I think members crave the feeling of community when attending the Thorium Energy Alliance Conference (TEAC) each year. This event was no exception. Was there any take away for this conference? I would say it’s that we have a special group and we should not underestimate it. All of the members need to be even more engaged in activism for the revolutionary promise of nuclear energy. The power for change lies within our collective effort.
There have been excursions at previous TEACs but this one had a full Solar Eclipse
Meredith Angwin – Campaigning for Clean Air (interview)
George Erickson – Unintended Consequences (interview)
Mathijs Beckers – The Non- Solutions Project (interview)
Mike Conley and Timothy Maloney – Roadmap to Nowhere
Robert Hargraves – Thorium – Energy Cheaper than Coal
Ripudaman Malhotra – Cubic Mile of Oil
Rick Maltese – Energy Reality
The two day conference (Aug. 21st & 22nd) can boast a significant turnout with talks that introduced a new reactor concept by Ed Pheil’s company Elisium (see interview) that is a Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactor.
There were appearances from other leading contenders Terrestrial Energy had founder David LeBlanc (President/Chief Technology Officer/Director) give a talk with a new projection date of completion for late 2020s. We are witnessing the reality effect. Its not easy starting a nuclear reactor company with a new design.
Robert Hargraves spoke twice at the conference. One about Thorcon and the other on Radiation.
There were two presentations that made rebuttals to Mark Jacobson’s Solutions Project. Mathijs Beckers went first on day one expanding on ideas in his book The Non-Solutions Project and Mike Conley partnered up with Timothy Maloney to present a Roadmap to Nowhere. I witnessed an enthusiastic conversation afterward on the break between organizer Jim Kennedy, Mathijs Beckers, Mike Conley, Timothy Maloney and later Ripudaman Malhotra joined in with some expertise. I hope this group collaborates somehow. That’s why these conferences are so great.
The new reactors category had talks by Ed Pheil and a NEW!!! “No Moving Parts” concept by Jonathan Shattke called a ThorMer. Thorium and Mercury play significant roles. The design uses accelerator driven neutrons, Magneto Hydodynamic Generation that enables no turbine or pumps. See his at home presentation as a preview before Gord McDowell has a chance to finish the edits. I still have a few edits to do myself of a few more interviews with Heather Matteson, Alan Medsker and Gary Kahanak and the Lunch time presentation by Alex Cannara.
This is going to be an interesting month. We have two marches less than a year after the first pronuclear march in June 2016 to keep nuclear plants open. March for Science Saturday April 22, 2017 and the Climate march April 29th
Ontario serves as an example of how coal can be eliminated with the right energy mix. Our three nuclear plants with 8 unit at Bruce Power, 6 of 8 units in Pickering and 4 units at Darlington enabled Ontario to fully replace the coal Ontario had been producing up until December 2013. I have my work cut out for me because a large number of those attending these marches are unaware of the role nuclear energy must play.
As you may already know I am writing a book named after this Energy Reality website about nuclear energy and the need for a grassroots movement. I have my crowdfunding effort to promote the book and share the ideas from the book. I also have begun co-hosting a podcast called the Ecomodernist Podcast You will find six podcasts so far. All of them providing a positive outlook on solutions to environmental problems we are all facing and ultimately responsible for fixing.
Welcome to the 322nd Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers who are a necessary group of pro-nuclear advocates who recognize the importance of a transition to a more dominant role for nuclear power in our energy mix.
There have been a lot of firsts lately that point in a positive direction for the future of the nuclear industry and therefore the planet. I have made it no secret that Energy Reality supports nuclear energy mainly because it provides the best and perhaps only solution to irreversible tipping points that are forever events.
A quick description of attending the New York Public Service Commission meeting in which they voted for the historic Clean Energy Standard which supports both nuclear and renewable power. Links to other posts and to a video.
On Thursday, Dr. James Hansen and the leading climate scientists in the world sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown of California, about how nuclear energy was essential to fight global warming. The letter was prompted by a recent announcement by Pacific Gas & Electric Company to close its well-running, low-carbon, low-cost nuclear reactors at Diablo Canyon because of political pressure from the state of California and especially its Lt. Governor. New York addressed this issue just last week when it passed a true Clean Energy Standard that supports both renewables and nuclear. But, strangely, California doesn’t seem impressed by the threat of global warming.
With New York’s passing of a true Clean Energy Standard this week that supports both renewables and nuclear, Exelon Generation has agreed to assume ownership and operations of Entergy Corporation’s James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in Scriba, New York. This will save 7 billion kWhs of carbon-free electricity a year, $500 million for the local economy, 600 high-paying direct jobs and over 1,500 indirect jobs. It should serve as a guide to other states, especially Illinois, that are facing similar conundrums of warped markets closing carbon-free nuclear plants and threatening each state’s carbon goals and local economies.
The situation has recently shown more promise for the future of the nuclear industry in the U.S. Michael Shellenberger reports about the steps that would prevent a seriously grave decision from taking place.
There is a positive news story that a new kind of nuclear plant has been given a green light for a location to a modern Small Modular Reactor. Now it’s a matter of waiting for approval from the NRC that takes 3 or 4 years.
On June 24th, a coalition of environmental groups will march from San Francisco to Sacramento to protest the potential closing of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which will wipe out most of the progress in clean energy made by the state with wind and solar power. In 2015, all wind energy in California only produced 12 billion kWhs. The two Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors produce 17 billion kWhs every year, and will for the next 20 years if not prematurely closed for political reasons. Unfortunately, PG&E announced today they will close the plant in 2025, devastating the local economy and putting 1,500 people out of work.
The Health Physics Society, the scientific society that includes radiation protection scientists, recently put out a revised position statement on Radiation Risk In Perspective. In it, they advise against estimating health risks to people from exposures to ionizing radiation that are anywhere near natural background levels because statistical uncertainties at these low levels are great. In other words, any health effects resulting from radiation levels below 10,000 mrem/yr (100 mSv/yr) are in the noise. It’s why the thousands of cancers and deaths predicted for Chernobyl and Fukushima never appeared, although the fear certainly did.
PG&E announced a plan to close Diablo Canyon by 2025, and will not ask the NRC for a license renewal. Well, much can be done before 2025. In this post, Meredith Angwin provides a link for signing a pro-nuclear petition, and another link for donating to the people who are organizing the pro-Diablo march in California. It’s time to take action! With these links, everyone can take action, whether or not they live in California.
In this post, John Dobken describes a Seattle City Council resolution aimed at restricting the use of nuclear energy for the city. It’s a hands-on post, mostly direct from the council meeting. It includes the Seattle council members speaking scornfully of people in Central Washington (where the plant is located), and the sound of people snickering when a nuclear supporter spoke to the council. Watch the video clips of the pro-nuclear statement and admire the speaker! We must all support clean air nuclear energy–at every opportunity to do so!
In this opinion piece at ANS Nuclear Cafe, Will Davis points out how ratepayers will be on the hook for everything that happens relative to replacing Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, including community impact mitigation.
At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus reports on the appointment of Margaret Chu to NRC’s ACRS. With Margaret’s appointment, there will be 2 woman on the ACRS for the first time. Gail identifies the very limited history of women on the ACRS and the now-disbanded ACNW.
Third Generation Laser Uranium Enrichment Technology is likely over 5 times more energy efficient and more compact than the best centrifuges
New laser-based uranium enrichment technology may provide a hard-to-detect pathway to nuclear weapons production according to a forthcoming paper (25 pages) Ryan Snyder, a physicist with Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security.
Research on the relevant laser systems for laser enrichment is also currently ongoing in the United States, Russia, India, China and Iran.
“ANS has made, and continues to make, important contributions to the use of nuclear science and technology, and consequently to the larger society beyond ANS. It achieves this through its many products and services, including meetings, publications, standards, outreach, honors and awards, scholarships, teachers workshops, Organization Members, and representation in Washington, D.C.”
“ANS continues to be a professional organization of scientists, engineers, and other professionals devoted to the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology. Its 11,000 members, from over 40 countries, come from diverse technical disciplines ranging from physics and nuclear safety to operations and power, and from across the full spectrum of the national and international enterprise, including government, academia, research laboratories, and private industry. Making it all succeed are a Board of Directors, 20 standing committees, 19 professional divisions, one technical group and two working groups, 32 local sections, over 35 student sections, liaison agreements with over 30 non-U.S. nuclear societies, and a headquarters staff of about 50 people.”
12:00 Assemble Kaiser Lot. 22nd st. and Kaiser Plaza, Oakland 12:45 Rally at Sierra Club, 2101 Webster St. Oakland
1:36 Board Yellow BART 19th and Oakland to Greenpeace
2:10 Arrive at 16th St. and Mission. March. 4 miles North 2:30 Rally at Greenpeace, 1661 Mission St.
3:10 March to NRDC 3:45 Rally at NRDC 111 Sutter Street, San Francisco
4:15 March to PG&E, Embarcadero BART Station
4:31 Take Yellow BART Line to 19th St. and Oakland
6:00 Leave for Lake Solano
8:00 Arrive at Solano, Set Up Tents
8:30 Campfire, Singalongs, S’Mores, and Stories
SATURDAY, JUNE 25 :: FAIRFIELD
7:30 Good Morning Yoga and Calisthenics with Matt Meyer
8:00 Breakfast in Camp (Day-Use Area)
9:45 Shuttle to 500 Solano College Rd. Fairfield, CA
10:30 Arrive and Prepare to March 10:45 March! 3.8 Miles Along I-80
12:00 Lunch at Allan Witt Park 12:30 Community Discussion — Theme: “Water is Life”
2:00 Swim at Allan Witt Park!
4:30 Shuttle back to cars and Solano
5:15 Arrive at Camp Solano– R&R
6:00 Dinner (Day-Use Area)
7:00 Capoeira Lesson with Rauli Partanen
8:00 Campfire, Singalongs, S’Mores, and Stories
SUNDAY, JUNE 26 :: VACAVILLE
7:00 Potential march time for our Long-Hikers (12.2 Miles)
7:30 Good Morning Yoga and Calisthenics with Matt
9:45 Shuttle marchers to 201 E Monte Vista Ave, Vacaville
10:15 Assemble 10:30 March! 2.8 miles (54 minutes)
11:30 Community Grill Out in Andrews Park 1:00 Speakers and Performances. Theme: “Creation Care”
2:30 Shuttle marchers to base camp
3:00 Arrive at Solano: R&R
4:00 Activities. (Filming/Music/Climbing Trees)
6:00 Dinner at base camp
7:00 Show and Tell Activities
8:00 Campfire, Singalongs, S’mores, Stories.
9:00 Outdoor Movie Screening.
MONDAY, JUNE 27 :: DAVIS
7:30 Good Morning Yoga and Calisthenics with Matt
10:15 Shuttle marchers to 1525 Tulip Lane, Davis, CA 95618
10:45 Assemble March
11:00 March! (2.0 miles)
11:20 Rally by Solar Installation at 3817 Halcon Plaza
12:00 Lunch in the Park
1:00 Visit EXPLORIT Science Center
3:00 Shuttle Back to Camp
3:40 Arrive at Base Camp
4:00 Activities (Crafts/Music/Filming)
6:00 Dinner at base camp
8:00 Campfire, Singalongs, S’mores, Stories.
TUESDAY, JUNE 28 :: SACRAMENTO
6:30 Breakfast at Camp
7:15 Drive To Sacramento
Park Near Cesar Chavez Park or Sacramento Station
8:15 Meet at Cesar Chavez Park and Prepare for March. 8:30 March! around the Capitol and Ending at the Lands Commission meeting. 9:15 Rally at Lands Commission Meeting at Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza 10:00 Pack the room at the Lands Commission Meeting
12:00 End of March
Please consider that the steps to solve climate and ocean change needs to start with a genuine inquiry into energy. America used to be the leaders in nuclear energy. There has been a serious lack of effort to enable an affordable pathway to nuclear energy. The misconceptions cause too many people to not even begin to inquire about their assumptions. The so-called dangers are blown out of proportion causing entire countries to suffer economically for poor decisions. Germany, Italy and Japan come to mind. The best models I know of are France and Ontario, Canada who do not use coal at all.
Our future literally depends on making nuclear energy the primary source of power globally. America use to be the example for the rest of the world. It would be arrogant to think the rest of the developing world can learn from American policies that reflect a lack of energy knowledge.
I am a musician with a passion for the environment. I have learned to appreciate the role of energy in solving the world’s problems. After years of following scientific writings and sharing information with others I came to realize that most people (that includes all kinds of people) fail to understand the significance of 200 years of industrial production of carbon dioxide. It has been steadily accumulating faster than the environment can handle. Now at approximately 400 parts per million is certainly a big factor. The oceans warming and becoming more acidic is going to trigger mass extinction in your lifetime. Some say the mid 2030s.
It is no longer acceptable to view climate change as being about simply weather extremes. We are facing an evolutionary threat that requires mitigating the 1.5 trillion tons of backlog of CO2 that has been building for 200 years making the oceans more acidic and the atmosphere hotter.
We need to view Ocean Acidification and Climate Change as twin tragedies. Conservation and renewable energy will not be nearly enough to remediate the problem. Nuclear energy is our only hope for reducing coal plant usage. One proposed method to reducing acidification is to use nuclear plants to heat limestone to produce lime and add it to the oceans which would give the plankton, the pteropods, the diatoms and all life that depend on calcium and carbon to naturally sequester carbon and after dying fall to the ocean floor where the carbon belongs.
So you see our old vision of an atomic age with energy too cheap to meter might have been the correct path. Let’s begin the process by educating your staff about energy density. The environmentalists who now embrace nuclear energy as a solution understand this.
I can recommend several scientists who would be glad to conduct seminars to get people up to date.
Thanks Rick Maltese
http://energyrealityproject.com (recommends a nuclear power dominated policy and limited use of renewable – and energy usage reduction)
Note: not the more popular climaterealityproject.com
(unfortunately they have misguided and destructive policies)
We need to share this message widely from Michael Shellenberger, president of the Breakthrough Institute. It is vital and desperately needed. The timing is good when so many are looking to the Paris Summit this December 2015 for answers. It is not the heady intellectual ecomodernist jargon about “decoupling” that was present in the Ecomodernist Manifesto, that would risk losing people. Michael modestly and effectively delivers a great script telling us a message that sounds like we should have known this all along, yet it is original, straight forward, and the message makes it seem like fear is a real burden and that we need to grow up without saying that. Bravo Michael Shellenberger.
Mathijs Beckers from the Netherlands offered to summarize a talk given by Thomas Jamm Pedersen at the Thorium Energy Alliance Conference in Palo Alto, California. Pedersen presented his companies design but also requested participation on a new committee to further improve awareness.
Tea Party leaders in Congress are trying to kill the Export-Import Bank of the United States by deceptively depicting it as a taxpayer subsidy. The Ex-Im Bank provides financing for U.S. companies, mostly small businesses, to sell products and services to foreign customers, but doesn’t end up costing taxpayers anything. There are no subsidies, no tax breaks, no financial aid of any sort, and no risk to taxpayers at all. In fact, the Ex-Im pays billions into the U.S. Treasury’s general fund every year. There has never before been any opposition to the Ex-Im. Until now. And our nuclear industry will be especially hurt. Without an Ex-Im, the U.S. won’t even be allowed to bid on large contracts. The weird thing is Republican districts benefit the most from the Ex-Im.
This week, Gail Marcus, writing at Nuke Power Talk, congratulates NEI on scoring high as a good place to work in a survey of Washington, DC area firms. She notes that one might think that NEI’s work could be discouraging, given the distorted views toward nuclear power that some people hold. However, NEI’s workforce is apparently happy because they are working together for a cause they believe in fervently, and because their management recognizes their efforts and has created a work environment that is supportive.
When considering the future of energy in New England, many people look to Germany for guidance. However, Meredith Angwin has just returned from a wonderful vacation in France. In this post, she compares the French and German experience with energy. France’s nuclear success story can guide New England.
Brian Wang made a bet back in 2009 with Michael Dittmar. Dittmar wrote a series of posts about nuclear energy that was published on The Oil Drum in 2009. The bet was about uranium supply running out “civilian uranium stocks are expected to be exhausted during the next few years.”
The other bet was about the growth of nuclear power generation. Read more.
This week, we post two overlapping, albeit parallel responses to Robert Hunziker’s identical postings in Counterpunch and UK Progressive.
The Most Blatant Fukushima FUD to Date
The rebuttal topic is a June 15, 2015, opinion piece written by Robert Hunziker, entitled “What’s Really Going on at Fukushima” (Counterpunch) and retitled “Is Fukushima Godzilla? Why 38 million Tokyo residents are at risk” (UK Progressive). Hunziker alleges apocalyptic effects from the Fukushima Daiichi accident, citing references that are categorically prejudiced, using universally-rebuffed journal publications, and cherry-picking the juiciest, scariest blurbs found in Japan’s universally-antinuclear Press. This is Fukushima FUD at its worst.
It’s time for much of the left to reconsider a long-standing opposition to nuclear energy that often refuses to consider arguments on the other side – arguments that are rational, science-based, and deeply concerned about the environment and human health. There is plenty of inaccuracy in the form of deliberate lies and unwitting misinformation coming from the left-wing about many things. With nuclear energy it’s high time to stop.
Thomas Jam Pedersen of Copenhagen Atomics delivered an inspiring presentation about the future of nuclear energy at the Palo Alto nuclear convention in June 2015. His main focus was on the benefits of nuclear in particular and how to change the paradigms in energy generation and its benefits for humanity.
Copenhagen Atomics is designing what they call an "Atomic Waste Burner". The basis for this design is a Molten Salt Reactor with breeding capabilities. The purpose of this reactor is to generate electricity. In order to achieve this, nuclear waste and thorium are being bred and fissioned to generate heat. Pedersen stresses that we have to give a credible solution to our current waste issues. Copenhagen Atomics has chosen to walk the path of the waste burner, which greatly diminishes the amount of long lived nuclear waste.
"The Copenhagen Atomics Waste Burner Reactor will be a molten salt reactor fuelled by plutonium from stockpiled nuclear waste, mixed with thorium, small amounts of uranium, and various minor actinides. The primary purpose of the reactor will be to destroy plutonium and minor actinides from nuclear waste through transmutation and fission." (source : Copenhagen Atomics Whitepaper)
We can derive from this idea is that the reactor is specifically designed to burn nuclear waste products and bomb material like plutonium. This is a great advantage because these elements are readily available and need not be mined. A simple yet effective info-graphic is available on the website of Copenhagen Atomics.
"We think it's essential that if we want a new nuclear era in this world it's essential that we demonstrate to the public that it's possible to handle the nuclear waste from both from the old type of reactors but also for any new reactor we're going to build."
"We have to demonstrate that it is do-able."
Source : www.copenhagenatomics.com
The design of Copenhagen Atomics is very interesting, it is incredibly versatile and scalable. They work with a "container module design" in which each container has its own designation. They use special containers that are air tight and reinforced. There's the reactor unit, a processing unit, a utility unit and a dump unit. Their system will be build encased in several meters of concrete below the ground and can be chained with other units to create higher generation capacities per site. Copenhagen Atomics proposes initial installation at current nuclear sites so that the nuclear waste from these contemporary reactors doesn't need to be transported but remains onsite.
Source : Copenhagen Atomics presentation by Thomas Jam Pedersen.
A safety feature specific for the Copenhagen Atomics Waste Burner is the overflow bucket in addition to the common freeze-plug.
More information about their design can be found in their whitepaper available at their website :
I am particularly interested in the modularity of their design, the ability to mass manufacture it and the versatility with which it can be deployed. This is something Copenhagen Atomics is envisioning, they want to create a power plant that can be mass manufactured and easily deployed so that we can effectively change the paradigms of the energy industry.
One could see these units as additions to contemporary nuclear reactors active and inactive. These are literally waste burners, making sure that the amount of long lived waste gets reduced significantly while creating valuable isotopes for the medical world for instance, something which a current commercial nuclear reactor doesn't do.
"it will be up to us"
Pedersen explained that Copenhagen Atomics works with an open philosophy, they actively seek teams to connect with and make progress through collaboration. They acknowledge that joining with people and organizations from different disciplines and additional expertise is essential. An example of this is the collaboration with the nuclear and chemical "REZ research center" in the Czech Republic. Pedersen continues in pointing out that through collaboration progress can be accelerated and that there's a great potential for joint efforts around the Atlantic. A great host of countries is already engaged in MSR [related] technological research and combining forces could be a force multiplier for our movement.
The five small stories presented by Pedersen :
There is a strong correlation between the availability of energy and prosperity. The more energy that is available to a population the more prosperous and stable and peaceful it will probably be.
Energy is an agent of change. When you have an excess of energy, you can get and create anything you want : potable water, fuels and materials.
Nuclear is safe, it has the best "death-print" of all the energy sources on the world. Molten Salt Reactors will make it even safer. We need a plan to help the people to internalize these ideas.
Molten Salt Reactors will be able to change a lot of paradigms, paradigms in terms of the transmutation of nuclear waste, the improved efficiency, the ability to mass manufacture these.
What will it cost to get there? Pedersen actively Invites people with expertise from the audience to join a committee in order to give it a kick-start in the research required to form a clear picture regarding the costs of the proposed MSR's. He suggests the formation of a committee of approximately ten people that will build a report about capital costs, fuel costs, the bill of materials required to build an MSR, a chapter about the R&D in order to achieve mass production of MSR's, a chapter about licensing costs and regulatory pathways.
Quantifying these potential costs is very important since it will give a more tangible picture rather than an abstract with some ugly and monstrous sidekicks. This report could also be used in winning some people over.
I am quite convinced that we can merit the quest for MSR's on mathematical probability only, however law makers and elected representatives wouldn't touch such a controversial subject as long as its unpopular amongst the constituents. "Pedersen's" report could help raise the MSR out of obscurity and help it gain some momentum amongst the people. A clear picture is needed, one that addresses the total costs, waste issues, safety issues and the overall benefits.
Pedersen concludes his presentation with a passionate speech and a picture of a boy with a jet-pack on his back, labeled : "dreamers".
"it started five hundred thousand years ago when the great apes figured out how to control fire and how to cook food and when they did that they were able to get more energy out of the food and then they had bigger brains. That's essentially when the humans arrived on this planet in history. and then fast forward the next five hundred thousand years there wasn't any break step changes but then suddenly some people invented the steam engine and the diesel engine and we all know how that changed everything in the society and how it created the modern industrialized society. because suddenly we don't have to spend the whole day in the field doing human labor and we didn't need working horse, then we got the energy from fossil fuels and I believe that the next step change we will see on this planet, the next major step change, will be when we get enough energy you know plentiful of energy, hopefully from Thorium, then the cost of energy will come down to almost nothing.
And when you're in a situation where you have lots of energy and it costs almost nothing its going change everything it means to be human. It is going to affect every system and every culture we have on this planet, and I think it's going to happen in my lifetime and that that excites me a lot and it makes me breathless. What's even more great is that that we have a chance to be part this group of people who are going to make it happen. I think that is awesome, thank you"
I share Pedersen's sentiment, we can make a profound difference. The Molten Salt Reactor movement is the one movement that can change the world for good. A healthy future of stability and plenty awaits us, we need to keep pushing on, learn more and share what we learn with the public in order for this prosperous future to become a reality.
"there's no one else to clear these roadblocks but here in this room, well there are a few watching at home as well"