can 'burn' our
What a chance this would be to get some molten salt reactor experience. We could scale up the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE), operated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) from 1964 to 1969, under the Directorship of a true doyen of nuclear energy, Alvin Weinberg. In the last few months of operation, the feasibility of 'burning' plutonium, as a fuel in the reactor core, was put to the test.
For a pittance of a Government investment, we could get this operationally proven technology up and running in 5 years - after all, in 5 years from funding approval, the MSRE was designed, manufactured and 'switched on', in the days of slide-rules, tee-squares, protractors and compasses - what could we do now, with CAD/CAM and 3D computer modelling and planning?
Has Paul Howarth, The Director of the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), charged with assessing the likely effectiveness of GE Hitachi's PRISM, got the vision and the guts to at least mention this to Ed Davey as a possible alternative?
This hot salt reactor plant is just 'glorified' chemical plant and the UK has the design and technological expertise and manufacturing capacity to produce this reactor in its entirety. If we could get a couple of years of operational experience on a plutonium 'burning' unit, we'd be within a shout of getting the first-of-a-kind Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) built and, for the UK, this would mean manufacturing jobs, growth and prosperity we have not seen in 3 generations; plus, as a little aside, operators could halve the price of electricity to domestic and industrial users and still make a handsome profit - because you get twice as much bang for your bucks from a LFTR 'fired' power station.