the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Time Travel

Posted by Jeff Id on July 30, 2013

Well, I’m not really interested in replacing coal plants as our eco-nazi climate science community would have us do, but there are a bunch of forms of nuclear power which are viable replacements and this one is fairly interesting to me.   A smaller modular plant produced in a factory using the latest passive cooling safety features.   The idea seems quite viable, excepting the strong anti-anything-that-actually-works stances which EPA enviro’s regularly spout.   I like it because it is a simple step forward in production relative to already existing fission technologies.   No giant leaps here, yet many of the bigger problems with running ancient 50 year old plants are addressed.    Honestly, I don’t like living next to 1950’s fission technology being deliberately held on the continual edge of a cascade failure by 1970’s electronics.  I’m not afraid of it, it just doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense that we can’t build new ones which use passive cooling and better reaction control geometries .

Modular in-factory construction gives repeatable plants:

B&W has taken the lead in the development of SMRs with its mPower design. Eighty-five feet tall and 13 feet wide, it incorporates several systems into one unit. The unit is built in a factory, instead of in the field, and then shipped to the site on a truck.

The costs seem to line up better as well:

The technology, called “small modular reactors,” will be the centerpiece of an entirely new way of thinking about nuclear power. They are much smaller than what traditionally has been built in this country — producing about one-sixth the power. They’ll also cost less — about $1 billion-2 billion apiece, compared with $10 billion-$15 billion for a large plant.

It is asstoundingly (2 ss’s) anti-science to believe that wind, biofuel, solar or gas are the long-term future of power in this world.   There isn’t enough of it available for it to be the primary energy source in 1000 years (without giving up huge land masses) and we have mountains of fossil fuels available in the short term.  Fortunately for us, if the dirt in tAV readers smallest yard were converted to energy, we would have enough power to run the entire planet for eons.

There are  9.0 × 1016 Joules of  energy in every kilogram of mass.  All mass is created equal so whatever matter you chose as fuel, it does not matter which matter is THE matter.  In our modern vernacular, the unit of choice for a kilogram of energy is a “shit-ton”.  Kiloton or Megaton of TNT are the old units.   One kiligram of mass is 21 megatons (millions of tons) of TNT.   The largest nuclear bomb ever built was made by Russia at somewhere around 56Megatons, or 2Kg of mass-to-energy conversion.   In other words, if you put the atoms of the atomic bomb back together a year later, you would be missing about 2.7 kg worth of photons!

Tsar photo11.jpg

That’s a lot but how much does Earth use each year?
From this link 143.851PWh were used in 2008, which is peta-Watt Hours or 143e15 Watt-hours.   A Watt is a joule per second and there are 3600 seconds in an hour so the total PWH consumed is equal to 5.17e20 Joules per year which is in turn equal to 5,754Kg of actual mass converted to energy each year.  That is not a hell of a lot of dirt but without human intervention, the planet would be heavier than it currently is by that amount per year.   I suppose the eco-morons in charge of our globe who still read here, are now considering the addition of “gravity loss” to the list of human sins.
It is simply anti-science to not realize that we humans will be on some form of energy which releases a higher percentage of mass conversion than chemical (solar powered) reactions.   Call it “nuclear power” in whatever form of mass conversion we find equitable.   You can’t stop capitalism, you can’t stop evolution (in whatever direction mathematically indicated) and you can’t stop energy use.  People need.  People will get. etc..  Governments will optimize to their own desires in the meantime.
We already know the future direction energy production must take.  Still, the governmental “man behind the curtain” will spend our wealth endlessly to make it appear as though they direct our energy future.   It is the much depreciated ‘GOD of Physics’ whom has Decreed to humanity that we WILL arrive to the same nuclear energy destination with or without any of the goverment’s eco-wise distractions.
If I were to guess, the change to non-chemical from the various solar energy forms will happen through cost considerations — and sooner rather than later.

32 Responses to “Time Travel”

  1. Oliver Manuel said

    Thanks, Jeff, glad to know you are alive and writing rational information.

    I am absolutely certain mankind will use nuclear energy and advance or perish trying to return to the green womb birthplace of mankind.


    1. Use nuclear waste as a concentrated form of energy

    2. Do not allow nuclear waste to be dumped under Yukka mountain, under ground or anyplace else where you will not know if it starts leaking out of encapsulation.

    3. Forgive scientists that misrepresented nuclear energy after WWII to try to save the world from nuclear annihilation.

    4. Accept that theoretical physics is a sophisticated form of self- deception.

    Although I didn’t know it, my entire scientific career was spent trying to “leak” info past the gatekeepers.

    See message sent to the Space Science & Technology Committee of the House of Representatives on 17 July 2013:

    Click to access Creator_Destroyer_Sustainer_of_Life.pdf

    With kind regards, – Oliver K. Manuel Former NASA Principal Investigator for Apollo

    Sent from my iPhone

    • omanuel said

      There are encouraging indications that neutron-repulsion is about to be recognized as the source of energy in neutron stars:

      Then it may be grasped that

      1. The exchange of
      _ a.) Uncharged pions between like nucleons generates a repulsive force, and
      _ b.) Charged pions between unlike nucleons generates an attractive force

      2. Neutron stars are hydrogen generators at the cores of ordinary stars that
      _ a.) Release ~10-20 MeV by neutron emission
      _ b.) Release 0.782 MeV by neutron decay, and
      _ c.) May release ~7 MeV by H-fusion, depending on the state of stellar evolution

      Thanks, Jeff, for all you have done to restore sanity to society and for avoiding the self-delusion trap of theoretical physics.

      All is well,
      – Oliver

      PS – The greatest danger to society now is disintegration of social order and retaliation against politicians and scientists for deceiving the public for sixty eight years (2013 – 1945 = 68 yrs) about nuclear energy in order to save the world from nuclear annihilation.

    • omanuel said

      Addendum to Recommendations:

      5. Future engineering should be consistent with this harsh reality: 99.99% of the time Earth is heated by waste products that accumulated at the top of the Sun’s photosphere. Plant life uses that energy for photosynthesis. But occasionally we can expect high energy gamma and cosmic rays, generated by deep-seated magnetic fields from the superconducting iron-rich mantle or the Sun’s pulsar core, to protrude through and knock out living and electrical systems that are not shielded deep underground, under water, or on the opposite side of the Earth when the solar pulse reaches planet Earth.

  2. M Simon said

    I like Polywell Fusion – still in the lab stage. It burns B11. There is enough known B11 on the planet to supply the energy needs for 10K to 100K years. And you could make very nice rockets with the design. Mars in 10 to 20 days.

    • Brian H said

      Re: M Simon (Jul 30 21:55),
      Not tea bags, but pretty much a black box at the moment. For a better and wide-open project, best results in the world to date, check out Focus Fusion at .
      The numbers are delicious. 5MW generators, prefab, for <$300K, power at <0.5¢/kWh. Also based on p-B11 fusion.

  3. Rod Adams works for B&W:

    Building small nuclear reactors in factories and delivering them to site on a couple of semis is the way to go. Electricity generation is distributed so that high voltage ditribution systems are less critical than they are today.

    When power generation is ditributed over many small plants, blackouts like those that occured in 1997 and 2003 will happen less often and they will affect far fewer people:

    Small reactors can be built into ships that can be moored near coastal cities around the world. Given that we produced more than 10 “Liberty Ships” per week during WWII I believe we could build two 200 MW “Power Ships” per day so as to bring electric power to the “Have Nots” in short order. While that won’t be enough to keep up with demand there are many other countries capable of helping.

    While the concept is wonderful it has no future here in the USA thanks to the loony greenies who control the EPA and DoE.

  4. Jeff,
    The numbers you quote for building large plants in the USA are highly inflated. Westinghouse AP1000s can be built for $2 billion. Amortizing this over the 40 plus year life of the reactor works out at $0.012 per kWh.

    Molten Salt Reactors can be built for much less than $2 per Watt as there is no need for elaborate containment structures. Such “Generation IV” reactors have the ability to “Burn” the “Nuclear Waste” that was destined for Yucca mountain while releasing 100 times more energy than the Generation I & II reactors produced from the same material. Enjoy this video:

    • omanuel said

      Thanks, Galloping, for the information.

      Engineering is not my expertise, but I seriously doubt if all nuclear waste can be burned away in the newer reactors.

      But nuclear waste can be contained and used as a concentrated form of energy. If that were done, any failure in the containment could be detected and fixed.

      Again, the main flaw in our use of nuclear energy has been our unwillingness to use the nuclear waste as a concentrated source of energy.

      Oliver K. Manuel

    • omanuel said

      The video seems to be a mix of factual information with propaganda. To sell nuclear energy, we need only factual information.

      E.g., is the Th reactor based on fission of U-233? Th is monoisotopic Th-232 and will not fission on neutron-capture.


      • There are some things in Kirk Sorensen’s video that might make a scientist like yourself squirm. Kirk know’s better but he is trying to render a difficult subject understandable to the general public.

        Geoff Russell is an engineer. I strongly recommend his four part write up on nuclear waste at “Brave New Climate”. There is some science in his guest posts that you may find interesting. Japanese researchers have estimated the heat generated by radioactive decay inside our planet using the KAMLAND anti-nuetrino detector:

        With regard to the practicality of consuming nuclear waste in reactors my colleagues at TUNL (Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory) tested an ADN (Accelerator Driven Reactor) built By Charlie Bowman. It worked. Follow up studies were done at Los Alamos and Virginia Tech, Blacksburg:

        While ADNs have many excellent features, molten salt reactors are cheaper and therefore more likely to be built on the huge scale needed to consume the ~80,000 tonnes of “Nuclear Waste” produced in the USA over the last 40 years. Burning that over the next 40 years would imply 2,000 tonnes per year which is enough to generate 2,000 GW of electric power or roughly twice the current generating capacity of the USA.

        Let’s get started; it is going to take a while!


      • omanuel said

        Thanks, Galloping. I too have worked with extremely high levels of radiation and served on Radiation Safety Committees for nuclear reactors at the University of Missouri.

        Mankind will return to the nucleus for energy because that is where energy (E) is stored as mass (m) against repulsive forces between neutrons in cores of

        1. Heavy actinide elements – like Th, U and Pu – that were originally synthesized by rapid neutron capture
        2. Planets like Jupiter and Saturn that formed from H,C,N-rich material in the outer layer of the supernova
        3. Ordinary stars like the Sun that generate and discard H by neutron-emission followed by neutron-decay
        4. AGN (active galactic nuclei) that continue to fragment into galaxies of stars

        If we renew the use of nuclear energy, we must avoid the promotional sales of those seeking to maximize profits for the nuclear power plants by

        5. Using only the most accessible energy
        6. Storing the waste products for the next generation to dispose
        7. Keeping the public uninformed about inexpensive monitors of nuclear radiation

        We must also insist that leaders of the scientific community cease using public funds to support false models of stars and nuclei proposed by

        8. Fred Hoyle, “The chemical composition of the stars,” Monthly Notices Royal Astronomical Society 106, 255-259 (1946); “The synthesis of elements from hydrogen,” ibid, 343-383 (1946), and
        9. Hideki Yukawa, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (1946); Introduction to the Theory of Elementary Particles (1948)

        I.e., humans must abandon their talents for deception if mankind is to advance.

    • omanuel said

      I will gladly endorse, and work for, anything that will allow mankind to use nuclear energy.

      Why? That is where energy (E) is stored as mass (m).

      I will not be part of any deceptive, half-truths designed to obscure the dangers of radioactivity.

      Life evolved in the presence of radiation, it cannot be detected by our sense organs. Therefore misinformation about nuclear radiation is especially repugnant.

      I.e., the only source of energy that will allow humans to continue on the evolutionary path will also require mankind to abandon deception as a socially acceptable tool for short term advantage. The operators of nuclear power plants and politicians must abandon their talents for deception.

      Is that possible?

  5. eqibno said

    I like the safety and availability aspects of the LSRs. Not a continuing revenue stream for the Uranium yellow-cake gang, however.
    It was all part of the plan until the 1970s and RMN.
    Good ideas often get squelched because they threaten someone’s special interest. The common weal, should be the controlling factor.

    • omanuel said

      The problem is not technology. The problem is mankind’s devious nature in trying to gain an advantage by being less than candid.

      I do not know the reactions involved in LSR’s. Please list them.


      • This Joe Bonametti video is five years old but it does cover the LFTR reactions

        As far as I know, no full scale reactor based on the Thorium cycle has been built whereas several Uranium cycle reactors were built starting in the early 1950s using the molten fluoride salt NaF-ZrF4-UF4. These early reactors could not “Burn” the U238 that made up the bulk of the fuel mass but they did demonstrate some interesting features including rapid start up and shut down.

        I hope this helps.

        • Anonymous said

          The UK Atomic E Authority looked at Thorium in MS Reactors but concluded that the perpetual chemical separation/refinement process would be too costly. Thorium in conventional fuel rods or graphite “pebbles” sounds doable with current tech.

    • Governments around the world are focusing on the wrong problem. They want to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere so they want to tax emissions.

      What they should be taxing is “Nuclear Waste”. When you tax something you get less of it.

      I recommend a tax of $20,000,000 per tonne of nuclear waste produced and a tax credit of the same amount for every tonne that is “Burned”. In short order you would have investors standing in line to build MSRs.

      This tax policy would reduce the amount of nuclear waste and CO2 at the same time. Such incentives are much fairer than “Targeted Incentives” epitomized by the $500 million given to Solyndra.

      “Targeted Incentives” = Corruption.

      • Taxing is not the solution in my humble opinion. Empowering people to use the material without mountains of red tape is the more likely answer. We can’t build nuclear plants because the greens won’t allow it, and for some reason it is popular to listen to the anti-science morons.

      • omanuel said


        1. Engineering cannot be more reliable than the science on which it is based
        2. Post-1945 physical sciences were compromised to obscure nuclear energy
        3. Your tax polices would be helpful after basic integrity is restored to science

        Almost every field of physical science has been corrupted for the past sixty-eight years to hide the source of energy that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 & 9 Aug 1945:

        A. Neutrons repel, rather than attract, other neutrons
        B. The Sun produces, rather than consumes, hydrogen

        These empirical facts falsify the post-1945 consensus models of cores of atoms and stars. Failure to correct these basic flaws in science will leave social organizations vulnerable to random, rude awakenings to reality at any time in the future, as happened when violent solar eruptions:

        o Disrupted telegraph systems around the world on 1 September 1859 [1]
        o Bombarded Earth with a high dose of cosmic radiation in about AD 775 [2]

        [1] Stuart Clark, The Sun Kings: The unexpected tragedy of Richard Carrington and the tale of how
        modern astronomy began
        (Princeton University Press, 2007) 224 pages

        [2] I. G. Usoskin, B. Kromer, F. Ludlow, J. Beer, M. Friedrich, G. A. Kovaltsov, S. K. Solanki and L.
        Wacker, “The AD775 cosmic event revisited: The Sun is to blame,” Astronomy & Astrophysics
        552, L3 (2013):

  6. tchannon said

    Never was a technical problem.

    There is nuclear energy until the sun dies, we move or move the earth.

    Hot fusion is just a matter of do it but I doubt I will live to see first power art, about 2030 at today’s pace, slowly toward getting first power reactor. I’ll be writing an article on some of this soon.

    • You usually make sense but this comment does not.

      • tchannon said

        The bar on the usage of nuclear energy is in the human mind, not technical bars. A lot of this originates from now admitted propagandising fear over nuclear war. At this point I could but don’t want to invoke hot comment. Accept there is bad history and self evident widespread reaction in non-technical people.

        There is sufficient fuel for >1e9 years. As best we know the sun will alter and make the earth uninhabitable. Survival of the species means moving.

        Fission nuclear is a stopgap. (nothing wrong with that, stepping stones)

        Cold fusion has never been shown valid but hot fusion has gone to positive yield in a research reactor vessel without power extraction. I take that as proof of concept. A relatively recent move is deciding to use the original research reactor (JET) to carry out the first phase of construction materials research before the first new device is built (ITER).

        The initial power devices are conceptually simple intending to get an 8:1 yield and use conventional steam plant.

        It is clear that governments are in no rush, no panic to get moving, notably there is recognition going too slowly was a mistake because the only experts are retiring and dying, they have to create successors. A web site root

        I hope that makes sense.

        • omanuel said

          Thanks for the message.

          Yes, life is like a path of stepping stones. We can safely use fission to solve the current needs for energy with knowledge we have, provided that we stop using science as a tool of false propaganda.

          Tomorrow we may use new knowledge to solve increased energy demands for the next century.

  7. page488 said

    What’s the best current option for personal energy – heating, cooling and lighting one’s own home?

    • Jeff Condon said

      Use anything you like, the lowest cost possible, as long as it creates zero inconvenience for you.

      Burn as much as you can. Every scientific observation points to the CO2 problem being a non-issue.

  8. curious said


  9. I have never understood why we do not exploit for civilian use the technology and knowledge base developed for our nuclear Navy.

    Hi Jeff! I’m back from Shanghai for a few weeks so I can finally see your blog. I’m glad I wasn’t here to discuss your previous two posts… 😉

    • Hey, the last post I understand. It is a bit of a rant. A correct rant, but still a rant. The one before though shouldn’t be too offensive your nature.

      Welcome back to the USSA.

      Was the food as awesome as I remember?!

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