SCGI News Bits - December 2019



Newsletter of the Science Council for Global Initiatives - November 2019

SCGI President's Message, November 2019

by Tom Blees

The Science Council for Global Initiatives was founded in the fall of 2009 by a small group of individuals who shared the belief that there was an urgent need to promote evidence-based solutions to the world’s greatest problems. Three of these problems, climate cTom Oct 2019hange, global poverty, and pollution, are heavily impacted by humanity’s decisions about energy. Consequently, much of our focus has been on energy technologies, especially nuclear power.

In March of this year, Gallup polled Americans about nuclear power. The graph of the past 10 years depicts the headwinds that SCGI and other pro-nuclear organizations have confronted. It shows a rather steady decline of those “favoring” nuclear energy from 62% in 2010 to 44% in 2016. It is a testament to our organization and your support that we have persisted and are now on the verge of major progress. Since 2016, the “favorability” score has increased to 49% overall and to 60% among those who are college educated. These trends align with newly gained endorsements of nuclear energy on many fronts in the fight against climate change: the UN IPCC; the European Parliament; the Clean Energy Ministerial; at least two current Presidential candidates (Booker & Wang); the Governor of Washington, Jay Inslee; and subsidies for nuclear power plants in Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Ohio.

As noted in last year’s annual newsletter, SCGI is also promoting a nuclear power startup called Thorcon. It is the most exciting prospect we have seen for tackling climate change and human development quickly and globally. Thorcon is ready to begin a project that could result in operational power ships within a scant four years. The entire power plant would be contained on specially designed hulls, with quality control of the best shipyard standards. A survey of shipyards around the world found that if all the unused capacity were employed in building these power ships, about four hundred gigawatts of nuclear capacity could be built every year. That’s equivalent to the entire world’s current nuclear power capacity, which provides about 10% of the world’s electricity. Even the poorest nations could rapidly raise their standard of living by the provision of abundant clean electricity and, of utmost importance to many countries, vast amounts of fresh water via desalination. It is tremendously exciting to know that we are on the cusp of something so world changing.

Since its inception, SCGI has encouraged the deployment of plasma converter technology. It has enormous potential to cut pollution of air, land and sea by recycling all types of waste into commercially valuable chemicals, building materials, and energy. In addition to the challenges of garbage disposal and consequent methane generation, we have become increasingly concerned about the growing concentration of plastic in the ocean. The best way to eliminate these sources of pollution is to make them profitable to recycle. Nearly a decade ago a couple cities in the USA were considering building commercial-scale plasma converter systems, and we acted as advisors on one such project. Recently, one of these cities is looking at giving it another shot. SCGI is exploring the possibility of that city obtaining a system built by Air Products in England. We are pleased to see an increased interest in this technology. It is a profound opportunity to improve the quality of life on Earth.

Our efforts in the nuclear field during the past decade have enabled us to be effective in exploring international cooperation on advanced nuclear projects. At a recent conference on spent nuclear fuel disposal, one of SCGI’s founding members, Dr. Yoon Chang, made a presentation about pyroprocessing technology that essentially eliminates the nuclear waste problem by recycling it. In 2013, SCGI facilitated the funding of a team led by Dr. Chang that succeeded in designing a commercial-scale, 100 ton per year, pyroprocessing plant. Despite the fact that “nuclear waste” is often cited as the major reason why the public is reluctant to support nuclear energy, surprisingly few people even in the nuclear industry are familiar with this solution. It converts the “waste” into an asset and significantly reduces the need for uranium mining and the challenge of waste management. It is a major step forward in support of advanced nuclear power plant designs.

During the past year, I have continued to promote such eye-opening developments at home and abroad. Some of the most gratifying experiences are when I’m invited to give talks to nuclear engineering students who are just working their way into this field, as I did recently at a prominent Russian university. Conferences in Atlanta, Cleveland, and further afield in Germany and Russia have allowed SCGI to influence and educate a range of people from students to politicians to nuclear power professionals. I have had the opportunity to collaborate with some of the world’s most prominent nuclear power enterprises. International cooperation is key to demonstrating and ultimately deploying these systems globally to tackle greenhouse gas emissions in a meaningful way. SCGI’s reputation as a fair-minded professional organization has allowed us to be in the thick of such discussions.

As we conclude SCGI’s tenth anniversary, we thank you for your ongoing support. We have become a respected source of independent information and facilitation on many fronts in the battle against climate change, global poverty, and pollution. We could not have done this without you. We truly believe that we are on the threshold of major progress and hope you will continue to join us in this vital work.

On behalf of the dedicated, volunteer Board of SCGI, thank you.

Tom Blees
President, SCGI
The Science Council for Global Initiatives, Inc.
PO Box 596, Boonville, CA 95415


SCGI, Inc. is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity, Tax ID # 26-4258384.
Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

You can view this on our website
You have recevied this email because you have subscribed to
If you no longer wish to receive email from us, please unsubscribe