Ulterior Motives have Prevented LFTR Reactors from Being Adopted Since 1942′
Ulterior motives by lobby groups for coal, oil, wind, solar, and standard nuclear have created an environment that is not helpful in promoting Thorium power. These ulterior motives have put pressure on the industry that has lead to the adoption of standard nuclear that is dangerous. The result of these ulterior motives is that the LFTR reactors have been ignored since 1942′. This solution was buried under the economic streams of other solutions that simply doesn’t exist for Thorium reactors. This low-cost solution has been ignored due to the ulterior motives that I talk about here in great detail.
Standard fission found in nuclear reactors is downright dangerous as everyone knows, and produces huge amounts of waste material that last for ten thousand years.
Fracking has Huge Repercussions.
It has been linked to earthquakes, pumps huge quantities of chemicals in the ground (which they swear up and down won’t show up in someone’s drinking water), and adds to the already huge CO2 output problem (if you listen to anyone that believes in science.)
Fusion Would be Great But…
It looks like it’s going to be another 50, maybe a 100 years before it becomes viable.
The Wind is Getting More Economical But…
On large scales, it has been attributed to local climate changes. Windmills kill birds and bats (although our pets kill a much larger number of birds than windmills do). It is an eyesore to some (although I personally think they are beautiful to look at), and they don’t provide energy on a consistent basis. Also, it uses lots of rare earth minerals that will be in short supply when scaled up to account for all US energy needs. It cannot handle load strain on the power infrastructure during peak times, and storage technology for energy is expensive. It also costs a lot to deploy, maintain, and redeploy.
Solar is Not Yet Economical
It won’t be for another 10 years without subsidies. It does not work 24 hours a day. The sun does not shine consistently all the time and solar farms use large expanses of land. Solar uses expensive materials (depending on the type) or is location specific (for other types). It also can’t handle power surges, needs replacement, and has large maintenance and redeployment costs.
Ethanol Just Does Not Add Up
It uses land that we would normally use to produce food for producing energy. It has carbon emissions of its own. It’s sustainability as a biofuel is questionable. It leads to soil erosion and deforestation. Fertilizer runoff is also a problem with using this type of fuel. It reduces biodiversity and consumes lots of water which is becoming more and more precious with each year that goes by. It also has a poor input energy to output energy problem and is not efficient.
What if I told you there has been a workable low-cost solution since before 1942?
This technological solution lies in the nuclear power stored in the element Thorium. This super-ultra-safe alternative to Uranium reactors has been around in concept almost as long as the Uranium reactors. It has been kept from the public as a workable solution since the 1940’s. There are several converging ulterior motives for this which I will give the low down on here.
Ulterior Motives Number One
At the beginning of the 20th Century, Texas was mainly known for its timber, agriculture, and ranching. By the 1940’s oil had taken over Texas as the money maker and was responsible for the industrialization of this state. The oil industry during the 1940’s, the Gusher Age made Texas the world’s biggest producer of petroleum. This was the beginning of the oil age. What made oil so popular was its’ contribution to World War II. Domestic production of oil allowed the Allied forces to avoid German submarines which attempted to destroy the Allies by putting a stranglehold on the supply of gasoline. Oil also provided the Allies with a source of rubber (synthetic rubber that is.) Without it, World War II could not have been won, after all, how does a plane take off without tires? Oil also makes our engines work in the form of, well “oil”. Without the lubrication of oil, the planes wouldn’t have run and the guns wouldn’t have fired. Without oil, the bombs wouldn’t have been able to go boom since bombs use TNT and TNT is made from Toluent. Toluent is made from Toluene Diisocyanate. And as you might have already guessed, it is made from OIL!
Toluene also serves as an octane booster which dirties the gasoline so it burns well.
So that’s where the oil came into play, without it, we couldn’t have won the war. It made untold fortunes for companies that were able to supply it to the Allies and a huge number of proponents that to this day won’t veer from oil as a solution. This is the first of our ulterior motives.
Ulterior Motives Number Two
The race to build nuclear bombs for the Allies before Germany could build them.
Albert Einstein wrote four letters to President Roosevelt, the first was on August 2, 1939, it contained these two excerpts.
This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable – though much less certain – that extremely powerful bombs of a new type may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory.
“I understand that Germany has actually stopped the sale of uranium from the Czechoslovakian mines which she has taken over. That she should have taken such early action might perhaps be understood on the ground that the son of the German Under-Secretary of State, von Weizsäcker, is attached to the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institute in Berlin where some of the American work on uranium is now being repeated.”
These letters started the quest for nuclear bombs. By 1942, the US government had started the Manhattan project which employed well over 100,000 people. Over 90% of the cost of the project was used to build factories and produce the Uranium-235 and Uranium-238. The project would have cost $26 billion if it had been executed in 2013. The process of producing the materials inspired the development of a huge network of laboratories around the country. The nuclear navy was created and maintained control over the research until 1947. This control would influence what nuclear technologies would be developed.
In 1945, Eugene Wigner invented the LFTR nuclear reactor, but the wheels in favor of Uranium reactors was already in the works in the form of employment, money, and military.
(Similarly to the way the oil industry developed its advocates.)
Alvin Weingberg had invented the LWR reactors but spent most of his career advocating for the use of LFTR reactors. He was dismissed for declaring that the LWR’s (Light Water Reactors) were unsafe. (LWR’s are the basis of what today’s reactors are based on and he was right about its’ inherent problems.)
In 1938, Guy Stewart Callendar revived the idea that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere were the cause of the rise of the observed temperatures over the previous hundred years. He said that the CO2 concentrations had risen by over 10 percent during that period and it brought to the forefront of science, an old idea by a man named Arrhenius who was originally concerned with the possibility of another Ice Age.
Eugene Wigner believed that Thorium was the solution that could replace coal as an energy source, but the powers that be directed us away from the investment in this solution. If the military hadn’t needed the enriched Uranium for nuclear bombs, we would probably all be driving around Thorium powered cars by now.
That was ulterior motives number two.
Ulterior Motives Number Three
The investment potential of other alternative energies has created huge company support. For instance, there are over 1000 companies that support the interests of solar through Solar Energy Industries Association.
Similarly, wind energy has support amongst a large number of private, public, governmental mandates, and environmental groups.
Ethanol, for instance, has support from these groups Advanced Biofuels Association, Advanced Ethanol Council, Algal Biomass Organization, American Coalition for Ethanol, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board and Renewable Fuels Association.
To be honest, I am not suggesting that Solar, Wind, and other alternative energies have no place in the energy solution. On the contrary, our energy policy is best served by the investment in almost all energy solutions. Unfortunately, these solutions can NOT solve the problem of CO2 emissions on their own. LFTR reactors have a temperature cycle that is three times that of conventional nuclear and it provides an opportunity to keep the whole system running during peak output times and when alternative energies cannot provide. As I have suggested in another article, LFTR reactors are the right solution to take over the 42% of our energy economy that is currently using coal. With investment and effort, we could do this within 10 years with huge long term savings with a relatively small investment, which no other energy solution including natural gas, oil, and gasoline can provide. If we consider the costs to maintain global stability, this fact becomes even more apparent.
In Dr. Yergins’ book, “The Quest”, he points out the inverse relationship between a corporation and government investment and the price of a gallon of oil. When an energy crisis occurs, the price of oil rises and so does the investment in research and development, including the investment in alternative energies. Unfortunately, due to all the factors listed here, safe nuclear has not gotten its due attention during these periods of time.
Investment by companies, for the most part, are only concerned with profits on a quarterly and yearly basis. CEO’s make their money based on short-term gains and not long term ones. This is, unfortunately, bad for long-term investments that make a difference, and lobby groups from the oil industry and nuclear energy have successfully prevented the message of alternative energies including nuclear alternatives from reaching their potentials as quickly as possible. If we had been investing in alternative energies equally throughout the decades, then we would already be using alternate energy solutions and global warming contribution of the US would be as insignificant as the global warming contribution of the Scandinavian countries.
That’s ulterior motives number three!
Ulterior Motives Number Four
The swear word, “Nuclear”!
This is the most obvious industry self-inflicted problem. There was Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima.
All three of these disasters were caused by the flawed design of nuclear reactors that was first pointed out to the powers that be by the scientists involved directly and indirectly in the Manhattan project.
Even standard nuclear power plants using Uranium could have been designed to avoid the meltdown problem using designs that well, simply couldn’t have a melt-down. It was money that prevented them from being redesigned and old reactors from being retired before they could become problems!
There have been a total of 99 accidents at nuclear power plants (according to Wikipedia) and fifty-seven of them have occurred since the Chernobyl disaster. Fifty-six out of ninety-nine of those have occurred in the US! Nuclear-powered submarines have also had their share of accidents. However to be straight forward, the only accident that has caused loss of life (directly accountable loss of life due to nuclear release) is the Chernobyl disaster. Untold people did however developed health problems associated with both Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. Conventional nuclear reactors are expensive and have a risk of explosion due to the need for pressure vessels and their ability to maintain a self-sustaining reaction. Conventional nuclear also has a huge waste problem, producing very large quantities of waste, and waste that lasts for ten thousand years. These are problems LFTR reactors do not have. Even the waste problem is extremely limited.
Lastly, the nuclear proliferation problem with the waste is very significant with conventional nuclear and conventional weapons grade Plutonium. With LFTR reactors, the difficulty of maintaining control over the waste is vastly less an issue since the by-products (output waste) by as a percentage of input fuel is vastly smaller. (The waste is less than .1% by volume.) The majority of the waste of LFTR reactors is very short lived (under 10 years) while the remaining has to go through a very involved extraction process to get it out of the liquid salt form and once extracted it is only about the size of one coke can per MW of electricity. One large Coca-Cola plant-sized location is enough to store the waste that remains for the short 300 years of its’ radiating life.
Ulterior Motives Number Four has been exposed!
All of these ulterior motives have come together in a perfect storm to create a huge lobby against the development of this alternate nuclear solution.
I can only hope that with this story, I can persuade the general public and the administration to see these ulterior motives for what they are–a suppression of our best energy solution until fusion is perfected.
We need to be as forward looking on the matter as India and China are.
India and China are working on their first large-scale Thorium reactors. India’s will be the first as theirs will be running next year. Both of these countries have made several world patents on the technology. These are patents that we could hold, had we been investing in LFTR reactor technology all these years.
LFTR reactors can save the planet. If we invest in this alternate nuclear solution like we did during the Manhattan project, we could be coal-free within 10 years. Ulterior motives have stopped the solution from taking