Twenty-five reasons to rapidly develop Thorium based Nuclear Power generation.

Twenty-five reasons to rapidly develop Thorium based Nuclear Power generation.

We need badly to develop and build Thorium based molten salt fast breeder nuclear reactors to secure our energy needs in the future. Lest anyone should be threatened by the words fast breeder, it simply means it uses fast neutrons instead of thermal neutrons, and breeder means it produces more fissible material than it consumes, in the case of Thorium the ratio is about 1.05.

1. A million years supply at today’s consumption levels.

2. Thorium already mined, ready to be extracted.

3. One ten-thousandth of the TRansUranium waste compared to a U-235 based fast breeder reactor.

4. Thorium based nuclear power produces Pu-238, needed for space exploration.

5. Radioactive waste from an LFTR decays down to background radiation in 300 years compared to a million years for U-235 based reactors.

6. Thorium based nuclear power is not suited for making nuclear bombs.

7. Produces isotopes that helps cure certain cancers.

8. Molten Salt Thorium Reactors are earthquake safe.

9. Molten Salt Thorium Reactors cannot have a meltdown, the fuel ia already molten.

10. Molten Salt Nuclear Reactors have a very high negative temperature coefficient leading to a safe and stable control.

11. Atmospheric pressure operating conditions, no risk for explosions.

12. Virtually no spent fuel problem, very little on site storage or transport.

13. Thorium Nuclear Power generators  scale  beautifully from small portable generators to full size power plants.

14. No need for evacuation zones, can be placed near urban areas.

15. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will work both as Base Load and Load Following power plants.

16. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will lessen the need for an expanded national grid.

17. Russia has an active Thorium program.

18. China is having a massive Thorium program.

19. India is having an ambitious Thorium program.

20. United States used to be the leader in Thorium usage. What happened?

21. With a Molten Salt Reactor, accidents like the Three Mile Island disaster will not happen.

22. With a Molten Salt Reactor, disasters like Chernobyl are impossible.

23. With Molten Salt Reactors, a catastrophe like Fukushima cannot happen.

24. Produces electrical energy at about 4 cents per KWh.

25. Can deplete some of the existing radioactive waste and nuclear weapons stockpiles.

The need to develop Thorium based Nuclear Energy as the major electric energy supply. 25. Can deplete some of the existing radioactive waste and nuclear weapons stockpiles.

LFTR is a type of Molten Salt Reactor with equipment to convert plentiful thorium into uranium (U233) to use as fuel. It can also use plutonium from LWR waste. LFTR is not very efficient at using depleted uranium (need a Fast-Spectrum reactor to fission U-238 effectively; in a thermal-spectrum reactor like LFTR or LWR, would convert some U-238 to plutonium which is fissile).

Because a LFTR fissions 99%+ of the fuel (whether thorium, or plutonium from nuclear waste), it consumes all the uranium and transuranics leaving no long-term radioactive waste. 83% of the waste products are safely stabilized within 10 years. The remaining 17% need to be stored less than 350 years to become completely benign.

“LFTR technology can also be used to reprocess and consume the remaining fissile material in spent nuclear fuel stockpiles around the world and to extract and resell many of the other valuable fission byproducts that are currently deemed hazardous waste in their current spent fuel rod form. The U.S. nuclear industry has already allocated $25 billion for storage or reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel and the world currently has over 340,000 tonnes of spent LWR fuel with enough usable fissile material to start one 100 MWe LFTR per day for 93 years. (A 100 MW LFTR requires 100 kg of fissile material (U-233, U-235, or Pu-239) to start the chain reaction). LFTR can also be used to consume existing U-233 stockpiles at ORNL ($500 million allocated for stockpile destruction) and plutonium from weapons stockpiles.”

FS-MSRs essentially avoid the entire fuel qualification issue in that they are tolerant of any fissile material composition, with their inherent strong negative thermal reactivity feedback providing the control necessary to accommodate a shifting fuel feed stream. Fast Spectrum Molten Salt Reactor Options,

See also point 17: Russia develops a fission-fusion hybrid reactor.

Some of the pictures are from a slide presentation given by David Archibald in Melbourne Feb 5 2011. He posted it “for the benefit of all” which I have interpreted as waving the copyright of the pictures

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/12/david-archibald-on-climate-and-energy-security/

The need to develop Thorium based Nuclear Energy as the major electric energy supply. 24. Produces electrical energy at about 4 cents per KWh.

Produces electrical energy at about 4 cents per KWh.

Image result for us electricity generation by source

The cost to produce electricity with Thorium generators should be about 40% less than Advanced Nuclear and about 30 % less than from Coal (with scrubbers). Solar generation is about 4 times more expensive (without subsidies) Wind power is cheaper when the wind blows, but the generation capacity has to be there even when the wind doesn’t blow, so the only gain from wind power is to lessen the mining or extraction of carbon. In addition, wind power kills birds, the free yearly quota of allowable Bald Eagle kills was upped from 1200 to 4200 during the Obama administration. (https://lenbilen.com/2019/04/12/what-is-more-precious-babies-eagles-or-fighting-climate-change/). Golden Eagles and a few other rare birds has a quarter of a million dollar fine associated with their kills. If wind power is increased without finding a solution to the bird kills, whole species may be extinct. Solar power is, and will be used in special applications such as on roofs for backup and peak power assist. Hydroelectric power is for all practical purpose maxed out, so nearly all future increase must come from Coal, Natural Gas, Petroleum or Nuclear. Thorium powered Nuclear Generators is the way to go.

Bill Nye knows nothing of Climate Change Science. A Limerick. Al Gore and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are worse.

The Roman Northamptonshire wine

was good, not exquisitely fine.

So it just goes to show

that Bill Nye does not know

of Climate Change past, that’s my line.

The “Science guy” Bill Nye once claimed that we are as a globe heating up rapidly and are at the point of no return and the only solution is to drastically reduce burning fossil fuel. As a proof he pointed out that they have started to grow wine grapes in England, unprecedented in history in his opinion.

During the Roman warm period wine grapes were grown almost up to the Hadrian Wall, and there may have been over ten wineries in England. Then the dark ages came and grapes no longer ripened so the wineries were abandoned. During the Medieval Warm Period there was at least one cattle farm on Greenland,  “Gården under sanden”, exporting cheese, seal skins and meat, as well as peregrine falcons, much sought after by the Arabs. But it was abandoned around 1200 A.D. as the glaciers regrew, starting the “Little Ice Age”. We are still recovering from the little ice age. 2018 may have been a warm year, but most years since the ice age were warmer. See Chart.Greenlandgisp-last-10000-newWe are still in the sweet spot of a remarkable stable climate. The next major climate change will be the onset of another ice age. Most of the time the earth is in an ice age.

Image result for ice ages

As we can see, most of the time the earth is in a glacial state. It gets really interesting when we see the temperature versus CO2.

Image result for ice age co2 levels

A similar chart led Al Gore to write “Earth in the balance” since the correlation between CO2 and temperature seemed almost perfect and CO2 is rising faster and faster. His conclusion was that temperature will soon follow, and we are all doomed. All Arctic ice would be melted by 2015, Greenland was soon to follow, and by 2020 the tipping point would occur after which we were all doomed unless we stopped burning fossil fuel and produced no more CO2 than what plants absorbed, the so called sustainable model.

We know these facts: If there were no greenhouse effect the average temperature on earth would be -18C, half a degree more or less dependent on solar activity. But, thanks to greenhouse gases it is a comfortable +15C. The two most important greenhouse gases are water vapor and CO2, and of the two water vapor are by far the most important, contributing more than 3/4 of the total temperature rise. We know that if nothing else changes, temperature rise would be between 0.9 and 1.05C for every doubling of CO2. But if temperature rises there would be more water vapor in the atmosphere, so the total rise must be more, maybe as much as 8C per doubling of CO2. This assumption is wrong on at least two accounts. First, water vapor and CO2 absorption spectra are not orthogonal, that is , they absorb mostly in the same wavelengths, and you can not absorb more than all the energy available in that wavelength, so if water vapor absorbed 90% and CO2 30% the total sum of absorption is not 120%, but 93% (0.9 +0.3×0.1). There are over 30 government funded climate models that makes this mistake, and they form the basis for the IPCC climate assessment. Only one, the Russian model does not, they base their model on measurements, and it works much better, so it has been excluded from the IPCC as an outlier.

Second, and even more important, water vapor is a condensing gas and forms clouds when the temperature is below the dew point. This means that part of the indwelling sunlight radiation is reflected back into space rather than hitting earth, and that has a larger effect on temperature than the night time reflection back to earth of the long wave radiation. Can we measure that? Clouds are fickle, they come and go and are hard to grasp. Luckily we have the CERES data set, measuring temperature versus surfaca absorption. The results are staggering.

(Thanks,Willis Eschenbach) Note that 3.7 W/m2 is the increase in downwelling longwave radiation expected from a doubling of CO2 …

There we have it! 0.38C temperature rise globally for every doubling of CO2.

But that is not all! It depends on where on earth we are. Check this temperature rise chart:

https://lenbilen.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/uah-lower-troposphere-temperature.jpg

Since 1980 CO2 has risen from 335 ppm to about 405 ppm now or about 21%. This change should show itself in rising temperatures. As we can see from this chart there has been no temperature increase at all except for el nino- la nina variations. The tropics has found its temperature since it is mostly water vapor, and CO2 increase is of no consequence. Not so at the poles! The temperature rise at the poles has so far been about 1.2C above the Arctic Polar Circle, less so below the Antarctic polar circle.

What does it mean when the temperature rises in the Arctic? It means More Snow! And we can see that this is happening.

From Rutgers University climate lab comes this chart of fall snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere. This year’s snow cover is about 5% larger than last year at the same day, so we can clearly see that the increasing trend is not broken; if anything, it is accelerating. The snow is also melting faster in the spring and summer, but melting snow keeps temperature in check, so even though winter temperatures are rising (It is less cold in the winter when it is snowing. After the snow comes the cold) the summer temperatures are below normal as long as the extra snow lasts.

Let us go to ice cover, this time on the Great Lakes. If there is any climate change they should surely show it: March 8 2019 the Great Lakes ice concentration hit 80 percent.

Lake Superior and Lake Erie both had an ice cover of over 95%, Lake Huron over 90%. Only Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario lagged with 60% and 40% ice cover.

This has happened only seven times in the last 45 years that the maximum ice cover has exceeded 80%. And if one looks at a graph, there seems to be no trend whatsoever.

But we just had a streak of bad tornado outbreaks. Isn’t that a sign of climate change?

Historically, strong tornadoes are declining.

And until this year the trend was down even further

So, tornadoes are down. How about wild fires?

Wildfires used to be much worse before modern forest management (Smokey the bear was the symbol) was initiated. Recent environmental concerns has led to a reversal of proper forest management “to save the environment”.

What else does increasing CO2 bring?  Take a look at all disasters.

Image result for disaster statistics

There seems to have been a strong increase in reported disasters. Could it be that the reporting got better after year 2000, after which we see a slightly declining trend?

Image result for death rate from disasters

We seem to be able to handle disasters better. It was much worse a long time ago. Or – the climate is getting more stable.

How about droughts?  Here is a chart of droughts worldwide

Image result for worldwide droughts

And the U.S. has not been so drought free since measurements started

Image result for worldwide droughts

Yes, but that is because there has been unprecedented rain with unprecedented floods. Isn’t that the extreme climate we are talking about? Yes the Missisippi watershed has gotten a lot of rain lately, and it occurs at a time when the solar activity is at its lowest, in other words, it should be getting colder, but since it is raining and snowing so much this releases a lot of heat into the atmosphere while it is raining out, so the cooling is masked. It is also true that building levees to protect cities increases the flooding in the non levied parts of the rivers, a dilemma indeed.

Could it be that increasing CO2 is good for the climate?

Yes there is a Green New Deal associated with increased CO2! The world is getting greener!

Increasing CO2 helps climate resiliency by greening the earth.

https://lenbilen.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/increase.png?w=660

(iii) healthy food;

Increasing CO2 helps increasing food supply. This is good for both people and animals. As a side benefit photosynthesis is more efficient and uses less water as CO2 increases.

What do you think? We have enormous environmental challenges, and pollution. CO2 is not a pollutant, but will help delay the coming of the next ice age.

 

 

The need to develop Thorium based Nuclear Energy as the major electric energy supply. 15. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will work both as Base Load and Load Following power plants.

Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will work both as Base Load and Load Following power plants. LFTR’s operate at a much higher temperature than conventional power plants and operate at about 45% electricity conversion efficiency, as opposed to 38% or lower for steam generators. In addition, because of the higher operating temperature it is ideal for hydrogen generation. The reactor would use the electricity generation to satisfy the current demand and produce hydrogen during times of low demand. This hydrogen would be temporarily stored and used for electricity production at peak demand. And  hydrogen power produces only water when burned, no CO2  or polluting fumes are generated.

Climate panic. New terms to use for climate change according to the Guardian (U.K.)

We want to ensure that we are being scientifically precise, while also communicating clearly with readers on this very important issue,” said the editor-in-chief of the British newspaper the Guardian, Katharine Viner.

To accomplish this the Guardian suggested these new terms to replace the old ones.

Old term : “climate change” New terms: “climate emergency,”  “climate crisis,” “climate breakdown”.

Old term: “global warming”. New term: “global heating“.

Old term: “climate skeptic” New term: “climate science denier

In October, the UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) said carbon emissions must halve by 2030 to avoid even greater risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

Lucky for us, we still have a beautiful world around us and it has not suffered a thermal runaway yet, even though the yearly CO2 emissions have doubled since 1982. But, for most of this time we have worldwide satellite and other data to see and verify how the global ecosystem has responded to this unprecedented CO2 increase. As every true scientist knows, validation by observation beats theoretical models every time.

Let us concentrate on just one aspect of weather: Tornadoes. They occur when there is cold, dry atmosphere next to warm, wet air, usually on each side of the jet stream. We are having a tornado outbreak right now

This is the second longest-streak without an EF5/F5 tornado since records began in 1950 and it is just the second time dating to 1950 the U.S. has gone five years or longer with no twisters rated EF5/F5.

The number of F/EF5 tornadoes in the U.S. by year from 1950-2018.

(Data: NOAA/SPC; Graph: Infogram) As we can see from the chart, catastrophic tornadoes are in a slight downward trend.

The number of tornadoes are well within the normal range, and no supertornadoes yet.
The amount of hail is running below normal, which is good.
https://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/phailgraph-big.png
What we have is a much better reporting of tornadoes and hail and the damage it causes, accompanied with the explanation “climate change” or climate emergency or words to that effect. Meanwhile, this climate observer dubbed climate science denier still goes by observations.

 

Earth day 2019, a Limerick and some thoughts on why we need more CO2

It’s time for the annual Earth Day

to celebrate Lenin’s old birthday.

CO2, it is clean

Makes more food, makes it green.

Rejoice! Let us have a green mirth Day!

We are called to take care of ourselves, be good stewards of the Earth, and strive to leave it a better place than we entered it.

To do a good clean-up job takes a lot of energy. That is true for the whole Eco-system as well as the toilet bowl.

All our energy comes from the Sun in one way or another, except for nuclear energy. If the cosmic radiation changes, or the total energy output from the sun changes, or our polar orbit and attitude changes, all of these factors will lead to climate change. 95 percent of the time the earth is in an ice-age, interrupted by short warm periods. We are now at the bog-building phase of an interglacial period, which means, the next phase is another ice-age.

This warm period is unique since we are experiencing rapidly increasing levels of CO2. Will that cause a rise in temperatures rendering the earth uninhabitable, or will it prolong the warm period, or – will it hasten the arrival of the next ice-age?

According to 75 out of 77 ( the origin of the “97% of all”…. ) Climate Scientists that in the previous 5 years had published multiple, peer reviewed papers, paid for by their respective academic institutions, which in turn was paid for mostly by their governments, claim “The science is settled”, and we will experience a rapid climate change, rendering parts of the world uninhabitable, and a series of other calamities will befall us unless we take strong, immediate action to reduce the output of CO2 from burning fossil fuels.

But there are in excess of 30,000 other scientists that have signed up “Science is by no means settled” and CO2 is not a pollutant, but a life giving gas that is only a minor contributor to the temperature rise. Other factors are at least as important and we should concentrate on real pollution, clean air and clean water.

So, who is right?

The last ice age had lasted for over 50,000 years. The ice stretched over most of North America down to the Finger Lakes. Western Europe down to Mid Germany and extending into Western Siberia were also under heavy ice. For some reason Eastern Siberia and Western Alaska was not under heavy ice. The sea level was about 400 feet lower than today and then suddenly temperatures rose, and after a 300 to 500 years delay C02 levels rose from about 185 ppm, barely sustaining life up to about 280 ppm, after which CO2 levels stabilized and remained in a slight decline until recently.

I grew and went to school in Sweden. At that time the way Sweden exited the Ice age was taught in all schools, the signs from the ice age were everywhere. We learned the exit from the exit could be expressed with the acrostic BYAL, signifying four phases in the deglaciation. Here is the timeline (after the pictures of the Baltic)

10,000 years ago: The Baltic ice lake. Outflow through Oresund, Rapid ice melt, temperature about the same as today, CO2 280 ppm.

9000 years ago: The Yoldia Sea. As ice recedes, salt water enter for a short while until land rises to again form a lake. CO2 280 ppm. Temperatures slightly higher than today.

8000 years ago: The Ancylus lake. The outflow is first through Svea Alv, then as land rose the outflow switched to Oresund. Temperatures were higher than today. CO2 level 280 ppm. River flows at the emptying of the Ice lakes causes formation of  “giant kettles”,  an example of which is shown in the figure below:

The largest of Brobacka’s “jättegrytor”, with a diameter of 58 feet. This particular giant kettle might have been mostly formed by a stream under the ice cap while the ice was melting.

6000 years ago: Most of the inland ice has now melted, and the Oceans have risen to today’s level, so the Belts and Oresund open up and the Litorina Sea is formed. temperatures are higher than today, CO2 level was 280 ppm.

3500 years ago: The Minoan warming period. Temperatures much warmer than today. Elm, Hazel, Oak and Linden grew way up in the Bothnian bay, today the northern limit is about 250 miles further South. The CO2 level was 280 ppm.

2000 years ago: The Roman warming period. Great times up North. Wine grapes grew in the British Midlands, the Scandinavian population grew rapidly. CO2 level was still 280 ppm.

1500 years ago: Climate is turning colder, migrations out of the Nordic and Germanic countries. Harvest failures. CO2 level was constant at 280 ppm.

1200 years ago: Rapid depopulation, Bubonic Plague, failed harvests, mass starvation, climate turning much colder. CO2 level 280 ppm.

1000 years ago: Medieval warming period. Climate about one degree warmer than today. Leif Ericson sails to America. Cheese farms established on Greenland. CO2 level 280 ppm.

500 years ago: Little Ice age. Climate much colder than today. The Swedish army, including artillery crosses the Belts on ice in 1658. CO2 level 280 ppm.

Why am I going through all this? All these climate changes occurred with the CO2 level being constant at 280 ppm. The land in Northern Sweden is still recovering from the Ice age, and land is still rising out of the ocean at the rate of up to three feet per century. The temperature is still recovering from the little ice age, but is not yet back to the Medieval Warming period, much less the Roman warming period, not to mention the Minoan temperature optimum. The CO2 level has risen to 405 ppm, but CO2 is only a minor player in affecting Climate change.

As I have mentioned in a previous blog: https://lenbilen.com/2017/04/10/thanks-to-clouds-the-temperature-governor-is-alive-and-well-on-planet-earth/ clouds are the temperature regulators, and it will do us well to concentrate on the real threats to our earth on Earth Day, such as clean air (CO2 is clean air) and clean water.

When you celebrate Earth Day 2019 look up to the sky. If there are any clouds, especially cumulus clouds, look how they form, change and dissipate, and marvel that they are the regulators of the climate so we never have to worry about a thermal runaway, no matter what level of CO2. We will have another ice age though, but more CO2 will delay its onset.

When the real cool-down occurs, we will have to produce a lot more energy than now, otherwise we will all be doomed. Increased CO2 levels only slows town the onset of the next ice age. In addition there is not enough free carbon left in the world to carry us through. Only Thorium based nuclear energy ( https://lenbilen.com/2017/07/14/twenty-two-reasons-to-rapidly-develop-thorium-based-nuclear-power-generation/ )

or maybe fusion energy will have a chance of carrying us through.