Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers #203

Welcome to the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers #203. The subjects this week are quite a mixed bag that include Molten Salt Reactors, fusion, Fukushima, space exploration, Atomic Insights Smoking Gun series, the promise of uranium as a fuel and some major nuclear news items.
Next Big Future
3 Posts from Brian Wang
    Terrestrial energy closed its final seed funding round to fund their molten salt reactor design.
    Plasma Jet magneto inertial fusion has various projects and companies working towards it. It seems like a promising approach to nuclear fusion and can also deliver very good space propulsion even if energy generation were not to work out.

    Human hopes of reaching stars other than the Sun are currently limited by the maturity of advanced propulsion technologies. One of the few candidate propulsion systems for providing interstellar flight capabilities is nuclear fusion. In the past many fusion propulsion concepts have been proposed and some of them even explored in high detail (Project Daedalus), however, as scientific progress in this field has advanced, new fusion concepts have emerged that merit evaluation as potential drivers for interstellar missions. Plasma jet driven Magneto-Inertial Fusion (PJMIF) is one of those concepts. PJMIF involves a salvo of converging plasma jets that form a uniform liner, which compresses a magnetized target to fusion conditions. It is an Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF)-Magnetic Confinement Fusion (MCF) hybrid approach that has the potential for many benefits over both ICF and MCF, such as lower system mass and significantly lower cost.

Nuke Power Talk
Post from Gail Marcus
    Gail Marcus has been discussing the Fukushima accident ever since it occurred just over 3 years ago. This week, she refreshes a discussion on Fukushima and safety culture. In particular, she discusses a study that points out that a nearby nuclear power station, Onagawa, run by the Tohoku Electric Power Company, survived the accident with few problems. Was it luck, or was it safety culture? Marcus looks at various arguments that point to either corporate culture or Japanese culture and notes some of the issues that need to be considered.

Atomic Insights
2 Posts from Rod Adams
    Rod Adams found a folder in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum titled National Coal Policy Conference that documents an apparently successful effort to influence a rising political star to support national policies that favor coal over natural gas, residual oil and atomic energy.

Hiroshima Syndrome
Post from Leslie Corrice
    Leslie Corrice covers the latest antinuclear rants of another misguided/evil wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Post from James Conca
    The 2014 Annual Report of the AAPG Energy Minerals Division Committee has some interesting findings. In general, the outlook for significant changes to the world’s energy mix is not good, and business-as-usual appears to be winning over significant change towards alternative energy sources. The supply of uranium is strong, but the supply of rare earth elements needed in the energy sector is weak.

Next Energy
Post from Curtis Roberts
    A combination of concerns about nuclear nonproliferation, recent actions by Russia, proposed budget reallocation by the Obama Administration, and the unsupported declaration of “cold-standby” status for the MOX Project by Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Moniz prompted a surge of questions from seven senators and more than 20 Congressional representatives, the Chair of the DOE-designated Community Reuse Organization for the Savannah River Site, the president of the Nuclear Energy Institute, suppliers and others.

News Items
Post is official Terrestrial Energy Inc News Release – Mar. 31/14

Official startup of the first AP 1000 nuclear plant in the World | Apr. 1/14

Advocates education LFTR nuclear nuclear plants thorium

Thorium Energy Alliance 2014 Conference (TEAC-6)

Thorium Energy Alliance Conference 2014
Thorium Energy Alliance Conference 2014

Scientists and others who endorse, design or promote Molten Salt Reactors

  1. Ralph Moir – team with Edward Teller at LLNL
  2. David LeBlanc – PhD from Carlton – designer of IMSR
  3. Per Peterson – Blue Ribbon Committee – pebble bed research ++
  4. Bill Gates – Travelling Wave Reactor – MSR research
  5. James Hansen
  6. Ivar Giaever 1973 Nobel prize in physics
  7. Elsa Merle-Lucotte – French physicist – EVOL project
  8. H. G. “Mac” MacPherson – 14 years of MSR work at ORNL
  9. Dr. Richard “Dick” Engel – DMSR work inspired LeBlanc
  10. Kirk Sorensen – honorable mention as the LFTR originator

Original Founders and Developers of MSRs

  1. Alvin Weinberg – developer of LWR and MSR
  2. Eugene Wigner – developer of MSR
  3. Glenn Seaborg -
  4. Edward Teller – team with Ralph Moir at LLNL
  5. Charles Barton Sr. – on team at ORNL
  6. Dr. Edward Bettis – ORNL MSR design and ORNL MSRE
education Funding Kirk Sorensen LFTR nuclear thorium tritium uranium

Kirk Sorensen Videos 1-Train ride from Geneva 2- LFTR Strategy for FLIBE Energy

These were shot by Gordon McDowell and his team at the ThEC13 (Thorium Energy Conference 2013) in Cern, Geneva.
The first video of Kirk is just two days after the conference began. It gives some insights into what themes are prevalent at the conference and some of Kirk’s reactions to talks by other speakers.

This is the main Geneva Talk by Kirk for FLIBE Energy “LFTR Development Strategy”

Advocates education nuclear

October 2013 will be remembered as a big month for Thorium

The news from the 4 day Thorium Conference in Geneva has been reported by Mark Halper on the Weinberg Foundation pages.

More details about China’s TMSR program: China eyes Thorium MSRs for industrial heat hydrogen revises timeline

Thorium Energy R&D in China (Presentation)

Hans Blix best known for his involvement in Iraq weapons of mass destruction event has endorsed Thorium as a non-proliferation nuclear fuel and that is quite a coup for Thorium advocates: Hans Blix shift to thorium minimize proliferation

Hans Blix Talk: Thorium Nuclear Power and Non­‐Proliferation

Areva strikes Thorium development deal with chemical giant Solvay

Nobel Laureate go Thorium Carl Rubbia Presentation

Schedule of the 4 day event

education nuclear thorium

Thorium Conference Today Live from Geneva


It appears that the conference will be live all week.

Followers of this website know that I started this website because of Kirk Sorensen’s influence.

Kirk speaks today (Oct 28) from 18:30 – 19:00 Flibe Energy LFTR Development Strategy (Kirk Sorensen, Flibe Energy, USA) which is 1:30 Eastern Standard Time

Advocates education Kirk Sorensen LFTR nuclear thorium Weinberg Foundation

New Anti to Pro Nuke documentary release and New Thorium Documentary being made

Also this month

Pandora’s Promise

opens June 12 in New York and July 12 in Toronto.

Bloor Cinema in Toronto Friday, July 12- Thursday, July 18/2013

The US has several city openings the month before it shows at the Bloor Cinema in Toronto as part of calendar.

I was one of the lucky ones who got to see the film in Chicago at the end of May. The film interviews people who have one thing in common. They were once all anti nuclear and now are pro nuclear. They have something else in common. They are all environmentalists. So they represent a new breed of environmentalists who see nuclear as necessary as a technology to deal with the environmental problem.

Frankie and Des are two young film makers in Ireland who recognized the need for a documentary about Thorium Molten Salt reactors. They are getting close to their funding target for

“The Good Reactor”

but can use more support If you are reading this blog you likely already know the importance about spreading positive truthful information about good forms of creating nuclear energy. The “evangelical” highly informative and passionately delivered talks by Kirk Sorensen have undoubtedly helped to spread the word to Ireland. Perhaps it was when Kirk Sorensen made his presentaion in England and convinced Bryony Worthington and others of the importance of his favorite Molten Salt Reactor design the LFTR.


they are past their halfway point at over $20,000 pounds but time is running out so pledge what you can!!!


Nuclear Song Challenge

OK Here it is as promised.

Record yourself singing “Call Them Irresponsible” with the backing track. I will add it to youtube. If you are not a technology wiz with recording I recommend that you record while wearing the headphones and send me the recorded audio or video of yourself singing. I can mix your voice with the backing track. Here is the audio track without the vocals

Note the download button for these

The Lyrics are hereCall Them Irresponsible Feel Free to change the lyrics on the repeated section.

I recently recorded myself singing Call Them Irresponsible here so you can see how the words fit.

Don’t worry if you don’t have video I can add a still image possibly a photo that you send me. Once I collect a few I will upload them to youtube.

I was at the Thorium Energy Alliance conference and introduced an idea to get the members involved in promoting nuclear energy. It was a great 5th conference in Chicago. Will do a more complete report soon.


Flurry of activity for newest MSR design by Canadian David LeBlanc

David LeBlanc has given us some of the most intriguing and innovative ideas related to Molten Salt Reactor design. His company Terrestrial Energy Inc. formed officially in December 2012 in Ottawa. The website was launched this month and already articles are being posted about what David LeBlanc has been up to with his team.

David has been a speaker at some of the Thorium Energy Alliance Conferences and it was the last conference that he stated “Come for the Thorium. Stay for the Molten Salt Reactor.” At that time in May 2012, he let us know he had something in the works but was not ready to announce his plans. The reactor concepts he discussed were emphasizing the need for simple design and the minimum amount of R & D. His IMSR Integral Molten Salt Reactor is a design that borrows ideas from other related designs. I’m sure he will speak more at this years conference at the end of May

In Mark Halper’s recent post at the Weinberg Foundation Blog

“… Dr. LeBlanc is an MSR expert who in January wrote a guest blog here in which he pointed out among other things that it would be in the best interest of the MSR industry to keep designs as simple as possible in order to stand a chance of commercializing within a reasonable time frame. …”

The recent post by Sherrell R. Greene explains his concept of the SmAHTR and how some of the same inspiration from the SmAHTR and earlier designs also inspired his colleague David LeBlanc.

“… While retaining many of the general system architectural and component features we specified in SmAHTR, David has discarded SmAHTR’s solid graphite fuel and reverted to a liquid fluoride salt fuel. Since I haven’t seen any design details at this point, I’m withholding judgement regarding the engineering viability of the concept. But from the overall philosophical perspective, David’s concept appears to be the most innovative and fresh MSR approach I’ve seen since the heyday of MSR development in the 1960′s and early 1970′s. …”

Most notable is the tiny size of the IMSR. The planned fuel for now is Uranium 238. U238 is proliferation safe. Note: Terra Power’s Travelling Wave Reactor also chose this strategy to use U238. Also there is no turbine which is part of the reason for its smaller size. IMSRvsSnAHTRvsBeetle2_thumb

As Greene points out:

“Though we did not know it when we first began work on the SmAHTR concept, we subsequently learned our Russian colleagues at the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow had developed and published in 2002 a concept for a very small, < 20 MWt, integral, liquid salt-cooled concept they called MARS. SmAHTR and MARS share some design similarities but have some significant design differences as well.

The basic design requirements for SmAHTR were: 125 MWt power, ~700 ºC core outlet temperature, and an integral system topology (no coolant loops). Additionally, the reactor had to be transportable over public roads with common heavy-transport multi-axle semi-tractor-trailors. The system also had to be extremely safe and easily refueled and maintained. The inherent safety attributes of the system are a result of its very low (~ atmospheric) operating pressure, forgiving nuclear dynamics, large thermal margins, and the use of a coolant that doesn’t chemically react with air or water in highly energetic modes …”

The future suddenly looks much brighter than it has been since the Fukushima event. MSRs are making a comeback and now three variety’s have emerged in North America. FLIBE has LFTR, Transatomic has the WAMSR and Terrestrial Energy Inc. has the IMSR. It is is a breakthrough approach that may trigger copycats after word gets out. David LeBlanc’s devotion to keeping the challenges to a minimum are what makes his design a very good contender to be online in 6 or 7 years.

education nuclear nuclear plants thorium uranium

The Dawn of the Thorium Era

What will a Thorium Era look like. In the beginning the road will be a little rocky. Resistance will be inevitable. But as more and more natural disasters start to happen and as the nations who fear nuclear start to regret abandoning nuclear because their quality of living declines there will be a gradual acceptance.

Chances are the first Thorium reactors will be used for heat process applications. The need for high temperature industrial reactors will be of the molten salt variety. There’s no guaranty that Thorium will be the fuel of choice. Uranium also works quite well in a Molten Salt Reactor. (MSR)
Eventually however the abundance of Thorium will win over once the reactors become more popular.

Pioneers of Thorium Era

Alvin Weinberg

Glenn Seaborg

Heat applications that can make a big difference to the well being are things like solving water shortages by purifying and desalinating water. Also replacing steam can have large benefits when water is inconvenient. MSRs don’t need water to run.

After the reactors prove their capability the commercial reactors will follow.

It will be the hybrid reactors of the future. They will be multi-purpose reactors and very likely will be designed so that process heat is easy to access for industrial purposes. Design consistency will be the way to keep their costs down. The assembly production lines will start creating a whole new era of productivity and improved quality of life.

We have no idea how many projects cannot evolve because of the cost of an infrastructure. In fact, the so-called smart grid will not be needed if we learn to mass produce MSRs. Why build huge transmission lines if you can just add MSRs where they are needed.

Apart from practical reasons of helping any country’s industry grow and prosper there are the health and survival issues that MSRs can solve.
Energy created from MSRs is dense and uncontroversial. It is much more efficient at creating energy without nearly as much waste as conventional nuclear reactors. The opportunity is there for medical isotopes that will assist in saving lives.

And for those who want to stop coal plants from burning coal, the dirty energy source, MSRs are the answer. The pollution is getting so out of control now that even China is looking to nuclear plants as a solution fixing the mess. This is an understatement.

Places like England and Japan which have dense populations and are surrounded by water will need to replace the current energy sources with more reliable and easy to expand small footprint reactors. MSRs are also SMRs? What kind of anagram is that? Small Modular Reactors are becoming the reactor of highest praise in the US. MSRs will be modular and that will give them their flexibility and at the same time allow them to be cost effective.

We are seeing the signs of the new era with at least 5 countries starting their own research into making a Thorium Era happen.

So cutting down on pollution and CO2 is not the only reason for supporting the idea of a Thorium era.

LFTR New Posts nuclear recycling reprocessing

Q and A with Russell Wilcox of Transatomic Power

I asked Russell Wilcox of Transatomic Power to fill us in a little more about the WAMSR (Waste Annihilating Molten Salt Reactor.)

The history of missed opportunity regarding advances embraced by France has left the US behind in the area of reprocessing. It started back when it was made illegal to recycle used fuel in the US. Many people don’t realize that law was reversed but the stigma attributed to nuclear waste and what to do with it has left a vacuum of unrealized potential.

This proposed new reactor had it’s beginnings at MIT with two of the co-founders of Transatomic Power Mark Massie and Leslie Dewan, both MIT PhD students.

The Massachussets based company is getting attention and advice from a team of experienced read more »