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  • Mark Goldes

    The real problems with nuclear power is little recognized.

    A severe solar storm can result in meltdowns at hundreds of nuclear power plants.

    See the Aesop Institute website to understand how and why.

    Preventing the worst may prove possible with a worldwide concerted effort that begins in the immediate future.

  • forsetiboston

    Simple question. For someone that has been in Japan often over the last several years, how do you provide the electricity for just the train system? This is a country that has electric freight and passenger trains.

    Two words: coal and oil. If that is your alternative good luck. If Russia has her way you will have three words one of which is natural gas.

    •!/kevinmeyerson Kevin Meyerson


      JR East Japan, for example produces nearly all of the electricity they use via hydropower generation that they own. Not coal, not oil. They sell much of their power to TEPCO and others.

      You have apparently fallen for the old “Japan has no resources” myth. Japan has enormous renewable energy resources which are all but untapped. Japan can move to renewable energy while reducing green house gases with a number of strategies which do not include dangerous nuclear.

  • skinnydog

    Nuclear power isn’t the problem. The problem is with the reactors we’ve been using to make it. If the reactors at Fukushima had been Liquid Fuel Thorium Reactors (LFTRs) they wouldn’t have a mess on their hands.

    Liquid fuel reactor technology was developed at Oak Ridge National Labs in the 1960s. Although the test reactor worked flawlessly, the project was shelved, a victim of political considerations and Cold War strategy. But LFTRs have been gathering a lot of new attention since the events in Japan.

    An LFTR a completely different kind of reactor, as different as an electric motor from a gasoline engine. It can’t melt down, and automatically adjusts its output to meet changing workload demands. It requires no active cooling system and can be installed anywhere on earth, even an underground vault. A tsunami would roll right over it, like a truck over a manhole cover.

    LFTRs use liquid fuel ⎯ nuclear material dissolved in molten fluoride salt. Solid-fuel reactors are atomic pressure cookers, with the constant danger of high-pressure ruptures, meltdowns, and the forceful ejection of radioactive material. MSRs don’t use water, and always operate at ambient pressure.

    A LFTR can deliver 750ºC heat for industrial processes, or spin a high-temperature gas turbine to generate power. If disaster strikes and an MSR springs a leak, the spill cools to an inert lump of rock, chemically locking the nuclear material inside. The fuel can all be recovered and used again.

    LFTRs burn Thorium, a mildly radioactive material more common than tin and found all over the world. America has already mined enough Thorium to power the entire country for 400 years. It’s found by the ton in the tailings of our abandoned Rare Earth Element mines.

    LFTRs are highly resistant to proliferation. Thorium is bred into 233Uranium inside the reactor, but only enough to keep the LFTR running, so no stockpiling occurs. While 233U is an excellent fuel, its harsh radiation makes it nearly impossible to steal, and extremely difficult to use in a weapon.

    Liquid fuel can be continuously cleaned of the contaminants that spoil solid fuel. This unique feature enables MSRs to consume fuel so thoroughly that they can even use the spent fuel from other reactors, cleaning up our legacy of nuclear waste while producing a miniscule amount of waste themselves.

    A 1-gigawatt LFTR, big enough to power a city of one million, will run on one ton of Thorium per year, or about 2 teaspoons per hour. The long-term waste will be the size of a basketball, and virtually harmless in just 300 years.

    Google: LFTR, MSR, molten salt reactor, liquid fluoride thorium reactor, Thorium Energy. See the Wired.Com article “Uranium Is So Last Century.

    • DARYAN

      I did a critique a while ago of the LFTR design and in short many of the more outlandish claims, such as those you’ve made are unproven (dare I ask for a reference?) at best and at worst little short of fantasy.

      There are far simpler ways of using Thorium in nuclear reactors, such as the VHTR or CANDU, but both have so far not proven commercially viable. That said, if you wanted Thorium based nuclear, it would make more sense to use this technology than LFTR’s as its more technically mature.

      LWR’s favoured because they made plutonium?
      An easily debunked conspiracy theory, where is that plutonium? Still locked up in the spend fuel rods! as US civilian
      reactors largely ran on a “once-thro” process with no effort made to reprocess them. The reason why LWR’s were favoured is simple, LWR’s can be easily forged or cast from Steel, use water and steam as coolants (of which there was ample experience from conventional power stations) and were based on military reactors that had been running successfully for a decade or more. MSR’s are made from exotic nickel alloys (of which there was very limited manufacturing experience of back in the 60′s) and involved mucking around with molten salts and “nuclear lava”.

      The original MSRE didnnot “function flawlessly”. Unless you consider distorted graphite elements, a fatique failure of a critical component and numerous problems with intergranual cracking as a “success”.

      The truth is that the LFTR is a blue sky idea. It is decades or more from commercial deployment, indeed there’s nothing to say that in the process of answering the research questions, some ironclad show stopper won’t emerge. We’ve been here b4 with OTEC, Fast Breeders, Cold Fusion and numerous other “miracle” technologies.

      And the simple fact is that if we want to avert dangerous climate change we can’t wait for technology like this to emerge (after all, what if it never emerges?). Hence why I favour going with what we’ve got, notably renewables and various energy efficiency strategies and considering nuclear plants such as these at some distant future date when the technology has proven itself.

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  •!/kevinmeyerson Kevin Meyerson

    Interestingly, India has tried to develop thorium as a nuclear fuel source for decades and failed. Other countries such as Germany, the USA, Japan, and many others tried and gave up already. Thorium reactors and other nuclear white elephant money pits have been tried and are too late to make a difference.

    As nuclear falls out of favor for so many countries, online astroturf PR agencies are being hired to promote a new iteration of the ‘energy that’s clean, safe, and too cheap to meter’ nuclear fantasy. This is similar to the nuclear fantasies that were promoted for the past half century and have been discredited. The only major difference is that now they’re trying it on the internet.

    Here are some facts about thorium without all the snake-oil salesman-like spin:

    NIRS: “New” Nuclear Reactors: Same Old Story

    DARyan Energy Blog – Thorium Cycle questions and problems
    * DARyan has plenty of other excellent articles at the site as well

    IEER: Thorium Fuel: No Panacea for Nuclear Power

    LAKA: Thorium-Based Nuclear Power: An Alternative?

    Personally, I think it would be wonderful if someone could build a 100% safe clean and cheap energy source, but in reality it’s been promised for decades by the nuclear industry without delivery. It’s time we move on and focus on an energy future based on reality, not fantasies.

  • forsetiboston

    So that is wonderful, like in the US nearly 100% of hydro has been over utilized, its changing the make up of rivers already and further its providing (according to you) one branch of one line Is this your source – that says 62% of the power is generated by thermal and hydro?

    It’s not enough.

    What about the rest? Coal, oil, and if Russia has any say natural gas. Pick your poison pal. It’s not a myth I spend a few months a year there, quite near Fukushima to be sure, the Japanese are polluting the hell out of the atmosphere now to make up the difference. I am fine with it, the MWs have to come from somewhere, when was your last trip outside of Tokyo, there are some big stacks pushing some big smoke up into the sky.

    Hydro and geo-thermal? Maybe in a dream world – we need thousands of megawatts and we need them now. I know lets use the sun… I digress.

  • forsetiboston

    @Kevin: Almost all = little more than half – I forgot to mention that.

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  • Physicz Headquarterz

    Mark Goldes’ “AESOP Institute” has engaged for many years in the very dishonest and unscrupulous practice of soliciting loans and donations under an endless series of false pretenses, that it is developing and even “prototyping” various “revolutionary breakthroughs,” such as “NO FUEL ENGINES” that run on ambient heat alone – or run on “Virtual Photon Flux” – or on “Collapsing Hydrogen Orbits” – or even on the acoustic energy of sound from a horn.

    AESOP Institute’s make-believe strictly ambient heat engine is ruled out by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This has been understood by physicists for at least 190 years. There is no “new science” that has ever determined such an engine to be possible.

    AESOP Institute’s make-believe “Virtual Photon Flux” engine is based on the idea that accessible electric power “is everywhere present in unlimited quantities” – which we know to be false.

    AESOP Institute’s make-believe “Collapsing Hydrogen Orbits” engine is based on Randell Mills’ theory of “hydrino” hydrogen, which every scientist knows to be false.

    AESOP Institute’s make-believe horn-powered engine is based on the pretense that a magnetized tuning rod could somehow “multiply energy” – a ludicrous notion, which is obviously ruled out by the law of conservation of energy.

    AESOP Institute’s very latest make-believe engine is a perpetual motion machine in the form of a self-powered air compressor, which proposes to use a turbine to compress air to spin the turbine to compress air to spin the turbine.

    AESOP Institute has never offered the slightest shadow of evidence that it is actually developing or “prototyping” any of these make-believe physics-defying “revolutionary breakthroughs.” All it has ever offered are mere declarations that it is doing so – unsupported by any proof whatever, of any kind whatever.

    There are no “revolutionary breakthroughs” to be found on Goldes’ fraudulent “AESOP Institute” website. There is only pseudoscience, relentless flimflam, and empty claims of engines that are ruled out by the laws of physics.