-plant-enters-full-commercial-exploitation/
  10. https://www-atomic–energy-ru.translate.goog/news/2016/08/10/68139?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&_x_tr_sl=ru&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en
  11. https://www.powermag.com/russia-sets-new-domestic-nuclear-generation-record/
  12. https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/320295-the-us-air-force-quietly-admits-the-f-35-is-a-failure
  13. https://www.stripes.com/branches/navy/2022-01-28/photos-leaked-F-35-fighter-jet-crashed-into-South-China-Sea-4448944.html
  14. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/pentagon-35-trillion-accounting-black-231154593.html
  15. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/07/much-worlds-fossil-fuel-reserve-must-stay-buried-prevent-climate-change-study-says
  16. https://gofossilfree.org/
  17. https://350.org/
  18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/bill-mckibben-6174131b7/
  19. https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Russia-offers-nuclear-desalination-bundle-0403151.html
  20. https://www.rusatom-overseas.com/
  21. https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/457339/Construction-of-phases-2-3-of-Bushehr-nuclear-plant-has-started
  22. http://aidn-inla.be/content/uploads/2016/12/proceedings-new-delhi-2016.pdf
  23. http://en.kremlin.ru/
  24. https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/russia-exporting-influence-one-nuclear-reactor-time
  25. https://neutronbytes.com/2019/04/06/russia-to-build-four-1200-mw-vver-at-two-sites-in-china/
  26. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nuclear-power-biden-climate-change/
  27. https://www.arcenergy.co/technology
  28. https://energyrealityproject.com/nuclear-power-climate-change-warrior-for-the-21st-century-2/
  29. https://www.opg.com/media_releases/opg-paving-the-way-for-small-modular-reactor-deployment/
  30. https://www.geekwire.com/2020/terrapower-advances-plans-next-gen-nuclear-plants-earning-bill-gates-praise/
  31. https://www.energy.gov/ne/versatile-test-reactor
  32. https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/239588-starting-2018-china-will-begin-turning-coal-plants-nuclear-reactors
  33. https://twitter.com/grahamtempleton
  34. https://www.politico.com/story/2008/03/why-a-greenpeace-co-founder-went-nuclear-008835
  35. https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2016/10/03/greenpeace-co-founder-patrick-moore-makes-case-sustainable-gmo-golden-rice/
  36. https://www.prageru.com/video/why-i-left-greenpeace
  37. https://phys.org/news/2018-03-canada-boost-nuclear-power-climate.html
  38. https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/south-korea-companies-develop-molten-salt-reactor-for-shipping-power-generation/
  39. https://www.samsungshi.com/eng/default.aspx
  40. https://www.globalconstructionreview.com/poland-goes-nuclear-plan-build-six-reactors-2040/
  41. https://emerging-europe.com/voices/the-first-polish-nuclear-plant-will-eventually-be-built/
  42. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opole_Power_Plant
  43. https://rethinkingnuclear.org/who-we-are/
  44. https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-steeves-373808a5/
  45. https://rethinkingnuclear.org/advanced-nuclear-reactors/
  46. https://rethinkingnuclear.org/articles/evolution-of-more-innovative-reactor-designs/
  47. https://www.viite.fi/2021/01/20/nuclear-qa/
  48. https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/TVA-announces-new-nuclear-programme
  49. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ravKXD4iqQ
  50. https://TheThoriumNetwork.com
  51. https://ThoriumEnergyAlliance.com/

#UnintendedConsequences #GeorgeErickson #ClimateChange #FissionEnergy #NuclearEnergy #SpentNuclearFuel #MoltenSaltReactor #LFTR #TheThoriumNetwork #Thorium #Fission4All #RadiationIsGood4U #GetYourRadiation2Day #InvisibleFire #Russia #China #SouthKorea #Poland #USA #Iran #ModelTFord

Episode 22 – The Pros of LFTRs. Why They Are So Cool – Unintended Consequences – Chapter 8 Part 6

Russia Considering Thorium for Waste Burning

Advantages of LFTRs

Many of these also apply to MSRs that use Uranium)

  • No CO2 emissions.
  • Produce only a small amount of low radioactivity waste that is benign in 350 years.
  • The liquid fuel, besides being at 700-1000 degrees C, contains isotopes fatal to saboteurs.
  • Do not require water cooling, so hydrogen and steam explosions are eliminated.
  • Don’t need periodic refuelling shutdowns because the fuel is supplied as needed and the by-products are constantly removed. (LWRs are shut down every 2-3 years to replace about ¼ of the fuel rods, but, LFTRs can run much longer.)
  • Thorium 232 is far more abundant than U-235. Well suited to areas where water is scarce.
  • Do not need huge containment domes because they operate at atmospheric pressure. Breed their own fuel.
  • Can’t “melt down” because the fuel/coolant is already liquid, and the reactor can handle high temperatures.
  • Fluoride salts are less dangerous than the super-heated water used by conventional reactors, and they could replace the world’s coal-powered plants by 2050.
  • Are suitable for modular factory production, truck transport and on-site assembly.
  • Create the Plutonium-238 that powers NASA’s deep space exploration vehicles.
  • Are intrinsically safe: Overheating expands the fuel/salt, decreasing its density, which lowers the fission rate.

Also at play is Doppler Broadening

Fighting Doppler Broadening a.k.a the Doppler Effect
  • If there is a loss of electric power, the molten salt fuel quickly melts a freeze plug, automatically draining the fuel into a tank, where it cools and solidifies.
  • Highly efficient. At least 99% of a LFTR’s Thorium is consumed, compared to about 4% of the uranium in LWRs.
  • Are highly scalable – 10 megaWatt to 2,000 MW plants. A 200 MW LFTR could be transported on a few semi-trailer trucks.

Micro-Reactors by Brian Yang, 16 January 2019

  • Cost less than LWRs. Can consume plutonium.
Rising Costs of Old Nuclear Energy Systems
Rising Costs of Old Nuclear Energy Systems by Atkins Engineering 2014

Can thorium reactors dispose of weapons-grade plutonium? by Michael Irving

Brattle Group study shows value of US nuclear industry

U.S. funds projects on tackling waste from advanced nuclear plants by Valerie Volcovici  and Timothy Gardner

  • Although our current LWRs are very safe and highly efficient, LFTRS are even more productive, and they cannot melt down.
  • Data from the Australian Nuclear Society and Technological Organization of the Australian government:
    + Thorium fuelled molten salt reactors have an energy return ratio of 2,000 to 1. [Also called Energy Density]
    + Our current LWRs that are fuelled with uranium have an energy return ratio of 75 to 1.
    + Coal and gas have an energy return ratio of about 30 to 1. Wind has an energy return ratio of 4 to 1.
    + Solar has an energy return ratio of 1.6 to 1.

Phasing Out Coal Will Require Germany to Build New Gas Plants, by Jesper Starn, June 22, 2021

Big Backpedal: A Week After Shutting its Coal-Fired Plants Germany Forced to Reopen Them, by StopTheseThings, April 25, 2021

“Officials say the weather is partly to blame.”

Germany on Coal Energy Highs and Wind Energy Lows

Germany: Coal tops wind as primary electricity source by DW

Germany 2021: coal generation is rising, but the switch to gas should continue, by Simon Göss, 23 September 2021

“The increase in coal-fired power generation is thus mainly driven by low renewable generation, increased electricity demand and partly also by the high gas prices this year.”

Simon Göss

Coming up next week, Episode 23 – Can’t Afford a Model T? How About a LFTR?

Links and References

  1. Next Episode – Episode 23 – Can’t Afford a Model T? How About a LFTR
  2. Previous Episode – Episode 21 – No Big Noises Here. How a LFTR is Proliferation Proof
  3. Launching the Unintended Consequences Series
  4. Dr. George Erickson on LinkedIn
  5. Dr. George Erickson’s Website, Tundracub.com
  6. The full pdf version of Unintended Consequences
  7. https://lftrsuk.blogspot.com/2011/07/radioactive-nuclear-waste-from-lftrs.html
  8. https://www.nuclear-power.com/glossary/doppler-broadening/
  9. https://analyticalscience.wiley.com/do/10.1002/gitlab.15855
  10. https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2019/01/micro-reactors-as-cheap-as-natural-gas-without-air-pollution.html
  11. https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-wang-93645
  12. https://thebulletin.org/2019/02/the-pentagon-wants-to-boldly-go-where-no-nuclear-reactor-has-gone-before-it-wont-work/
  13. https://www.lanl.gov/discover/publications/1663/2019-february/megapower.php
  14. https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/C-Brattle-Group-study-shows-value-of-US-nuclear-industry-1007157.html
  15. https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/us-funds-projects-tackling-waste-advanced-nuclear-plants-2022-03-10/
  16. https://www.linkedin.com/in/valerie-volcovici-086b094/
  17. https://www.linkedin.com/in/timothy-gardner-1448953/
  18. https://www.ansto.gov.au/our-science/nuclear-technologies/reactor-systems/advanced-reactors/evolution-of-molten-salt
  19. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-21/phasing-out-coal-will-require-germany-to-build-new-gas-plants#xj4y7vzkg
  20. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesper-starn-03b7681b8/
  21. https://stopthesethings.com/2021/04/25/big-backpedal-a-week-after-shutting-its-coal-fired-plants-germany-forced-to-reopen-them/
  22. https://www.dw.com/en/germany-coal-tops-wind-as-primary-electricity-source/a-59168105
  23. https://energypost.eu/germany-2021-coal-generation-is-rising-but-the-switch-to-gas-should-continue/
  24. https://www.linkedin.com/in/simon-g%C3%B6%C3%9F-aa98885a/

#UnintendedConsequences #GeorgeErickson #ClimateChange #FissionEnergy #NuclearEnergy #SpentNuclearFuel #MoltenSaltReactor #LFTR #TheThoriumNetwork #Thorium #Fission4All #RadiationIsGood4U #GetYourRadiation2Day #InvisibleFire

Episode 21 – Proliferation? Not on Our Watch – Unintended Consequences – Chapter 8 Part 5

Nuclear Explosion

Taking the Easiest Course of Action

It would be very difficult to make a weapon from LFTR fuels because the gamma rays emitted by the U-232 in the fuel would harm technicians and damage the bomb’s electronics.

Uranium could be stolen during enriching, production of pellets, delivery to the reactor, and for long-term storage, but LFTRs only use external uranium to start the reaction, after which time uranium is produced within the reactor from thorium.

The Most Radioactive Places on Earth

The United Kingdom tried unsuccessfully over a period of 10 years, from the 1950’s to the 1960’s, to produce a weapon from Thorium. They gave up and switched to the uranium path. Still today, 1.5 tonnes of Thorium remain stored from that program. This is enough to power the entire UK for 10 years – Carbon Free.

The USA fired one Thorium driven test in 1955 (MET/Operation Teapot), but the results so poor and complications so high they did no further.

A 1 GW LWR [Light Water Reactor] requires about 1.2 tons of uranium per year, but a 1 GW LFTR only needs a one-time “kick-start” of 500 pounds [225 kg] of U-235 plus 1 ton of Thorium per year during its 60 year lifespan.

The half-life of Thorium 232 is 14 billion years, so it is not hazardous due to its extremely slow decay.

The primary physical advantage of Thorium fuel is that it uniquely makes possible a breeder reactor that runs with slow neutrons, otherwise known as a thermal breeder reactor. These reactors are often considered simpler than the more traditional fast-neutron breeders.

IAEA 2005

[When Thorium 232 takes up a neutron, the subsequent decay takes two paths: mostly U233 and some U232. The U233 provides most of the useful energy production by Fission. U232 provides protection against proliferation as several decay daughters are high energy gamma emitters – meaning they burn out silicon chips. For example the gamma spike coming from Thallium 208 is 2.6 MeV. ]

[Shielding using advanced materials and methods, such as distance (air), lead, and water can reduce radiation energy to levels where dosages are at recommended levels around 10 microSiverts per hour or 100 milliSiverts per year.

Note that there have been many examples of doses much higher than this causing no concern, such as 350 microSiverts per hour received by Albert Stevens for over 20 years.

Radiation shielding is a mass of absorbing material placed between yourself and the source of radiation in order to reduce the radiation to a level that is safer for humans.

This is measured by using a concept called the halving thickness – the thickness of a material required to halve the energy of the radiation passing through it.

Remember also, that Radiation decreases with distance in accordance with the inverse square law.]

Radiation Halving Thickness Chart

Material100 keV200 keV500 keV
Air3555 cm4359 cm6189 cm
Water4.15 cm5.1 cm7.15 cm
Carbon2.07 cm2.53 cm3.54 cm
Aluminium1.59 cm2.14 cm3.05 cm
Iron0.26 cm0.64 cm1.06 cm
Copper0.18 cm0.53 cm0.95 cm
Lead0.012 cm0.068 cm0.42 cm
Radiation Halving Thickness Chart

Quotes by Albert Einstein

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

“Had I known that the Germans would not succeed in producing an atomic bomb, I never would have lifted a finger,” 

“I made one great mistake in my life-when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made but there was some justification-the danger that the Germans would make them.”

“The release of atomic power has changed everything except our way of thinking … the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker.” – Albert said this in 1945, after the US bombed Japan with nuclear weapons and killed over 200,000 innocent civilians. Approximately 50,000 of them where children, 100,000 where women, and the balance the elderly. There were minor military casualties.

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.”

“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.”

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

“He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilisation should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.”

Albert Einstein, the Grandfather of Fission Energy

Energy production is the only viable way away from militarisation of Fission Energy. In the same way fire is harnessed in a fireplace to warm our homes or make our steels, Invisible Fire, Fission Energy, Energy from the Atom, does the same.

We are blessed by people like Alvin Weinberg who dedicated their lives to the cause after witnessing how their scientific endeavours were employed with such militaristic zeal for death and destruction.

“Weinberg realised that you could use Thorium in an entirely new kind of reactor, one that would have zero risk of meltdown. … his team built a working reactor … and he spent the rest of his 18-year tenure trying to make Thorium the heart of the nation’s atomic power effort. He failed. Uranium reactors had already been established, and Hyman Rickover, defacto head of the US nuclear program, wanted the plutonium from uranium-powered nuclear plants to make bombs. Increasingly shunted aside, Weinberg was finally forced out in 1973.”

Richard Martin, 2009, Wired Magazine

Russia Investigates Thorium for Power Generation

Coming up next week, Episode 22 – The Pros of LFTRs. Why are they So Cool?

Links and References

  1. Next Episode – Episode 22 – The Pros of LFTRs. Why are they So Cool?
  2. Previous Episode – Episode 20 – Got a LFTR? What’s Under the Hood
  3. Launching the Unintended Consequences Series
  4. Dr. George Erickson on LinkedIn
  5. Dr. George Erickson’s Website, Tundracub.com
  6. The full pdf version of Unintended Consequences
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium_fuel_cycle#Uranium-232_contamination
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Stevens
  9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRL7o2kPqw0
  10. https://modernsurvivalblog.com/nuclear/nuclear-radiation-shielding-protection/
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioactive_contamination
  12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma_ray
  13. https://www.nuclear-power.com/nuclear-engineering/materials-nuclear-engineering/properties-of-water/water-as-gamma-radiation-shielding/
  14. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mitopencourseware/3776104498/in/photostream/
  15. https://www.nuclear-power.com/nuclear-power/reactor-physics/atomic-nuclear-physics/radiation/shielding-of-ionizing-radiation/shielding-gamma-radiation/
  16. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium-232
  17. https://patreon.com/posts/39262802
  18. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein
  19. https://www.vintag.es/2016/04/amazing-black-and-white-photographs.html
  20. https://inktank.fi/five-fascinating-facts-you-didnt-know-about-albert-einstein/
  21. https://www.history.com/news/9-things-you-may-not-know-about-albert-einstein
  22. https://www.neimagazine.com/news/newsrussia-investigates-thorium-4986083/

#UnintendedConsequences #GeorgeErickson #ClimateChange #FissionEnergy #NuclearEnergy #SpentNuclearFuel #MoltenSaltReactor #LFTR #TheThoriumNetwork #Thorium #Fission4All #RadiationIsGood4U #GetYourRadiation2Day #InvisibleFire

Episode 20 – Got a LFTR? What’s Under the Hood – Unintended Consequences – Chapter 8 Part 4

Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor by fmilluminati

How a LFTR works

In one type of LFTR, a liquid Thorium salt mixture circulates through the reactor core, releasing neutrons that convert Thorium 232 in an outer, shell-like “jacket” to Thorium 233. Thorium 232 cannot sustain a chain reaction, but it is fertile, meaning that it can be converted to fissile U-233 through neutron capture, also known as “breeding.”

Space LFTR by fmilluminati
Newcastle Molten Salt Burner

When a Uranium 233 atom absorbs a neutron, it fissions (splits), releasing huge amounts of energy and more neutrons that activate more Thorium 232. In summary, a LFTR turns Thorium-232 into U-233, which thoroughly fissions while producing only 10% as much “waste” as LWRs produce.

How Thorium “Burns”

“Thorium energy can help check CO2 and global warming, cut deadly air pollution, provide inexhaustible energy, and increase human prosperity. Our world is beset by global warming, pollution, resource conflicts, and energy poverty. Millions die from coal plant emissions. We war over mideast oil. Food supplies from sea and land are threatened. Developing nations’ growth exacerbates the crises. Few nations will adopt carbon taxes or energy policies against their economic self-interests to reduce global CO2 emissions. Energy cheaper than coal will dissuade all nations from burning coal. Innovative Thorium energy uses economic persuasion to end the pollution, to provide energy and prosperity to developing nations, and to create energy security for all people for all time.”

Dr. Robert Hargraves

Dr. Robert Hargraves has written articles and made presentations about the liquid fluoride Thorium reactor and energy cheaper than from coal – the only realistic way to dissuade nations from burning fossil fuels. His presentation “Aim High” about the technology and social benefits of the liquid fluoride Thorium reactor has been presented to audiences at Dartmouth ILEAD, Thayer School of Engineering, Brown University, Columbia Earth Institute, Williams College, Royal Institution, the Thorium Energy Alliance, the International Thorium Energy Association, Google, the American Nuclear Society, the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission of America’s Nuclear Future, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. With coauthor Ralph Moir he has written articles for the American Physical Society Forum on Physics and Society: Liquid Fuel Nuclear Reactors (Jan 2011) and American Scientist: Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (July 2010). Robert Hargraves is a study leader for energy policy at Dartmouth ILEAD. He was chief information officer at Boston Scientific Corporation and previously a senior consultant with Arthur D. Little. He founded a computer software firm, DTSS Incorporated while at Dartmouth College where he was assistant professor of mathematics and associate director of the computation center. He graduated from Brown University (PhD Physics 1967) and Dartmouth College (AB Mathematics and Physics 1961).

Dr. Robert Hargraves – Aim High! @ TEAC3

“This book presents a lucid explanation of the workings of Thorium-based reactors. It is must reading for anyone interested in our energy future.”

Leon Cooper, Brown University physicist and 1972 Nobel laureate for superconductivity

“As our energy future is essential I can strongly recommend the book for everybody interested in this most significant topic.”

Dr. George Olah, 1994 Nobel laureate for carbon chemistry

Amazon 5 Star comments on “Thorium – energy cheaper than coal” by Dr. Robert Hargraves

  • Why Thorium must be the Future of Energy, Robert Orr Jr.
  • Fascinating read with lots of calcs you can perform yourself, DGD
  • Thorium, what we should have done, B. Kirkpatrick
  • Fantastic book about this little known alternative nuclear energy source, ChicagoRichie
  • Should be in the hands of every science class and on top of every policy maker’s desk, R. Kame
  • A MUST HAVE resource on energy generation alternatives, George Whitehead
  • Get Free Energy, Abolish CO2, End Energy Dependency, Clean – Up the Planet and Make a Fortune. Kindle Customer
  • Essential education, Ames Gilbert
  • A solution for global climate change, Lawrence Baldwin
  • Wonderful book, written in text book style, Dot Dock
  • The place to go for Thorium info. Gerald M. Sutliff
  • Global warming killer, Red Avenger
  • Thorium reactors can be civilizations future for energy, Hill Country Bob
  • Thorium fuel in a breeder reactor implies limitless future energy, Fred W. Hallberg
  • On the ESSENTIAL BOOK LIST, James38

The half-life of Thorium 232, which constitutes most of the earth’s Thorium, is 14 billion years, so it is not hazardous due to its extremely slow decay. – Dr. George Erickson

Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, American Scientist, 2010

“Given the diminished scale of LFTRs, it seems reasonable to project that reactors of 100 megawatts can be factory produced for a cost of around $200 million.”

Dr. Robert Hargraves – American Scientist, July 2010

Coming up next week, Episode 21 – No Big Noises Here. How a LFTR is Proliferation Proof.

Links and References

  1. Next Episode – Episode 21 – No Big Noises Here. How a LFTR is Proliferation Proof
  2. Previous Episode – Episode 19 – Want a Lift? Grab a LFTR
  3. Launching the Unintended Consequences Series
  4. Dr. George Erickson on LinkedIn
  5. Dr. George Erickson’s Website, Tundracub.com
  6. The full pdf version of Unintended Consequences
  7. https://www.deviantart.com/fmilluminati/art/Liquid-Fluoride-Thorium-Reactor-500641963
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium
  9. https://engineering.dartmouth.edu/
  10. https://www.brown.edu/
  11. https://www.earth.columbia.edu/
  12. https://www.williams.edu/
  13. https://www.rigb.org/
  14. https://thoriumenergyalliance.com/
  15. http://www.thoriumenergyworld.com/organization.html
  16. https://talksat.withgoogle.com/
  17. https://www.ans.org/
  18. https://www.energy.gov/articles/blue-ribbon-commission-americas-nuclear-future-charter
  19. https://english.cas.cn/
  20. https://engage.aps.org/fps/home
  21. https://www.bostonscientific.com/en-US/Home.html
  22. https://www.adlittle.com/en
  23. https://home.dartmouth.edu/
  24. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOoBTufkEog
  25. https://www.amazon.com/THORIUM-energy-cheaper-than-coal/dp/1478161299
  26. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/physics/1972/cooper/biographical/
  27. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Cooper
  28. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/chemistry/1994/olah/biographical/
  29. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Andrew_Olah
  30. https://www.americanscientist.org/article/liquid-fluoride-thorium-reactors
  31. https://www.americanscientist.org/author/robert_f._hargraves
  32. https://www.linkedin.com/in/roberthargraves/
  33. https://www.americanscientist.org/author/ralph_moir
  34. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ralph-moir-3a8b2615/
  35. https://www.americanscientist.org/article/not-so-fast-with-thorium
  36. https://energycentral.com/c/ec/lftr-american-scientist
  37. https://www.linkedin.com/in/charles-barton-b081499/

#UnintendedConsequences #GeorgeErickson #ClimateChange #FissionEnergy #NuclearEnergy #SpentNuclearFuel #MoltenSaltReactor #LFTR #RobertHargraves #TheThoriumNetwork #Thorium #Fission4All #RadiationIsGood4U #GetYourRadiation2Day #InvisibleFire

Episode 19 – Want a Lift? Grab a LFTR – Unintended Consequences – Chapter 8 Part 3

Dr Alvin Weinberg at ORNL Stylised

What’s a LFTR?

A thoriumfuelled MSR [Molten Salt Reactor] is a Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor – a LFTR

Pronounced ‘LIFTER
A Lifetime of power in the palm of your hand [with Thorium]

With a half-life of 14 billion years, Thorium-232 is one of the safest, least radioactive elements in the world. Thorium-232 emits harmless alpha particles that cannot even penetrate skin, but when it becomes Th-233 in a Molten Salt Reactor, it becomes a potent source of power. Sunlight, living at high altitude and the emissions from your granite counter-top or a coal-burning plant are more hazardous than thorium-232.

LFTRs are even more fuel-efficient than uranium- fuelled MSRs, and they create little waste because a LFTR consumes close to 99% of the thorium-232. LWRs reactors consume just 3% of their uranium before the rods need to be changed. That’s like burning just a tiny part of a log while polluting the rest with chemicals you must store for years.

Just one pound of thorium can generate as much electricity as 1700 tons coal, so replacing coal-burning plants with LFTRs would eliminate one of the largest causes of climate change. That same pound (just a golf ball-size lump), can yield all the energy an individual will ever need, and just one cubic yard of thorium can power a small city for at least a year. In fact, if we were to replace ALL of our carbon-fuelled, electrical power production with LFTRs, we would eliminate 30 to 35% of all man-made greenhouse gas production.

From 1977 to 1982, the Light Water Reactor at Shippingport, Pennsylvania was powered with thorium, and when it was eventually shuttered, the reactor core was found to contain about 1% more fissile material (U233/235) than when it was loaded. (Thorium has also fuelled the Indian Point 1 facility and a German reactor.)

India, which has an abundance of thorium, is planning to build Thorium-powered reactors, as is China while we struggle to overcome our unwarranted fear of nuclear power. And in April, 2015, a European commission announced a project with 11 partners from science and industry to prove the innovative safety concepts of the Thorium-fuelled MSR and deliver a breakthrough in waste management.

Please read Thorium: the last great opportunity of the industrial age by David Archibald

Thorium: the last great opportunity of the industrial age, by David Archibald

To Slow Global Warming, We Need Nuclear Power by By Lamar Alexander and Sheldon Whitehouse

China Ramps Up New Nuclear Reactor Construction

China is Determined
China Nuclear Build Map – World Nuclear Association


Thorium is four times as plentiful as uranium ore, which contains only 1% U-235. Besides being almost entirely usable, it is 400 times more abundant than uranium’s fissile U-235. Even at current use rates, uranium fuels can last for centuries, but thorium could power our world for thousands of years.

Just 1 ton of thorium is equivalent to 460 billion cubic meters of natural gas. We already have about 400,000 tons of thorium ore in “storage”, and we don’t need to mine thorium because our Rare-Earth Elements plant receives enough thorium to power the U. S. every year. Australia and India tie for the largest at about 500,000 tons, and China is well supplied.

A 1 GW LWR requires about 1.2 tons of uranium each year, but a 1 GW LFTR only needs a one-time “kick start” of 500 pounds of U-235 plus 1 ton of thorium each year.

Waste and Storage

Due to their high efficiency, LFTRs create only 1% of the waste that conventional reactors produce, and because only a small part of that waste needs storing for 400 years – not the thousands of years that LWR waste requires – repositories much smaller than Yucca mountain would easily suffice.

Furthermore, LFTRs can run almost forever because they produce enough neutrons to make their own fuel, and the toxicity from LFTR waste is 1/1000 that of LWR waste. So, the best way to eliminate most nuclear waste is to stop creating it with LWRs and replace them with reactors like MSRs or LFTRs that can utilize stored “waste” as fuel.

With no need for huge containment buildings, MSRs can be smaller in size and power than current reactors, so ships, factories, and cities could have their own power source, thus creating a more reliable, efficient power grid by cutting long transmission line losses that can run from 8 to 15%. Unfortunately, few elected officials will challenge the carbon industries that provide millions of jobs and wield great political power. As a consequence, thorium projects have received little to no help from our government, even though China and Canada are moving toward thorium, and India already has a reactor that runs on 20% thorium oxide.

GE Hitachi, ARC to license joint reactor in Canada; Siemens installs first live 3D-printed part

3D Printed Nuclear Reactor Core Microreactor ORNL, 25 May 2020

India on the road map of tripling nuclear power capacity

After our DOE signed an agreement with China, we gave them our MSR data. To supply its needs while MSRs are being built, China is relying on 27 conventional nuclear reactors plus 29 Generation III+ (solid fuel) nuclear plants that are under construction. China also intends to build an additional fifty-seven nuclear power plants, which is estimated to add at least 150 GigaWatts (GW) by 2030.

Nuclear Scientists Head to China to Test Experimental Reactors, by Stephen Stapczynski

China to start building 6-8 new nuclear reactors in 2018

“Global increase in nuclear power capacity in 2015 hit 10.2 gigawatts, the highest growth in 25 years driven by construction of new nuclear plants mainly in China…. We have never seen such an increase in nuclear capacity addition, mainly driven by China, South Korea and Russia,.. It shows that with the right policies, nuclear capacity can increase.”

Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency, Paris Conference, Reuters, 28 June 2016
Russia Building the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant in Turkey

“When the China National Nuclear Power Manufacturing Corporation sought investors in 2015, they expected to raise a modest number of millions but they raised more than $280 billion.”

Dr. Alex Cannara

MIT: China Is Beating America In Nuclear Energy

In 2016, the Chinese Academy of Sciences allocated $1 billion to begin building LFTRs by 2020. As for Japan, which began to restart its reactors in 2015, a FUJI design for a 100 to 200 MW LFTR is being developed by a consortium from Japan, the U. S. and Russia at an estimated energy cost of just three cents/kWh. Furthermore, it appears that five years for construction and about $3 billion per reactor will be routine in China.

Fail-Safe Nuclear Power, By Richard Martin

China spending US$3.3 billion on molten salt nuclear reactors for faster aircraft carriers and in flying drones, December 6, 2017 by Brian Wang

Westinghouse’s eVinci would look a lot like a LFTR in operation. See more next week on how a LFTR works.

Westinghouse Electric’s parent company wants to put the nuclear company on the market by Anya Litvak

Westinghouse HQ
eVinci by Westinghouse

Coming up next week, Episode 20 – Got a LFTR? Lets Look Under the Hood

Links and References

1. Next Episode – Episode 20 – Got a LFTR? Lets Look Under the Hood
2. Previous Episode – Episode 18 – Pass the Salt Dear – How Fission Gets Rock Solid Stability
3. Launching the Unintended Consequences Series
4. Dr. George Erickson on LinkedIn
5. Dr. George Erickson’s Website, Tundracub.com
6. The full pdf version of Unintended Consequences
7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shippingport_Atomic_Power_Station
8. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/05/16/thorium-the-last-great-opportunity-of-the-industrial-age/
9. https://www.amazon.com/David-Archibald/e/B00I32BANS/
10. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/21/opinion/to-slow-global-warming-we-need-nuclear-power.html?
11. https://www.linkedin.com/in/lamar-alexander-68290688/
12. https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexander-whitehouse/
13. https://neutronbytes.com/2020/07/11/china-ramps-up-new-nuclear-reactor-construction/
14. https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/china-nuclear-power.aspx
15. https://www.reutersevents.com/nuclear/ge-hitachi-arc-license-joint-reactor-canada-siemens-installs-first-live-3d-printed-part?
16. https://www.ornl.gov/news/3d-printed-nuclear-reactor-promises-faster-more-economical-path-nuclear-energy
17. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/india-on-the-roadmap-of-tripling-nuclear-power-capacity/article64295841.ece
18. https://www.thestatesman.com/india/indian-nuclear-reactor-at-kaiga-sets-world-record-for-continuous-operation-1502700962.html
19. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-21/nuclear-scientists-head-to-china-to-test-experimental-reactors
20. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-stapczynski-61187919/
21. https://thedebrief.org/chinese-fusion-reactor-sets-new-record-of-1056-seconds/
22. https://neutronbytes.com/2018/04/02/china-to-start-6-8-new-nuclear-reactors-in-2018/
23. https://www.iea.org/contributors/dr-fatih-birol
24. https://www.linkedin.com/in/fatih-birol/
25. https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-cannara-6a1b7a3/
26. https://dailycaller.com/2016/08/02/mit-china-is-beating-america-in-nuclear-energy/
27. http://climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/4/planId/15102
28. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuji_MSR
29. https://www.technologyreview.com/2016/08/02/158134/fail-safe-nuclear-power/
30. https://linkedin.com/in/richard-martin-80344410/
31. https://www.patreon.com/posts/39262802
32. https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/12/china-spending-us3-3-billion-on-molten-salt-nuclear-reactors-for-faster-aircraft-carriers-and-in-flying-drones.html
33. https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-wang-93645/
34. https://www.post-gazette.com/business/powersource/2022/05/10/westinghouse-for-sale-brookfield-energy-nuclear-sale-russia-ukraine-europe-evinci-microreactor-temelin-climate/stories/202205100052
35. https://www.linkedin.com/in/anya-litvak-a060096/
36. https://www.westinghousenuclear.com/new-plants/evinci-micro-reactor
37. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us1WGZtzVCw

#UnintendedConsequences #GeorgeErickson #ClimateChange #FissionEnergy #NuclearEnergy #SpentNuclearFuel #MoltenSaltReactor #LFTR #TheThoriumNetwork #Thorium #Fission4All #RadiationIsGood4U #GetYourRadiation2Day