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13 Comments

  1. We were looking for a big name to support the cause … Sir Richard Branson wants a chat with Obama and Chu regarding SMR …

    Hey, he knows a good opportunity when he sees one.

    1. With his drive to enter the Next Space Race, I can see him being a leader for space based applications. we already know that nuke type batteries can power small unmanned craft, so it’s logical that they could be built for manned craft as well.

  2. As for the podcast, definitely on my Top Ten List of “Two Nukes I Enjoy Listening To”.

    When Kirk says “we got to stop burning black rocks out of the ground and and start harnessing the power of past supernova” (or something close to that), I just want to say “amen, brother”!

    Let’s start burning to embers those gray rocks out of the ground, uranium and thorium, finally making full use of our cosmic legacy.

  3. It was a shame rick martin was not available to address what may have been an unfair focus on LFTR , at the expense of current nuclear, otherwise quite a good pod cast.

    I found the brief discussion on general atomics particularly interesting.

    Related to Flibe, there is also quite some interesting Molten Salt Rector work happening in Canada, David LeBlanc has published extensively and gave this talk at TEAC4 recently

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-BXg18fAIk&feature=g-all-u

    Best

    John

  4. What I wish for is Bill Gates and Richard Branson to unite and create a killer mass civilian marketing campaign for SMR.

    In my book this technology should have been here by now. But let’s make the world rock when it comes available in 5 years.

  5. Enjoyable and edifying all-round state-of-the-art business and philosophical discussion.

    Kirk shouldn’t be so defensive about the potential of the MSR vs IFR. The world economy is plenty big enough for both fuel cycles and there is a great deal of complementarity between the two. IFRs can best make use their surplus neutrons to breed U233 for the vary economical fissile needs of MSRs.

    I agree that probably fluid fueled thorium will ultimately “win out” in the end as the reactor that will power the bulk of the world (between Latin American, India, China & Africa that’s about 35PWh of annual demand before they level out on the UN development Index); largely because of its high thermal utility and liberated simple self-sustaining front-ended fuel cycle. But S-PRISM has several years lead on any MSR concept. GE is already in talks right now with the UK to make use of their surplus Pu stockpile.

    I know Kirk was talking about a prototype reactor by 2015 a few years ago, but I don’t see turnkey LFTR units on offer before 2020 at the most optimistic — and Gen IV itself keeps talking about “beyond 2030” concepts. And General Atomics has recently dumped their long standing development of the GT-MHR and has picked up with fast-spectrum helium which has nearly the same thermal efficiencies of LFTR combined with the SNF utilization capability of IFRs. Attach a helium heat exchanger with supercritical steam (pending supercritical CO2) turbines and they could have a winner.

  6. Great talk Rod and Kirk. Just a bit worried that last time a thousand flowers bloomed most of them got ‘Mao’ed down!

  7. I still can’t get the episode to download from i-Tunes. Just thought you should know…

  8. Great talk. This was nice to listen to after attending the Commercializing SMRs conference last week. Too bad there wasn’t more talk of Gen IV reactors, but there were a handful of people from the thorium side of the industry in attendance. I’m glad to be entering the nuclear engineering field at such an exciting time. Best of luck to mPower with the upcoming DOE FOA.

    Bill Sacks
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Nuclear Engineering ’13

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