FFTF restoration would provide the fastest, most efficient path to fast spectrum neutron testing
If a U.S.-based researcher or reactor designer needs to irradiate fuel or material with fast neutrons for testing, their current options are extremely limited. No domestic test facility can provide enough fast neutrons to do anything more than slowly irradiate a small quantity of tiny samples.
Anything more requires the full cooperation of either Russia or China. It doesn’t take too much expertise or imagination to realize both of those options are difficult, expensive and loaded with risk in terms of schedule, intellectual property protection, export control limitations and test conditions.
Lack of a facility hasn’t stopped people from recognizing that fast reactors have sufficient attractions to make them worth a considerable effort. Well resourced teams like Bill Gates’s TerraPower that are deeply interested in fast reactors have spent the money and taken the risks associated with performing tests in available facilities.
Mission and requirements for fast neutron testing
Last summer, John Kotek, in his role as the Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Energy tasked the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee with evaluating the mission and requirements for a facility that could provide a domestic source of enough fast neutrons to support the testing that will be needed to design and license fast reactors here.
The committee completed its work in December and produced a draft report. At the recent Advanced Reactor Technical Summit, Dr. Al Sattelberger, the chairman of the NEAC and a participant in the evaluation effort, described the document and its conclusions.
The financially unconstrained conclusion of the group of evaluators, most with long experience in the DOE’s National Lab complex, is that the U.S. needs a new test reactor. The report includes a set of capabilities that the new facility should have.
There is no design effort in progress, no site identified, and no money in the budget for such a facility.
I was in the audience and took the opportunity to ask the obvious question. “The U.S. owns something called the Fast Flux Test Facility. Did your committee consider restoring the FFTF?”
Dr. Sattelberger, who had introduced himself as a chemist among mostly nuclear engineers, responded as follows.
“I think that’s been studied up one end and down the other…. e facility went critical 35 years ago, 1980ish, so it’s actually been a long time since we built something. That reactor did not supply electrons to the grid, maybe one of its shortcomings.”
“But I’ve heard a number of times in the course of this afternoon about how much new technology has been developed over the last 20 years that can be brought to bear, and I think there’s a whole generation of students and engineers that would like to take a crack at building that next generation fast test reactor.”
Reuse, restore, repair and repurpose
Granting that Dr. Sattelberger is an advisor and not a representative of the Department of Energy, his response was still troubling. It was roughly equivalent to the response of a privileged teenager who says he wants mobility but then holds out for a dream car with options that haven’t been invented yet as a preferred path over fixing up the classic Cadillac loaded with all of the available options that is gathering dust in Grandma’s garage.
His more impatient and practical sister might decide to go kick the tires on the Cadillac, find out what it would take to restore the vehicle to a like-new condition and imagine its nearer term potential and value.
Dr. Sattelberger was right to note that there have been numerous studies done evaluating the option of using the FFTF for its designed purpose. One of the most comprehensive studies was completed in April 2007 by the Columbia Basin Consulting Group (CBCG) for the Tri-City Industrial Development Council.
That study – Siting Study For Hanford Advanced Fuels Test & Research Center – was funded by DOE as part of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) program.
The evaluators were particularly well-suited to the task; several of the consultants were, at the time, relatively recently retired engineers and operators from the Energy Department who had deep experience at the FFTF during its operational lifetime and its subsequent deactivation.
Bill Stokes, still with CBCG, led that study effort and shared a copy of the report. He emphasized the talent of the crew who did the evaluation and stated that they were not motivated by self interest; they were beyond the point of needing a job.
The 116 page document provides a detailed description of an amazing facility provided with the kinds of capabilities affordable at a time when developing fast reactors was a national priority. Though some dismiss the FFTF as old, it is about 15 to 20 years newer than most of the other test reactors in the U.S. and only has about ten years worth of operational wear.
It has largely been protected from any permanent damage. Fortunately, Grandma never got around to investing the money that destruction and cleanup of her “old” Cadillac would have required.
Here is the pithy concluding statement from the report:
“In conclusion, the FFTF could be ready to pull rods for transmutation or advanced fuels testing in 60 to 66 months at a cost of $500 million. If a decision were made in 2008 to change the mission to the prototype Advanced Recycle Reactor, the facility could be modified with a power generator and be in commercial power operation in 48 months from the decision to proceed at a total facility reactivation and modification cost of approximately $750 million.”
Those numbers included a 20% contingency. Stokes said that very little has changed at the site during the past 10 years, though the numbers will probably need some revision.
Real world experience opportunity
There are more than enough opportunities for young and midlevel engineers and scientists to get involved in pie-in-the-sky design efforts to develop a new digital reactor. [That is my term for what Rickover would have called a “paper reactor” in his less electronic era.]
The FFTF is an existing facility with real materials, real pumps, real valves, real fuel handling devices.
Most importantly for the future of U.S. nuclear technical leadership, the FFTF can provide 5 to 10 times the fast neutron flux of any existing facility and it has the testing location capacity to support numerous parallel experiments.
Since it already exists, its siting process cannot become a new battleground for the ancient rivalries between the national labs, their local economic boosters and their congressional representatives.
(Note: The link under the “rivalries” statement is a fascinating clipping from page 4 of the Jan 29, 1967 edition of the Idaho State Journal. It’s a 50 year old description of the political/booster effort to convince the AEC to site the FFTF in Washington that includes a lament by Idaho boosters about the fact that they were not equally well organized to find new missions for their laboratory facility.)
The facility has its required state and local permits and is covered by an active environmental impact statement. It might be operational before the first shovel full of dirt could be turned for a new facility whose requirements document isn’t even started.
Stuart Maloy is the advanced materials test lead at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Here is how he responded when asked about the urgency of a fast neutron test reactor.
“I am very interested in a facility for fast neutron irradiation of core reactor materials. It would greatly accelerate the development of improved radiation tolerant materials for nuclear fuel cladding applications.”
That statement is applicable to conventional reactors as well as fast reactors. Much of the neutron flux that affects cladding materials hasn’t been moderated.
The FFTF offers an almost immediately available place for a new generation of nuclear professionals to learn that fast neutron fission isn’t something for the distant future or forgotten past. Designing systems and making them work isn’t just a programming exercise.
There’s a cadre of willing and available teachers and mentors, some of who still reside in eastern Washington, who would eagerly accept the challenge of engaging in the task of transferring their knowledge to a new generation.
It’s time to accept reality, quit holding out for a new facility and begin taking full advantage of our inheritance.
Reaction from Idaho National Laboratory
While writing the above, I had contacted the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) for their comments. Unfortunately, I sent my the information request to the wrong office. The process of routing the request and obtaining a response thus took longer than usual, so the response missed the deadline for the edition of Fuel Cycle Week in which the article was run.
Before simply republishing that article here, I asked INL to provide an updated response and provided a copy of the initial article. Here is the response provided by INL Public Affairs and Strategic Initiatives.
INL would like to provide you the following information, which all can be attributed to Hans Gougar (title below):
There is a strong need for fast neutron irradiations as expressed by potential users. There are four potential approaches to meeting these user needs:
- Use of thermal irradiation reactors (such as HFIR or ATR): limited fast irradiations can be performed in thermal reactors, but irradiation conditions are usually not prototypical enough to create data required in a formal fuel development program for non-LWR fast reactor designs.
- Use of foreign fast irradiation reactors: such irradiations have been performed in the past, but they typically have very long schedules, due both to lack of available space in these reactors and to the difficulties in transporting experimental samples to and from a foreign country.
- The restart of FFTF has already been studied by DOE: Siting Study For Hanford Advanced Fuels Test & Research Center.
- A new fast test reactor: would utilize a modern design and new experimental approaches; it would provide capabilities well adapted to current and future needs for advanced power reactors.
Aside: It’s worth noting that the study mentioned in item #3 is the CBCG study conducted for the GNEP program that is mentioned earlier in this article. That study describes FFTF as an incredible asset. Here is another quote from the Executive Summary of the Siting Study for Hanford Advanced Fuels Test & Research Center.
The reactivation of the Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF) complex and the Fuels and Materials Examination Facility (FMEF) represents an opportunity for DOE to accelerate a commercially viable and sustainable closed fuel cycle by at least a decade. DOE will gain a substantial reduction in programmatic risk through a cost-effective test program using existing facilities, and realize a multi-billion dollar savings compared to the cost for constructing new test or prototype facilities. The impacts may not become apparent until after the nation is committed to the selected path and these facilities are constructed and have begun operations.
That quote introduces an additional facility – the FMEF – that makes the FFTF site even more attractive. This is how the report briefly describes the FMEF.
Fuels and Materials Examination Facility – The FMEF was constructed in the late 1970s and early 1980s as part of the LMR Program. The original mission for the facility included post-irradiation examination of irradiated fuels and materials as well as fast spectrum reactor test and driver fuel manufacture. The facility was originally designed to ERDA 6301 for missions that required enhanced safeguards and security. The facility was completed but not occupied for any programmatic mission. It is therefore uncontaminated and available to support GNEP.
GNEP could use FMEF to fabricate fuel on a prototypic scale as well as to assemble FFTF Driver Fuel and actinide fuels that will be needed for GNEP.
The FMEF consists of a 98-foot high Process Building with an attached Mechanical Equipment Wing on the west side and an Entry Wing across the south side. The 175-foot wide by 270-foot long Process Building provides about 188,000 ft2 of operations space. The 98-foot height makes the Process Building as tall as a seven-story office building. The Process Building also extends 35 feet below ground. The building is divided into six operating floors.
There is one more facility – Maintenance and Storage Facility (MASF) – that is described in the report. It is an integral and important part of the currently idled FFTF complex. Here is the brief summary description of the MASF found on page 16 of the Siting Study.
The MASF is a multi-purpose service center which supports FFTF. The main building contains a 28,000 ft.2 area serviced by a 60-ton overhead bridge crane. One half of this area is serviced by a 200-ton crane, and is 105 ft. high and contains floor space for repairs and maintenance of large equipment. It has below-grade shielded hot cells for sodium cleaning. A special feature is a large shielded enclosure that contains two shielded decontamination rooms. These can be used for both remote and hands-on cleaning of small equipment items and tools that are contaminated with radioactive material.
Any open-minded decision maker motivated to support development of advanced reactors with a capable fast neutron test facility would be impressed by the potential of the facility that already exists. Any reasonably experienced and knowledgable nuclear project manager would recognize that the path for building a brand new facility would be far more tortuous and fraught with the potential for serious delays or even cancellation somewhere along the 15-20 years the project would require starting today.
INL’s response to my request for information contained an additional quote.
“We agree that there is a significant need for a fast neutron irradiation capability in the United States that is hampering U.S. industry, government research and international efforts to develop advanced reactor designs. INL and partner national laboratories have begun early evaluation of potential test reactor design options that would fill this urgent need. Designing and building a new fast test reactor should be thoroughly evaluated against the other alternatives, including FFTF restart, using the increasingly limited capacity of foreign fast test reactors, and/or the use of existing U.S.-based thermal reactors.”
Hans Gougar, director of Advanced Reactor Technologies in INL’s Nuclear Science & Technology division
DOE has a documented process for capital acquisitions that is as arduous and cumbersome as the major system acquisition process used by the Department of Defense. There are some pretty solid reasons why each milestone step is bureaucratically and politically important. Done correctly, the process can help avoid technical SNAFUs like the A-12 and political quagmires like the MOX facility.
However, the process can be accelerated when there is a need and an obvious answer to that need sitting around in the land-based equivalent of a mothball fleet. With libraries worth of QA documents, the physical presence of the facilities and some subtle political pressure, it should be possible for a focused and motivated DOE to power through both CD-0 (Statement of Mission Need) and CD-1 (Analysis of Alternatives) in record time.
Great article Rod, thanks.
Unfortunately you forgot one very important “detail”, as did your source, in “Stokes said that very little has changed at the site during the past 10 years”
FFTF has been SABOTAGED by the DoE, by drilling the bottom of the reactor vessel.
This hole cannot be welded shut in a way acceptable to the NRC, because holes in equipment comprising the primary heat transfer circuit – including the reactor vessel – must be closed using full penetration welds with 100% radiography.
Since there is no access from the inside of the reactor vessel, the hole cannot be welded shut in a way acceptable to the NRC, therefore there is no possibility of ever re-starting FFTF (at least not in any way that makes financial sense).
From September 23, 2002:
“ DOE has now transferred the money and the administration of FFTF from their Nuclear Energy division to their Environmental Management (cleanup) division, has sent in their wrecking managers and publicly announced that they have started the destruction of the plant.”
Apparently, according to DoE’s report on weapons plutonium disposition, April 2014, it would be cheaper to build a new fast neutron reactor than to re-start FFTF.
Tables 6-1 and 6-2 from DoE’s report on weapons plutonium disposition, April 2014.
Did you read the linked report? It describes how the hole affects the plant operationally. The fix suggested would provide an acceptable mitigation and cost approximately $1 M.
Rod, as best I can tell, the report never addresses the issue of ASME Code compliance in plugging that hole (In a Class 1 nuclear component).
Presumably they will need some sort of special dispensation from the NRC for that non-compliance, but there is no mention of it.
ASME Code does not apply to a non pressure barrier.
What is the pressure at the bottom of the vessel, when full of Sodium? ….is the pressure on the bottom side equal to the inside?
Also, I seem to recall that ASME Code does apply to radioactive fluids boundaries, even when non-pressurized.
Is this drilled vessel wall not a boundary?
Maybe I’m misunderstanding the design of the reactor vessel — or how the hole was drilled? …from the bottom or from the top, through the reactor deck?
A clarification would be appreciated, thank you.
Please see explanation in the Siting Study https://curie.ornl.gov/system/files/Siting_Study_for_Hanford_Advanced.pdf
There is an explanation on pages 56-57 and a good diagram on page 58.
Page 28 has a brief summary:
There is nothing in Table 6-1 or 6-2 indicating that a new reactor would be cheaper than restarting FFTF. It is difficult to conceive that the restart of the FFTF would be more expensive than a new reactor. As of the Report in 2007, the FFTF was completely in-tact, since then, cover gas has been maintained in all primary piping systems. Replacement of some of the in-vessel fuel handling machinery may be necessary but hardly anywhere near the cost of a new design and facility.
I have been following your blog and Energy from thorium for some years. I am glad that the idea of fully utilising uranium/thorium is finally sinking in.
Russia is already running commercial fast reactors but others have given it up after some trials.
Most tragic is the case of UK with stocks full of recovered, reactor grade plutonium. They are stuck with highly wasteful EPR. The abandonment of fast reactors by the US has put a pall of pessimism on fast reactors. Only Russia and to a lesser extent India and China are soldiering on.
I only hope coolants less dangerous than sodium are put to use. Even the lead used by Russians is better.
As far as I can tell, there have been few, if any, injuries or significant facility damage caused by “dangerous” sodium coolant which has been used in a fair number of experimental and test reactors along with a few commercial reactors.
That statement cannot be made about the extremely hot, highly pressurized water used as coolant in conventional reactors. As an historical fact, a steam explosion was the root cause of both the SL-1 fatalities and some of the early fatalities that occurred at Chernobyl.
The “lead” used by the Russians (in their Alpha-class submarines and their proposed SVBR-100 small modular reactor) is actually a mixture of lead and bismuth, at the eutectic composition (Lead-Bismuth Eutectic, or LBE). This allows for a lower melting temperature of the coolant (an advantage when refueling because the coolant does not have to be kept at the higher melting temperature of liquid lead to avoid freezing the coolant loop). The disadvantage, of course, is the Po-210 activation product of bismuth when exposed to a neutron field, but this can be mitigated through engineered controls.
Lead is corrosive and requires careful application of protective coatings to prevent the dissolution of other metals in it. Sodium is so un-reactive that the chalk marks on the inside of the EBR-II were still there when it was dismantled.
There’s also the seismic issue; lead is many times as dense as sodium.
IIRC from high school chemistry, the significant reactive effect for sodium is with water, which evolves hydrogen and the reaction heat ignites it. Sodium itself is fairly innocuous when in contact with air (light wisps of vapor) or other things (no visible reaction). So I guess the only concerns might be for a sodium-water heat exchanger, but industry has developed ways of reducing that hazard over the years, things like double-walled vessels and the like.
Our industrial hygiene department would have a heart attack over the use of large quantities of lead. They are absolutely paranoid about RCRA-8 metals.
Sodium un-reactive? as long as there is no water or moisture in the vecinity…
I think you are mixing-up corrosion with reactivity. Lead is really here the non-reactive one. The corrosiveness of lead is neutralized with the right chemistry control through the addition oxigen, which builds a protective oxid layer, nothing new.
However, the (explosive) reactivity of sodium with water requires of an intermediate heat exchanger in order that the transfer of heat from sodium to steam is done through a less reactive medium, so as to avoid that a break of the steam generator will spill steam into the sodium if both were directly coupled.
The so low density of sodium is less of an advantage, as it has been already identified that the avoidance of leaks and later risk of fires is a critical issue in SFR. On the other side, sodium becomes also activated… there’s nothing ideal.
Sodium is not reactive with metal. The requirements for keeping it separated from water and air are as well known and as easy to implement as keeping lead from corroding piping. Both require attention to detail and compliance with procedures and specifications.
As you say, nothing is perfect. I wish that nuclear professionals would stop sniping at each other and recognize that there are a wide variety of acceptable paths forward. Some will be less expensive than others while some will provide better capabilities in certain applications. There might be room for success with a variety of approaches or one might end of winning all of the markets. We don’t know, but we should know one thing for certain – fission appears likely to beat combustion in a number of markets for a number of reasons.
Quit bickering and fighting over scraps of government funding – develop products that can meet enough customer needs at a competitive price so that we succeed in the market and reduce our dependence on politics.
Good point about the sodium activation. 24Na has a 15 hr. half-life, which is short, but as we all know that makes for more activity. One of the decay gammas is 2.7 MeV, which makes shielding difficult (difficult, not impossible).
The pool-type sodium reactor like EBR-2 was pretty sweet because of the low pressure operation on the primary side. You’re going to have pressurization on the intermediate and secondary side so I guess the best thing is to physically separate the sodium inventory from the feedwater as much as possible, maybe in separate buildings as well as using the standard things the chemical industry does to keep the bad actors apart (e.g., double-walled pipes and vessels).
The sodium reactors use a guard vessel around the reactor vessel and an intermediate loop to remove the sodium to water heat exchangers from the primary coolant loop and move those heat exchangers outside of the containment building. Any leak from the steam cycle side to the sodium coolant would be outside of containment and in a component which is not part of the reactor coolant loop.
The lead or lead-bismuth systems eliminate the need for the intermediate loop but introduce other engineering challenges. Both systems work well and have been used in large scale test reactors and propulsion systems since the 1960’s.
The common advantage is that these liquid metal and molten salt systems operate at higher temperatures and, essentially, ambient pressure in the primary circuit. The higher temps provide improved efficiency. The non-pressurized primary circuit are not subject to the catastrophic depressurization events that water reactors are subject to and have incorporated a number of engineered safety features to mitigate. Since these systems are not applicable to non-pressurized systems, the metal and salt coolant plants are simpler to build and operate and therefore should be less costly
There is significant misinformation regarding the “hole” as referenced by Mr Franta. There is no “hole” in the reactor vessel, the “hole” was drilled in a non-pressure boundary area internal to the reactor to allow for sodium draining. The hole is of no consequence to the operations of the reactor and can be repaired.
The reality is that while FFTF could provide a fast flux testing capability, it wouldn’t give INL a new reactor.
I’m aware of the interests involved and also aware of their short-sighted nature.
While INL would not get any funds for beginning the process of designing and building a new testing reactor project that would probably never result in a reactor anyway, assisting with the reactivation and operation of FFTF for its designed purpose of testing fuels and materials for fast reactors might result in INL being the host for several new demonstration or FOAK commercial fast reactors.
I hope that the boosters and the lab people take a longer view than they often have over the past half a century. It’s high time that they recognize that internecine budget battles between labs are detrimental to the overall mission of enabling nuclear energy to thrive in the U.S. and around the world.
Only a moron would believe that authorizing DOE to build a new fast test reactor would be less expensive or faster than restarting FFTF. A new reactor would most likely require 3-4 times more time and money.
A real worry is that a new reactor concept would eat up more money than the FFTF restart and never be finished.
“No domestic test facility can provide enough fast neutrons to do anything more than slowly irradiate a small quantity of tiny samples.”
It all depends what you really mean by slowly, small or tiny, but you’re over mis underestimating the capability of existing facilities. HFIR has significant fast flux available as do several other research reactors. It may not be “prototypical,” but it’ll do, and be safer.
“As an historical fact, a steam explosion was the root cause of both the SL-1 fatalities and some of the early fatalities that occurred at Chernobyl.”
Before the steam explosion was loss of reactivity control. Fast reactor control is more sensitive, being closer to prompt critical…
You are correct. My adjectives deserve to be quantified.
Compared to HFIR, FFTF maximum flux is 4.6 times greater. (1 x 10^15 versus 4.6 x 10^15) It has almost 2.4 times as many in core irradiation locations (37 vs 91) It has 2.6 times as many reflector irradiation locations (42 versus 108). FFTF has a core height of 91 cm versus HFIR’s 51 cm.
Here is what the team assessing the mission and requirements for a new test reactor wrote about HFIR’s capabilities:
As noted before, that team dismissed FFTF as being unavailable without really doing much research on its current state of being.
HFIR has missions that currently keep it occupied. Should those missions be displaced for the 16 years or more that it will take to complete a single round of irradiation for a small sample of material?
Your statement about fast reactor control isn’t applicable to specific designs. Like the EBR-II, FFTF not only had designed passive safety, it ran a series of actual, physical tests to prove that the computer computations were accurate.
If restarted, would it be possible to retrofit the facility to provide a small amount of power generation? When they closed the facility, an argument was made about using it to produce materials for medical radiation treatment. Apparently, that need still exists. Seems like it would give nuclear some good PR, to be able to save Cancer patients.
The Siting Study for Hanford Advanced Fuels Test & Research Center conducted for GNEP in 2007 offers several optional paths and capabilities that can be added to the existing facility. Those included power generation and isotope production.
The document does a good job of explaining the costs and tradeoffs that come with expecting multiple uses from the same facility. In some cases, the benefits would be well worth the costs, but in others, the benefits are more “political” while the costs are quite high for the resulting product compared to other alternatives.
Since FFTF was 400 MW and HFIR is down-rated from 100 to 85 MW, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to hear there is a 4.7+/- factor difference in flux and core volume. Call me skeptical about the additional factor of 2 from the esteemed and biased committee, but even so, that’s only a factor of 10. You can do useful irradiation at a 1, 5 or 10 MW university research reactor, today or next month, if you really want. The delay time to restart or build-new will eat more time than that factor of 10. No matter what, you won’t know the full story until you operate the real plants, and then the unexpected happens. So, this is not about getting the job done. This is, as you said, about funding favorite projects.
Yes, carefully planned tests of properly functioning equipment go well. In the real world of Murphy, we have imperfect operation, down-rates of 15% at HFIR, steam explosions at Chernobyl and SL1. And whatever exploded at Fukushima.
The statement about fast reactor control is physics. No matter how much you say “passive” or “clean, safe and affordable,” you cannot cheat physics. She will bite you. The real question is why should we the taxpayers have ANY more money stolen from us to pay for these projects, and studies of projects, to support this “more expensive but affordable” power, and be forced to accept the risks of more severe accidents, and proliferation?
Your commentary is beginning to approach the level of bias in which I traditionally ask contributors to provide more information about their qualifications and interests. Atomic Insights has established a tradition of accepting pseudonyms because many highly knowledgable commenters have reasons for not advertising their real names.
However, we also have an audience that deserves to know enough about the commenters so that they can judge if they are simply blowing smoke, making stuff up, faithfully copying talking points or have legitimate training and education that provides them a solid basis for having an opinion that differs widely from that of most nuclear energy professionals.
With regard to your specific comment above, you have no idea what you are talking about.
“Useful irradiations” may be obtainable in a university reactor, but the level of irradiation effect done on fuels and materials isn’t sufficient to validate licensing level computer code and thus is insufficient for real projects that are honestly aiming to qualify fuel and material to the satisfaction of the regulator.
Even with some access to the Advanced Test Reactor, the DOE’s fuel and material qualification program for high temperature gas reactors has been underway since about 2005 and will not be complete before 2021. A huge portion of that time has been driven by the need for adequate irradiation. A factor of 5-10 improvement in the rate of irradiation is NOTHING to sneeze at – it could turn a 20 year qualification program into a 2-4 year program.
The “esteemed and biased” committees that you so blithely dismiss were merely reporting design details from various reactors in the tables I was quoting.
Taxpayers have had money “stolen” from then for many purposes with far less potential for a return on the investment. For example, we’ve been spending about $5 billion per year since 2009 in “R&D” and market development funds to pay 30% of the cost of installing wind and solar energy systems that are mature enough to be in mass production with few changes in technology.
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