Reuters Breakout series focuses on China’s interest in thorium

Reuters is running a series titled Breakout: Inside China’s Military Buildout. Installment number 6 is titled The U.S. government lab behind Beijing’s nuclear power push. The title is misleading; it is not about China’s world-leading, multibillion-dollar program. That program includes 29 large commercial nuclear plants currently under construction. Instead, the article focuses on a $350 million research program to evaluate the use of thorium as an alternative nuclear fission fuel source.

The Reuters piece includes a number of statements about the comparison between thorium and uranium that are debatable, at best, but whose source should be obvious to anyone that has been involved in any discussions with thorium advocates. It neglects the fact that uranium and thorium produce approximately the same mix of radioactive fission products. Systems using thorium need to pay just as much attention to decay heat removal as systems using uranium.
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Fantasy Crossfire debate: Ed Lyman versus Rod Adams on fast breeder reactors

CNN has done a masterful job of seizing the opportunity provided by Robert Stone’s thought-provoking Pandora’s Promise to generate a passionate discussion about the use of nuclear energy — a vitally important topic — at a critical time in American history. The decision makers at that somewhat fading network should be congratulated. Of course, generating […]

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Hydrocarbon-fueled establishment hates idea of plutonium economy

In the above clip from a recent interview on CNN’s Piers Morgan, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. describes how Pandora’s Promise advocates that canceling the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) project in 1994 was a mistake. RFK Jr., a man from an iconic family that has been a part of the US moneyed Establishment for the better […]

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Bill Gates describes 4th generation nuclear energy to explain his investment decision

On March 23, 2012, Bill Gates was interviewed as part of the Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics conference. There is little doubt that he understands the technology and the opportunity. My main question is why he is not investing more in order to drive the technology even faster. After all, he is one of the world’s […]

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Pursuing the unlimited energy dream – history of the Integral Fast Reactor

Note: Len Koch, whose participation in nuclear energy research started in the 1940s, wrote the below open letter to colleagues who are striving to restore interest in the progress that they made in research and development of the Integral Fast Reactor during the period from 1954-1994 the year that President Clinton and Hazel O’Leary, his […]

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Cloistered nuclear scientists needed Sun Tzu’s advice – “Know your enemy”

The Art of War

I just received my copy of Plentiful Energy: The Story of the Integral Fast Reactor. The complex history of a simple reactor technology with emphasis on its scientific basis for non-specialists by Charles Till and Yoon Il Chang. There is no doubt that it is going to be a fascinating read, but I had to […]

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Update on fast reactor group challenge to MIT

Steve Kirsch, an MIT graduate and enough of an entrepreneurial success to have an auditorium at the school that carries his name, has updated his challenge to the faculty at his alma mater in a post on The Huffington Post titled Is MIT Afraid to Debate Nuclear Report?. Steve is quite serious about this challenge […]

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Recalling the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) passive safety experiments

I got notified via a Google Alert on “small nuclear power plants” about a post on a blog that I had not previously visited. The post was titled The Environmentalists Nuclear Debate (2) Mark Lynas. The post provided a link to a very interesting article by Mark Lynas in the New Republic titled How nuclear […]

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The Atomic Show #038 – George Stanford (sodium cooled fast reactors)

George Stanford talks about sodium cooled fast reactors George Stanford earned his PhD in experimental nuclear physics from Yale University and then spent his professional career doing nuclear reactor safety research at the Argonne National Laboratory. One of his special interest was the sodium cooled fast reactor program. He worked on the Experimental Breeder Reactor […]

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Letter from the Editor: Breeding Better Reactors

Conventional wisdom holds that a breeder reactor produces more fuel than it uses. This idea is fascinating to some, but confusing to a whole group of rational people. It sounds too much like science fiction or Madison Avenue hype. Actually, a breeder reactor is not magic, but it is a marketing exaggeration to state that […]

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Plutonium Fuel Cycle: Under Attack

AEI would prefer to concentrate its efforts on discussing the incredible technical potential of nuclear energy while leaving the discussion of politics and personality to others. When trying to understand nuclear energy technical decisions, however, it is essential to understand some of the political issues involved. For the last 20 years, there has been an […]

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Liquid Metal Fast Breeder: Right Answer, Wrong Question

Soon after the development of the first nuclear reactors, scientists and engineers began to discuss the possibility of a nuclear fuel shortage. As far as these nuclear pioneers knew, there was a rather limited supply of uranium that was concentrated in certain areas of Africa and Eastern Europe. The situation was considered even more critical […]

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