The case for Thorium. 18. Russia has an active Thorium program.

Russia has an active Thorium program This is a self-contained Thorium Nuclear Reactor on a barge. Coolant readily available. Hoist it a couple of cables and the town to be serviced will have all the power it needs. This is especially useful in the Arctic. Russia is trying to establish Arctic domination, both commercially and militarily. They have over 30 ice breakers, some of them nuclear. U.S. has two, only one of which are operational.
Russia is also trying to commercialize hybrid fusion-fission reactors:
Nuclear Engineering International: 29 May 2018

Russia develops a fission-fusion hybrid reactor.
A new fission-fusion hybrid reactor will be assembled at Russia’s Kurchatov Institute by the end of 2018, Peter Khvostenko, scientific adviser of the Kurchatov complex on thermonuclear energy and plasma technologies, announced on 14 May. The physical start-up of the facility is scheduled for 2020.The hybrid reactor combines the principles of thermonuclear and nuclear power – essentially a tokamak fusion reactor and a molten salt fission reactor. Neutrons produced in a small tokamak will be captured in a molten salt blanket located around tokamak. The facility will use Thorium as a fuel, which is cheaper and more abundant than uranium. Moreover, unlike a fusion reactor, a hybrid will not require super high temperatures to generate energy.

  • A new paper describes computer simulations of a hybrid fusion-fission reactor that runs on thorium.
  • Thorium has benefits compared with uranium reaction and has been endorsed by Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
  • In the reactor, plasma fusion generates neutrons that fuel subsequent fission.

 

Hybrid reactors reduce the impact of the nuclear fuel cycle on the environment. The concept combines conventional fission processes and fusion reactor principles, comprising a fusion reactor core in combination with a subcritical fission reactor. The results of the fusion reaction, which would normally be absorbed by the cooling system of the reactor, would feed into the fission section, and sustain the fission process. Thorium in a molten salt blanket will enable breeding of uranium-233.

Some of the expected advantages include:

  • Utilization of actinides and transmutation from long-lived radioactive waste;
  • An increase in energy recovered from uranium by a large factor;
  • The inherent  safety of the system, which can be shut down rapidly; and
  • High burnup of fissile materials leaving few by-products.

The hybrid fission-fusion reactor is seen as a near-term commercial application of fusion pending further research on pure fusion power systems.

This is very interesting, and I will follow up when I get more information.

Another ballad of the Green Beret.

He was made in U.S.A.,
born in Kenya, what the hey.
this was all he had to say
He did hate the Green Beret.

Blamed Republicans each day,
They should shut up and obey.
Sign Iranian give-away
for he loathed the Green Beret.

He used blackmail every day
forcing Congress to obey.
make them do all he did say.
He despised the Green Beret.

ISIS did grow every day
everything he did and say.
Gave the Army no leeway.
Did not use the Green Beret.

He said ISIL all the day,
he did Israel betray.
The Levant is the whole bay
Useless was the Green Beret.

People still did hope and pray
for a while we went astray
Now he’s gone we did repay
and restore the Green Beret.

 

With new leadership in play

ISIS has been blown away.

Battle won, now come what may,

we still need the Green Beret.

 

For the vict’ry not yet won

and the fight has just begun.

We must choose November three

to preserve the Green Beret.

The case for Thorium. 7. Thorium based nuclear power is not suited for making nuclear bombs.

 Thorium based Nuclear Power does not produce much Plutonium-239, which is the preferred material used in nuclear bombs. The higher Plutonium isotopes and other TRansUraniums are about as nasty as they get, need expensive protection against terror attacks, and need to be stored for a very long time.

One anecdote from my youth. The time had come to apply to University, and to my delight I was accepted to Chalmers’ University in Sweden 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 is a non-aligned country, 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 a Thorium based nuclear reactor  produces very little Plutonium, and what it produces is nearly all Pplutonium-238, not fissile and as such 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 the safety circuit before the system safety circuit shutdown. About that time 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 a 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 detonated. 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 went on-line in 2011.

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 paid for by nuclear weapons research and development. Once all the bombs we could ever wish for were developed the greatest asset of nuclear power became its greatest liability.

The case for Thorium. 6. Radioactive waste from an Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor decays down to background radiation in 300 years compared to a million years for U-235 based reactors. A Limerick.

The nuclear waste meant for Yucca

would destine Nevada the sucka

But with Thorium we rid

us of waste that is hid

No need for that waste to be trucka!

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. See the figure below.

Where is the storage for spent nuclear fuel and other nuclear waste now? Look at the map, it is scary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And these are just the U.S. installations!

Many years ago I studied Engineering at Chalmers’ University in Sweden and I thought I would become a nuclear engineer. Sweden had at that time a peaceful heavy water based nuclear power program together with Canada and India. The advantage with heavy water as moderator is that it can use natural, un-enriched Uranium. One of the end products is of course Plutonium 239, the preferred material to make nuclear bombs, but it could also use Thorium, and the end product is then mostly Plutonium 238, used in space exploration, and we were dreaming big. One of the advantages of Thorium as fuel is that it produces about 0,01%  of trans-Uranium waste compared to Uranium as fuel. About that time the U.S. proposed we should abandon the heavy water program and switch to light water enriched Uranium based nuclear power. They would sell the enriched Uranium, and reprocess the spent fuel at cost. They also had the ideal final resting place for the radioactive waste products in Nevada. This was an offer the Swedish government could not refuse, at the height of the cold war. This was  in the 1960’s! India on the other hand did refuse, and they eventually got the nuclear bomb. Since that meant Sweden was never going to use Thorium as nuclear fuel, and I could not figure out how to get rid of all the radioactive waste products, I switched my attention back to control engineering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did President Trump mean with innovative approaches?

Is this where Thorium comes in!?

Lenin still stands in Seattle. Who would ever topple the father of the movement? A Limerick.

Old Lenin stands tall in Seattle.

He is the main source of the battle.

Meanwhile statues come down

of great men of renown.

Bewildered we look, like dumb cattle.

Over the past few weeks, scores of statues of our founding fathers and Generals,  Cristóbal Colón, Junípero Serra , and even the Pioneer and the Pioneer Mother have been toppled by rioters. They will not stop until all historic memorials are demolished, like what happened in the onset of theFrench Revolution, the Russian Revolution or the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

The death toll from the French Revolution was about 40,000, from the Russian Revolution 7 to 12 million, and from the Cultural Revolution up to 20 million, followed by the Great Leap Forward, which heralded in the Great Famine, killing another 30 Million.

These are serious times.

 

 

A swan song Ode to Nancy Pelosi

Since Nancy Pelosi again became speaker

she worked all the time to make our country weaker

Protect the deep State!

Impeach and spew hate!

As always the Democrats future looks bleaker.

When Nancy Pelosi becme speaker of the house the first time in 2007 I penned

Ode to Nancy Pelosi, Limerick style.

Since Nancy Pelosi took over the gavel 

Was our economy quick to unravel.

 She is more than bad,

The worst that we had.

We finally stopped contemplating our navel.

.

Since Nancy Pelosi took over as speaker

Our job situation has gotten much weaker

 All jobs that are lost

Since she got the post

And as for advise, shame to all who still seek her.

.

For Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader

The Chinese exploiters a life-line did feed her

Our debt load increased

Four trillions at least

We all must this fall go and vote to unseat her

.

For Nancy Pelosi, known Tea Party hater

Gets scared when the grandmothers start to berate her

It does go to show

That she doesn’t know

The Tea Party is a great hate dissipater.

Then in the 2010 election she lost the majority, which led to this verse

Oh, Nancy Pelosi, she fondly remembers,

she only lost sixty-three Democrat members.

And it doesn’t compute,

as a leader astute?

Her party is burning, it’s ashes and embers!

But in 2018, at the age of 78, the Democrats again gained control of the House of Representatives and reelected Nancy Pelosi as speaker, which led to this verse, being much the same as the top verse of this ode.

When Nancy Pelosi again became speaker,

the ravage of time showed it made her much weaker

and how nervous she looked

for her goose is soon cooked.

The Democrats future is looking much bleaker.

 

 

Blue State, Red State. How do they protect their nursing home population, and do they care?

How do Red States take care of their most vulnerable population as opposed to Blue States. There are two outstanding states, Red State Alaska and Blu state Hawaii, both with zero deaths from COVID-19 in their Long Term Care homes.

After that we can see that the difference in deaths as a percentage of all deaths in their state is not that great, except that all states where over 80% of all Corona virus deaths in nursing homes and other LTC facilities are all Blue States.

The New York statistics are misleading, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order forcing nursing homes to take in COVID patients, and when they were to ill they were taken to hospitals, died and were not counted as LTC patients any more. New Jersey more or less copied the New York order. Pennsylvania did likewise, but the health secretary Rachel Levine ralized what was happening and took her own mother out of her nursing home. Michigan had a special problem, too many COVID patients in greater Detroit nursing homes, but extra capacity in Northern Michigan, so she transferred Covid patients up north to even out the COVID load. These were all deeds of Democrat Governors.

Here is the table, per state. Three states have not reported yet.

…………………………………….Deaths                                                                     Deaths

………………………………….per       as                                                                    per       as

……………….Trump      10,000  percentage                                 Clinton  10,000 percent

State          Plurality   LTC       of all deaths          State          Plurality LTC   of deaths

Wyoming       47.6%        12     28.6%              D. C.                       88.7%         xx    34.3%

West Virginia 42.2%       38      56.6%             Hawaii                    32.2%          0        0%

Oklahoma       36.4%       72      53.8%              California              28.8%       88    43.5%

North Dakota 36.3%       46       77%                 Vermont               28.5%        52     50%

Idaho               31.6%        42       57.1%            Massachusetts     27.3%     796    62.2%

Kentucky         29.8%       80       57.4%            Maryland              25.2%       326   54.7%

South Dakota 29.8%         xx      xx                   New York            21.3%       265   13.8%

Alabama          28.3%       82       44.4%            Washington         16.2%       103    61.1%

Arkansas          26.6%       19      35.9%             Illinois                   16.0%      309    52.1%

Nebraska         26.3%        39      48.4%            Rhode Island        15.6%      515    81.8%

Tennessee       26.2%        32     39.7%             Connecticut         13.3%       808    48.2%

Kansas              21.0%        36     51.2%             New Jersey          13.2%       866    42.2%

Montana         20.0%           7     35.3%             Delaware             11.5%       407     62.8%

Louisiana         19.7%        385   39.9%             Oregon                 10.6%         28     57%

Indiana            19.3%        178    47.8%             New Mexico         8.3%        168     45%

Missouri          19’1%        xx            xx               Virginia               4.9%        176    56.4%

Mississippi      18.6%        198    50.6%             Colorado               2.8%        210    49.4%

Utah                 18.1%          42     42.5%            Nevada                  2.4%        107    26.1%

Alaska                15.2%        0          o%               Maine                    1.8%          29    54.7%

South Carolina 14.1%         83    43.9%             Minnesota          1.5%         109    81.4%

Iowa                    9,6%       107     48.4%            New Hampshire    0.4%     180     81.9%

Texas                   9.2%        66      45.8%

Ohio                    8.6%       144     70.5%

Georgia               5.7%       176     48.8%

Arizona               4.1%        145     55.3%

North Carolina   3.8%         76      47.8%

Florida                 1.3%         84      49.3%

Pennsylvania      1.2%       305    67.4%

Wisconsin           1.0%         47    41.7%

Michigan              0.3%        xx     xx

 

How to make misleading headlines while presenting facts, an example from PEW Research. A Limerick

A misleading headline from PEW

will fool you, and yet it is true.

If it’s stated as fact

it will make you react

if said without hullabaloo

The chart explains beautifully how the death rates have come down in Democratic districts and been more stable in Republican district.

Another, more descriptive headline would be: The death rate from COCID-19 in Democratic districts is improving. In mid April it used to be 3.7 times worse  than the death rate in Republican districts. It is now only 2.4 times worse.

Both statements are true, and both are partisan.

The PEW Research Center prides itself of being non-partisan. Here is their mission statement: We generate a foundation of facts that enriches the public dialogue and supports sound decision-making. We are nonprofit, nonpartisan and nonadvocacy. We value independence, objectivity, accuracy, rigor, humility, transparency and innovation.

A final? verse on the Obama impeachment song; the new hashtag #obamagate, remember it before it is taken down.

Yesterday I learned a new word, obamagate, to compare the coup attempt against President Donald Trump with Richard Nixon’s “Third rate burglary” , called Waterecause gate.

It quickly caught on, and at 9 am today had 3. 43 million tweets. Since then it is diminishing fast:

The time for impeachment is over, but here is verse 100 to the Obama impeachment song: (Obama singing)

Twitter trends: ‘Obamagate’

Please take it down, it’ll seal my fate.

All because of my Trump hate;

the coup failed, and now it is checkmate.

the other 99 verses here

May 10, read through the Holy Bible in a year in Power-point, with comments.

Today we continue with one chapter in the Acts of the Apostles and two chapters in 2 Samuel.

May 10: Acts 21, 2 Samuel 17, 2 Samuel 18 (click on the chapter to begin reading)

Acts 21. On the way to Jerusalem Paul was warned everywhere by the Holy Spirit not to go, but Paul continued unmoved, and people finally gave up, saying ‘The Lord’s will be done’. Paul was urged to make peace and purify himself with four other Jews that had taken a vow, which he did. A mob was stirred up anyway and Paul was arrested in the Temple. Because Paul was a Roman citizen he was allowed to address the Jerusalem mob.

2 Samuel 17 tells of the advice of Hushai to Absalom. Hushai also warned David to escape, which he did, and some people provided food and supplies for David and his men.

2 Samuel 18. Absalom suffered an inglorious death (read about it). David heard of Absalom’s death and mourned for Absalom.