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Happy Holidays

A message from Tom Blees, the president of The Science Council for Global Initiatives

This past year has been exciting and productive for SCGI. As we enter 2013 there are three countries looking seriously at building PRISM reactors, at least one of which is expected to make that decision next year. Since the PRISM (the reactor portion of an Integral Fast Reactor) is designed to be mass-produced in modules, once the first one is up and running it will take little time to put a supply chain in place and begin to deploy them in large numbers. The leaders of utility companies in both the USA and elsewhere have told me, "We'll buy the second one!" Now it looks like, at long last, somebody is going to be willing to build the first.

This year we also discovered two individuals, working independently yet coincidentally only a few hours from each other in Minnesota and Iowa, who seem to have worked out elegant solutions to zero-emission vehicles. Both of them will be joining SCGI soon, and we look forward to introducing our readers and supporters to their technologies and their progress toward commercialization.

We're also expecting to see the new AC plasma torches being built, tested, and prepared for manufacture in 2013. These torches will allow the global deployment of plasma converter technology to solve the pressing problem of waste disposal and enable comprehensive recycling without any reliance on human behavior (no more sorting your trash).

In early October of this year, SCGI sponsored its first international conference, with nine countries represented. The focus was on cooperation to build and deploy fast reactors, which have the capability to provide all the clean energy humanity requires with sufficient fuel already out of the ground to power the planet for hundreds of years. The white paper that was published after the conference has already generated considerable interest and attention around the world (it can be downloaded here). Please consider sharing it with friends and colleagues.

SCGI is proud to be on the cutting edge of technologies that hold the promise of an environmentally-benign future of energy abundance for all people. We thank all of you for your encouragement and support, especially those whose generous contributions make it possible for us to continue our work for the benefit of all mankind. We hope you'll consider supporting SCGI financially, for it is only through the donations of those who share our vision that we are able to continue this work. As the tax year comes to an end, please consider sending a tax-deductible donation, no matter how small, to SCGI, and join with us to implement actual solutions to some of the world's most difficult challenges.

Happy holidays to all, and may next year be an exciting one for all of us.

Tom Blees
President, The Science Council for Global Initiatives

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New generation of nuclear reactors consume radioactive waste as fuel

The new 'fast' plants could provide enough low-carbon electricity to power the UK for more than 500 years

Duncan Clark, guardian.co.uk, Thursday 2 February 2012 07.56 EST

A new generation of nuclear reactors could consume Britain's radioactive waste. Photograph: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty images




















A new generation of nuclear reactors could consume Britain's radioactive waste.
Photograph: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty images

A generation of "fast" nuclear reactors could consume Britain's radioactive waste stockpile as fuel, providing enough low-carbon electricity to power the country for more than 500 years, according to figures confirmed by the chief scientific adviser to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc).

Britain's large stockpile of nuclear waste includes more than 100 tonnes of plutonium and 35,000 tonnes of depleted uranium. The plutonium in particular presents a security risk as a potential target for terrorists and will cost billions to dispose of safely. The government is currently considering options for disposing of or managing it.

Read more...

 

Burning energy questions – ERoEI, desert solar, oil replacements, realistic renewables and tropical islands

Late last year, Tom Blees, I and a few other people from the International Award Committee of the Global Energy Prize answered reader’s energy questions on The Guardian’s Facebook page. The questions and answers were reproduced on BNC here. Now we’re  at it again, this time for the website Eco-Business.com (tagline: Asia Pacific’s sustainable business community). My section is hosted here (Part I), and Tom’s here (part III).

Part II, which I don’t reprint, answered by Iceland’s Thorsteinn Sigfusson, covered the relationship between large-hydro and climate change, and why solar conversion isn’t used more extensively.

Read my and Tom’s answers...

 

Two scientist revolutionaries get their due

Published by http://www.eco-business.com on Thursday, December 1st, 2011
Written by Tom Blees

The dilemma of providing abundant energy to humanity while avoiding the seemingly inescapable environmental, social, economic and political pitfalls associated with energy production and distribution is arguably one of the most vexing problems of modern times. In order to encourage advancements in energy research and recognise potentially revolutionary energy advancements, a group of Russian scientists, politicians and leaders of industry established the Global Energy Prize in 2002. Widely seen as an energy research equivalent of a Nobel Prize, it has been awarded to deserving researchers annually since 2003.

Click here to read the entire article

 

Disposal of UK plutonium stocks with a climate change focus

Response to a consultation on the management of the UK’s plutonium stocks

June, 2011

In the 1950s, following World War II, the United Kingdom and a handful of other nations developed a nuclear weapons arsenal. This required the production of plutonium metal (or highly enriched uranium) purpose-built facilities. ‘Civil’ plutonium was also produced, since the facilities for separation existed and it was thought that this fissile material would prove useful in further nuclear power development. Fifty years on, the question of what to do with the UK’s separated plutonium stocks is an important one.

Tom Blees, President, of The Science Council for Global Initiatives, explores answers to the question, " "Do you agree that it is not realistic for the Government to wait until fast breeder reactor technology is commercially available before taking a decision on how to manage plutonium stocks?" I strongly disagree, and I hope that you’ll take the time to read this and consider the fact that the fast reactor option is far more imminent than you might have heretofore believed. Not only that, but it is arguably the best option by far.

Current Fast Reactor Development

Worldwide there are well over 300 reactor-years of experience with fast reactors. Russia’s BN-600 fast reactor has been producing commercial electricity for over 30 years, and Russia is beginning to build BN-800 reactors both for their own use and for China. India’s first commercial-scale fast reactor is about to be finished within a year or two. South Korea has already built a sizeable pyroprocessing facility to convert their spent LWR fuel into metal fuel for fast reactors, and have only refrained from starting it up because of diplomatic agreements with the USA that are due to be renegotiated in the near future. China is building a copy of the Experimental Breeder Reactor II (EBR-II) that was the mainstay of the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) development program at Argonne National Laboratory in the USA. Japan has reopened their Monju fast reactor to continue that research, though it should be noted that Toshiba and Hitachi contested the wisdom of that decision, favoring instead the metal-fueled fast reactor design as exemplified by the EBR-II.

The advantages of metal fuel in fast reactors is difficult to overstate. Rather than attempt to explicate the details here, I would refer the reader to the following URL: http://tinyurl.com/cwvn8n This is a chapter from a book that deals at length with the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR). The advantages of this system in safety, economics, fuel utilization, proliferation resistance and plutonium breeding or burning far outstrip any of the other options mentioned in the consultation document.

 
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Tom Blees

Tom Blees is the author of Prescription for the Planet - The Painless Remedy for Our Energy & Environmental Crises. Tom is also the president of the Science Council for Global Initiatives. Many of the goals of SCGI, and the methods to achieve them, are elucidated in the pages of Blees's book. He is a member of the selection committee for the Global Energy Prize, considered Russia's equivalent of the Nobel Prize for energy research. His work has generated considerable interest among scientists and political figures around the world. Tom has been a consultant and advisor on energy technologies on the local, state, national, and international levels.