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American Capital Agency Corp. Message Board

  • JetCityExpo JetCityExpo Aug 4, 2012 1:18 PM Flag

    OT: Possible future energy

    Politics will probably interfere with this possibility but:

    "Kirk Sorensen, NASA-trained engineer, is a man on a mission to open minds to the tremendous promise that thorium, a near-valueless element in today's marketplace, may offer in meeting future world energy demand.

    Compared to Uranium-238-based nuclear reactors currently in use today, a liquid flouride thorium reactor (LTFR) would be:

    - Much safer - no risk of environmental radiation contamination or plant explosion (e.g. Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three-Mile Island)
    - Much more efficient at producing energy - over 90% of the input fuel would be tapped for energy; vs <1% in today's reactors
    - Less waste-generating - most of the radioactive by-products would take days/weeks to degrade to safe levels, vs centuries
    - Much cheaper - reactor footprints and infrastructure would be much smaller, and could be constructed in modular fashion
    - More plentiful - LFTR reactors do not need to be located next to large water supplies, as current plants do
    - Less controversial - the byproducts of the thorium reaction are pretty useless for weaponization
    - Longer-lived - thorium is much more plentiful than uranium and treated as valueless today. There is virtually no danger of running out of it given LFTR plant efficiency"

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    • Let me help you out.

      If you're going to make a claim, then you need to back up that claim by citing references.

    • "Unlike you, I use facts to back up my claims."

      Now if you could only tell the difference ...

    • I don't know about that. People that chew tobacco die of throat/mouth cancer a lot sooner than people who smoke die of lung cancer.

      Better to not smoke. I smoked as a teenager, quit at 22, now 10 years later never smoked again.

    • No, I don't compare them, my point is the perception. In Mass. people heard they were emitting microwave radiation (radio waves) from a radar test range and the surrounding community got all upset. Turns out it was harmless but all they had to do was hear the term radiation and they went ballistic. The problem with radioactive material is how long it last. If it decays in short amount of time then it’s not a problem.

      This reminds me of an interesting story about cancer and cigarettes. I read an article that it used to be that people who smoked tobacco did not die of lung cancer as often as they do today. This was going back to the late 1800s and before. But then tobacco farmers started to use modern fertilizers which have an element that decays to the polonium atom under certain conditions. And it turns out that tobacco has an affinity for absorbing polonium. Polonium is dangerous because its half life is so short (138 days after which it decays to a more stable isotope of lead) which causes it to dump all its radiation into your body in a short amount of time. If you ingest it into the stomach you will probably pee it out before it decays thus avoiding any radioactive damage. But if you smoke it in tobacco it then sits in your lungs where it will decay with 100% probability thus causing radioactive damage to the cells in your lungs. So when you smoke you don’t die from the tobacco, you actually die from the radiation effects of polonium which cause damage to your genes which results in cancer.

      I find it fascinating that a person will smoke a cigarette and thus bombard their longs with polonium radiation when that same person would be afraid to get near anything with a radioactive symbol on it. That just goes to show how illogical people are.

      So if you have to smoke, you may want to buy your cigarettes about a year ahead of time and let them sit in the cupboard for about a year so that the polonium can decay. Since polonium has a half life of 138 days that will cut the radiation to about on seventh of what it would have been otherwise. Let them sit for 2 years and it will be 49 times lower. You may want to put them in an air tight freezer so they stay fresh.

    • Get real!

      The Earth's magnetic field protects life from the sun's radiation. And you're going to compare a TV signal to uranium or thorium!

    • I think when most people think of radioactive they think of half lives on the order of years or longer. A process that generates radioactive material with a half life of weeks hardly applies. You could store the stuff for a year and it would be completely non radioactive after that. What turns people off on radioactivity is how long the radioactive waste persist which is over 10,000 years in some cases. As far as man is concern, you may as well be saying forever. One year on the other hand is completely manageable. I think people hear radiation and all of sudden get scared. Sunlight is radiation. TV signals are radiation. You need to put it in perspective. There are manageable and safe forms of radiation and there are unsafe unmanageable forms of radiations. I personally would like to see all nuclear reactors shut down until they agree on a place to store the waste. When some cites start paying 30 cents a KWH for their air conditioning after losing their local nuclear plant maybe the politicians would agree that Yucca Mountain isn’t such a bad idea after all.

    • Unlike you, I use facts to back up my claims.

      I will not repeat myself and waste time with you. Reread my posts.

    • "So you don't have a clue, do not pretend that you know what you are talking about."
      But you, genius, claim to know the hour of our petroleum "peak."

      You also "know" that "Solar is the future" and that "Replacing oil with radioactive materials is not." Additionally, you miraculously power the future (even at night) by your use of "more efficient panels." Since you seem to know the future, just when will those be available?

      You state that "In the United States, credible estimates of annual fossil fuel subsidies range from $10 billion to $52 billion annually."

      Really? Who knew that "credible estimates" of anything whatsoever could encompass such a range? Only you.

      Of course, you betray yourself by noting that " ... there never has been an actual free market in history" and that '"Free" markets are manipulated to benefit the powerful.' Does this mean that the nasty old free market won't be available to develop all of those "more efficient" things you need to make your utopian green dream come true? Oh, that's right ... we have Solyndra and a host of other government assisted failures to lead us "FORWARD"!

      Good luck with that.

    • I'm not sure how they calculate their giga watts, whether it's the solar panel rating of the actual energy produced. Because Germany is at a pretty high longitude and thus they don't get as good of conversion as say someone in the south west US.

    • Great answer.

      So you don't have a clue, do not pretend that you know what you are talking about. If you knew a little history, you would know that the U.S. was once an importer of oil. A little war with Japan occurred over this issue.

      Syria’s oil reserves are being gradually depleted and reached 2.5 billion barrels in January 2009. Experts generally agree that Syria will become a net importer of petroleum by the end of the next decade.

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