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Nuclear energy

RSN: Atomic Energy – Unnecessary, Uneconomic, Uninsurable, Unevacuable and Unsafe

The ongoing disaster from the Fukushima nuclear plant, about to reach the 3-year mark in four months time, demonstrates the potential magnitude of devastation if a problematic nuclear plant, located just 30 miles from New York City and currently operating without a permit, was to suffer a similar mishap.

By Ralph Nader, Reader Supported News

It has been over two years since the earthquake and tsunami that brought about the nuclear reactor crisis in Fukushima — the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. The situation at the six plants is still grim. Four of the reactors are damaged. Hundreds of tons of contaminated groundwater are reportedly seeping into the ocean every day. Nearly 83,000 people were displaced from their homes in the approximately 310 square mile exclusion zones. On Wednesday October 9, an accident resulted in six workers being doused in radioactive water. Accidents and mishaps at the Fukushima site are regular occurrences. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has now asked the world community for help in containing the ongoing Fukushima disaster, as it continues to spiral out of control.

Earlier this week, I participated in a panel discussion in New York City called “The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident: Ongoing Lessons.” The event featured notable long-time experts on nuclear technology discussing the crisis in Fukushima and the current state of the heavily subsidized nuclear industry in the United States. The panel participants were former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner and later Chairman Peter Bradford, former NRC Chairman Dr. Gregory Jaczko, former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, and nuclear engineer, Arnie Gundersen.

Mr. Bradford presented a detailed power point that showed how competing forms of energy already are leading to the decline of the nuclear industry.

The panel discussed safety concerns regarding the Indian Point nuclear power plant located about 30 miles from New York City. Indian Point has long been rife with safety problems and its location near an earthquake fault is a source of great concern for many New York residents. You can view Tuesday’s event, in its entirety, here.

The Indian Point nuclear power plant is currently operating without a license after its previous license expired on 28 Sep 2013 (The Examiner News)

In the 1960s, The Atomic Energy Commission determined that a class-nine nuclear power plant accident could contaminate an area the size of Pennsylvania and render much of it uninhabitable. A nuclear disaster at Indian Point would threaten the entire population of New York City and its outlying metropolitan area. The continued existence and operation of Indian Point is like playing a game of Russian Roulette with the lives and homes of the nearly 20 million people who live within a 50 mile radius of the plant. Consider the difficulty New Yorkers have simply commuting to and from their workplaces during rush hour and imagine the horror of a mandatory evacuation due to a nuclear emergency at Indian Point. The NRDC estimates that a serious accident could, in addition to massive casualties, “cost ten to 100 times more than Fukushima’s disaster” which would be in the trillions of dollars.

Indian Point, located dangerously close to New York City itself. (Z Magazine)

If Indian Point were closed today, there is enough surplus energy capacity to last the state until 2020 as alternative energy sources are developed and deployed. Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for the shutdown of Indian Point, as did Hillary Clinton during her time in the Senate. A main reason is that an emergency evacuation of the population up to 50 miles around these two nukes is impossible.

So what’s the delay? Mainly resistance from the nuclear industry and a compliant regulatory agency. The NRC has faltered in its watchdog role by acting to protect and even bolster the dangerous, expensive and unnecessary nuclear industry. The industry’s last claim is that it avoids greenhouse gases. But as physicist Amory Lovins says, if the investment in nuclear plants was shifted to renewables and energy conservation, it will produce less demand and more environmentally benign BTUs by far, and with more jobs.

Anti-nuclear advocates have warned against potential dangers such as earthquakes for decades. Although a new nuclear power plant has not been ordered and built in the United States since 1974, there are currently 65 nuclear plants operating 100 reactors in the United States — many of them aging, many of them near earthquake faults, many of them still not in compliance with NRC fire prevention regulations, all of them significant national security risks. Under President Obama, the first two nuclear reactors since 1978, were authorized to be built at the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Georgia. (Panel participant Dr. Gregory Jaczko was the lone dissenter in the 4-1 NRC approval vote.)

To truly understand the cost of nuclear energy, one must consider the absurdity of the nuclear fuel cycle itself. It begins with uranium mines and their deadly tailings, then the fabrication and refinement of the fuel rods, the risky transport of these rods to the multi-shielded dome-like plant where they are installed, and then firing up the plant so it goes critical with a huge amount of radioactivity. Dealing with volatile nuclear reactions requires flawless operation. And then there is the storage and guarding of hot radioactive wastes and contaminated materials that persist for 250,000 years. No permanent site has been located and licensed for that lengthy containment.

What is the end purpose of this complex and expensive chain of events? Simply to boil water — to generate steam to turn turbines to produce electricity.

With all the technological advancements in energy efficiency, solar, wind and other renewable energy sources, surely there are better and more efficient ways to meet our electricity needs without burdening future generations with deadly waste products and risking the radioactive contamination of entire regions should anything go wrong.

It is telling that Wall Street, which rarely considers the consequences of gambling on a risk, will not finance the construction of a nuclear plant without a full loan guarantee from the U.S. government. Nuclear power is also uninsurable in the private insurance market. The Price-Anderson Act of 1957 requires taxpayers to cover almost all the cost if a meltdown should occur.

No other industry that produces electricity poses such a great national security risk should sabotage or malfunction occur. No other means of generating power can produce such long-lasting catastrophic damage and mayhem from one unpredictable accident. No other form of energy is so loaded with the silent violence of radioactivity.

Nuclear energy is unnecessary, uninsurable, uneconomic, unevacuable and most importantly, unsafe. The fact that it continues to exist at all is a result of a ferocious lobby, enlisting the autocratic power of government, that will not admit that its product is unfit for use in the modern world. Let us not allow the lessons of Fukushima to be ignored.

12 Oct 2013

Hinkley nuclear power station community ‘could receive £128m’

Wow – I wonder what HK Govt is intending for Tuen Mun and Tseung Kwan O??

Guardian Environment Network

Hinkley nuclear power station community ‘could receive £128m’

Government announces package of financial benefits for eight sites earmarked for new nuclear plants

Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Plant Expansion Plans

Communities surrounding Hinkley point in Somerset could be in line for £128m under planned government benefits. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

UK communities could be paid millions of pounds to host nuclear power plants, the government announced on Wednesday.

Eight sites in England and Wales could be in line to receive benefits of up to £1,000 per megawatt hour of electricity produced for up to 40 years after the reactors come online.

The funds will be tailored to the areas and focus on ensuring a local economic legacy from the projects, the government said. Overall payments to an area such as that surrounding Hinkley Point in Somerset, earmarked for two reactors, could reach £128m.

The move follows similar schemes for communities hosting shale gas rigs or onshore wind farms, which were unveiled earlier this year. Under the proposed community benefit schemes wind farms will generate benefits of £5,000/MWh over 20 years, while shale gas operators will have to pay £100,000 for each well site, as well as 1% of production revenues.

Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon said: “It is absolutely essential that we recognise the contributions of those communities that host major new energy projects. This package is in the interests of local people, who will manage it to ensure long-term meaningful benefit to the community. It’s proportionate to the scale and lifespan of new nuclear power stations and it builds on the major economic benefits they will bring in terms of jobs, investment and use of local services.”

The package builds on a business rates retention scheme introduced in April this year that allows local government to keep half of the business rates it collects from nuclear projects for up to a decade. By contrast, local authorities can retain all of the business rates from land based renewables that have come online after 1 April this year.

The government said any new nuclear plants will provide a significant boost to council funding through this scheme for the first 10 years of operation, after which they will receive additional funding from central government. However, this funding will end in 2060, so if a plant came on line in 2025, after 10 years of receiving business rates, councils would only receive 25 years of central government payments.

The government regards nuclear as an essential component of the UK’s future low-carbon energy mix and has identified Hinkley Point, Sizewell, Wylfa, Oldbury, Sellafield, Bradwell, Heysham, and Hartlepool as appropriate potential sites for new nuclear plants.

But the government has been struggling to agree a guaranteed price for electricity with developer EDF, which the French company deems essential before it will build the first new reactors at Hinkley Point.

Campaigners have argued that using such agreements vastly inflate the cost of nuclear power, while adding to the nuclear fleet will only create further problems around the disposal of nuclear waste, which already takes up over half of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) budget.

Costain Group PLC : Public Funding For Innovation

Costain Group PLC : Public Funding For Innovation

06/04/2013| 03:54am US/Eastern

Public Funding For Innovation

4 June 2013

Costain has secured funding from the Government linked *Technology Strategy Board’s £18million competition to develop the civil nuclear supply chain. Costain has been selected to develop three innovative technologies to reduce the cost of treating and storing nuclear waste.

This competition brings together experienced organisations (such as Costain) with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and universities to develop the supply chain and encourage innovation. It was co-funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). Costain will work with a range of UK organisations to deliver these technologies. In collaboration with Tetronics International (plasma gasification) , Costain will develop a plasma waste vitrification system which will reduce the volume, and significantly enhance the stability, of intermediate level waste (ILW).

In a further project being led by Bradtec and supported by Studsvik, Hyder Consulting and the University of Manchester, Costain is developing a system for the gasification of graphite from decommissioned nuclear reactors. This will significantly reduce the volume of graphite waste.

Costain is also working with Createc to trial on site a system to measure the depth of contamination in structures. This will enable decontamination measures to be targeted more accurately and reduce the volume of material to be treated.

In making the announcement, the Government’s Business Secretary Vince Cable, said: “There are huge global opportunities that the UK is well placed to take advantage of in the nuclear industry. Our strong research base will help develop exciting new technologies that can be commercialised here and then exported across the globe.”

Currently, Costain is delivering a number of engineering and construction projects and framework contracts across the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) estate. These have provided the insight into where technological innovation is required to address the challenges posed by the UK’s nuclear legacy wastes.

Bryony Livesey, Costain Research and Technology Manager, said: “I am delighted that Costain has secured these projects from the Technology Strategy Board competition. We look forward to working with our partners to develop new technologies which can play a key role in reducing the costs of nuclear waste management in the UK.”

Mark Rogerson, Costain Natural Resources Division Managing Director, said: “Long term storage of nuclear waste is a major challenge facing the UK. By lowering the cost of processing and reducing the volume of waste to be stored, Costain is helping to meet the critical national needs of our country.”

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said: “The Technology Strategy Board is playing a vital role in making sure innovative SMEs across the UK can bridge the valley of death between the research stage and the market place. Businesses such as Costain are setting the pace for others to follow and making sure the UK stays at the front of the global race for technology and innovation in the nuclear industry.”

*The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency.  Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation.  Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future

City revises energy mix needs


Submitted by admin on Nov 1st 2012, 12:00am

News›Hong Kong

Cheung Chi-fai

Environment officials hint they might reduce reliance on nuclear power

The city’s quest for a suitable combination of energy sources looks set to go back to the drawing board, as a previous proposal and emission reduction targets may no longer work, green activists say.

Top environment officials are apparently backtracking on earlier energy plans, given rising prices of natural gas and doubts cast on the use of nuclear energy after the Fukushima crisis last year, the activists say.

Reactors at Fukushima, Japan, were hit by a tsunami, sparking meltdowns that spread radiation over a large area.

At a consultation session yesterday, officials hinted that a proposed fuel mix and even emission targets that the Environment Bureau published in a consultation document two years ago would no longer be valid, participants said.

The document proposes that half of the city’s power needs be met by nuclear energy, 40 per cent by natural gas and 10 per cent from coal.

This fuel mix aims to cut the city’s carbon intensity – the amount of carbon dioxide generated in producing a unit of gross domestic product – by up to 60 per cent on 2005 levels by 2020.

“They say there is no need to bring out the document now,” Greenpeace campaigner Prentice Koo Wai-muk said.

Koo said officials seemed far from abandoning the idea of drawing more nuclear energy from Guangdong. However, they were willing to revisit what they said was an overestimate in future demand in the document, he said.

The session, organised by the Environment Bureau, gathered about 100 people including academics and energy experts to give their views on what the city’s energy fuel mix should be.

Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing said participants discussed the overall direction in deciding the energy mix and the need to strike a balance between energy security, safety, tariffs and environment protection.

“The key question is what the most appropriate process is that can achieve consensus within Hong Kong over this complex issue,” he said after the session.


Nuclear Power

energy mix

Wong Kam-sing

Source URL (retrieved on Nov 1st 2012, 5:11am):

UAE nuclear plant gets environmental OK

2:23pm BST

DUBAI (Reuters) – Abu Dhabi’s environment agency has approved plans for the United Arab Emirates’ first nuclear power plant, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) said on Sunday, adding that it is still awaiting a construction license.

The no objection certificate from the environmental regulator is one of several approvals needed for construction to begin on the two reactors at the Barakah nuclear power plant.

“Nuclear energy is one of the ways in which Abu Dhabi is demonstrating its commitment to the environment, as nuclear energy plants emit almost zero carbon emissions during operations,” ENEC chief executive officer Mohamed Al Hammadi said.

“With four nuclear energy plants delivering electricity to the grid by 2020, we will be delivering 5,600 megawatts of low carbon electricity to the national grid,” he said, adding the plants should avoid emitting about 12 million tonnes of carbon each year.

The UAE, one of the world’s highest per capita emitters of the climate-warming gas, in December 2009 awarded a South Korean consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) a contract to build four nuclear reactors to meet rapidly rising demand for electricity.

Last year’s Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, caused by a huge earthquake and tsunami, has prompted some countries to reconsider their atomic ambitions.

The UAE wants to reduce its dependence on imported natural gas but after applying for permission in December 2010, ENEC still does not have a construction licence from the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR).

(Reporting by Daniel Fineren; Editing by Stephen Powell)

Bangladesh introduces nuclear bill, plans to start plant construction by 2013

Bangladesh introduced its nuclear energy bill for discussion in the national parliament Sunday, as the country prepares to build its first nuclear power plant in 2013, the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission Chairman ASMFiroz said Monday. Read the full story…

Reaching for the stars

20 December 2011

ITER Organization’s Krista Dulon gives an overview of how the organisation is paving the way for fusion as a viable and virtually limitless energy source

In a global context of rising oil and gas prices, decreased accessibility to low-cost fossil fuel sources, and an estimated three-fold increase in world energy demand by the end of this century, the ‘energy question’ finds itself propelled to the front of the stage. How will we supply this new energy, and how can we do so without adding dangerously to atmospheric greenhouse gases?

Fusion scientists believe that they can make an important contribution to the sustainable energy mix of the future. Fusion, the nuclear reaction that powers the sun and the stars, would provide a safe, non-carbon emitting and virtually limitless source of energy. Consequently, during next 30 years, the world will be watching the ITER project in southern France, where a consortium of nations is building the world’s largest fusion device.

A global collaboration
ITER is a large-scale scientific experiment intended to prove the viability of fusion as an energy source, and to collect the data necessary for the design and subsequent operation of the first electricity producing fusion power plant. Six nations plus Europe have agreed to pool their financial and scientific resources to realise this unique research project; and although it will never produce electricity, it will take fusion to the point where industrial applications can be designed.

The project was the fruit of a 1985 summit in Geneva between Soviet Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan, during which the leaders agreed to cooperate to develop fusion as a ‘source of energy…for the benefit of all mankind’. The design for a large, international fusion facility was collaboratively developed by the Soviet Union, the US, the EU and Japan from 1988 to 2001, and this has provided the basis for the project that is taking shape today.

The members of the project are: China, the EU, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the US, each of whom contribute components to the machine and share in the management aspects of the project, including scientific collaboration, finance, staffing and auditing. ITER is staffed by approximately 500 people from the member communities, and as nearly as many contractors. Domestic agencies located in each ITER member country organise procurement activities and conclude contracts with industry.

Construction of the ITER scientific buildings began in 2010. Over the next eight years, the facilities will be erected; components shipped from all around the world will be assembled into the ITER device; and a commissioning and testing phase will ensue. The operational campaign will begin with First Plasma in 2019, followed by 20 years of physics experiments. The project is truly an international endeavour. The seven members together represent over half of the world’s population and 80% of the world’s GDP. The ITER tokamak will be the flagship device of the world fusion programme.

Fusion: at work in the stars
Fusion is one of nature’s most spectacular achievements. Billions and billions of fusion furnaces, the sun among them, are flaring in the universe, creating light and energy. Some 70 years ago, scientists discovered the physics behind this wonder: the sun and stars transmute matter, tirelessly transforming hydrogen nuclei into helium atoms and releasing huge amounts of energy in the process.

In the sun, fusion reactions take place in a context of enormous gravitational pressure and very high temperature (15 million degrees Celsius) – conditions that enable the natural electrostatic repulsion that exists between the positive charges of two nuclei to be overcome. The fusion of two light hydrogen atoms (H-H) produces a heavier element, helium. The mass of the resulting helium atom is not the exact sum of the two initial atoms, however, as some mass has been lost and great amounts of energy have been gained. This is what Einstein’s formula E=mc² describes: the tiny amount of lost mass (m), multiplied by the square of the speed of light (c²), results in a very large figure (E), which is the amount of energy created by a fusion reaction.

Capturing fusion on Earth
With the understanding of the process of celestial fusion came the ambition to reproduce, here on Earth, what was happening in the stars. The first fusion experiments in the 1930s were followed by the establishment of fusion physics laboratories in nearly every industrialised nation. By the mid-1950s ‘fusion machines’ of one kind or another were operating in the Soviet Union, the UK, the US, France, Germany and Japan. A breakthrough occurred in 1968 in the Soviet Union where, by using a doughnut-shaped magnetic confinement device called a tokamak, researchers were able to achieve temperature levels and plasma confinement times – two of the main criteria for achieving fusion – that had never before been attained. The tokamak became the dominant concept in fusion research, and such devices multiplied across the globe.

Experimentation allows physicists to identify the most promising combination of elements to reproduce fusion in the laboratory: the reaction between the two hydrogen (H) isotopes deuterium (D) and tritium (T). The D-T fusion reaction produces the highest energy gain at the ‘lowest’ temperatures, nevertheless still requiring temperatures of 150,000,000°C – 10 times higher than the H-H reaction occurring at the sun’s core. At these extreme temperatures, electrons are separated from nuclei and a gas becomes plasma – a hot, electrically charged gas. In a fusion device – as in a star – plasmas provide the environment in which light elements can fuse and yield energy. The D-T fusion produces one helium nuclei, one neutron and energy.

To achieve net fusion power in a D-T reactor such as a tokamak, the three conditions of the fusion triple product must be fulfilled:
•A very high temperature (greater than 100 million degrees Celsius);
•Plasma particle density of at least 10²² particles per cubic metre; and
•An energy confinement time – the time in which the plasma is maintained at a temperature above the critical ignition temperature – for the reactor on the order of one second.

From the 1950s onwards, it has been clear that mastering fusion would require the marshalling of the creative forces, technological skills, and financial resources of the international community. A first step in this direction was the Joint European Torus (JET) in Culham, UK, which has been in operation since 1983. In 1991, the JET Tokamak achieved the world’s first controlled release of fusion power, and steady progress has since been made in such devices around the world. The Tore Supra Tokamak (France) holds the record for the longest plasma duration time of any tokamak: six minutes and 30 seconds. The Japanese JT-60, meanwhile, achieved the highest value of fusion triple product of any device to date, and US fusion installations have reached temperatures of several hundred million degrees Celsius.

To yield more energy from fusion than has been invested to heat the plasma, it must be held at this temperature for some minimum length of time. Scaling laws predict that the larger the plasma volume, the better the results. The ITER tokamak chamber will be twice as large as any previous tokamak, with a plasma volume of 830m3. It is designed to produce 10 times the energy that is required to make the plasma: 500MW of fusion power for 50MW of input power (Q≥10). Although ITER will not convert this power to electricity, it will be an important demonstration of the potential of fusion.

One of the tasks awaiting ITER is to explore fully the properties of super-hot plasmas and their behaviour during the long pulses of fusion power the machine will enable. The challenge will be very great. ITER’s plasma pulses will be of a much longer duration than those achieved in other devices, creating intense material stress. It will be used to test and validate advanced materials and key technologies for the industrial fusion power plants of the future.

Kirk Sorensen – Why didn’t molten salt thorium reactors succeed the first time?

CTA says Thorium, abundant and safe nuclear power does not produce plutonium for bombs so the yanks do not want it

by Rod Adams on December 23, 2011 in New NuclearPolitics of Nuclear EnergyTechnical History StoriesThorium


Kirk Sorensen is the founder of Flibe Energy. He has been prospecting in libraries for years to learn more about a path not taken (yet). He is convinced that the way forward for energy in the United States and around the world is the molten salt thorium reactor that can produce an almost unlimited amount of power for millennia.

The concept works by starting with an initial charge of a fissile material (U-233, U-235 or Pu-239) and fissioning that in the presence of fertile thorium 232. One of the 2.5 (or so) neutrons produced by fission causes another fission, one converts Th-232 into U-233. The new U-233 is then available to fission to produce heat, neutrons and more U-233 from a small additional amount of thorium. The amount of thorium required to provide all of the energy an American would need for her entire life can fit into the palm of her hand.

Kirk gave a Google Tech talk on December 16, 2011 and shared an explanation of the politics associated with deciding to press forward with the sodium cooled fast breeder reactor as the only national program. That decision resulted in defunding and cancellation of the molten salt thorium breeder and contributed to a decision to remove Alvin Weinberg from his position as the Director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

My analysis of the same events includes a wider range of actors, puts some blame on the antinuclear industry, and points to the underlying financial support for all who oppose nuclear energy that is available from the coal, oil and gas establishment, a group for whom the dream of unlimited amounts of clean power is a nightmare of epic proportions.

Perhaps I will have an opportunity in the not too distant future to travel back to Mountain View to share my version of the story about why we have not yet developed molten salt breeder reactors. I would probably expand my topic to include a discussion of some of the reasons why the US has not yet developed the same kind of incredibly creative nuclear energy industry as we have the high tech, microprocessor based industry that made Silicon Valley such a prosperous and dynamic place to live and work.

After all, when it comes to energy, Atom’s Law describes the only innovation curve with any kind of similarity to the curve that Gordon Moore sketched out for the pace of improving transistor-based microprocessors.

Gates teams up with China to build nuclear reactor

Microsoft co-founder in talks with state-owned firm to develop ‘cleaner’ technology, reports say

Dec. 5, 2011 – South China Morning Post

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates (pictured) is holding talks with the state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to jointly develop a new type of nuclear reactor.

“A company he [Bill Gates] founded is working with us and he will visit us in a few days for more talks on co-operation,” said corporation general manager Sun Qin in a speech delivered at a forum in Beijing on Friday, which was later released on mainland news portals.

“He is working with us to conduct research on a new type of nuclear reactor and jointly develop [it] with CNNC,” said Sun, who heads China’s top nuclear developer, overseeing military and civilian programmes.

While Sun did not give details about the new reactor technology, postings on the corporation’s website show that TerraPower – of which Gates is chairman – has been talking with CNNC since 2009 about developing a travelling-wave reactor, or TWR. Gates has visited CNNC at least twice.

TWR, a virtual design by TerraPower that has yet to be built or tested, is a new type of reactor that could reduce the need for the enrichment and reprocessing of uranium.

If successful, TWRs would be smaller, cleaner nuclear reactors that would create less nuclear waste, and they could be used for years without refuelling.

TerraPower has been trying to find a country willing to host the first TWR. It remains unknown whether the co-operation with CNNC means China will become the first country to experiment with such a reactor.

Gates visited CNNC in June to discuss possible co-operation between the two companies. Three months later, TerraPower CEO John Gilleland held talks with Sun about co-operating on the TWR.

The concept for TWR had been floating around for years until a former Mircosoft executive and a friend of Gates, Nathan Myrhvold, embraced the idea. Since Gates’ retirement from Microsoft, promoting and developing clean-energy technology has been one of his pursuits.

Lin Boqiang , director of Xiamen University’s Centre of China Energy Economics Research, said the partnership would no doubt raise China’s profile as it struggled with nuclear safety concerns after disaster-hit Japan’s meltdown in March.

“For Gates, China could not be a better partner to work with, given the country’s vast market for nuclear energy,” the professor said.

Thorium: An Energy Solution

Thorium is readily available and can be turned into energy without generating transuranic wastes. Thorium’s capacity as nuclear fuel was discovered during WW II, but ignored because it was unsuitable for making bombs.

A liquid-fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) is the optimal approach for harvesting energy from Thorium, and has the potential to solve today’s energy/climate crisis.

LFTR is a type of Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (Th-MSR). This video summarizes over 6 hours worth of thorium talks given by Kirk Sorensen and other thorium technologists.

Thorium is a naturally-occurring mineral that holds large amounts of releasable nuclear energy, similar to uranium. This nuclear energy can be released in a special nuclear reactor designed to use thorium.

Thorium is special because it is easier to extract this energy completely than uranium due to some of the chemical and nuclear properties of thorium.