Nuclear reactors

The Future of Energy: Nuclear, Gas and Coal-based Generation

Nuclear power plant with yellow field and big blue clouds


Today’s guest post by Whaleoil reader Bruce Alan Forbes is part of an article he wrote called The Future of Energy with predictions for 2040. As it is an in-depth analysis I divided it into six posts so that we could discuss each part separately.

Nuclear, Gas and Coal-based Generation

Nuclear power stations operate at high capacity factors and generate large amounts of CO2 – free electricity. They have enormous potential for achieving major reductions in emissions of CO2. Unlike intermittent and unreliable renewable sources, they do not need the inefficient, fossil-fuel burning, backup power stations to maintain output when the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine. Statistics show convincingly that nuclear power is by far the safest form of large-scale electricity generation.

In contrast, coal-fired power stations are responsible for the deaths of thousands of miners worldwide each year and hydropower stations have also killed thousands of people.

At present, nuclear power is typically more expensive than gas or coal-fired power generation in the U.S. and Europe. This is due to the long construction times resulting from bureaucratic regulatory hurdles. Eventually, nuclear power stations will become the main source of clean, low-cost electricity; particularly in non-OECD countries.

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All about Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors in 5 minutes

via the tipline

An interesting technology that seems to have merit for the production of low cost, green energy. That of Liquid Fluoride Thorium reactors:

This technology was first investigated at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment in the 1960s. It has recently been the subject of a renewed interest worldwide. Japan, China, the UK, as well as private US, Czech and Australian companies have expressed intent to develop and commercialize the technology.

From the Youtube video below:

The main downsides/negatives to this technology, politics, corrosion and being scared of nuclear radiation. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors were created 50 years ago by an American chap named Alvin Weinberg, but the American Government realised you can’t weaponise the by-products and so they weren’t interested.

Another point, yes it WAS corrosive, but these tests of this reactor were 50 years ago, our technology has definately improved since then so a leap to create this reactor shouldn’t be too hard.

And nuclear fear is extremely common in the average person, rather irrational though it may be. More people have died from fossil fuels and even hydroelectric power than nuclear power.
I added this video for a project regarding Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, watch and enjoy.  Read more »