…There but through the grace of God goes South Africa —
This website is one of those that is not ‘retail’ — we’re not actually selling anything at Atomic Electricity, since a private sector nuclear initiative is a bit complex to engineer and realize.
It is surprising how many visitors we have attracted in this “under the radar” phase of our efforts.
Operating under the ‘stealth mode’ is not really intended to protect any intellectual property at this time.
Such an abundance of misinformation, hype, and aspiration crowd out the astonishing perpetuity of hard work — that minimum pre-requisite for real-world nuclear innovation.
So this place is here really just to share first tools.
Pretty soon we think there will be more to share and then we will.
Last weekend the Moore household was one of nearly a million homes in the Washington, D.C., area without power. The temperature was between 95 and 105 degrees and it was so humid you felt like you needed gills to breathe.
Sure, I explained to my three children, we’re miserable, but look at the bright side: Think how much we’ve reduced our carbon footprint! Consider it a life lesson in what it means to live green.
That’s small solace to youngsters who feel that life without Facebook, World of Warcraft, ESPN, Xbox, cellphones and air conditioning is like losing basic human rights. What, no microwave popcorn? Domino’s Pizza isn’t coming with a meat-eaters special? Someone call Amnesty International.
On Saturday night we all sat on the couch with flickering candle light, sweating and talking. What did people do before the age of electricity?” my 11-year-old asks. “I would have killed myself,” he moans.
Electrical power is the central nervous system of our modern economy and our 21st-century lifestyles, and living without it for a few days reminds us how vulnerable we are to being sent back to a pre-Industrial Age. Yet every initiative by green groups is focused on reducing our access to electrical power—although they never admit that explicitly.
This power outage was caused by a severe thunderstorm from Mother Nature, but I’m convinced that rolling brown outs are coming, thanks to the radical environmental movement that has taken hold of our body politic. Green groups, for example, have declared war on coal, which still produces about 40% of our electricity. The Obama administration is listening and slamming the brakes on coal production. This cheap and domestically abundant energy source is getting cleaner all the time, thanks to technological progress. But that doesn’t stop a global-warming alarmists like James Hansen, a lead scientist at NASA, from likening trains carrying coal to the German “death trains” that transported the Jews to Nazi concentration camps.
Natural gas is our second major source of electrical energy and thanks to the technological miracle of hydraulic fracturing we have hundreds of years of this clean-burning resource that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. But the Sierra Club is vowing to shut down natural gas too. Just last week North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed a fracking bill in the Tar Heel State (overridden on Tuesday thanks only to a state legislator’s mistaken vote). She says she’s protecting drinking water, but as we’ve discovered in Virginia, when you lose electricity you often lose access to potable water.
Of course, Big Green hates oil and nuclear power too. That’s why we’re not drilling for oil in many parts of Alaska and on other energy-rich federal lands and waters, and why we’re not building the Keystone XL pipeline. This is public policy that is not just anti-growth but dangerous to our health and safety.
Sadly, kids are being bombarded in school at a very young age with propaganda that says to save the planet we have a moral obligation to conserve electricity and use “alternative energy.” But safe and cheap electricity is what will save the planet from doom. If global warming is a threat, we are not going to be saved by building windmills or riding our bicycles to work, but by using advanced technology and electrical power to find ways to cool the planet.
Higher standards of living, huge improvements in health and environmental conditions, and longer life expectancy are the fruits of economic growth that abundant electrical power makes possible. Go to the Internet and call up aerial photos of rich and capitalist South Korea and statist and desperately poor North Korea. South Korea is alive in light, North Koreans live in the dark. Limiting access to cheap electricity is one of the first actions of a successful tyrant.
There’s one more teachable moment from our three days in the dark. So many Americans—spoon-fed by a “go green” education system and media—live under the delusion that things were better in the past than they are now. Sure the economy is bad, but all we had to do is live for 72 hours without AC, TV, a dishwasher, a hair dryer and Google to appreciate how much progress has been made in the past 20, 30, and 50 years. Today a larger percentage of poor people have access to air conditioning than the average middle-class family did in 1960.
For several days the Moore family was powerless. It was awful, but educational. If anything good has come out of this debacle, it is that our household has a new appreciation for how important it is that everyone have access to affordable and reliable sources of energy.
The left says we can get our power from “clean, renewable” sources like wind and solar power. After tens of billions in subsidies, these sources provide 3% of our electricity. Anyone who thinks we can power our $15 trillion economy with wind and solar power is living in the dark—or wants the rest of us to as well.
just ‘Safety’ has morphed into “Relating Safety Issues to the MSR” — a complete revamping, as we match safety complaints about nuclear plants at large with the molten salt LFTR power generator we are building. Keep track if you will be strong on this.
4 April 2011 – We have added new references on Molten Salt Reactor Pumps in the Selected MSR Sources Page.
There are new posts in PLAN and ENERGY COST pages. We’ve addressed the Anti-Proliferation WP in response to some questions. And we’ve added a new page, “SELECTED MSR SOURCES”, to make available the chief research we have used in this endeavour.
Nuclear power after Japan disaster
Dan Juneau, Columnist
Published: Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 9:11 p.m.
The voices of doom are already predicting the end for energy derived from nuclear reactors in the aftermath of the Japanese reactor failures. Germany is already signaling a retrenchment from its nuclear energy program. China and other nations are also announcing a re-examination of their nuclear power generation plans. These are serious issues since nuclear-generated power supplies 17 % of the electric power generated worldwide and 20 % of the total in the U.S.
But what if the nuclear system failures in Japan could lead to an expansion, not a reduction, of nuclear-generated power? What if that expansion was the result of safer, less expensive reactors with much less nuclear waste?
What if this new type of reactor could greatly reduce the dangers of nuclear proliferation in the world? Finally, what if the solution to cleaner, safer nuclear power was something that brought many on both sides of the “global warming” debate together in support of a new approach?
All of that may sound too fanciful to be true, but the common denominator is a nuclear reactor technology that was proven in the past to work but is not now being used. It’s called a Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (or LFTR, for short).
Years ago, just such a reactor was proven to work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, but the technology was abandoned in favor of reactors that produced the plutonium necessary for the nation’s nuclear weapons program. Basically, the U.S. military dictated the direction our nuclear power industry took. Perhaps it is time to rethink that direction. The LFTRs are fueled by thorium, a naturally occurring, mildly radioactive element. In an article in the July/August 2010 edition of American Scientist magazine, authors Robert Hargraves and Ralph Moir made a compelling case for thorium reactors. As they point out, only 500 tons of thorium could supply all of U.S. energy needs for a year. They note that in one small area near the Montana/Idaho border, there is an estimated 1,800,000 tons of thorium.
One of the major advantages of LFTRs is the low generation levels of nuclear waste. Wastes from an LFTR are about 10,000 times less toxic than those from a standard nuclear reactor. Indeed, safety is a great selling point for the LFTRs.
The problem in the Japanese reactors didn’t come from the core where power is generated. It came from the storage ponds where spent solid fuel rods are stored. There are no such rods in the LFTRs since they have liquid cores.
The standard reactors operate under tremendous pressure that requires complex tubing and pumping systems to prevent overheating and explosions. In the LTFRs, the coolant is not pressurized, making it inherently safer.
From a cost standpoint, LFTRs can be produced at a lower cost because of the different cooling systems and also because the LFTRs do not need the hugely expensive containment systems that the standard reactors need. Thorium, as mentioned previously, is also much less expensive to obtain than uranium.
The unique nature of these reactors also works against the problem of nuclear proliferation in the world. These reactors don’t produce the excess amounts of fissionable material that standard reactors produce, the by-products that can be diverted into weapons of mass destruction. It is extremely costly to decommission a standard nuclear reactor, and when it is decommissioned, all of the ancillary equipment to transmit the electricity becomes almost useless. LFTRs could be sited in the same vicinity of a decommissioned reactor, maintaining much of the support facilities of that site. The disaster in Japan shouldn’t kill the quest for clean, safe nuclear energy. Thorium reactors may be what move nuclear power forward.