The ten most attractive countries to invest in, and the ten worst.

Daniel Altman’s 2015 list of investment attractiveness by country is out. The ranking is based on an index for baseline profitability that assumes that three factors affect the ultimate success of a foreign investment: how much the value of an asset grows; the preservation of that value while the asset is owned; and the ease of repatriation of proceeds from selling the asset. The index combines measures for each of these factors into a summary statistic that conveys a country’s basic attractiveness for investment. Daniel Altman is the creator of the index and an Adjunct Professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, in the Foreign Policy magazine.

How did it go? India jumped from number 6 to first, and Hong Kong, the 2014 leader slumped to the 11th position.

The list of the top ten is surprising, at least to a person unaccustomed to foreign investing.

1. India.

2. Qatar

3. Botswana.

4. Singapore.

5. Ghana.

6 Malaysia.

7. Mongolia.

8. Rwanda.

9. Zambia.

10. Sri Lanka.

How did the U.S.A. do? it came in as number 50 dropping 24 positions from 2014, when it came in as number 26.profitabilityindex

China dropped to number 65, down from number 60 in 2014.

And who are the ten worst countries to invest in? (The list only has 110 countries, so Iran, Cuba  and North Korea  among others are not included.)

101. Nigeria.

102. Belarus.

103. Italy.

104. Papua New Guinea.

105. Russia.

106. Lebanon.

107. Angola.

108. Dem. Rep. of Congo.

109. Argentina.

110. Venezuela.

The Hindu Digest added a nice picture to brag about the great progress India has made since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister.



Nuclear Power. Why we chose Uranium over Thorium and ended up in this mess. Time to clean up.

I was born in Sweden, on the beautiful west coast where fishing was a way of life, the sunsets magnificent in the summer and the sailing around the skerries and in the fjords could never be forgotten. On the West Coast is also the second largest Swedish city, Gothenburg, home of the famous Chalmers’ Technical University. The year was 1948 and the Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl had made his famous “Kon-Tiki  expedition” sailing on a balsa raft from South America to Polynesia.

Apr 30 is the official day to celebrate the arrival of spring in Sweden and Chalmers celebrates it in its own way with a parade somewhat like the Mardi Gras parade in Latin countries. I was there as a 6 year old lad when the float with a rather imaginative copy of the Kon-Tiki raft rattled by. I say rattled, for a galvanized wash tub was hooked up in the back with a rope and it made a loud metallic noise going down the cobblestones. This was the greatest thing I had seen or heard, so I decided right then and there to become a Chalmerist.

Sweden is a beautiful country with clean and abundant water, beautiful forests, a coast line full of small islands and fertile valleys, where the long summer days provide enough growing season to ensure good harvests. The nature is fragile, sensitive to acid rain and pollution. As I grew up I noticed a sharp deterioration in the water quality, there was too much nitrogen in the lakes, “we are fertilizing or lakes on average four times as much as our land” was a quote that stuck in my mind. The acid rain that came in from England and Germany killed the trouts in the cold mountain lakes, and algae bloom took out the oxygen in the larger lakes. In addition we had been treating our seed with Mercury, so carnivorous birds and animals were threatened with extinction.

The time came to apply to University, and to my delight I was accepted to Chalmers’ as a Technical Physics major. I felt, maybe I can do my part by becoming a Nuclear Engineer and help solve the energy needs of the future. The Swedes at that time championed the heavy water – natural Uranium program together with the Canadians. Sweden was at that time non-aligned, so it was not privy to any atomic secrets, it had to go it alone. They settled on the heavy water moderated natural Uranium process because Sweden had an ambition to produce its own nuclear bomb. Officially this was never talked about, and I was not aware of it at that time. They could have gone with Thorium instead, but Thorium produces very little Plutonium, and what it produces is PU-238, not suitable for bomb making.

I was excited to learn about all the possibilities and signed up for a couple of nuclear classes. One lab was to design a safety circuit, then run the heavy water research reactor critical and hopefully watch the reactor shut down from your circuit, not the safety shutdown. Then the word came that U.S. will sell partially enriched uranium at bargain basement prices if Sweden agreed to abandon the heavy water project and sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, a treaty being formulated by U.N.

Sweden was in awe about U.N, all the problems of the world were to be solved through it, and it had such capable General Secretary in Dag Hammarskjöld, a Swede. I looked at the light water, partially enriched  Uranium nuclear power plants being developed and decided to have no part with it, not due to safety concerns but it was the design that produced the most nuclear waste of any of the available designs. At that time there was still optimism that fusion would be ready by about the year 2010 or so. The cost of maintaining spent fuel in perpetuity was never considered, so light water reactors became the low cost solution.

India on the other hand refused to join the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, kept their heavy water program going and had by 1974 produced enough plutonium for one nuclear bomb, which they promptly exploded.  They still use heavy water moderated reactors, but since India is low on Uranium but rich in Thorium they have now converted one heavy water reactor to thorium with a Plutonium glow plug. It is set to go on-line in 2011. (1)

They are also developing  molten salt Thorium reactors, but full production is still a few years off.

There we have it. We could have gone with Thorium from the beginning, but the cold war was on, and the civilian peaceful use of nuclear energy was still all about nuclear weapons. Once all the bombs we could ever need were developed the greatest asset of nuclear power became its greatest liability.

We need to start over with Thorium, producing 0.01% of the long term wastes of other processes. There is enough Thorium around to last a million years at today’s cost. They can be built and produce energy for about 60% of the cost of a light water plant, and the total cost of ownership is even less since it produces and consumes its own fuel as you go. We will run out of just about every other ore long before then.

As time goes by, garbage dumps will look more and more attractive, having batteries, Mercury lamps, poisons galore, but also useful stuff capable of producing energy and fuel for transportation.  There are ongoing plans to convert garbage to jet fuel is taking place(2)

The future will need more energy to clean up the mess we’ve gotten  ourselves into.  Thorium is one part of the answer. Wind and solar are only blips on the energy chart, ethanol made from corn or other edible sources should be done away with, other biofuels can only do so much. Nuclear will have to play an increased role. Go Thorium!

• (1) India has a vision of becoming a world leader in nuclear technology due to its expertise in fast reactors and thorium fuel cycle. India’s Kakrapar-1 reactor is the world’s first reactor which uses thorium rather than depleted uranium to achieve power flattening across the reactor core. India, which has about 25% of the world’s thorium reserves, is developing a 300 MW prototype of a thorium-based Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR). The prototype is expected to be fully operational by 2011, following which five more reactors will be constructed. Considered to be a global leader in thorium-based fuel, India’s new thorium reactor is a fast-breeder reactor and uses a plutonium core rather than an accelerator to produce neutrons. As accelerator-based systems can operate at sub-criticality they could be developed too, but that would require more research. India currently envisages meeting 30% of its electricity demand through thorium-based reactors by 2050.

(2)(Feb 18, 2010) British Airways has announced plans to source a part of its fuel supplies from waste municipal waste to fuel plant. The company plans to procure 16 million gallons of green jet fuel annually from the Solena plant that would come up in London. The plant which is expected to come online in 2014 would convert 50,000 tonnes of municipal waste into jet-grade fuel. The volume of fuel supplied initially would be 2 percent of the total fuel consumption of British Airways. This would cut down on the carbon emissions generated due to the conventional jet fuel, kerosene.

Energy from Thorium. Save 500 Million from the Budget now!

Here is an idea on how to save money that comes from the Thorium community on how to save more than 500 million dollars in the federal budget and energy, scientific and medical benefits as a bonus.(1)

The situation:  The Department of Energy has 1400 Kg Uranium-233 stored at Oak Ridge National Lab. They are in process of downgrading it to natural uranium by downblending it with depleted uranium. They need 200 tons of depleted uranium to do the task, rendering it unusable for anything.

The decommissioning was approved in 2003 and to date 130 million has been spent, but the actual downblending hasn’t even started yet.

Proposal 1. Sell it to India which has an active Thorium nuclear reactor program. There it can be used as a fuel producing an estimated 600 million dollars worth of electricity. India is building full scale Thorium reactors. India would be an ideal partner for cooperation in future of nuclear power generation.

Proposal 2. Stop the decommissioning immediately. Build our own Thorium Nuclear Reactor and over time get 600 million dollars worth of electric power and 45g of Plutonium-238. We are out of Pu-238 and can do no more planetary exploration satellites (3).

All  deep space satellites all had Pu-238 power sources. Only Russia has Pu-238 left, and the U.S. is banking on getting it for a friendship price. In addition there are significant unique medical applications in treatment of cancer that can be obtained by radiation from byproduct of the Thorium process. Below are pictures of the Thorium process and what a Thorium Power plant might look like. (4)








Robert Gibbs in Indian fight. A Limerick.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is known for sparring with White House reporters, making for what often seems like an antagonistic mood in the briefing room. But during President Obama’s trip to India, Gibbs assumed the role of press advocate and threatened to pull Obama out of bilateral talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmoham Singh because three U.S. reporters were blocked from covering the meeting. Indian officials would only let in five reporters into Hyderabad House in New Delhi instead of the agreed-upon eight. The Washington Post’s Scott Wilson—who was on White House pool duty today and filed the report for the White House press corps—wrote that “Gibbs announced loudly and persistently on steps of Hyderabad House that he would pull” President Obama out of the meeting “unless ‘the White House 8′ as we’ve come to be known, were all allowed in.” As the discussion continued, Gibbs grew more animated. “At one point, Gibbs literally had his foot lodged in the closing front door, asking if the Indian security officials pushing hard to shut it were going to break his foot,” Wilson continued. “More angry words ensued, and after Gibbs convinced them, through high volume and repetition, that he was serious about pulling [President Obama]” the press secretary had the security retinue’s full attention. And Gibbs’ intervention worked; the Indian officials eventually allowed the full American press delegation into the event, along with a larger group of Indian reporters. (Photo: AP)

Gibbs finally did get a foot in the door

 that gave his 8 cohorts a seat on the floor.

The Indians were miffed.

Was Robert Gibbs piffed?

He did fight the Indians, It’s been done before.

Obama to India for 200 million a day. A Limerick.

Proverbs 11:29 (King James Version) He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.

What was President Barack Obama doing after his Democrat Party got a shellacking on Election Day? He got out of the country! Nov 5 2010 Obama left for India on a ten-day tour ending in South Korea, costing us taxpayers some $200 Million dollars a day! Obama was bringing an entourage of 3,000 people with him. Obama’s trip to India  included a visit to Taj Mahal. A total of 40 jetliners hauled Obama, family, friends and staff. They rented the entire Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel, all 570 rooms! He was even bringing his teleprompters with him!

This calls for a Limerick!

Obama skipped town, went away down to India

to teach those poor folks how to use multimedia.

Teleprompters in tow

prevents gaffes in a row.

With wasting like this we’ll inherit the wind – yeah.