Archive for the ‘Energy and Civilization’ Category

Nov 01

The Old “NEW” Nuclear Fuel: Thorium

An old overlooked technology using an alternative to Uranium fueled nuclear reactors may now be the answer to the energy problems of the planet.   It is called Thorium 232 and is a radioactive fissile material that appears to be superior for energy production to Uranium and Plutonium.  If new reactors can be designed and developed to utilize this material the potential and promise is far, far too great to ignore. [Note: American scientists designed and built a Thorium reactor and ran it for nearly five years in the late 1960’s.  I.E. we invented the thing.  The science was not pursued due to the fact that Thorium could not be used to produce weapons grade Uranium or Plutonium, only energy.] The reactor designs would be much simpler and cheaper than the generation III water cooled reactors on the drawing board and now being licensed at this moment.  If Thorium reactors were to be developed as a crash program using the best and brightest minds available, including some borrowed from Europe and Asia, we might have them up and running within 5 years or less. (Please click on the links near the bottom of the page.)  Such reactors would be far safer than anything now in use and would shut themselves down automatically if they overheated without fear of radiation leakage.  The Thorium fuel would last generations and consume itself leaving little or no waste to be disposed of.  Indeed, the very short half-life of any residual material would result in loss of radioactivity leaving valuable materials such as Rhodium, etc, available for industrial use.  The process could literally “burn” our nuclear waste into harmless, even useful materials.  This type of reactor would be tamper proof and immune from nefarious use.  It cannot melt down the same way a water cooled reactor can and needs no cooling system to operate.  Even if there should be rupture of the system the liquid Thorium/Fluoride reactor medium would simply dribble out and cool down becoming a solid inactive mass posing little or no danger to the environment.

The abundant power produced and available for industry and wealth production would sustain world economies, including ours, for possibly a thousand years since Thorium is four (4) times more abundant on the planet than Uranium, is much cheaper, and is consumed completely during its much longer useful lifespan as opposed to Uranium which leaves ever increasing waste materials with very long half lives to be stored or disposed of.

By the way, if this seems too far out, think about this.  You are sitting on a Thorium fueled reactor as you read this.  The heat from the Earths core is produced by a giant mass of Thorium and Uranium.  Otherwise this planet would have cooled off millions of years ago and would now be a lifeless rock.  It gives one pause to reflect on just how perfect a phenomena is our existence.

Example of Potential Application:

The Electric Highway:

The production of such reactors all along an elevated 21st Century highway system would make interstate and local transportation desirable and efficient by using induction drive systems in electric automobiles which would be charged en-route and propelled in transit drawing power from the induction system. (Note: Induction is already used in modern cook top electric ranges and to charge cell phone batteries, etc.  the South Koreans are already testing a mass transit prototype using induction coils imbedded in their streets.  The new Volvo C30 sedan is designed to be recharged by parking over an induction coil and Europeans are already talking about continuous systems.) Such highways and byways would invite fully automated vehicles moving over them at very high speeds (why fly?) without the driver touching the controls.  The highways, using residual power when needed, and using imbedded microwave emitters would automatically keep the highway system clear of snow and ice thus reducing maintenance problems in the infrastructure caused by the use of salt and other chemicals.  Other maintenance problems could be pre-empted by using 21st Century materials such as water proof cement (originally developed by the Romans in the 1st Century A.D. and is still in evidence in their structures to this day) and removable ceramic panels for pavement.  This would eliminate spalling due to the freeze-thaw cycle.  If microwave emitters beneath the ceramic pavement panels were used to prevent snow and ice accumulation harmful chemicals would no longer be needed.  Since the system is elevated less damage would occur due to wide temperature swings.  (ceramics: think bricks, which are still in use in many side streets after 100 years.) Also, migratory animals would no longer be inhibited or endangered by the system, nor would travelers using the highway.  (contact with a dear or such at 120 to 150 mph creates an intimidating mess.) Power lines used to distribute energy produced by hundreds, even thousands, of such reactors could be suspended in sleeved conduits under the elevated system and carry abundant power all along the highway system and distribute it to points of use along the way losing much less efficiency due to the shorter distances between reactors.  Extensive maintenance of such a system would be greatly reduced.  Systems innovated by the ancient Romans have lasted 2000 years using the technology of the time.  Could we not improve on those technologies today?

Such abundant and cheap energy would solve many, many problems facing the United States and populations all over the planet and may even reduce conflict, improving the economics, environment and living standards of all.  Sea water could be made drinkable and abundant for irrigation even in remote and arid areas of the world.  Carbon emissions and air pollution could become distant memories.  The seas  could be made clean again.  Only the demands of the people can launch us down this path.

The major difficulties faced in implementing this technology won’t be overcoming the science and design challenges, but rather the obstacles and obfuscation generated by major corporations and politicians  with a vested interest in maintaining the status-quo.

Remember, freedom requires the responsible exercise of our own individual authority.  Acting together we can demand an honest effort to explore and pursue this amazing option and the potential benefits it promises.

Please do you own research.  Visit the links below for further information and ideas.  Make yourself heard!

All the best, theBushwhacker.com


Advanced Manufacturing

Advanced Inputs, Outputs and Workforce

Volume
5
cadillac-world-thorium-fuel-concept-1

Thorium lasers: The thoroughly plausible idea for nuclear cars

  • August 29th, 2011
  • By Steven Ashley
  • 138 Comments

Some proposed technological innovations seem so far out that they are easy to reject out of hand. But sometimes, a new idea has a kernel of plausibility. Such is the case with a new project to develop a thorium laser power generation system that its creator says could provide electricity for the grid, stand-alone power applications and even cars.

Charles Stevens, an inventor and entrepreneur, recently revealed that his Massachusetts-based R&D firm, Laser Power Systems (LPS), is working on a turbine/electric generator system that is powered by “an accelerator-driven thorium-based laser.” The thorium laser does not produce a beam of coherent light like conventional lasers, but instead merely heats up and gives off energy.

Thorium, a silvery-white metal, is a mildly radioactive element (with an atomic weight of 90) that is as abundant as lead. It is present in large quantities in India and is a much-touted stand in for uranium in nuclear reactors because its fission is not self-sustaining, a type of reaction called “sub-critical.”

The idea has energized the small but active thorium community, which holds that it is the answer to our clean energy needs because it could, effectively, power a car forever. The new technology “would be totally emissions-free,” Stevens said, “with no need for recharging.”

Laser Heating

The LPS power plant, for all its whiz-bang properties, isn’t a complete departure from traditional power generation: the thorium is lased and the resulting heat flashes a fluid and creates pressurized steam inside a closed-loop system. The steam then drives a turbine that turns an electric generator.

A 250-kilowatt unit (equivalent to about 335 horsepower) weighing about 500 pounds would be small and light enough to put under the hood of a car, Stevens claims. And because a gram of thorium has the equivalent potential energy content of 7,500 gallons of gasoline, LPS calculates that using just 8 grams of thorium in the unit could power an average car for 5,000 hours, or about 300,000 miles of normal driving.

Stevens isn’t the only one who believes thorium could power cars. In 2009 Cadillac introduced a thorium-powered concept car at the Chicago Auto Show. Designed by Lorus Kulesus, the sleek World Thorium Fuel Concept did not contain a working thorium-fueled nuclear-fission reactor that could generate the electricity to power it. But somebody at General Motors thought the idea to be sufficiently interesting to build a vehicle to show it off.

Thorium as a Power Source

Researchers in Russia, India and more recently, in China and North America, have studied using thorium as fuel for nuclear reactors, partly because it is more difficult to use in atomic weapons than uranium or plutonium.  In addition, only a thin layer of aluminum foil is needed to shield people from the weakly emitting metal.

Although prototype thorium-fueled nuclear reactors have been developed, the technology has never been adopted for commercial use because the nuclear powers opted after the Second World War to focus on uranium-based atomic energy. (Incidentally, the major powers chose to focus on Uranium reactors precisely because it could be weaponized, Stevens has said).

Thorium-Based Laser

Stevens’ innovation is to use thorium to make a laser, not a nuclear power reactor.

Indeed, the use of radioactive materials in lasers is not unheard of either. After all, when Bell Labs researchers demonstrated the second laser ever in 1960, they used a flashlamp (a very bright light) to excite a crystal of uranium-doped calcium fluoride to lase in the infrared light spectrum. Because of the need for a cryogenic (ultralow-temperature) system to cool the hot laser-gain medium during operation, however, uranium lasers never found much practical use.

The key twist to Stevens’ thorium-laser power concept is that it would use a radioactive element-based laser to produce heat, not a beam of coherent light.

Remaining Technical Hurdles

Stevens says that developing a compact turbine and generator set is proving to be more difficult than making the thorium laser itself. “We can build the laser, but the biggest problem has turned out to be integrating it efficiently with the turbine and generator,” he notes. LPS’ thorium laser itself is simply an adaptation of the MaxFeLaser, a design Stevens built in1985.

Stevens said his company has fabricated a modified Tesla turbine (no relation to the car company) to convert steam pressure into rotary motion. Unlike more familiar turbine types, a Tesla turbine is a bladeless centripetal-flow unit with a set of smooth disks that are placed in motion by directing moving gas, via nozzles, at the edges of the disks. The viscous (boundary-layer) drag on the disk surfaces that is produced by the gas flow causes them to rotate.

Further, after having found no off-the-shelf high-speed generators that fit his special application, his team has had to design a custom unit to efficiently produce electricity for his one-of-a-kind power plant.

Whether authorities will allow thorium-powered cars to roam the streets is another question. Stevens has not set a date for a prototype version (Ed. a prior version of this story incorrectly stated he had).

Top image: Cadillac’s World Thorium Fuel Concept. Courtesy Cadillac

Steven Ashley is a contributing editor at Scientific American magazine, where he writes and edits articles on general science and technology topics. Ashley’s work has been published in Popular Science, MIT’s Technology Review and Physics Today, among others.


PLEASE BROWSE THROUGH THE LINKS BELOW TO ACQUIRE A MORE COMPLETE UNDERSTANDING OF THE POTENTIAL OF THORIUM ENERGY TECHNOLOGY.  Info not limited to these links.  Do your own search.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/7970619/Obama-could-kill-fossil-fuels-overnight-with-a-nuclear-dash-for-thorium.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2011/09/11/is-thorium-the-biggest-energy-breakthrough-since-fire-possibly/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU3cUssuz-U&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=pkjY3zicUXs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2mJtONjE14&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0th5aSUDmtk&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecoci4vEbzo&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZR0UKxNPh8&

http://www.thorium.tv/en/thorium_reactor/thorium_reactor_1.php



Aug 23

The Electric Highway

THE ELECTRIC HIGHWAY ©By James Hahn

There is no such thing as a hybrid automobile powered by gasoline and electricity.

There are only gas powered cars and coal powered cars.

We must stop pretending that we haven’t been duped by a clever oligarchy of pseudo”progressive” lackeys.

Electric cars are a great idea.  But they run on electricity that is generated by burning carbon based fuels such as coal or natural gas, and with some exceptions, nuclear.  So what is the advantage? It can only be political when pandered to a constituency of willing fools.

If we want electric cars, we will first need to build electric highways and service roads.  They will have to deliver their electric power to the cars and other vehicles by induction systems.

The power to the induction system must come from abundant and cost effective supplies of electricity.

The electricity must be provided by a plethora of nuclear power generators.

The nuclear generators must be powered by an alternate, much safer, more abundant and cost effective nuclear material than Uranium or Plutonium.   It’s called Thorium 232. It is #90 on the Periodic Table of Elements. It is several times more ubiquitous in nature than other potential fissile fuels.  You’ve probably never heard of it.   Look it up. Or click the links at the bottom of the page.

The bottom line is this: BUILD THE FULLY AUTOMATED ELECTRIC HIGHWAY POWERED BY THORIUM REACTORS FIRST, AND THEY WILL COME, BRINGING THEIR FULLY AUTOMATED ELECTRIC CARS.

Note: Some are now saying that we have enough carbon based fuels to last 100 years.  This begs the question, WHAT THEN??

Rumblings are beginning to sound about our crumbling infrastructure, particularly our highways and bridges.  Many are now 50 to 70 years old. To any one who travels by car or truck and pays any attention the flaws in existing structures and pavements are ever more evident.  Unfortunately the remedies being touted so far seem to be confined to patching the system using essentially old and expensive (20th century) technology and will not mitigate ongoing and costly maintenance problems serving only to temporarily extend the life of an outdated and obsolete infrastructure.  This is the 21st Century and the technology for a dramatic paradigm shift in rebuilding our dilapidated highway and transportation system is now on the shelf within immediate reach.  These technologies portend an ultra modern interstate and ultimately urban and suburban way of getting ourselves not just across country at very high speeds but around town and to the grocery store as well.  And ultimately at much less cost per mile if we can just keep the hands of the corrupt (read unions and their bosses) from perverting the mission.

To illustrate let me throw out some of the possibilities and ideas pertaining to such a task and the goals to be achieved, but not in any particular order.

Suppose, for example, you wanted to travel between two major metropolitan areas.  On the day of your departure you and your family with a few pieces of luggage step into your garage.  Upon approach to your vehicle, one powered by a sophisticated electric drive system supplemented by an efficient internal combustion engine using LPG, NG or gasoline for a fuel source, you simply speak to your “car”. On your command, the doors open as well as the luggage compartment.  Upon stowing your travel bags and boarding the vehicle you instruct the computer as to your destination(s) and give the command to execute.  The garage door rises and you begin to move onto the street and head automatically to the nearest elevated automatic electric causeway.  (In the countryside elevation allows for unobstructed migration of land bound species and support for high load power distribution as well as several other amenities.)

As you draw near the causeway the on board computer informs you of your approach and that it is synchronizing your vehicle with the line of traffic already moving on the causeway.  An instant latter you are accelerated up a controlled on ramp and as your speed synchronizes with the flow of traffic you are automatically inserted between vehicles and match their speed, about 150mph.  So far, you have not touched the controls.  Voice command has been your only tool of navigation since you entered the vehicle.  The control system from the garage to high speed travel on the causeway has been entirely automatic and under the control of your on board computers and those of the causeway system.  The systems and sensors involved are multiply redundant and are in constant communication and millisecond update with each other.  Your only duty is to respond to queries, alerts or notices keyed by their programing.

If you have a health problem you may be wearing a small wireless monitor that communicates with this system and should a health emergency be detected en-route the system would immediately respond and begin to query the wearer.  If an emergency is declared by the wearer or by the diagnostic system the nearest emergency response system is alerted and your vehicle is automatically shunted to the nearest appropriate facility.  Other than that the system will simply query as to your comfort and needs or desires as refreshment facilities or destinations are approached.  Otherwise the occupants have at their immediate disposal WIFY communication for work projects, entertainment, class assignments for young students on board, print articles or oral/visual renditions of other materials etc. and so-on.  These services are built into the causeway system and are uninterrupted.

There is no need to stop for gas or to recharge your vehicle’s batteries.  They they are powered and recharged constantly while you remain under way on the causeway.  Batteries would be fully charged when leaving the causeway.  On-board computers with a  metering system automatically charge your account for the energy consumed from the induction system that powers your vehicle.   The induction system is imbedded in the ceramic panels that make up the driving surface of the causeway.  You may also be charged a toll for use of the causeway itself thus making the system self funding.

Power for this technological paradigm of high speed Eco-friendly systems is derived from something called Stage IV nuclear reactors.  A dedicated series of MSTRs (MoltenSaltThoriumReactors, sometimes called LFTRs or LiquidFlorideThoriumReactors) would be positioned along the causeways as the constant and redundant power source.  The basis of this technology is the same that powers the core of the earth itself.  You are standing on it many miles below your feet.  Slowly decaying Thorium is responsible for generating at least half of the heat rising from the Earth’s core.   This type of reactor (considered a stage IV generation reactor) is simpler, more efficient and walk-away safe should it begin to overheat or fail for any cause. Its fissionable fuel (Thorium232) would be a useless target for those with nefarious intent and impossible to access without detection.

The MoltenSaltThoriumReactor concept and model was first invented by scientists in this country back in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  It ran for several years and then was shut down and abandon for lack of interest and funding.  So what was the problem?  It produced abundant energy, was far more efficient, had the potential to not only burn its own fuel to completion, but also nuclear waste along with it.  It was so safe it was sometimes referred to as a “walk-away” reactor, i.e. it was meltdown proof, needing no “containment” vessel,  left no nuclear waste, was much cheaper than uranium and more efficient, etc. and so on.  It had just one major problem.  Remember what President Eisenhower warned about the “military-industrial complex”?  The fatal flaw was that the Thorium reactor did not lend itself, and could not be used, to produce weapons grade nuclear material for use in atomic bombs. And therefor would not be funded.  Another problem was the Nixon administration wanted all further nuclear reactor research and funding moved from Oak Ridge to California.

I would like to add to Eisenhower’s admonition:  Beware of the military-industrial-POLITICAL complex.

Also, since the interstate causeways would mostly run coast to coast East to West the South side would constantly face the sun.  High efficiency solar panels could be mounted at every opportunity along the entire length.(Granted, this may prove impractical and completely unnecessary. )  Power for this system and for many other purposes would then be abundant, ubiquitous and cheap. Transmission lines would be  carried beneath the causeways and highly efficient due to greater proximity to the modular reactors.  Shielding by metal conduits would help prevent damage from the environment, lightning strikes, natural or man-made EMP events, and so-on thus enhancing strategic value.  Reduced transmission loss and low maintenance requirements in the induction system, along with multi-use applications would result in increased cost effectiveness.  Indeed, enclosed transmission lines would lend themselves to cooling and increased transmission efficiency if the proper materials were used in their manufacture.

The problems of ice and snow removal would be dealt with using microwave emitters just below the ceramic pavement to raise the temperature enough to melt any accumulation of snow or ice forming on it.  This is controlled automatically as needed by sensors imbedded in the causeway.  The need for mechanical removal and the use of potentially harmful chemicals are eliminated.

The causeways themselves would be elevated and constructed of reinforced waterproof cement. (invented by by the Romans in the 1st Century A.D.) Maintenance requirements are reduced to a minimum and the systems designed to last with minimum attendance for hundreds of years.  Pavement panels designed and constructed of ceramic material so as to be used twice during their life cycle simply by being flipped over and reset.  Detectable flaws are removed or panels replaced as needed by automated machines dedicated to the function.  Such machines would straddle the width and above the lane and ride on the elevated lane guard rails dedicated for the purpose.  Dedicated emergency vehicles with EMT and life support systems and vehicle removal capability make this mechanism dual purpose.

This is just an outline of what is a possible potential paradigm shift in the way we transport ourselves through the 21st Century.  There are plenty of naysayers who would raise a cacophony of objection to such a project claiming there is enough natural gas and other fuels to see us through to the end of this Century.  But what then?  These fuels too will eventually be used up.  If we want to be truly energy independent and maintain and even elevate the social and economic standards of the nation (and the rest of the planet) what are our choices?

The coin of every modern technological society is abundant but inexpensive energy.  It is time we moved away from coal and other carbon based fuels and develop an efficient and  plentiful fuel that is right under our feet, if indeed not under our nose.

There may be enough Thorium beneath our feet to power every civilization on the planet for thousands or years.  But there is no time to waste on the build out of a comprehensive new system of transportation and the power to bring it into reality.  But before we squander assets on energy systems that are of limited value and are not cost effective and before we build fleets of coal powered vehicles let us make haste to develop this long neglected power source and get down the road to a potentially very abundant future.

Granted, the challenge may seem insurmountable.  But the interstate highway system cost over $1,000,000 per mile starting back in the 1950’s.  The system we are talking about here will eventually cost many times that.  But it can be started with pilot programs linking two major metropolitan areas together.  Two on the West coast and two on the East coast.  Once proof of concept has been established and the system refined and perfected build out can proceed across the entire nation.  We may just have time enough to accomplish the major portions and connect all major population areas by the end of the century.  Just before the next carbon fuel depletion crisis comes to bear ONCE AGAIN and leaves us no affordable options.

MUCH OF THE TECHNOLOGY FOR SUCH A SYSTEM IS ALREADY ON THE SHELF OR NEAR AT HAND.  OTHER COUNTRIES, SUCH AS SOUTH KOREA, SWEDEN AND EUROPEAN COUNTRIES, RUSSIA , INDIA, AND CHINA ARE AWARE OF THESE TECHNOLOGIES AND ARE MOVING TO DEVELOP THEM AS YOU READ THIS.

NOTE: Additional applications of abundant Thorium sourced energy and ubiquitous power distribution of point of need applications in proximity to the causeways:  agricultural equipment, desalinization of remote water sources, low cost irrigation, waste reprocessing and recycling, year around illumination of particular crops and increased food production,  very low cost heating and cooling, lower manufacturing costs, and whatever else you can think of.

It is time for the American people to stop thinking with every organ in their body except the one that was designed for the purpose.  If we are to survive as a democratic republic we need to develop solutions now, and not be led into this century by others whose interests may not be our own.

© theBushwhacker.com

 

The London Telegraph’s Challenge to Obama

Thorium: What is it?  THORIUM: THE GOOD REACTOR

Click here: China’s Thorium Reactor Project



Apr 03

Suggestions to reduce risk of Nuclear Power Plants and Dispose of Nuclear Waste From theBushwhacker.com

The fundamental coin of successful modern civilizations is abundant and cheap energy available for wealth production.  This rule extends from the production of food to manufacturing of essential goods and services and all else that enters the economic sphere of the society being served.

One of the most desirable mechanisms of producing abundant and efficient power and has proven over time to be controlled nuclear fission.  With two serious exceptions, and the current situation in Japan not yet withstanding, it has an enviable safety record with minimal environmental impact, so far.  The consequences of the events sequel to the placement of nuclear power plants near or virtually over major tectonic faults in the Earth’s crust and adjacent to massive bodies of water should have been anticipated.  Mother Nature, it turns out, is very unforgiving of such oversights.  The tuition for such lessons are often unacceptably high.

No doubt many design and placement parameters for such plant construction will receive much attention over the coming years.  Addendums to redundant cooling systems, such as off site gravity feed water towers with direct  lines to the reactors should become standard supplements.  Siting such towers over water tables such that they can be replenished with pumps from ground water sources should also be included and powered by auxiliary generators with redundant fuel sources that can power the pumps and the reactor site itself through under ground conduits.  Such systems should be contained in secure radiation proof bunkers upwind of the reactors and the operators enclosed with proper equipment and supplies to man the system throughout any emergency.

The next problem, one of long standing neglect, is the storage of spent fuel rods on site.  Unusable fuel that cannot or will not be recycled must be disposed of in absolutely secure fashion.  In the early part of this century, around 2003 if memory serves, the United States agreed, along with other nations, not to dispose of nuclear waste in the great seas of the planet.  Although of admirable intent this author believes this decision must be revisited as it precludes a nearly perfect system of waste disposal.

The deep subduction trenches of the Pacific are six to seven miles deep.  (Note: the Challenger Deep Trench in the Western Pacific is seven miles deep and is hundreds of miles long.)  This solution relies on the adage that “the solution to pollution is dilution”.  But not by dispersal in the waters of any ocean.  Rather by reducing the waste material to small particles and blending them with molten glass in a process known as “vitrification”.  The resulting product would be large spheres of solid glass permanently encapsulating and diluting the waste material and emitting very low if any significant radiation.

The spheres would be far too heavy and unwieldy for nefarious interests to make use of before they were transported by ship to the deep trenches.  Each sphere would be enclosed with netting and  small drogue chutes to slow their descent into the depths such that they would not strike the sea floor or each other with enough velocity to cause damage.  The chutes would then decompose and become useless.

In addition, loose material of all sorts is constantly shedding off the  walls of the trenches.  This ongoing activity would quickly and continuously cover any vitrified material deposited into the trenches thus sealing them off from the environment in real time.  The probability of re-emergence of any vitrified spherical deposits for any reason this author would suggest is beyond calculation.  In addition, the ambient water pressure at these depths is in excess of 13,000 pounds  per square inch.  This should be enough of a barrier in itself to deter nefarious interests from attempting any recovery of these materials which are useless for any practical application of any sort.

The most serious and contentious issue pertaining to the ubiquitous deployment of nuclear power plants world wide is proper disposal of accumulated nuclear waste.  As other nations, such as China, become more active in this area developing practical, cost effective and environmentally acceptable solutions to this problem must be quickly and effectively resolved.  If peace among nations is to be maintained, so must abundant, reliable and inexpensive access to energy.

This author believes this approach needs serious examination, free of agenda driven influences, to determine  it’s expedient and practical value.    The international agreement, or moratorium, entered into in the early part of this century and which bars the use of the seas for nuclear waste needs to be revisited and corrected to permit this solution to unusable nuclear waste disposal.  It should be noted that this is not a unique idea.  Several nations have already involved themselves developing vitrification techniques.

UPDATE: theBushwhacker has now learned WHY the above method is not being used to dispose of nuclear waste and confirms a long held suspicion.

YUCCA MOUNTAIN:  Billions of dollars have been spent to construct a secure repository for active nuclear waste material in an area known as Jackass Flats, Nevada and specifically in Yucca Mountain. The reason I call it a repository is that the intent and purpose of the facility is not disposal of the material, but storage of the material for eventual retrieval and reprocessing to refuel a growing number of modern nuclear reactors that our nation will need in the century ahead.  It seems that nuclear fuel rods only consume about 3% of their potential energy during their first useful cycle.  Reprocessing refreshes the rods and this can be done several times.

Non-usable or “spent” waste that is of no further value is apparently so minute in volume that it can readily be disposed or stored without the elaborate and expensive “vitrification” processes required to do so, let alone the political resistance that must be anticipated.

Realistically, this is a sound policy for conservation of a valuable and expensive resource.  This is the policy employed by the French and though reprocessing itself is an expensive procedure, seems to work quite well for their national interests. (The French are known for their policies of independent sovereignty and action in their own interests.) Indeed, going forward, we can only expect the mining and processing costs of raw materials to obtain adequate fuel for our reactors to escalate.

The current problem with Yucca Mountain, although ready and waiting to accommodate its assigned purpose, is inaccessibility.  Unless empirical and compelling evidence is revealed justifying his obscure logic, this is due to the obstinate whim of one man.  The Senator from Nevada, that champion of the Cowboy Poetry Festival and subsidizer of same, Harry Reid.  This has been a costly, unnecessary and unwarranted exercise of power. The people of Nevada might want to reassess the value of this representative to their welfare and that of the Nation.

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/apr/12/despite-house-gop-push-harry-reid-declares-yucca-d/

I have this information from reliable and qualified sources.

One source worked  for over 20 years with GE operating businesses including GE Nuclear Energy and he has also served as a consultant for clients such as the US Department of Energy advising them on complex issues including  nuclear reactor projects and the management of spent nuclear fuel.  He is an active member of the American Nuclear Society.

Another is one of our nation’s foremost experts on nuclear power. In  the aftermath of the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami has unfolded, she has been called upon by NBC, FOX News, CNN, the New York Times, and many others to explain and help bring clarity to the situation. She has 30 years of experience in the nuclear industry primarily with GE Nuclear Energy, departing as Vice President for Engineering Quality. Presently  she serves as a consultant to a wide range of clients in the nuclear industry.

UPDATE: If Yucca Flats is off limits for waste storage/disposal the next possibility being considered to accomplish the same objectives are the salt caverns in some of the Western states that have been stable for hundreds of thousands of years.

UPDATE: theBushwhacker has explored an alternate nuclear fuel source that may prove more abundant and manageable and therefore safer to utilize than Uranium fueled models.  It is called the Thorium Molten-salt (MSR) reactor.

For more complete information search here:

http://www.thorium.tv/en/thorium_reactor/thorium_reactor_1.php

July 2011 issue of Popular Science and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium

Briefly, the Thorium reactor has a highly effective passive shut down system that virtually eliminates the chance of a meltdown, can be built in smaller units capable of secure deployment and distribution over a wider or more remote areas, does not operate under potentially explosive pressures, uses a fuel that is four times more abundant than uranium, is apparently more efficient. (one pound of thorium produces as much power as 300 pounds of uranium or 3.5 million pounds of coal.) SOURCE< July issue of Popular Science Magazine.  Apparently a thorium reactor had been modeled and constructed experimentally in this country in the early 1960s and worked and ran for three years before being shut down.  The Chinese and India are now developing this technology for their own use and seem to have abundant domestic sources of thorium.

This author urges the reader to obtain a copy of the July 2011 issue of Popular Science and go to the above links to become more thoroughly familiar with this technology and be able to question our representatives with knowledgeable authority as to its potential use.  THIS IS AN ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT ENERGY CONSIDERATION GOING FORWARD.  DO YOUR HOME WORK.

Updates to follow on this topic.




©  theBushwhacker.com 2011