6th Annual Thorium Energy Conference Augurs Future of Energy

PIC: Thumbaa (CC)

PIC: Thumbaa (CC)

You may have read my last piece about thorium nuclear energy.  If so you know the insanely real capability existing thorium technology has to overhaul energy production not just in the US but worldwide.

But just to give you a little background anyway,  The Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) is a technology developed in the early 60s, originally to build a nuclear-powered bomber for the Air Force.  As it turns out, the technology has far wider applications.  Thorium fuel is cheap and abundant and far exceeds uranium-water reactors for efficiency and safety without the high-volume waste production.   LFTRs remain an untapped technology in the US, while China is currently acting on plans to build their own reactors.  More power to them!  If you want a GREAT informational video on the history and benefits of the technology, check this out.

More poignantly, there is a consortium pursuing the implementation of thorium-based nuclear reactors called the Thorium Energy Alliance and they are holding their 6th annual T.E.A. conference in Chicago later this month.  As they will tell you over the course of a day there is currently no good reason why we aren’t full steam ahead on thorium energy.  If Americans can generate enough support for the “duh!” energy technology, maybe we will see people get assassinated by coal interests….I mean! maybe we can watch our fossil fuel dependence fade to black!

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  • aaron

    Good article. I had heard about this technology a little while back and I agree this looks promising however sadly more efficient and sustainable types of energy and capitalism dont play well together. Capitalism will be the death of our species.

    • kowalityjesus

      hmmm, I don’t agree…I would say saying “capitalism will be the death of our species” is akin to saying “low farm yields will be the death of the empire;” i.e. related, but not directly causal, and, not to extend the metaphor, probably avoidable.

      • aaron

        Ok let me be more specific. The GREED that capitalism generally manifests in people will be the death of us. Obviously we have the capacity to change and I only hope we will some soon.

        Why I think this is that generally capitalism supports what is best for profit not what is best for mankind or our future. Also I think just money in general as an exchange for resources will become out dated sometime in the future. Although this happening anytime soon I know is highly unlikely considering money is one of the strongest tools that the powers that be have in controlling the population. Both eliminating money and capitalism will require a mass paradigm shift from the current one we have and will not happen fast and people always resist change and will fear the unknown or things they have been indoctrinated to believe and also cognitive dissonance plays a big factor in it.

        • aaron

          Although I forgot to mention major breakthroughs in science and technology can really play a huge factor in contributing towards this change we need.

          Plank scale nanotechnology and advances in 3D printing at atomic levels and full automation of devices and robotics that can do all the physical tasks a human can and advances in artifcial intelligence in combination quantum computing will basically make money obselete because they will make the need to work for a living obselete because everything will be automated and built for as from the atomic level and robotics will replace service jobs and maintenance jobs and advanced AI will be able to build better versions of itself.

          • kowalityjesus

            Sounds like you belong to the Church of the Sub-genius and you don’t even know it! One day we will have a robot utopia where slack is held in the utmost!

            No but seriously, you have some interesting points, but it always makes me think of this one protest sign that said something like “no amount of legislation will account for systemic uncoolness.” After all, people who compose these entities have to realize that they are being uncool when they make at least some of these decisions (what happens when it artificial intelligences? :-O balls!)

            On a side note, the only website on the internet that has the phrase “systemic uncoolness” is this article from March 2013 by Salviad http://disinfo.com/2013/03/anomalies-prisons-and-geophysics-how-governments-use-data-and-how-to-stop-them/ GOD I FUCKING LOVE THIS SITE.

          • https://twitter.com/anti_euclidean ÿ

            o_0

            Don’t mean to be picking nits, but that’s your comment that generates the hit.

            lulz
            Early adoption probably prevented by the fact “systemic uncoolness” is usually redundant. Some might regard operating systems as cool tho, so there’s always Windoze™ haterz. I’d try rebranding for that marketplace.

          • kowalityjesus

            fuck, well then I guess I’m the only person who has ever said that phrase in the history of the internet. “I lend my flame to you, disinfo!”

          • aaron

            Haha some funny but good points. And no churches for me not even sub-genius ones.

            Also I am paranoid by nature so I seem to think of skynet or the matrix type scenario when I think of artificial intelligence to the point where a actual artficial sentient being exists with complete independence from human input. I myself consider human beings almost as some sort of somet intelligent parasite so I cant even imagine what some super smart non-human would think of us. We are very irrational creatures by nature so I dont know that we would get along all that well with a being that only thinks in rational emotionless terms.

          • kowalityjesus

            yeah dude, it would be interesting to hear what a being that can simultaneously evaluate all of our parameters has to say about us. It will be mind-blowing to hear, I’m sure, but I don’t think it would be able to encapsulate the human element. I, for one, have had some fucktardedly irrational things that have happened to me which completely bar me from ever thinking there is not a God. I don’t know what an AI could possibly compute regarding that. ICTHYS

          • Andrew

            There may be “something(s)” which “look” at our consciousnesses in a way analogous to the way our consciousnesses look at gravel, completely blowing the way we think a Judeo-Christian God would judge humans out of the water.

          • kowalityjesus

            dis true, although I would probably choose to say “insect” before “gravel,” although that is a novel POV… but I revert to Augustine, who stated that the highest form of evidence is direct revelation from God. We are in His image; it is not our place to judge His intentions, BUT we have the capacity to at least logically extend His teachings. This is just my obstinate opinion, please spare the snark. ;)

          • Andrew

            I won’t be snarky, and just say simply that I’ve never read any purported direct revelation that struck me as genuine, and I’ve studied the Bible. I’ve read it, and analyses of it, and am convinced it’s not the word of any God.

            I think my choice of the word “gravel” well excludes me from the categories of both atheist and theist.

          • Monkey See Monkey Do

            I’d say we’re just pebbles in the gravel that the insects walk on.

          • aaron

            Yea I agree I have seen some crazy unexplainable things that mearly passing off as “coincidence” or “blind luck” would explain them. I believe in a universal energy that connects us all in more ways than most people know and believe in some sort of higher power intellegent design of the universe type thing but am not really sure how to describe it in words or define it. All I know is that it is not something that demands worshipping like man made religions try to act like and I dont even think that it is something that if you deny its existance like atheists do that in the end it will really change the outcome of what happens to you when you die or something like that.

    • misinformation

      Out of curiosity, when you say ‘capitalism’, what do you mean?

      • aaron

        Well the US clearly doesnt have the dictionary definition of what capitalism is so I wont use that as an example.

        Capitalism is exchange of goods or services for some sort of profit or gain that is supoosed to be unobstructed by the government aka “free market.”

        However capitalism in a long enough period of time will always seems to result in most of the money or vital resources in the hands of a few people. It also requires a certain degree of selfishness in people or the every man for himself type mentality.

        • misinformation

          I see.

          “There are a lot more factors amd things wrong than just capitalism so dont think I am implying its only that….”

          I didn’t.

          • aaron

            Well wasnt only for you. Didnt want other people responding saying something like that too :)

          • misinformation

            I hear ya.

            I really was curious. People toss words around like capitalism, socialism, libertarian, liberal, etc (and/or in capitals) and they never define them. It’s not as if these words have any obvious meaning to them anymore.

          • aaron

            I agree and I think wayyyy to many people toss around these words eithout even knowning what they mean.

            One example… I was called a liberal the other day by a conservative christian republican and the person was using it in the context as to imply I was a democrat and was using it like it is some sort of insult.

            Liberal literally means open to change or new ideas or ways of doing things. This is in no way mutually excluse to the democratic party. I have no allegiance to either party or really any party for that matter however I dont consider being liberal aka “open minded” or as a bad thing. I dont remember where I heard the quote but it was something along the lines of “those who resist change are destined to fail” or something like that, point is things change and always have through out history, resisting inevitable change is futile at best.

  • https://twitter.com/anti_euclidean ÿ

    6th Annual Thorium Energy Conference Augurs Future Ǭf Energy Cheaper, Easier-To-Deploy Nuclear Weapons

    • kowalityjesus

      A-ha! One of the perks of LFTRs is not only the complete inability to melt down as in Uranium water-cooled reactors, but the complete incapacity to yield bomb-making materials. Read my last article titled “Lack of Genocidal Application Prevents Science From Exploring Thorium Energy.”

      Basically the question in the 1960s was “should we pursue these weird salt-cooled reactors that don’t give us more A-bomb material, or should we make these relatively dangerous, insanely expensive plants that give us bomb material?” You can guess what they did…now we can blow up the Earth 1000 times.

      • https://twitter.com/anti_euclidean ÿ

        …more like the military industrial complex decided they wanted the thing they knew how to weaponize NOW versus the thing they’d have to study, and worry if the zcientists would hold out on them if they figured it out…

        Besides,

        Thorium is radioactive and produces a radioactive gas, radon-220, as one of its decay products. Secondary decay products of thorium include radium and actinium.

        Thorium, when being irradiated for use in reactors, will make uranium-232, which is very dangerous due to the gamma rays it emits. This irradiation process may be able to be altered slightly by removing protactinium-233. The irradiation would then make uranium-233 in lieu of uranium-232, which can be used in nuclear weapons to make thorium into a dual purpose fuel.

        The very radioactive waste must be managed. Because some fission products, in their fluoride form, are highly water soluble, fluorides are a less suited long term storage form. For example, cesium fluoride has a very high solubility in water. For long term storage, conversion to an insoluble form such as a glass, could be desirable.
        (via: Wiki)

        Sounds like a weapon that has genocidal application to me.

        Also, EROEI = probable fail.

        …other than that, ummm, what was the question?

        • kowalityjesus

          The half life of Thorium is 12.5 billion years. That’s almost 3 times longer than the earth has been in existence…it’s incredibly low level radiation. You would probably be getting more Radon irradiation from that which naturally occurs in the natural gas you burn in your stove than if you built your house on top of 30% thorium substrate.

          Uranium 233 is highly radioactive, emitting gamma radiation. Nuclear proliferation is really only a risk in other countries anyway, so say we had some other country that wanted to build a nuclear bomb out of U-233. They would have to have all sorts of specialized handling equipment because of how dangerous the gamma radiation coming from it is. But even if that were possible, they would have to be able to refine the material out of the fuel from the middle of its fission cycle, and this would take difficult chemistry. Basically it’s significantly easier to buy yellowcake from Nigeria and build facilities to enrich it than it would be to try to use LFTR fissile material to try to make a bomb, so it doesn’t pose *NO* proliferation threat, but it is a negligibly small threat. They talk about this in the documentary.

          I don’t know exactly what your last referenced paragraph has to do with anything, but I will tell you that we can actually dig out the stuff from Yucca Mtn and put it in Thorium reactors and it will burn, we can actually REDUCE our nuclear waste problem by employing Thorium reactors.

          • https://twitter.com/anti_euclidean ÿ

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_fluoride_thorium_reactor#Disadvantages

            …not that I trust Wiki to fight my battles for me, but…

          • kowalityjesus

            we are all a product of our sources…it’s a bit of a cop-out, but a fascinating read nonetheless, thank you.

          • https://twitter.com/anti_euclidean ÿ

            …pre-screening an open admission of NOT being a working nuclear engineer or atomic scientist…

            Also, regarding EROEI…

            Unlike mined uranium, mined thorium does not have a fissile isotope. Thorium reactors breed fissile uranium-233 from thorium, but require a considerable amount of U-233 for initial start up. There is very little of this material available. This raises the problem of how to start the reactors in a reasonable time frame. One option is to produce U-233 in today’s solid fuelled reactors, then reprocess it out of the solid waste. A LFTR can also be started by other fissile isotopes, enriched uranium or plutonium from reactors or decommissioned bombs. For enriched uranium startup, high enrichment is needed. Decommissioned uranium bombs have enough enrichment, but not enough is available to start many LFTRs. It is difficult to separate plutonium fluoride from lanthanide fission products. One option for a two-fluid reactor is to operate with plutonium or enriched uranium in the fuel salt, breed U-233 in the blanket, and store it instead of returning it to the core. Instead, add plutonium or enriched uranium to continue the chain reaction, similar to today’s solid fuel reactors. When enough U-233 is bred, replace the fuel with new fuel, retaining the U-233 for other startups. A similar option exists for a single-fluid reactor operating as a converter. Such a reactor would not reprocess fuel while operating. Instead the reactor would start on plutonium with thorium as the fertile and add plutonium. The plutonium eventually burns out and U-233 is produced in situ. At the end of the reactor fuel life, the spent fuel salt can be reprocessed to recover the bred U-233 to start up new LFTRs.
            (via: same wiki article)

            Again, much smarter people out there working on this stuff. But this sounds like it ignores Peak Everything™.
            ¯_(ツ)_/¯
            Asteroids and shit, maybe?

          • kowalityjesus

            Like anything in nuclear science when you pragmatically dissect each step, there’s going to be a fuckload of parameters and prerequisites. I guess it must be possible, they did operate one for almost a couple years. I, for one, am glad that those people out there who are way smarter than me are actually doing something. I am going to try to advocate the shit out of whatever they are doing, but as you point out, I still might not get invited to the party. My friend is a nuclear engineer in the region, maybe I can convince him to go to the conference.

          • https://twitter.com/anti_euclidean ÿ

            Hopefully no one figures out and/or reveals the way to easily weaponize this technology before Teh BIG Drop℠.

            If we have to spend money on nuclear something or other, I guess there are worse things than this…

            Vote with your $$$.® Free market, or whatevs.®

            ⸘Ÿ ❧❦☙ This Economy‽

  • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

    Saying thorium is safer than uranium/plutonium isn’t necessarily saying much. It’s not, you know, the most dangerous thing humans have ever created. So puppies and lollipops, then?

    • kowalityjesus

      the LFTR design makes the reaction inherently safe, because of a melt valve that disperses the molten salt reaction if the facility were to lose power. It doesn’t need back up systems for it’s back up systems because it is systemically incapable of melting down…the reaction is self regulating, no control rods or reactor pool. They didn’t talk about what would happen if the facility was bombed, but if I go to the conference I will ask them and tell you.

    • kowalityjesus

      Check this out, bluebird. This is the worst, cheesiest disinformation I have ever seen, lol. You know it’s the real deal when people are serving out disinfo about it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVyP_uWnzWo#t=127

    • kowalityjesus

      Dear Bluebird, I piped up during the conference and asked what would happen if somebody successfully bombed a Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactor. The speaker said “if it breached the containment wall, it would be a bit like dropping an egg.” Even though the reactor is UNDERGROUND, it still might spread some radioactive material, but the Liquid fuel in the reactor would not be water soluble and it would splat and solidify like a melted salt, so it would be exceedingly easy to clean it up. Also, another worthy thing to note is if we had these modular nuclear powerplants (scalable in size), we would be able to localize the power generation, tear down long transmission lines and reduce the worry about societal collapse from a Carrington Event-size coronal mass ejection.

  • marshall

    also see, Alfred Hubbard device. This is just pomp. We have the tech, green activists everywhere, start demanding they let us use it.

    • kowalityjesus

      There may be other short-cut devices for energy generation out there (I have heard of quite a number of them), but this was developed in a major lab, and has a proven track record of 15,000 hours operation. We just elected not to build them, but should be able to change our minds.

      • marshall

        well, yeah, this is part of the tech im talking about, but just talking about it is pomp. Start demanding it.

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