Sunday, June 06, 2010

4th Carnival of Nuclear Energy at Nuclear Green

Brian Wang points to the 4th Carnival of Nuclear Energy, hosted by Charles Barton. Here is a short excerpt from the carnival:
In 2007, when I started to think about factory manufacture of reactors as a means of lowering nuclear costs, I quickly realized that factory built reactors would have to be small, in order to facilitate their transportation outside factories. I Googled small reactors and out popped a piece on economies of scale Rod Adams had written in 1996! "This Adams guy is smart," I thought, and so he is.

Rod, was not the first person to see advantages to the small modular nuclear reactor approach. Kirk Sorensen, of Energy from Thorium has demonstrated that in the mid 1960's Oak Ridge National Laboratory reactor designers were engage is working out the design of a nuclear plant housing 4 small 250 MWe Molten Salt Reactors. Kirk has copied old ORNL research reports, that demonstrate exactly how advanced thinking was at Oak Ridge in the 1960's. Not only are the reports interesting, but they also contain attractive, detailed drawings of reactor designs.

Finally, retired nuclear physicist and nuclear arms control expert Alexander DeVolpi is seldom mentioned in lists of Nuclear BloggersDeVolpi actually does not blog, he knols. Knols ar small, essays, on specific subjects, that are written as contributions to human knowledge. DeVolpi; Knols are required reading for anyone who wants to intelligently discuss nuclear proliferation issues. DeVolpi's Nuclear Scorboard, deftly sumerizes objections that have historically been made against nuclear power, and the facts that are known today.

Heavy investment in Thorium energy would staunch the energy crisis, blunt the fears of nuclear proliferation, reduce nuclear waste, and conceivably put nuclear power in vehicles, even. Thor knows it. To get the quick digest version, check out this Wired article. To go more in depth, check out Energy From Thorium and This Week in Nuclear. If I had a million dollars, I’d drop it into Thorium energy development. This is the magic bullet.
Is Thorium energy "the magic bullet?" Perhaps. But some form of breeder technology is likely to become a crucial "bridge technology" connecting our current relatively primitive forms of energy production to more advanced forms of energy technologies such as nuclear fusion, and other sophisticated ways of manipulating matter at atomic and sub-atomic levels.

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