The case for Thorium. 27. With electric cars and trucks replacing combustion engine cars, only Thorium Nuclear power is the rational solution to provide the extra electric power needed.

It seems that electric powered vehicles are finally taking off, and sales are ready to explode. The Tesla electric car company capitalization value has increased eight-fold in the last half year, and is now worth more on paper than GM, Ford, Chrysler and Honda combined .

If CO2 is the great driver of environmental destruction, never mind that the increased CO2 is feeding 2 billion more people than before thanks to the greening effect of increased CO2, then we should work at warp speed to develop the additional electricity needs that will arise with all electric vehicles coming to market needing charging stations.

It makes no sense to build more coal and gas fired electric plants, replacing one CO2 generator with another, the best wind power sites are already taken, waste, geothermal and solar power is still a pipe dream, so, what to do?

Conventional nuclear power is limited and requires a very long and extensive approval process, partly due to the not in my backyard regulation attitude.  We are already the world’s largest importer of Uranium, and the world’s supply is to a large extent controlled by non allies. .

How do you eliminate all Coal and natural gas electric plants? Look at the U.S usage: (Last  year 2016)

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We can see that renewable energy will not suffice. The only real answer is to expand nuclear electricity, but we are already the world’s biggest importer of Uranium. (The Uranium One deal, when we sold 20% of our Uranium mining rights to Russia did not help, but we were in trouble even before ). No, the only real answer is to rapidly develop molten salt Thorium nuclear electricity production. They do not require water for cooling, so they can be placed anywhere where additional capacity is needed, eliminating rapid expansion of the electric grid.

Let us go to it now!

The case for Thorium 20. China is having a massive Thorium program.

China is having a massive Thorium program. The People’s Republic of China has initiated a research and development project in thorium molten-salt reactor technology. The thorium MSR efforts aims not only to develop the technology but to secure intellectual property rights to its implementation. This may be one of the reasons that the Chinese have not joined the international Gen-IV effort for MSR development, since part of that involves technology exchange. Neither the US nor Russia have joined the MSR Gen-IV effort either.
China is currently the largest emitter of CO2 and air pollutants by far, and according to the Paris accord was allowed to emit six times as much pollutants as the U.S. by 2030, being a “developing nation”. Their air quality is already among the worst in the world so something had to be done if they were to achieve world dominance by 2025 and total rule by 2030. Only Thorium can solve the pollution problem and provide the clean energy needed for the future. Regular Uranium Nuclear reactors require large amounts of water and Molten Salt Thorium reactors require little water to operate.

Geneva, Switzerland, 21 August 2018 – As the world struggles with a record-breaking heatwave, China correctly places its trust in the fuel Thorium and the Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (TMSR) as the backbone of its nation’s plan to become a clean and cheap energy powerhouse.
​​The question is if China will manage to build a homegrown mega export industry, or will others have capacity and will to catch up?
For China, clean energy development and implementation is a test for the state’s ability. Therefore, China is developing the capability to use the “forgotten fuel” thorium, which could begin a new era of nuclear power.​
The first energy system they are building is a solid fuel molten salt reactor that achieves high temperatures to maximize efficiency of combined heat and power generation applications.
However, to fully realize thorium’s energy potential and in this way solve an important mission for China – the security of fuel supply – requires also the thorium itself to be fluid. This is optimized in the Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (TMSR).
The TMSR takes safety to an entirely new level and can be made cheap and small since it operates at atmospheric pressure, one of its many advantages. Thanks to its flexible cooling options it can basically be used anywhere, be it a desert, a town or at sea. In China this is of special interest inland, where freshwater is scarce in large areas, providing a unique way to secure energy independence.
“Everyone in the field is extremely impressed with how China saw the potential, grabbed the opportunity and is now running faster than everyone else developing this futuristic energy source China and the entire world is in a great need of.”
– Andreas Norlin, Thorium Energy World
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China is not telling all they are doing on Nuclear Energy.

The case for Thorium. 1. A million year supply of Thorium available worldwide.

We live in challenging times with enormous environmental challenges. It takes a lot of energy to clean up the pollution we have generated over the ages. It would be a shame to use up our remaining coal, oil and gas to produce the electricity needed to clean up. Oil coal and gas will eventually be depleted and we need to save as much as possible for future generations, so they can enjoy flying like we have become accustomed to. It would be a shame to convert the remaining fossil fuel to CO2 for electricity production, it is far too valuable a resource in limited supply. Like the famous conservationist Sarah Palin once said: “for when it’s gone, it’s gone.”

The need to develop a Thorium based molten salt fast breeder nuclear reactor to develop our energy needs for the future can not be overstated. 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 fissile material than it consumes, in the case of Thorium the ratio is about 1.05.

 There is enough Thorium around to last for a million years at today’s worldwide electricity generation levels. Uranium is in short supply. Consumption exceeds production, and the worldwide major importer of Uranium is the U.S. (The fact that we sold 20% of  our uranium ore to the Russians did not help)

There are of course the sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, tidal and wave energy, and they should be pursued where economically and environmentally appropriate. These are separate but important subjects.

Earth day 2020, the 150 year birthday of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, a.k.a. Lenin. A Limerick.

We celebrate Lenin’s old birth day

in what is now renamed the Earth Day.

It’s a globalist plot;

it’s the climate change: Not!

It’s capitalism besmirch day.

When I came to the U.S. as a green card immigrant  from a beautiful, clean Sweden in the spring of 1968 I was horrified at what I found. In Sweden they were worried about the fact that some lakes were fertilized four times more than the agricultural fields, acid rain killed the trouts in the already acid lakes and  seeds laced with Mercury as a preservative killed off most of the eagles and owls. None of this seemed to bother the Americans. Coming in to Rochester in N.Y the stench from the dead fish washing up on the shore of lake Ontario was strong, I read of a river catching on fire in Ohio and the smell of coal burning power plants without scrubbers was bad, almost as bad as in the coal and steel region of Germany. It was also the height of the Vietnam wars, and people were protesting. Many of the protestors were communists at hart, and they also turned to pollution. The aerosol pollution led to a decrease in global temperatures, so the mantra was: The ice age is coming! The worst prediction I read was that the global temperatures would be then degrees Fahrenheit lower by the year 2000! Most predictions were not that wild, but they all pointed down, ice age, here we come! The urge to clean up the pollution grew stronger and the Earth Day movement was formed, but they had to find just the right day to have the first. Since this was to become a global movement they decided on the birthday of Lenin, his 100th, very fitting for a globalist movement.  That was 1970 in Philadelphia, featured Ira Einhorn (The Unicorn Killer) as master of Ceremonies.

Now fifty years later the mantra has changed to climate change, specifically carbon pollution and carbon footprint. As the scientists were wrong then, the ice age is coming soon, so they are wrong now. The rise in CO2 causes climate change all right, and it would be really bad unless something else also changes as the CO2 concentration changes. Water vapor is a strong greenhouse gas, much stronger than CO2, and they both add to the greenhouse effect, but only at temperatures below freezing. In the tropics there is 50 times as much water vapor as there is CO2, so the tropics is not affected at all by rising CO2 levels. In the Arctic the situation is quite different. Water vapor is also a condensing gas, and forms clouds in the atmosphere. Clouds cool by day and warm by night, but the effect of cooling by day is much larger than the cooling by night, so clouds act as the major temperature regulator on earth. That is why the temperature was about the same as now when the CO2 level was over 10000 ppm, 25 times as large as now hundreds of millions of years ago. There is zero risk of overheating, there is no “tipping point” on the warm side, the clouds tale care of that. On the other hand we know that because we have too little CO2 in the air we will have a new ice age. When will it come? Not in the next thousand years, in fact, by increasing the CO2 levels we will delay the onset of the next ice age. What will happen at the Poles? There will be less cold in the winters, it will snow more but the summers will be about the same, melting more snow.

As to the corona virus the scientists predictions have so far been way off the mark, which just goes to show that making models before all facts are known produces faulty predictions every time. As Yogi Berra once said: “’It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future’” “… never make predictions – especially about the future”.

 

There is a better green new deal. And this one will work and save the environment

We have immense environmental problems. CO2 is not one of them. There is a great need for a green new deal, but that involves cleaning up the earth, not destroying it even further. Cleaning up the earth requires a lot of electric energy. There is only one solution to this dilemma, renewables alone will not even begin to solve it, only Liquid Fluoride Thorium nuclear reactors, and in the future fusion power will have a chance to carry us through the next ice age, which will come when we have used up all available fossil fuels. We must save the bulk of it for our great grand-kids.

My suggestions for the green new deal are quite different from what is commonly proposed. Here are some suggestions:

Do harden the electric grid so it can sustain an electro-magnetic-pulse, either from a nuclear EMP-bomb or from a solar storm like the Carrington event of 1859. Make the grid safe from malicious hacking.

Do not build more wind-turbines except in areas where there are no raptors. The allowable kill of bald eagles per year is 4200, and if we build many more we risk to eliminate the bald and golden eagles as well as other rare birds. More here.

Do fill up fully the strategic petroleum reserve, taking advantage of the low, below cost crude oil prices due to lack of demand. This will be important and avoid price spikes and shortages should the strait of Hormuz be cut off. By eliminating that threat it will ensure that it will not be cut off. Peace is the final goal. (Note: This is already happening, at $10 a barrel)

Make all dams producing profitable hydroelectric power fully equipped to pump up water from a pool downstream to refill the dam during low power demand and provide extra power during peak demand. This is important, since that peak demand otherwise would be satisfied by burning coal and natural gas, and even using diesel-powered generators.

Do plant trees where-ever practical, especially in urban environments. They help immensely to alleviate the urban heat island effect, and are good for mental health, and provide habitat for birds and squirrels. They have to live too. In rural areas abandoned farms, like in upstate New York should be planted with managed forests.

Encourage protection and reforesting of the tropical rain forests. Plant a few billion trees worldwide. The Arbor Day Foundation operates worldwide and is reasonably efficient.

Do serious research on how to clean waste water including removing antibiotics and hormones such as birth control medicine. This is necessary in arid areas, water must be reused since the aquifers are already exhausted in much of the arid west. It will require a lot of energy  to implement and run water recycling plants, but it is necessary to secure clean water, not only for ourselves, but also for aquatic life downstream.

Do not build any more large solar power installations until our dependence on Chinese rare earth metals is eliminated.

Do eliminate  the regulation that Thorium is a source material and subject to nuclear regulations for mining. With this regulation eliminated we can again be independent from China on rare earth metals mining and refining.

Do not build any more Uranium based nuclear power stations. Even before we sold 20% of our uranium mines to Russia we were the world’s biggest importer of Uranium, and vulnerable to supply disruptions.

We must start immediately a large research and development effort into Liquid Fuel Thorium Reactors. China, India and Russia are way ahead of us, and China is grabbing IP rights as fast as they can. There is a million years supply of Thorium available, far more than anything else we are mining, and enough Thorium is already mined! Thorium reactors produce one ten-thousandth of the nasty TRans-Uranium waste products compared to a Uranium reactor, and the TRU it produces is Plutonium-238, used in space travel. Thorium waste products cannot be used for nuclear bombs, only dirty bombs, and the waste products radiation lasts only about 300 years, rather than 100000+ years. It is a good isotope producer for medical treatment and research.

Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors are inherently earthquake safe, operate under atmospheric conditions, have a large negative temperature coefficient, making it very stable and easy to control, and  they can never have a meltdown, the salt is already molten!

LFTR reactors can be placed nearly anywhere, does not need an evacuation zone because of its inherent safety, uses very little cooling water, produces very little waste, scales beautifully from very large power plants to small portable plants for small communities, can be run at variable power output with a small reaction time, all of this lessens the need for an expanded power grid.

The U.S was once the leader in Thorium reactor technology, but bombs were more important, and so we lost out on safety. Nuclear accidents like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima could not have happened with Thorium reactors.

LFTR can produce electricity at about 4c/kWh, a very competitive cost.

And lastly, it can, in a slightly different configuration be used to eliminate spent nuclear fuels and nuclear bombs. They will have to be placed away from urban areas, not because of safety, but because nobody want to transport spent nuclear fuel or nuclear bombs through city streets.

This is a tall order, but it can eliminate all fossil fuel used to produce electricity.

About four years before all fossil fuel is eliminated as electricity producer, then and first then is the time to move over to electric cars and trucks. Before then, you are really using fossil fuel anyway, putting additional pressure on the national power grid with all its inefficiencies.

This is but a short list of the opportunities for a real green new deal, but these are the most important parts.

A perfectly preserved tunic from Roman times uncovered from melting glacier proves the climate was warmer then. A Limerick.

The tunic at Lomseggen pass

a garment of very high class

got preserved in the ice

glaciers grew, then demise

the climate change sure shows pizzazz

This tunic was made in the third or fourth century A.D. It is made of wool, and like all good tunics of that time it was never washed. The original sheep tallow in the wool made it a very good water repellent, so it was warm enough to wear when going over the short pass in snow in the winter. The oldest artifacts found, stone arrow points are about 6000 years old

and the newest are from viking times around 1200 A.D.

The Landbreen Glacier in central Norway grew, and from about 1400 to 2000 A.D. the pass was under the ice pack of the glacier. This proves that the climate was warmer  in roman and viking times than it was up till the 20th century. To prove this point we can see the temperature records from the Greenland icecap, at about the same latitude. (The temperature is in degree Celsius)

As we can see, there is a negative correlation between CO2 and temperature. This is counter-intuitive, but far more important than the amount of CO2 to affect the climate is the amount of clouds, the amount of snow they contain and when and where they occur. It turns out that clouds are the main temperature regulator for the climate, and we are eventually and slowly entering another ice-age. The recent rise in CO2 from 280 ppm to 405 ppm will delay the onset of the next ice age, surely arriving in the next 10000 years. Right now we are almost back to the conditions of the Medieval warm period, but still much below the ideal conditions during the Roman warm period. The climate is getting better.

Why models fail when developed with political as well as pure scientific motives

The corona virus has given us all an education on why models fail. Everybody in any form of management have to make forecasts, plan for the future as they stare an uncertain future in the face. It is time to remember the old saying in the Army: “No plan ever survived contact with the enemy”. And so it is, the corona virus is the unseen enemy that will affect our future, and our plans will have to change on an almost daily basis as it initially worked by doubling every 3 days. No disease since smallpox or measles in the American Indian population has been that infectious. So it was time to panic when it broke out in the Wuhan city in China. The city was sealed off except for international flying which was allowed to continue. The SO2 over the city was strong from all the cremation ovens going full blast. Over 40000 cremations was paid for by the Chinese government if the descendant agreed to ask no further questions, so they were never counted. How many more cremations? Who knows, but the size of the SO2 clouds, which by the way was only over Wuhan and Chongqing indicates it could have been ten times as many. But back to the models. These rumors prompted Trump to close all air travel to all non U.S citizens that had recently been in China. The official line was that there was no human to human transmission. As the death toll mounted in Italy with a 10+ percent death rate among the infected, the models indicated that U.S would have 2.2 million deaths. The models have since been adjusted more than once a week, but has now stabilized at 60000 deaths or fewer. While this is good news, why did the models fail us so badly?

The answer is obvious. Models are only as good as the input data and the assumptive relationships. In this case the big unknown was the denominator, how many will have it and yet show no symptoms? They may even be carriers.

We now have some of the answers. The death rate will be between 0.2 and 0.3% and will affect the normal risk categories, the old, diabetes, asthma, smoking, marijuana use, other drugs, overweight, and a compromised or overactive immune system. Properly handled, early diagnosis, and protecting the most at risk will reduce the death rate even lower.

It is time to get back to work.

The other models hat has failed us badly are the climate models, but the time scale is decades, not days. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has given out projections five times, beginning in 1990 on what happens to global temperatures if the amount of the greenhouse gas CO2 released in the air is increased, held steady or decreased. The result is always alarming with predictions a high as a temperature increase of up to 8,5C globally by the year 2100. Every new assessment show a decreasing number with the IPCC5 prediction being that temperature increase will be 2.2 C or thereabout if all reductions proposed will be made. IPCC6 will show a larger increase, mostly because of the rapid increase of CO2 emissions by China, India and other developing countries (Yes China is considered a developing country by U.N.)

There is one major problem with all these models. The trends shown by the models do not match with reality. The increased CO2 already occurred since industrialization would show a substantial hot spot in the tropical troposphere. There is no such hot spot. What do IPCC do with that troublesome fact? They ignore it, because it is mostly politically, not scientifically driven. Yes the scientists are sincere and contribute their parts, but the conclusions are politically driven. Is climate change a hoax? Not at all, it is changing, and long term we will have another ice age, but until then the increasing CO2 will stop the oncoming ice age, and even increase it  by as much as 7C in the arctic and antarctic, but only in the winter. In the summer there is no increase in temperature!

Why is that? To get the answer we must study molecular absorption spectroscopy and explain a couple of facts for the 97% of all scientists who have not studied molecular spectroscopy. IPCC and most scientists claim that the greenhouse effect is dependent on the gases that are in the atmosphere, and their combined effect is additive according to a logarithmic formula. This is true up to a certain point, but it is not possible to absorb more than 100% of all the energy available in a certain frequency band! For example: If water vapor absorbs 50% of all incoming energy in a certain band, and CO2 absorbs another 90% of the energy in the same band, the result is that 95% is absorbed, (90% + 50% * (100% – 90%)),  not 140%, (90% + 50%).

Even in Barrow, Alaska water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas. Only at the South Pole (And North Pole) does CO2 dominate (in the long winter).

All Climate models take this into account, and that is why they all predict that the major temperature increase will occur in the polar regions with melting icecaps and other dire consequences. But they also predict a uniform temperature rise from the increased forcing from CO2 and the additional water vapor resulting from the increased temperature.

This is wrong on two accounts. First, CO2 and H2O gas are nor orthogonal, that means they both absorb in the same frequency bands. There is three bands where CO2 absorb much more than H2O in the far infrared band, but other than that H2O is the main absorbent. If H2O is 80 times as common as CO2 as it is around the equator, water vapor is still the dominant absorbent.

And one more thing. Water vapor is a condensing gas, and it matters greatly whether it is in the atmosphere as a gas or in the form of a cloud. Clouds warm by night and cool by day and the cooling by day is much more than the warming by night, so it also matters greatly when clouds appear. People living in rural America know this instinctively even if they have not done the calculations. They look up and discern the sky and thank God for the clouds when they appear in the summer. In the winter that may mean even more snow. Clouds are the major temperature regulators of the earth. On the other hand people living in urban heat islands go from their air conditioned offices to their parked cars heated up in the sun so much that they get blisters when they touch the steering wheel. They are experiencing the worst of climate change, don’t look up and don’t thank God for the blisters.

We have immense environmental problems. CO2 is not one of them. There is a great need for a green new deal, but that involves cleaning up the earth, not destroying it even further. All of this takes a lot of energy. There is only one solution to this dilemma, renewables alone will not even begin to solve it, only Liquid Fluoride Thorium nuclear reactors, and in the future fusion power will have a chance to carry us through the next ice age, which will come when we have used up all available fossil fuels. We must save the bulk of it for our great grand-kids.

 

 

Teaching online at Penn State University. All real breakthroughs occur at the crossroads of science. This is an opportunity!

I have always loved to teach. I especially enjoyed the person to person contact when you tell of something and get a smile back – they got it. One of the objects of teaching the so called Capstone Course for engineers to be is to teach cross-science, for it is in the intersection between different branches of science, crafts and engineering disciplines that real breakthroughs are made. The object is to revolutionize the students thinking. Up to now they have learnt – and learnt it well – do as your teacher have taught you, and you will get an A. Any deviation is a negative – and bothersome for the teacher. This is an attempt for me to change that – even in an online session, but since there is no direct feedback, it is really an offline instruction. see what you think – did it change your thinking?

 

This tree, the green one was planted upside down. The branches became roots, the roots became branches. It is planted just east of  Penn State Main building. Think root cause analysis.

Chernobyl was a carbon moderated Nuclear reactor. Its failure mode was to go prompt critical and splat in an uncontrolled nuclear reaction. No containment vessel could contain the explosion, so why go to the extra expense of building one? Rely instead on multiple safety circuits. The night crew disabled some safety circuits to capture power on an orderly shutdown. They had never been properly trained.

The cloud. Sweden was the first to report on the accident. Two reactors shut down due to excessive radiation in the air outside the plants.

With a Molten Salt Reactor, accidents like Chernobyl are impossible. The Three Mile Island accident was bad. The Chernobyl disaster was ten million times worse. Ah yes, I remember it well.

One morning at work, after the Three Mile Island incident, but before Chernobyl a fellow co-worker, a Ph.D. Chemist working on an Electron Capture Detector containing a small amount of Nickel 63, came with a surprising question: You know nuclear science, how come the reactors in Chernobyl don’t have a containment vessel? Well – I answered, it is because they are carbon moderated and their failure mode is that they go prompt critical, and no containment vessel in the world can hold it in, so they skip it. He turned away in disgust. A few weeks later my wife’s father died, and we went to Denmark to attend the funeral. The day of the return back to the U.S. we heard that there had been a nuclear incident in Sweden, too much radiation had caused two nuclear power stations to close down. The Chernobyl disaster had happened 26 April 1986, and this was the first time anyone outside of Chernobyl has heard about it, two days later. This was still the Soviet Union, and nothing ever did go wrong in it worthy of reporting.

(But the carbon moderated Uranium reactors are the most efficient in producing Pu-239 the preferred nuclear bomb material.)

This has nothing to do with anything, but Chernobyl can be translated wormwood. It is mentioned in the Bible, Revelation 8: 10-11 “ And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

Molten Salt Thorium reactors cannot be used to supply bomb material, and they are far safer than even Light water Uranium reactors.

With Molten Salt Reactors, a catastrophe like Fukushima cannot happen.  It began with a magnitude 9.0 earthquake not far from the Fukushima 6 Nuclear reactor complex. The impact was a magnitude 6.8 earthquake and the operators immediately scrammed the safety rods to stop all the reactors. This succeeded! The reactors were designed with earthquakes in mind, and they passed the test. The backup power started up successfully so the cooling pumps could operate. There was one major problem though. The earthquake was so bad that the water in the spent fuel holding tanks splashed out and exposed the spent fuel rods to air making them emit radioactivity into the air.

The water pumps worked for a while, but then came the tsunami. All the reactors were inside a tsunami wall, so far, so good

But the fuel storage tanks for the backup power generators were outside the tsunami wall and were washed away. The batteries were only supposed to last until backup power was established, and with water circulation ended the meltdown started.

This disaster was even bigger than Chernobyl and contamination is still spreading.

In the periodic table, iron has the densest core. Fusion can occur with elements with a lower atomic number than iron, fission can begin with  with elements after lead. What happens in a supernova?

On climate change: Temp records come from boreholes, seashells, and looking at isotope variations among other sources . Of particular interest is the medieval warm period and the little ice age. How did the little ice age happen? There was no decrease in CO2 during that time.

Especially interesting is cosmic radiation that does not come from the sun. It varies a lot, and consists mostly of iron nuclei and comes from distant supernovas. There was two of them, in 1572 and 1604 A.D., both shone brighter in the sky than Venus. Since then we have not seen any supernovas anywhere nearly as bright . Did they trigger the little ice age?

A single iron nucleus can ionize thousands of air molecules, causing condensation and forming the beginning of a cloud.

The iron nuclei enter the earth’s atmosphere with a speed that exceeds the speed of light in atmosphere, causing this eerie blue light. It spreads like a sonic boom.

Cosmic radiation in the form of iron nuclei is the major source of the generation of Carbon 14. When fossil fuel is burned there is very little C14 in the CO2 generated, but if it is burned by digestion of food, by fermentation, by burning wood or by wildfire, it contains the same concentration of C14 as was in the air at the time of the generation of the biomass. Since C14 has a half life of  5700 +- 40 years, we could find out the age of that biomass – or could we?

This is one of my very favorite slides. The best way of finding out how a black body responds is by introducing an impulse and see what happens. In this case the impulse was open air Nuclear bomb tests, performed mostly by United States and the Soviet Union, but all in the Northern Hemisphere. Test stations to see the amount of C14 in the air were set up in Austria and New Zealand. What did we learn? We learn that the air mixes between the Northern and the Southern Hemisphere in about 2 years, and because the half-life of C14 shown here is 12.5 years, not 5700 years, it shows the absorption rate in the oceans. Both of these values would have been difficult if not impossible to find out without open air Nuclear tests, Were they bad? You bet, but since they happened, glean what you can from it. What else did we learn? You can no longer use carbon dating if there is any chance of chance of contamination with newer biomass, or if it is newer than 1955 A.D. Is the specimen appearing to be older or younger?

Since we have shown that the amount of C14 in the air has not been constant over time the age curve has to be calibrated. How do we do that? By using artifacts of known age.

The radioactive fallout decay from a Nuclear test occurs faster than from the Chernobyl disaster. Every nuclear fallout fingerprint is different.

A Liquid Fluoride Thorium based fast breeder nuclear reactor produces much less TRansUranium waste, 0.01% waste products compared to a Uranium-235 fast breeder. The Thorium process has a much higher efficiency of fission than  the Uranium process.

Pu = Plutonium, Am = Americum, Cm = Curium, all TRansUraniums, nasty stuff.

With Thorium based Nuclear power, there are no real problems, with traditional U235 power long tern storage is an immense and urgent problem, and has been since the 1960’s. At that time Sweden had a heavy water  U-238 nuclear power program going, but abandoned it in favor of traditional U-235 power. U.S. promised to provide the material and take care of the reprocessing and final storage of all nuclear waste at cost if Sweden joined the nuclear proliferation treaty. Reprocessing was to be done in Washington State, and one of the final storage sites mentioned was Yucca Mountain in Nevada, having the ideal Geological properties.

Time goes by and in 1982 – Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, requiring the establishment of a deep geologic repository for nuclear waste storage and isolation. Yucca Mountain was high on the list out of 9 possible sites.

Time goes by, and Congress is still not able to decide on a solution. Meanwhile, TRU’s from spent and reprocessed fuel is piling up in less than ideal locations. Thorium based nuclear power would go a long way to alleviate this problem.

Radioactive waste from an LFTR (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor)  decays down to background radiation in 300 years instead of a million years for U-235 based reactors. Initially LFTRs produce as much radioactivity as an U-235 based nuclear reactor, since fission converts mass to heat, but the decay products have a much shorter half-life.

And Fukushima is still aglow.

The first thing we must realize is that rare earth metals are not all that rare. They are a thousand times or more abundant than gold or platinum in the earth crust and easy to mine, but a little more difficult to refine. Thorium and Uranium will also be mined at the same time as the rare earth metals since they appear together in the ore.

The U.S. used to have a strategic reserve of rare earth metals, but that was sold off in 1998 as being no longer cost effective or necessary. Two years later the one U.S. rare earth metals mine that used to supply nearly the whole world, the Mountain Pass Mine in California closed down, together with its refining capacity. From that day all rare earth metals were imported. In 2010 it started up again together with the refining capacity but went bankrupt in 2015, closed down the refining but continued selling ore to China. They will start up refining again late 2020. Meanwhile China is slapping on a 25% import tariff on imported ore starting July 1 2020. Rare earth metals may be in short supply for a while.

U.S. used to be the major supplier of rare earth metals, which was fine up to around 1984. Then the U.S. regulators determined that Uranium and Thorium contained in the ore made the ore radioactive, so they decided to make rare earth metal ore subject to nuclear regulations with all what that meant for record keeping and control. This made mining in the U.S. unprofitable so in 2001 the last domestic mine closed down. China had no such scruples, such as human and environmental concerns, so they took over the rare earth metals mining and in 2010 controlled over 95% of the world supply, which was according to their long term plan of controlling the world by 2025.

 

 

Climate change is real and positive for the environment. The real challenge is clean and available water in the 10-40 region.

The safe, clean water essential to all life is rapidly running out in much of the world. Yet the politicians are concentrating on air pollution in the form of CO2 and methane as if a catastrophe is about to hit us. Western US, most of the 10-40 window (the area between the 10th and the 40th latitude), Australia and western South America are using up its safe and drinkable water supply much faster than it is replenished. In addition, what is left is getting polluted.Let me give you an anecdotal example.

More than twenty years ago I was part of a team that made wet processing equipment for making computer chip wafers. It involved cleaning and etching using isopropyl alcohol, hydrocloric, sulphuric, and hydrofluoric acid as well as Ozone, all potent stuff. To collect the used chemicals we had designed a 5-way output port, so the chemicals could be collected separately after use. The equipment was made and shipped off to South Korea. It was assembled in a brand new, state of the art positive air pressure clean room facility. The processing machine was installed by the Koreans, but under the 5-way port was a large funnel, going to the drain and directly out in the sewer.

A couple of years before, in the US we had a valve in a similar machine that sprung a leak, so a small amount of hydrofluoric acid got discharged into the sewage. This poisoned the sewage processing plant, and a large fine was levied. No such worry in Asia. The sewage went directly out in the ocean to be diluted. How could they be persuaded not to dump the alcohol and acid directly into the sewage? There were no environmental regulations prohibiting them from doing so. The only argument that persuaded them was economic. It was cheaper to collect the used alcohol and hydrofluoric acid, clean and reuse it rather than dump it. Unfortunately sulphuric acid and hydrocloric acid was too cheap to buy new, so that was still dumped. This is the mindset of many developing countries.

In China many of these facilities are inland, so large water aquifers get poisoned for centuries to come. These are the people we up to now have entrusted with our future production of just about everything, since they do not have the environmental protection laws they can produce the stuff much cheaper. But it comes at a price. The yellow river now does not anymore reach the ocean for part of the year.

As I have explained in a previous post: https://lenbilen.com/2020/02/28/climate-change-is-real-and-is-caused-by-rising-co2-levels-leading-to-less-extreme-weather-this-is-on-balance-good-for-the-environment/  global warming is real, but it only occurs in temperate regions, and predominantly in the winter. Summertime maxima are actually decreasing slightly, so the net effect of climate change is that it is positive for the environment.

Not so with water pollution. It is a much bigger and dangerous problem, and only by shifting our attention to it and from CO2 can we begin to solve it. To clean up the environment will take a lot of energy, and the only solution I see is switching our electric energy supply away from fossil fuel and to Thorium based nuclear energy. Here are

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 is 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.

Do airplane contrails cool or heat the earth? A Limerick.

The contrails we see in the sky

are bad they all say. I ask: Why?

For the contrails reflect

the sun’s rays. That effect

cools more, kiss the greenhouse goodbye.

Are airplane contrails contributing to the warming the earth?

Contrails are the condensation clouds that are formed under certain conditions,

and at certain altitudes, from jet engines.

It is true that the contrails act as another cloud, trapping the greenhouse gases under it. But that is not all there is. It matters at what time of day or night the contrails are formed. Pilots, as a rule prefer to fly by night, but people prefer to be flown by day, so most flights occur during daytime.

This is a fantastic 24 hour visualization of all flights. Most notable is that the vast majority of airplane flights occur during daytime, and occur over continental United States and Western Europe.

Contrails formed during daytime reflect incoming solar radiation back into space, and this reflection cools the surface of the earth much more than the trapping of greenhouse heat, which occurs both during day and night.

So, contrary to popular belief, contrails cool the earth.