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  1. “We have an effective democracy governed by the “rule of law.”

    I would say we have an auctioneering democracy governed by the rule of lawyers.

  2. Very informative article!!

    Re: “…We still have many alternatives and we do not need to raise any controversies,..”

    I read “controversies” as meaning an electorate ill or nil informed about nuclear energy and its stats history and comparative industrial mortaility/safety perspective, and is weaned on aggressive FUD as is the case in most instances. But I’m to conclude that at its heart, gas fossil-fuel driven Indonesia really isn’t into allaying CO2 global warming…

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  3. Might I suggest Israel? It has the technical capability, a small shipbuilding industry, and a real need for the energy. Especially energy that can be associated with desalination.

    1. But it’s also in a particularly dangerous neighborhood. Not to mention that Israel’s behavior towards Palestinians over the years may lead it to fall out of favor eventually.

    2. Israel has not signed the NPT, therefore import and export of nuclear technology faces international scrutiny (at least).

  4. Rod: On the other hand, if Indonesia were thinking for the long term, they could be a world-leading player in exporting Thorium reactors, and completely obsolete oil and natural gas. Sure, they have oil and natural gas, but is the sum value of that oil and natural gas more than the potential of the ThorCon reactor, which could become something of a gold mine to them.

    Of course, for nearly everyone alive, profits now beat profits later (and I understand why that is – because you have to pay for stuff now – if you’re a government, you have to pay for Armies and the material they need; you have to pay for roads and schools and hospitals, and government employee salaries and benefits, and police and fire stations and the equipment they need, and a million other things too.

  5. Korea? That’s where Jack Devanney had his oil tankers built, so the shipyards are a known factor and competent, plus there’s a vigorous nuclear industry. The NRC has some licensing oversight of them, though, and might give them grief about using ~20% enriched uranium. That would rule out Iran too.

    1. Korea has one of the most successful Gen PWR programs, with good export potential. ThorCon could kill that off.

      That said, Korean shipyards are likely to build SMRs where ever they end up being used, simply because they have the best ship yards.

  6. “Enabling the technology to flourish and provide benefits to the environment and to the economy is not the same as the kind of misguided promotional efforts that the AEC once pursued.”

    What sort of AEC promotional efforts were misguided? Not meant as an argument, I really don’t have any idea and am curious.

    1. @Jeff Walther

      During the period of 1954-1964, nearly all pressure to commercialize the peaceful atom came from the Atomic Energy Commission and the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. There wasn’t much interest in an immediate move to building nuclear power plants. The U.S. had plenty of fuel sources. Electricity prices were low and steadily decreasing as utilities built larger and more efficient generating stations. The JCAE and the President, however, wanted to develop the peaceful atom and to lead the world in commercial nuclear power.

      Following the direction of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy and the President, the AEC stepped in with strong arm sales efforts, demonstration reactor projects with nearly all money for the reactor portion of the power plant coming from the AEC, and special buyback programs for the plutonium that was contained in used fuel.

      (This might be where the nonproliferation crowd got the erroneous idea that commercial reactors were special nuclear material production facilities. The buyback program had nothing to do with the government needing more Pu and everything to do with creating another incentive to jump start a commercial nuclear power industry.)

      IMO, the push wasn’t beneficial to the long term success of nuclear technology. It ended up locking in technology that had been proven reliable, but it was not necessarily the most economic way to turn atomic fission heat into useful power. It angered established fuel suppliers and others in the business of producing power conversion equipment. (They didn’t like the government forcing its way into their business; the savvy ones knew that additional supplies would inevitably mean lower prices for everyone if left unchecked.)

      I think I need to dig up and republish an article I wrote a long time ago about the root cause of the failure of the first Atomic Age.

      1. Thank you. That’s interesting. Lots of food for thought there, as given fission’s qualities and potential there was some justification for the enthusiasm, unwisely expressed though it may have been.

        1. @Jeff Walther

          I’m not suggesting that the enthusiasm was misplaced; I am suggesting that the government isn’t the right organization to establish and promote a new industry. One reason is the ability of incumbents to influence the decision process in their favor,.

  7. Although there is certainly debate going on in the country, we and our MOU partners—INUKI, Pertamina and PNLI— believe that the Government favors securing a Thorium nuclear power option for Indonesia, which as the 4th most populous country in the world has a massive need for safe, secure and low-cost power in the years to come. (See YouTube link below to recent presentation by the CEO of Indonesia state–owned nuclear organization INUKI at Mumbai Thorium Energy Conference.) We realize that building and demonstrating a new reactor design at the commercial level is not going to be a cake walk in any country; however, we remain confident that Indonesia has the need, the resources and the can-do attitude that make it one of the nations that is best qualified for the ThorCon project.

    1. @Bob

      Is that a personal opinion or are you a company spokesperson on this? If the later, I’d like to promote the comment to a front page post, but I don’t want anyone to get confused.

  8. IMO, the real question is not why Indonesia vs. US, but why Indonesia vs. China (or perhaps Korea, as John suggests).

    My view remains that if a massive-scale assembly line to produce SMRs is going to be built anywhere, it’s going to be China. They have the domestic demand, the technical expertise, and the domestic manufacturing capability.

  9. The shipbuilders-nuclear developers seem to have omitted an obvious choice-Floating power plants. Floating power plants could be built anywhere and used anywhere. They could be leased out for a period till they need refurbishing. When no longer in use, the liability passes back to builders. If they can get a site, may be in Africa, where they could base the operations, they would have an attractive product. Anybody would try out it on a 10 year lease and then extend it.

    1. In most of the world, floating nuclear power plant will require regulatory approval. This will not be forthcoming for a floating plant in most jurisdictions – certainly not where a Probabilistic Safety Assessment is to be undertaken.

      It could however be possible to use an artificial island. In most of the world, that doesn’t cost much. (Though I recommend using near shore, <12 miles, non contested waters)

  10. It wouldn’t seem too hard to float a nuclear power plant into a dry dock, close the gate, and pump the water out. However, adding a defense against a 20 m tsunami would make it inconvenient to float it away again for refitting or disposal.

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