Brian Wang over at NextBigFuture posted an interesting collection of nuclear energy pages under the title ‘Carnival of Nuclear Energy’.  Brian did a good job of catching the current events and in his way of brief titles and very short summaries puts out the bait for linking out to more info.  Brian covers some 14 topics in Carnival #1.

Most folks visiting here know that there is a very limited list of energy sources in the universe.  Solar fusion from stars radiating heat and light, some planets such as Earth with heavy elements in the core doing fission making geothermal heat, and humanities’ own fission and hopefully soon fusion and perhaps Mill’s BlackLight Energy are the only sources getting the energy available from Einstein’s E=MC² out where we can use it.  Virtually everything else called energy is really energy stored up in fuel.  (OK, the moon’s gravity driving tidal as well.)

Heat, light, motion and the other energy types are what we’re using, the work if you will – the other end of the chain from the universe’s and our own energy production to our work production.

Common sense suggests that from a fusion or fission event to the work we need to do in a chain with the fewest links will be the lowest investment cost and lowest energy unit cost.  That would equal a foundation for a healthy economy.  For example, one of the proposed small reactors, a generation set tied to an aluminum smelter would occupy less than a football field’s space and produce workable aluminum in huge quantities at very low cost for decades.  Other examples from process heat to electrical power abound.

That makes the efforts by Brian Wang, Charles Barton, Rod Adams and so many others critical – they are the resources that critical thinkers need to forecast and make decisions.

The press, media and opinion makers for the most part just don’t get the basic physics.  They don’t even distinguish between energy and fuel.  Politicians surely don’t, dawdling over nuclear energy is a fool’s path, the economy’s power need is going to peak again and the power industry isn’t likely going to be ready.  When the electron storage issue gets past reasonable thresholds for vehicle range – electrical transport will grow massively.  Believing they will all charge up over night is dimwitted.

From the lightest elements up to boron and from the less massive thorium up to uranium, the abundance of mass convertible to energy for humanity should easily outlast the solar system.

Modular PebbleBed Reactor Block Diagram. Click image for the largest view.

Can you tell the issues Brian Wang covered on his post set this writer off a bit?  The most interesting topics Brian chose are:  Nuclear Green’s look at the Gas Cooled Reactor.  Then there is the Atomic Insights report of the Platts sponsored meeting ‘Small Nuclear Reactor: Time Frame for Development and Outlook for Commercial Viability’.  NextBigFuture’s own new reactor plans for Turkey, Mexico, South Korea, plus India. That’s just the short list.

Federal level politicians can’t impress anyone knowledgeable and unbiased without serious attention given to nuclear power.  One would hope for a decade of moratorium on license fees for starters, both for reactor designs, but also for installed facilities.  Serious attention needs given to safety, a requisite, but just as important is to set the bureaucracy on a path of getting to the lowest cost for produced energy must be job #2.

This writer has been on the lookout for the link list page for nuclear that would justify the attention of regular readers – and Brian Wang comes close.  Surfing the net can be exasperating at times, providing distractions, and informing, misleading, and tantalizing the surfer.

Nuclear energy might just be the most exasperating field on the Internet.  The subject is rife with mis, dis and prejudiced, biased, and just plain wrong information.  Atomic fission can be dangerous to be sure, but when designs seek to slowly extract the maximum energy vs. the building of heavier unstable elements for other purposes (weapons), the danger goes down – way way down.

The prognosticators of the late 1940s could have been right, nuclear energy could have been almost to cheap to meter.  The opportunity has passed by, but knowledge has grown and expanded out – while not so very cheap – nuclear cower could set off a centuries long steady and linear economic boom.

Get up to speed!  Its time the knowledgeable outnumber the indefatigably ignorant.

But – Don’t read about the Presidential Awards given to NRC executives – unless you need a bit of heartburn.  The NRC might give some thought to pushing the industry along instead of betraying the U.S. Taxpayers and consumers.


12 Comments so far

  1. Oak Ridge Labs Using World's Fastest Supercomputer to Model Next … | Nuclear Science Applied on May 20, 2010 11:41 AM

    […] A Worthwhile Foray Into Nuclear Energy | New Energy and Fuel […]

  2. Your Future on May 22, 2010 3:22 PM

    More waste of taxpayer dollars. Fusion has never and will never produce net energy.

    Instead, put the money into more social programs, more health care, stronger corporate regulations, better environmental enforcement, etc.

  3. The path to nuclear fission | KiberMed on June 4, 2010 6:08 PM

    […] A Worthwhile Foray Into Nuclear Energy | New Energy and Fuel […]

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  11. 授乳服お宮参り冬 on May 14, 2014 10:07 PM


    A Worthwhile Foray Into Nuclear Energy | New Energy and Fuel

  12. on May 18, 2014 9:19 PM

    A Worthwhile Foray Into Nuclear Energy | New Energy and Fuel

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