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Green Nuclear Energy Options

posted 06-30-2012 at 20:32

Solutions to advert energy and climate crises are:

A. Inertial electrostatic confinement (IEC) reactors (e.g. Polywell)
B. Molten salt reactors (MSRs) (e.g. Liquid fluoride thorium reactors [LFTRs])
C. Aneutronic fusion reactors (e.g LPPX)
D. All of the above
E. None of the above

I'm pretty sure E is the wrong answer.

There have been several Google Talks on different kinds on cleaner, safer, greener forms nuclear energy over the last five years. A recent one from Richard Martin on his new book SuperFuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future reminded me of another presentation at Google given in 2006 (back when these were on Google Video) that I remembered because of it's excellent use of PowerPoint (none) and because it was about green nuclear energy that sounded promising but that made me wish I remembered more physics and chemistry. It turns out that was about a different kind of green nuclear energy, IEC fusion. Reading a bit about that, you quickly discover the people working on aneutronic fusion. The proposed thorium-based technologies use fission.

If you watch or read any of the sources linked, many people are of the opinion that are current nuclear energy sources are unnecessarily hazardous and inefficient because they're based on the methods used in the development of the early nuclear bombs and that these practicies are now fairly entrenched. This makes it difficult to get funding for research and development in to other options. Not to mention nuclear bombs and accidents at nuclear power plants have shaped public opinion against the option in general, and it will take a kind of marketing campaign to get public support behind that safter, cleaner and greener options.

I don't want the .edu domain to fool you too much here. I'm a computer geek, not a physicist or chemist or nuclear engineer. But I would like to invite anyone reading this to join me in learning more about the re-emerging green nuclear technologies, and to invite others to do the same.

(Unrelated: I added Disqus comments, a tweet button, a Like button, and a +1 button for each article. I''m going to be testing them out, so please remember in this case the additional noise is more than just shameless self-promotion)

category: /thorium | click to comment (permanent link to this entry)

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