1. Seasons Greetings!

    A nice school production, but lest I sound a party pooper, why are Thorium advocates “jumping ahead” hawking systems that don’t exist or won’t come on-line for decades when our current crop of proven safe and reliable reactors are under seize by media and townhall fearmongers and FUD slingers? They seem to have this mindset that the public’s keen enough to discriminate between reactor types and will receive Th reactors with open arms. Triple wrongo. This production was gutsy enough to bring up Fukushima — they should’ve carried on and explained the nightmares that DIDN’T happen at Fukushima and how other catastrophic incidents in other industries are no way as forgiving in life and property. Let’s have another video focusing on today’s plants and getting the public’s frets over nuclear phobia, and for high school and college audiences they should try to get a starlet-type spokes-girl to perk attention. Yea, I sound sexist, but the public is more reassured and comfy hearing techie from a glamor type than a geek, kind of like why sultry computer voices are used in fighter jet systems.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. Why? Because they don’t believe it needs to take decades. Because they think it is worth working on now. Because it may represent the safest approach possible. Also, a slice of the public does believe that this is somehow much better than uranium … that’s not accurate. You spend a lot of time moaning about the idiotic public, well maybe we should not reject (somewhat) misinformed support. I agree that we should build out the PWR and BWR fleets first (that also irritates the LMFBR proponents) and continue to try to educate the public, although the public is generally supportive of nuclear if you are talking about the US. So, I don’t think the criticism is warranted.

      1. I do not mind thorium advocates pushing LFTR (I am a big fan of LFTR). I only take exception when thorium advocates try to boost thorium tech through appeasing the anti’s by putting down our current LWR/BWR/CANDU/etc. fleet. Anti’s will not buy into LFTR if they will not buy into the incredibly safe solid fueled reactors we can build today.

        Not many pro-nuclear people believe it needs to take decades to build a LFTR, but reality is it will. China is the furthest ahead in developing the LFTR and they will not have a demonstration plant completed until 2019. This will likely run for a decade before any solid plans to build a GWe size plant is submitted to anybody. Now add on 10 to 20 years from this time for the NRC to issue any sort of build permit on this first of a kind plant. Baring a drastic change in how we regulate in the US, a GWe size LFTR will likely not appear before 2040. I would love someone to tell me a quicker way because I want to see one of these in operation as soon as possible, I am just trying to be realistic.

        These videos were neat though. I didn’t know any of the stuff talked about in these videos when I was in the seventh grade. Good for these girls! Hopefully they keep their interest in science and engineering all the way through their lives.

        1. The LFTR folks are simply selling the virtues of their “product” so Uranium cycle people should not be so sensitive. They only stand to lose a small slice of their monopoly.

          Your 10 to 20 years “Time to Market” for the LFTR is probably realistic given the greybeards who control reactor research aound the world. Sometimes you have to wait for the old guard to die before a new technology gets a fair shake.

          1. @gallopingcamel

            I’m not terribly sensitive, but many LFTR folks sell by telling lies or less than half-truths about solid fueled reactors.

            Uranium has no “monopoly”; it provides on 16% of the developed world’s electricity – which is something like 6-7% of the world’s energy.

            Calling uranium a “monopoly” is about like claiming that Apple has an iPad monopoly.

          2. To Rod below – you can definitely say today’s nuclear reactors are a type of monopoly. A monopoly on *nuclear* power.

            If there really are other feasible technologies which government or whatever other bozos in charge haven’t given an equal chance (let’s face it, without a competitive free market to drive the inferior technology out of business, there’s no way to know) – then that definitely does qualify today’s nuclear power as a form of monopoly.

  2. Katie,

    This is idealism and physics. You need three more parts. Primary subject: “15 million dollars an hour:”: the future cost this country will encore for not having fully developed “LFTR” by the time you did not graduate from college. I might seem like a large sum, but it is realistic. No more coal, building of cross state EHV lines, efficiency in countless number of industrial process. (Note: this type of heat source might need something hotter the “LFTR” but that is for the industry to decide.)

  3. Just out of curiosity, what ‘inaccurate technical information’ did she present in the video? I am trying to learn more about these technologies, and would just like to know for reference.

    Great videos, thanks very much for putting these up – it’s always encouraging to see young minds take such a strong interest in science.

  4. If that was a real 7th grader I am gob smacked. My youngest son (first year electrical engineer at UCF) was impressed!

    We stayed to the end to read the credits that included Kirk Sorensen and David LeBlanc.

    1. @ gallopingcamel,

      Yes, gob smacked!!! Very impressed.

      The missing point about safety for a LWR is the effects of radiation if there is a release. I would love to see this young lady take on that topic. The point being that the effects are really pretty boring.

      The real point of having greater safety is distribution. We want nuclear in places where the folks are not as well educated (though just as smart) as this young lady. Inherent safety, with smaller “waste” means wider application.

  5. Rod Adams,
    We are talking about nuclear power plants. Uranium has a monopoly in that sector.

    It is sad that supporters of nuclear power should waste any effort fighting with each other. The real “Enemy” is not “Us” but the well funded opponents of any kind of nuclear power.

  6. Regardless of the pros and cons vs one reactor type or another, I only care that there are kids getting excited about nuclear energy.

    At this age, the most important thing in the learning process is to have fun learning. She’s enjoying herself and I see a future engineer in the making. Good for her, I hope she got a good grade on her project.

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