11 January 2012

"....we care about their plight and we want them to join one world...."

David Cameron says to the poorest people in the world "....we care about their plight...." ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13572427 )

UK Official Developmen­t Assistance in 2010 is estimated at £8,354 million. Were the UK to build the first-of-a­-kind Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR), it would cost a piddling £300 million. This uniquely safe type of nuclear reactor can generate electrical power cheaper than coal, is free of greenhouse gas emissions and is affordable to developing nations and regions. This move would kick-start investment in the production­-line manufactur­e of transporta­ble modular reactors, capable of rapid deployment­.

If the developed world, where ¼ of humanity uses ¾ of the energy produced, is not prepared to make this technology available to the ¾ of humanity surviving on the remaining ¼ of the energy, then let it reap the polluting whirlwind of huge increases in the burning of fossil fuels. All power to those in the developing world, in their dash for affordable energy from fossil fuel; who, in their right mind, would not want to mitigate 40,000 deaths per day from preventabl­e causes, in the most expedient way possible.

04 January 2012

'In Our Time' and Tom Morris - Where are you, when you're needed most?

I stumbled across this old 'plea' of mine from 10 months ago, trying to get Tom Morris to 'do' the story of Wigner, Weinberg and MSRs. I believe now, as I did then, that an IOT programme in which Melvyn Bragg could describe and develop 'the saddest accident of history' would make one of the most memorable IOT programmes ever; it would reveal facts of 20th Century history never previously presented to BBC listeners (or viewers).

I Love In Our Time graphic

Dear Tom Morris,

Suggestions for future In Our Time Programmes.

May I suggest a subject which is paradoxical in the extreme? I speak of a 50 year old, proven technology which can solve many of the worst problems facing humankind, including the cessation of anthropogenic greenhouse gasses emissions and mitigation of population growth.

Experimentation into this technology in the USA, in the early 1950s, revealed that it was militarily ineffective and thereafter, research and development was done on shoestring financing, with low-key attention to the enormity of the potential benefits in the civilian sphere. Even though operational units were producing results which gave rise to great optimism, all work ceased in the early 70’s and all that remained was a paper archive, recording what had been achieved and what the future could hold.

This paper goldmine gathered dust for 30 years, when it was unearthed by an Indiana Jones figure, who poured over every word and discovered a story of political/military in-fighting. The winners went on to give us the world we have today and the losers lost the opportunity to have prevented the past 50 years of escalating greenhouse gasses emissions.

Within the past month, the Chinese have announced their intentions to pursue this technology through a programme of manufacture, and claim all of the associated intellectual property. In the UK, the economics of meeting our future energy needs and carbon targets by using this technology, could be so compelling that we might well be importing Chinese-made units by the container ship full, within a couple of decades.

I’m absolutely convinced this subject would be a perfect topic for In Our Time, with Kirk (Indiana) Sorensen being able to describe the rediscovery of the work done by Eugene Wigner and Alvin Weinberg, at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and their dedication to the promotion of the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR).

With sufficient thorium available to fuel the energy needs of everyone on the planet for thousands, if not tens of thousands, of years, at developed-world standards, LFTRs effectively give us all of the benefits of energy from fusion now. The effect LFTRs can have on the future of humankind is immeasurable and hardly anyone knows about it. In Our Time revelations would go a long way to remedying this.


Colin Megson.

02 January 2012

Rolls-Royce to Develop Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR)

It's all in this House of Lords' Report! It's a bit in code and you have to read between the lines, as to how Rolls-Royce would go about selecting a small (200 - 300 megawatt size), Gen IV, high temperature reactor.

So what are the choices:

(1)  Gas Cooled Fast Reactor (GFR) - thick walled pressure vessels; solid fuel; fuel reprocessing; inefficient fast neutron spectrum.

(2)  Lead Cooled Fast Reactor (LFR) - inefficient fast spectrum; expensive solid fuel manufacture; low temperature linked to low-efficiency steam turbines; no prospects of high temperature operation, so no hydrogen economy, until corrosion resistant materials are developed and tested.

(3)  Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactor (SFR) - All the disadvantages of (2), with the added hazard of highly-reactive sodium as a potential propellant of radio toxic substances into the environment.

(4)  Supercritical Water-Cooled Reactor (SCWR) - Thinly disguised version of an LWR, carrying all the same risk and sourcing baggage, associated with high-pressure, thick-walled vessels. And for what? A few percentage points improvement in efficiency.

(5)  Very High Temperature Gas Reactor (VHTR) - High pressure, thick-walled vessels with the same risk hazards and sourcing difficulties of an LWR. Costly solid fuel manufacture and inefficient open cycle fuel use.

(6)  Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) - (1) to (5) are all solid fuelled reactors. The following is copied from the 'Generation IV Nuclear Reactors' section of the World Nuclear Association website:

Compared with solid-fuelled reactors, MSR systems have lower fissile inventories, no radiation damage constraint on fuel burn-up, no spent nuclear fuel, no requirement to fabricate and handle solid fuel, and a homogeneous isotopic composition of fuel in the reactor.  These and other characteristics may enable MSRs to have unique capabilities and competitive economics for actinide burning and extending fuel resources.

It's a No-Brainer - Mr Ric Parker is talking about Rolls Royce investing in MSRs and the one-and-only choice is LFTRs!!!

All you Fund Managers and Venture Capitalists get your money into
Rolls Royce and Thorium - It's all about to happen!!!

Select Committee on Science and Technology
3rd Report of Session 2010–12

Ordered to be printed 15 November 2011 and published 22 November 2011
Nuclear Research and Development Capabilities


Mr Ric Parker of Rolls Royce told us that "there are two clear areas for the UK" to play a role in the development of these technologies: "the prime investment is in high-integrity manufacturing, monitoring and some of the technical and engineering support for these new facilities. Another great opportunity is ... small reactors, of the 200-, 300-megawatt size [which could] be a major earner for the UK." In his opinion, the UK has both the "strength" and the "intellectual horsepower" to generate some real intellectual property and therefore lock-in value for the UK from involvement in Generation IV reactor development, particularly given the UK’s strengths in the field of high temperature reactors. The NIA said that "given the international dimension to the nuclear market there could also be significant benefits in international collaboration, not only in developing new Gen IV reactor designs ... but generally across the fuel cycle". In their view, and others, "involvement in relevant programmes could provide useful opportunities for UK industry as the work translates from R&D to demonstration—which might be lost without UK participation".