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Category: Science
Date: 09/14/10 10:02 AM

68 Responses to Thorium Could Wean World Off Oil In 5 Years

  1. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    September 13, 2010 at 8:33 pm
    Link: Thorium Could Wean World Off Oil In 5 Years - Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia, former director of CERN, Has patented a new process to make nuclear power safe and small.
  2. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 10:16 am
    I heard about this several years ago. Fine on paper, not here yet. Looks good for the mid to long term future though, as long as we can muddle through until it`s actually working.

    For those who can`t be bothered to click:

    Thorium is relatively common compared with Uranium, so it could be used for all electricity generation for the foreseeable future. Uranium would run out in far too short a period of time.

    The Thorium cycle process Rubbia has been working on generates very little radioactive waste.

    It isn`t self-sustaining, so it can`t melt down or blow up. If anything goes wrong, it just stops.

    In short, it`s as near perfect as fission can get.
  3. Profile photo of msieg007
    msieg007 Male 18-29
    2035 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 10:17 am
    Interesting, and totally awesome, but it`s not going to happen. Big Oil won`t let it. And politicians are in Big Oil`s pocket.
  4. Profile photo of Maksie99
    Maksie99 Male 18-29
    695 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 10:18 am
    Until now I thought Thorium was a fictional mineral from WoW :P
  5. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36850 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 10:19 am
    yeah, and Solar Power will save the day and Ethinol will get rid of our oil dependance....


    Next miracle cure, please.
  6. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 10:27 am
    Interesting, and totally awesome, but it`s not going to happen. Big Oil won`t let it. And politicians are in Big Oil`s pocket.

    So why is it already being funded for commercial development?

    This Big Oil malarky is going too far. The oil companies are not God. There are limits to their influence. Even if politicians did oppose a clean, abundant, cheap, long-lasting power source because oil companies paid them too, you`d just have new politicians within an election or two.

    Thorium is *cheap*. This process is simple on paper and simple means cheap. Cheap and cheap means cheap electricity. People will vote for that.
  7. Profile photo of VikingGuy
    VikingGuy Male 18-29
    2160 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 10:28 am
    eh, as said below, the oil companies have too many political ties for this to get anywhere, if anything theyll start questioning how safe it is or this or that or whatnot and leave it stuck in buerocratic hell forever.
  8. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 10:34 am
    yeah, and Solar Power will save the day and Ethinol will get rid of our oil dependance....


    Next miracle cure, please.

    There`s a big difference.

    Solar power only really works in certain areas (hot deserts, basically) and would require massive infrastructure investment to move the electricity to other areas, on top of the expense of building vast power stations.

    Ethanol from plants screws the ecosystem, and requires stupid amounts of space taken away from growing food, on top of the infrastructure problems above.

    In short, neither work well on a global scale even on paper.

    None of those problems apply to Rubbia`s thorium cycle amplification reactor doodads. You can build lots of small ones and wire them into the already existing grid. The infrastructure is already there, they work anywhere and they don`t take up much space.
  9. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 10:42 am
    eh, as said below, the oil companies have too many political ties for this to get anywhere, if anything theyll start questioning how safe it is or this or that or whatnot and leave it stuck in buerocratic hell forever.

    Security would be the issue, rather than safety.

    Someone with enough knowledge could modify one to convert thorium in a form of uranium that could be used to make a bomb.

    Given that you could easily hide one of these things in a cave or under a building and that thorium is very easy to get hold of, that`s a problem.
  10. Profile photo of BoredFrank
    BoredFrank Male 40-49
    2374 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 11:06 am
    And it`s tasty, too!
  11. Profile photo of Tacos4Brkfst
    Tacos4Brkfst Male 18-29
    620 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 11:12 am
    I like how everyone likes to blame the lack of nuclear on big oil and some red tape.

    Yes, im talking to YOU. Get off your ass and educate yourself. Quit being a whiney turd/bigot...

    "yeah i want more reactors... just not in my back yard!" is the primary reason we dont have better, safer, stronger, more secure and a higher quantity of reactors with less (next to no) waste sitting in caskets at tons of unsecure facilitys.

    Put that poo in yucca mountain until the people get their collective heads out of their asses far enough to realise you can reprocess and `burn` the `waste` as fuel.
  12. Profile photo of Tacos4Brkfst
    Tacos4Brkfst Male 18-29
    620 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 11:17 am
    tl;dr less emo response -

    Vote nuclear power. Educate yourself, demand your representative does the same.


    The Congressional Switchboard is 202-225-3121. Toll-free: 866-220-0044 or 800-833-6354

    The postal address for any member of Congress:

    Representative (Name)
    U.S. House of Representatives, Washington DC 20515
    or
    Senator (Name)
    U.S. Senate, Washington DC 20510
  13. Profile photo of rainbowfarts
    rainbowfarts Female 18-29
    798 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 11:28 am
    The big question is: will the people with a stake in the oil business let this wean the world off of oil?
  14. Profile photo of Kadinsky
    Kadinsky Male 18-29
    575 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 11:42 am
    "Known as an accelerator-driven system, it would use a particle accelerator to produce a proton beam and aim it at lump of heavy metal, producing excess neutrons"

    They`re going to fire a proton beam at Iron Maiden?! They better run to the hills!
  15. Profile photo of auburnjunky
    auburnjunky Male 30-39
    10339 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 11:48 am
    Well the lack of nuclear in America, is the result of the EPA restricting the number of reactors we can have.

    If it isn`t solar, or wind, we can`t build it. We can`t even build and freaking dams for hydro!
  16. Profile photo of meepmaker
    meepmaker Male 30-39
    6694 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 12:01 pm
    More Power !
  17. Profile photo of sawdusty
    sawdusty Male 40-49
    491 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 12:26 pm
    Until big oil buys it up and put a hit out on him.
  18. Profile photo of fiizok
    fiizok Male 40-49
    591 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 12:40 pm
    I wonder how many years used Thorium remains lethally radioactive?
  19. Profile photo of Tacos4Brkfst
    Tacos4Brkfst Male 18-29
    620 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 1:00 pm
    "I wonder how many years used Thorium remains lethally radioactive?"

    The radioactive material from the thorium reactor contains vastly less long-lived radioactive material than that from conventional reactors.

    The radioactive material that comes from a thorium reactor is VERY nasty for a very short period of time, measured in days, not years.

    Besides, its not waste, its fuel.
  20. Profile photo of duffytoler
    duffytoler Male 40-49
    5195 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 1:08 pm
    >>They`re going to fire a proton beam at Iron Maiden?! They better run to the hills!

    Feh. Eddie can handle it. He`s been through worse.
  21. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm
    I`m glad IAB decided to post this one, After reading a little more on Rubbia`s Thorium Cycle, I couldn`t find fault with it. This would not only solve the whole fossil fuel system, The cyclotrons could be made small enough to fit in or near current substations and that in turn would protect from large scale blackouts. Long high wire transmission lines would mostly disappear.
  22. Profile photo of NoArms5534
    NoArms5534 Male 18-29
    196 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 1:15 pm
    ...aaaand the byproduct from the reaction decays into bomb fuel. Not a good plan.
  23. Profile photo of Tiredofnicks
    Tiredofnicks Male 30-39
    5097 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 1:21 pm
    Thorium 232 has a half life of 14 billion years. That means that it`s not very radioactive, but it will be radioactive for a loooooong time.

    @fiizok: Most of its radiation is alpha-decay which is easily stopped by your skin, which means that it`s only dangerous if it gets inside your body, such as being ingested or inhaled.
  24. Profile photo of Angelmassb
    Angelmassb Male 18-29
    15511 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm
    As long it doesnt pollute as much as the current energy sources
  25. Profile photo of mrgimpy
    mrgimpy Male 30-39
    56 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 1:49 pm
    Man I have a poo ton of this stuff on my bank in WoW! I`m gonna be rich!
  26. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 2:39 pm
    NoArms5534: Uhm no, It doesn`t decay into bomb fuel. The whole Thorium fuel cycle is `subcritical`, It uses a cyclotron to provide the neutrons necessary to keep the reaction going. Once the cyclotron is turned off the whole reaction stops. The half-life, Of the fissile material, Is to short make a bomb with.
  27. Profile photo of Volsunga
    Volsunga Male 18-29
    1548 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 2:53 pm
    @rainbowfarts
    The people who have a stake in oil are the same people who have a stake in nuclear. Energy companies produce energy, if a more cost-effective technique is available, they will start using that as well.
  28. Profile photo of munchlets
    munchlets Male 13-17
    13 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 3:21 pm
    This is so stupid!
    USE the Thorium for space travel
    and GROW HEMP for Vehicle Fuel like cars and such

    Hemp can grow out of the ground with barely any problems, if every farmer had a patch of male and female cannabis, used for fuel, it would produce more than this thorium crap and it would be safer and cheaper, also hemp bio-diesel runs per oz`s not gallons - so instead of 20 MPG it would be like 20 Miles Per Fluid OZ.
    that`s absolutely nothing, a capri-sun has more juice than that, and i can drink like a whole box
    lol

    dumb greedy oil industry, suppressing our FREEDOM!!!
  29. Profile photo of xtkm1x
    xtkm1x Male 13-17
    432 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 4:08 pm
    shut up, stoner.
  30. Profile photo of bigbangbilly
    bigbangbilly Male 13-17
    698 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm
    i agree
  31. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 4:17 pm
    munchlets: I think you`ve been using the hemp for your own private `space travel` dude.
  32. Profile photo of ggolbez
    ggolbez Male 18-29
    1933 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 5:21 pm
    Oil companies switching to another fuel source? BWAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA
  33. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 5:28 pm
    Man I have a poo ton of this stuff on my bank in WoW! I`m gonna be rich!

    Even if you had a "poo ton" of actual thorium, you wouldn`t be that rich. It`s common enough to currently be classified as a waste product in mining. It`s cheap.
  34. Profile photo of Cajun247
    Cajun247 Male 18-29
    10742 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 5:30 pm
    Great, now if we can just downsize the NRC.
  35. Profile photo of handys003
    handys003 Male 50-59
    2402 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 5:38 pm
    Aint gonna happen. Just like any alternative fuels. The Big Drug er... Oil Cartels won`t let it.
  36. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 5:40 pm
    Uhm no, It doesn`t decay into bomb fuel. The whole Thorium fuel cycle is `subcritical`, It uses a cyclotron to provide the neutrons necessary to keep the reaction going. Once the cyclotron is turned off the whole reaction stops. The half-life, Of the fissile material, Is to short make a bomb with.

    The half-life of Thorium-233 is too short to make a bomb with it (~20 minutes) but it decays into Protactinium-233 (~4 weeks) and then into Uranium-233 and that has a half-life of ~160,000 years. It`s also possible to use U-233 to make a bomb and in fact it has been done (USA military, for testing).

    So yes, it does decay into bomb fuel.

    The concern isn`t stealing bomb fuel from one of these proposed small reactors. There wouldn`t be enough at any one time.

    The concern is someone obtaining one of the reactors and using it to manufacture U-233 for making a bomb.
  37. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 5:49 pm
    "Big Oil" is the contempory equivalent of "the Red Menace" of the height of the cold war. People are going way over the top about the degree of threat it represents. Alternatives fail because they either don`t work at all (almost all the "suppressed by Big Oil" free energy devices you can find online) or because they`re more expensive or only useful in some locations, or both (the serious suggestions).

    The only example I have found in which I think an alternative energy source was suppressed by more powerful people with money in competition was Salter`s wave power, which was binned in suspicious circumstances in favour of nuclear power, not oil.
  38. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 5:59 pm
    munchlets...as in having the munchies?

    Hemp would be a very useful crop, which is why businesses using other products in the various areas in which hemp would be better grouped together to have it outlawed.

    What it can`t do it produce magic potions that can run a diesel engine 128 times as efficiently as diesel. That`s just plain silly. You made it up, probably while stoned.
  39. Profile photo of Inter237
    Inter237 Male 18-29
    2441 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 6:38 pm
    Sadly it won`t happen...at least not in a five year period. Although some more research into this would be an interesting idea.
  40. Profile photo of Fatninja01
    Fatninja01 Male 30-39
    25420 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 6:51 pm
    LOLZ FOR DEAD LINK NOW!
  41. Profile photo of Nerdfighter0
    Nerdfighter0 Male 18-29
    212 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 7:00 pm
    Ummmmmm.
    What happened to renewable resources? Would they put that on hold? What happens when the thorium runs out?
  42. Profile photo of mvangild
    mvangild Male 30-39
    527 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 7:54 pm
    Yeah, I`d be concerned about that U-233 "by-product". We have a dickens of a time trying to figure out what to do with our current nuclear waste product. Furthermore, nuclear fuel is a finite quantity, much like fossil fuels are. It might be good as a stepping stone from oil to solar power, but it`s just that.
  43. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 8:13 pm
    Ummmmmm.
    What happened to renewable resources? Would they put that on hold? What happens when the thorium runs out?

    Humans would have something better long before then. If you used Thorium as the only source for the entire world, it would still take thousands of years to use it up.

    You could fit a year`s supply for the entire world in your living room and there`s millions of tons of the stuff.

    The lack of renewability isn`t an issue in this case.
  44. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 8:27 pm
    Yeah, I`d be concerned about that U-233 "by-product". We have a dickens of a time trying to figure out what to do with our current nuclear waste product.

    The U-233 produced isn`t the by-product. It`s the stuff that`s actually used for fuel in the reactors.

    Much of the current nuclear waste product could be used as fuel in these reactors, so you deal with that problem too.

    Furthermore, nuclear fuel is a finite quantity, much like fossil fuels are.

    Yes, but there`s so much of it that it doesn`t matter. A thousand years is more than long enough to develop something better. Economic fusion, maybe. Or something no-one has even dreamed of yet.

    It might be good as a stepping stone from oil to solar power, but it`s just that.

    No, it isn`t. If it works and the security issue isn`t an issue, it`s a very long-term solution.
  45. Profile photo of slayer50515
    slayer50515 Male 18-29
    988 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 8:36 pm
    "Furthermore, nuclear fuel is a finite quantity, much like fossil fuels are. It might be good as a stepping stone from oil to solar power, but it`s just that. "
    You didn`t even read half the article. Please GTFO.

    A. "...a fistful of thorium could light up London for a week."
    B. "Thorium... is so abundant that it`s almost an annoyance.

    That means there`s a s**tload of it and that it takes very little of the thorium to generate a lot of power. It may be a "stepping stone" but it sure is a pretty drating good one.

    I`m also be interested in what emissions are caused by the reaction. (other than the U-233)

    Lastly, if anyone could find some more links and official studies to support this article I would like to know. Otherwise I`ll just assume that it has no "official" scientific evidence for it. (however it does sound very interesting and promising)
  46. Profile photo of Kryptonite
    Kryptonite Male 18-29
    89 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 8:48 pm
    Could you expect any less from the element named after Thor?
  47. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 9:11 pm
    slayer50515: CERN document on the Rubbia Energy Amplifier.
  48. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 14, 2010 at 9:53 pm
    That means there`s a s**tload of it

    I`ve been looking for more precise numbers. There aren`t any, because it`s so common nobody has bothered. They chuck the stuff away at the moment - it`s just in the way. Couple of millions tons is a bottom end estimate, and that`s without really looking for it. At a push, you can get loads more from the sea.

    So yeah, a pooload. Maybe we`d run out by 3000AD, oh noes!

    Lastly, if anyone could find some more links and official studies to support this article I would like to know. Otherwise I`ll just assume that it has no "official" scientific evidence for it. (however it does sound very interesting and promising)

    I plowed through a document a while back detailing how it works, but that was offline and years ago. Most of it went over my head anyway - it was for scientists.

    Rubbia won the Nobel prize for physics, so he certainly has the credentials.
  49. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    September 15, 2010 at 1:47 am
    Angilion: What is so cool about Rubbia`s energy amplifier is that is economically profitable, It won`t need large government tax breaks or subsidies. Including the initial investments of making the reactor, Buying the Thorium, Upkeep and Payroll; The cost per kilowatt hour of electricity will still be lower than natural gas and coal power. The technology already exists, Only prototypes need be made and tested. After that, They could be made in factories (like locomotives are), Shipped to installation sites, And setup.
  50. Profile photo of Hammersley19
    Hammersley19 Male 18-29
    12 posts
    September 15, 2010 at 4:01 am
    "Thorium could wean the world off oil in 5 years"

    Oil is used for more than just power generation. It is used in fertilisers/pesticides, which is the only thing maintaining our current population size. It is also used to make plastics and other synthetic materials.

    Still, sounds like a great advance!
  51. Profile photo of NitroJunkie
    NitroJunkie Male 70 & Over
    758 posts
    September 15, 2010 at 7:39 am
    Old news.
  52. Profile photo of Ozmose
    Ozmose Male 30-39
    448 posts
    September 15, 2010 at 8:01 am
    We still use telegraphs?
  53. Profile photo of Phestizio
    Phestizio Male 18-29
    59 posts
    September 15, 2010 at 8:05 am
    ethanol made from hemp plants would do it today
    but who cares if hemp can make paint plastic clothes anything made with wood its illegal and would only take out big business altogether letting us little people live in peace ...hmmm
  54. Profile photo of ruthless1990
    ruthless1990 Female 18-29
    3001 posts
    September 15, 2010 at 8:19 am
    for real? awesome :D
  55. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 15, 2010 at 9:36 am
    CrakrJak:

    I was aware of the potential benefits of Rubbia`s work several years ago when it first made the mainstream media. They are obvious to anyone who`s read up about it. You don`t need to tell me them again.

    What uncritical advocates of his work do need to do is address the glaring security issue of having relatively cheap kit that can be stuck in an ordinary building and which converts an extremely common material (Thorium) into a stable material that can be used to make nuclear bombs (Uranium-233).
  56. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 15, 2010 at 9:46 am
    ethanol made from hemp plants would do it today

    No, it wouldn`t. Not even close. You`re talking about growing enough plants to make enough alcohol to replace all oil for fuel use and all other forms of fuel for electricity generation.

    That`s *all* vehicles and *all* power stations.

    It`s not possible, not even if you are willing to destroy entire ecosystems by monocropping for fuel generation (which is already happening, by the way). Your plans would kill many millions, maybe billions, of people directly by starvation because you`re growing fuel crops everywhere instead of food and potentially kill almost everyone by destroying ecosystems to such an extent that most animals die and it all goes pear shaped.

    And even then, it still wouldn`t be enough.

    Hemp isn`t even particularly suited to alcohol production.

    Hemp advocates like you are harming hemp advocacy, not helping it.
  57. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    September 15, 2010 at 10:48 am
    Angilion: The thin layer of the Uranium 233 on the surface of the Thorium wouldn`t be enough to make a bomb with. It takes 60% more Uranium 233 to make a bomb than Uranium 238. That is just not an efficient way to make a bomb.

    Also, The Thorium fuel cycle recycles the lower Actinides and produces Uranium 232 which can not be chemically separated from Uranium 233 and has several decay products which emit high energy gamma radiation. That gamma radiation kills electronics and thus makes it unusable in a bomb. From there, The waste Uranium 232 decays after 69 years into Lead and is no more radioactive that coal ash.

    That`s a far shorter and more manageable half-life than the Uranium-Plutonium cycle we use today.
  58. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 15, 2010 at 6:42 pm
    Do you know how long it would take to make enough U-233 for a bomb this way? It is going to be possible in some amount of time.

    If you keep the energy of the neutrons to below ~6MeV, which is trivially easy to do, you eliminate the main cause of the production of U-232, resulting in almost pure U-233. If you do it right, you get U-233 with U-232 contamination as low as 5 ppm U-232 and that can be worked with. You`re not going to want to pick it up, but you can work with it using simple (i.e. cheap) precautions. That`s assuming you can`t find people willing to risk their lives for whatever the cause is, which is a rather bad assumption.

    Overview

    A gr
  59. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 15, 2010 at 6:43 pm
    Well, that got cut off suprisingly early:

    A great deal of detail - see section 6.2.1.3 U-233
  60. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    September 15, 2010 at 8:54 pm
    Angilion: It`s still a lot less likely. In fact, The only country to make a U 233 bomb was the US. After they tested it, They never made anymore.
  61. Profile photo of dang007
    dang007 Male 30-39
    599 posts
    September 16, 2010 at 8:25 am
    The biggest issue is cost. To switch to a more expensive fuel, everyone in the world needs to switch at around the same time otherwise those that switched early will be economically crippled. This is why transition to alternative fuels is slow, they are all MORE expensive than oil. The issue is NOT lack of supply, we know NOW how to make liquid fuels from biosources and if needed could get switched in a few years, but it costs more than oil and if we did it and no other country did we would be at a significant economic disadvantage. We know NOW how to produce electricity from wind, water, solar, and nuclear sources, but they cost more than coal and natural gas. (Some hydroelectric is on par.)
  62. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 16, 2010 at 8:54 am
    Cost is not the biggest issue in this case, though. It usually is, but not in this case. Thorium is currently expensive only because it`s very rarely wanted. If it was mined (as opposed to being thrown away as an inconvenience when mining for other stuff) it would be very cheap.

    The running costs of one of these reactors would be a tiny fraction of the running costs of a comparable oil, coal or current nuclear power station. Partly because the fuel is cheaper, partly because you need so much less of it, partly because it produces far less waste to process and partly because the power station itself would be smaller, simpler and therefore cheaper.
  63. Profile photo of dang007
    dang007 Male 30-39
    599 posts
    September 16, 2010 at 10:57 am
    >>>Thorium is currently expensive only because it`s very rarely wanted. If it was mined (as opposed to being thrown away as an inconvenience when mining for other stuff) it would be very cheap. <<<


    Then it will happen. On the other hand the fact that it has not happened already suggests that it is more expensive or that the technical specs are not a fully worked out as some might be suggesting.


  64. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    September 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm
    dang007: It`s new, There are very few neutron particle accelerators right now. Prototypes will have to be made and tested, But the technology already exists. Unfortunately such funding is politically based, So it takes time. But with enough letters written to congressmen and enough proliferation and education about the idea those obstacles can be overcome.
  65. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 16, 2010 at 2:13 pm
    Then it will happen. On the other hand the fact that it has not happened already suggests that it is more expensive or that the technical specs are not a fully worked out as some might be suggesting.

    The latter. It works in theory and experiments confirm it, but there`s a long way between that and a working power station. Rubbia has the brains for it, but development takes time and money. Stacks of money - properly equipped labs for nuclear experiments don`t come cheap. That brings politics into it.

    As it stands, India will be the first country to have these. It won`t be cheap to buy them from India - they`ll rightly see it as a good source of the income they badly need for development.
  66. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 16, 2010 at 2:24 pm
    Harking back to renewables, Rubbia`s in that too.

    He`s done some work with concentrated solar power, which works very well in very sunny areas with a lot of space. It`s cheap, low tech and easy to make. It`s basically just mirrors focusing sunlight on a tank of liquid, which creates steam, which drives a turbine. Same ideas as current power stations, just a different means of creating the steam. On paper, you could power most of the world that way - huge CSP plants in deserts, HVDC lines to transmit the electricity over thousands of miles without much loss. All of Europe and Africa could be powered from the deserts in north Africa, for example - you`d lose 10% going all the way to Norway.

    It`s small at the moment, but it scales very easily. There`s a 1GW plant awaiting approval in California - that`s a serious power station.
  67. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    September 16, 2010 at 2:31 pm
    CSP also makes for rather pretty power stations.



    That`s an unaltered photo of a CSP station in Seville. Straight up, that`s how it looks when it`s running, beams of light and all.
  68. Profile photo of Linkenberger
    Linkenberger Male 18-29
    1164 posts
    September 19, 2010 at 8:06 pm
    When I start my country, this is what I`ll use.

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