30 August 2011

Open Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury
House of Lords,

Dear Archbishop Rowan,

Re: Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs).

I have written to you on 2 previous occasions about LFTRs, but the replies made clear that the letter contents were not appropriate for your attention. However, in September of last year, I wrote to many of the Lords Spiritual, including the Bishop of Hereford,  and in May of this year was most gratified to see in Hansard, several written LFTR-questions posed by the Bishop  and written replies from Lord Marland. 

It is virtually certain that the Government's future nuclear policy and any prospects of considering thorium technology, will be 100% influenced by the NNL's report due for publication imminently (late summer). I have a letter from Professor Paul Howarth, Managing Director of NNL, which completely rules out the thorium fuel cycle for use in any form of future UK reactor.

Were you to study the Bishop of Hereford's questions and the platitudes of Lord Marsland's replies, you might conclude, as I did and the Bishop probably does, that the NNL is locked into the existing uranium-fuel lobby and therefore lacks independance. The Government will accept their recommendations and thorium technology could be in stasis for decades.

There should be a Christian perspective on the lack of independance of a commercial operation as influential as the NNL. "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" "Heaven will direct it".

Would you please have your energy advisors get under the political skin of this unsavoury situation?

Yours sincerely,

Colin Megson.


Doesn't it stink to high heaven?

Is the NNL independant? - Does David Cameron love Nick Clegg?

The Bishop of Hereford spotted it. But Lord Marland trots out the usual platitudes knowing full well that the vested (URANIUM) interests behind the NNL and Professor Paul Howarth (see his letter below) will hold sway.

Nothing - NOT A SINGLE PENNY - of taxpayers money will be spent on assessing the benefits that LFTR research and development could mean to UK economic growth, manufacturing jobs and prosperity.

There is a Christian and Church of England perspective on such deviousness. Maybe it's time the Archbishop of Canterbury took an interest in a technology that the British manufacturing industry can readily accomodate. More importantly,  at half the price of equivalent PWRs, LFTRs are affordable by the developing world - with all the implications of:  

                          affordable energy = reduction in population growth.   

The Rt Revd Lord Bishop of Hereford - Batting for LFTRs

Lord Bishop of Hereford, Rt Revd Anthony Priddis   

Written Answers

       Tuesday 24 May 2011                   

Energy: Nuclear Reactors


Asked by The Lord Bishop of Hereford
    To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Marland on 4 May (WA 157) on liquid fluoride thorium reactors, what assessment they have made of the independence of the assessment undertaken by the National Nuclear Laboratory, given the involvement of Nexia Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of British Nuclear Fuels.[HL9194]
    Written Answer By: The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Nexia Solutions was a subsidiary of British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL), which focused on research and development. In 2008, it was transferred out of BNFL under the Energy Act Transfer Scheme to form the National Nuclear Laboratory, which is an independent company, owned wholly by Her Majesty's Government and is operated as a commercial entity under the management of a consortium led by Serco. The assessment referred to in (WA 157) was a position paper produced entirely by the NNL at its own initiative. While it is assumed that the technical expertise retained by the NNL from Nexia has underpinned the opinions in the paper, no assessment of the paper has been undertaken by my department.           
    To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the independent assessment undertaken by the National Nuclear Laboratory, what plans they have to undertake further independent work to address issues associated with liquid fluoride thorium reactors.[HL9195]
    To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the readiness of the Government of China to undertake research and development work on liquid fluoride thorium reactors, whether they will commit to more work, either nationally or with international partners, on this source of energy.[HL9197]
    Written Answer By: The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland):
    As noted in the Answer to your Question of 26 April 2011, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State has asked the NNL to conduct further analysis of the wider benefits of next generation reactor designs and to compare the use of thorium and uranium fuels in them. This study includes assessments of safety, radio-toxicological hazard, scale, economics, and outstanding technical barriers. Molten salt reactors, within which category liquid thorium fluoride reactors fall, are one of the reactor designs being considered. We are expecting the findings of this study to be available by the end of the summer.                                                     ----
    To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will commission independent work specifically on the safety, cleanliness, scale and economics of liquid fluoride thorium reactors and any particular advantages they may offer in the United Kingdom context. [HL9196]
    Written Answer By: The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Government support relevant R&D into nuclear technologies through a range of mechanisms and organisations, including universities and research councils, the National Nuclear Laboratory, the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and others. Any future R&D on liquid thorium fluoride reactors would be done through these organisations. Findings of the NNL's forthcoming study and the position of potential international partners on this technology would be expected to inform any decision to support any new R&D.

29 August 2011

Professor Paul Howarth of NNL puts up the Shutters.

This is my letter to Professor Howarth. I'm not asking a lot, am I? I'm just asking for the NNL to apprise themselves of the latest thinking on LFTRs, before they commit the politicians of the UK to a generation of thorium oblivion: 
                                                                                         16 July 2011.

National Nuclear Laboratory,
CA20 1PG

For the attention of: Professor Paul Howarth.

Dear Professor Howarth,

07 July 2011, Question from Baroness Smith on Nuclear Reactors:

In his reply, Lord Marland announced that the Secretary of State has asked the National Nuclear Laboratory to prepare a report on the use of thorium in nuclear reactors. He referred to a previous NNL assessment (probably your Position Paper ‘The Thorium Fuel Cycle’ of August 2010), and stated “the risks and resources involved in achieving commercial deployment are significant”.

You will be aware that the Position Paper made no mention of the successful performance of thorium fuel in molten salt reactor operation at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), under the Directorship of Alvin Weinberg, from 1954 through to 1969. The accompanying ‘Hand-Out’ is one I use, at gatherings discussing energy’s future, and it does carry the ‘Timeline’  to which I refer.

Kirk Sorensen rediscovered the paper archives of the ORNL’s molten salt reactor designs, operations and experimentation and has painstakingly made these available, in PDF format, on his Blog Energy from Thorium. As a taxpaying voter, now retired after 53 years in mechanical engineering, I am more anxious than ever that the taxes taken from my very limited income are spent wisely. Lord Marland clearly demonstrated in his comments, the utter dependence politicians engaged in energy matters have, on expert advice. What you and your colleagues say this time about thorium will dictate the UK’s direction for the foreseeable future.
In my humble opinion, before you reach your conclusions and issue your report, I think you owe it to the tax-paying public to invite Kirk Sorensen over, to present the case for the latter-day molten salt reactor: the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR). Are you able to do this? Are you willing to do this?

I would most appreciate your early reply, as I believe your report is to be before the Secretary of State, by late summer.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Megson.

This is Professor Howarth's predictable reply:

Would anyone reading this please put pen to paper and write to Professor Howarth, to try to pursuade him and the NNL to put a bit more effort into UK involvement in the future of LFTR technology?

British Science Festival at Bradford - LFTR Flyer - Handout.

It's a pretty miserable attempt as Sales and Marketing efforts go, but if there are any publicity specialists, amongst LFTR supporters out there, perhaps he/she/they could make a far better Flyer available online, for we other enthusiasts to use. 

Landscape orientation. Print front and back, to make 2 x A5 Flyers.
Any Takers?

Should be good fun to hand these out at local Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth events.

09 August 2011

Lord Hutton wants to use all of the tools in the (nuclear power) box!

Lord Hutton, chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association was interviewed by Oliver Wright of The Independant on 06 August 2011 :
The report concluded with this statement: "The industry faces a very big challenge in responding to Fukushima and we will have to use all of the tools in the box to do so," Lord Hutton said.

There are a lot of unwieldy cross-cut saws in your tool box, Lord Hutton, which are safe most of the time but can take your finger off, if you don't watch out (PWRs). On the other hand, the spokeshave  so elegant in design and so inherently safe, is utterly absent and not even discussed (LFTRs).

Surely, sometime, somewhere, someone in Government or advising Government has to take this technology to heart and give UK manufacturing a chance at a piece of the action, before it's too late and the imports from China start to roll in.

I can only keep plugging away - anyone who reads this can have a pop at anyone who they think should be listening. This is my letter to Lord Hutton: 

                                                                                     06 August 2011.

     Lord Hutton of Furness
     House of Lords,
     SW1A 0PW.

Dear Lord Hutton,

Fukushima has changed the game:

Your interview with The Independent, reported by Oliver Wright today has prompted me to write to you regarding my correspondence with Professor Paul Howarth of the NNL. I enclose my original letter and a copy of his reply.

Please note that I am asking no more than an opportunity for Kirk Sorensen, the world’s leading authority on Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs), to present the case to you, or the Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change, or your NNL or other nuclear advisors.

You could bury the primary circuit of a 100 MWe LFTR in the middle of Wembley Stadium and you would be hard pushed to design an accident that would expel radiotoxic substances to the endangerment of a capacity crowd. Gravity is the only force acting upon the molten reactor core of a LFTR and nothing short of a direct hit by an asteroid or a ‘bunker-buster’ will move stuff upwards and out.

If you want to get the UK public onside, in respect of promoting the safety of nuclear power generation, find the cheapest way of meeting our carbon targets and kick-start a technology with which UK manufacturing can fully cope, then LFTRs become the unique front-runner for consideration.

I would be most interested to know if you have fully investigated LFTR potential. If you have, would you be kind enough to apprise me of your findings. If you have not, are there any prospects of you inviting Kirk Sorensen over to present the up to date information to you and your colleagues and staff?

Yours sincerely,

02 August 2011

BBC Radio 4 - Home Planet.

LFTRs make it to the UK airwaves! Is this it? Fame at last! Catch it while you can - it's only available for 7 days. This is the webpage link and you can download it as a podcast or just listen to it. The LFTRs bit starts at 18:03:

Get some emails into Home Planet or Radio 4 - let's see if we can get a bit more exposure.