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Author Topic: THORIUM energy alternative to Nuclear Power  (Read 8749 times)
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« on: 2011-July-09 01:46:31 PM »

THORIUM energy alternative to Nuclear Power + GOVERNMENT meddling to suppress it!
TAGS: #thorium #nuclear #energy

Three Mile Island-USA, Chernobyl-USSR, Fukushima Daiichi-Japan.
ANY system can fail at some time for some reason–and “America’s Extinction Level Event” shows some of the reasons.
Preference should be given to systems that "fail safe", i.e. fail in such a way as to protect human life and property.
In the "system" of nuclear energy, THORIUM is a "fail safe" system. Uranium is NOT!

Current nuclear plants COULD BE converted to the much safer thorium. Will it happen? While the truth about thorium is ignored or suppressed, the answer is "NO!" Do your part and become informed. Then tell someone else.
THORIUM energy alternative to Nuclear Power + GOVERNMENT meddling to suppress it!
Yet another government lie that we have lived with--and many have died from.

         What is special about thorium?

  • There is a nuclear technology called thorium that has the ability to provide all the energy that we need for the next 10,000 years in the United States. One of these reactors was built at Oak Ridge in the 1960s, and proved that it works.
  • "US physicists in the late 1940s explored thorium fuel for power. It has a higher neutron yield than uranium, a better fission rating, longer fuel cycles, and does not require the extra cost of isotope separation. The plans were shelved because thorium does not produce plutonium for bombs."
  • Thorium is as abundant as lead, (it is in COAL!) and produces far less radioactive waste than uranium. Thorium comes out of the ground as a 100% pure, usable isotope, which does not require enrichment, whereas natural uranium contains only 0.7% fissionable U235. But development was shunted aside by the FedGov because it could not be used to exterminate its enemies.
  • All the impassioned anti-nuclear agitation of the last half century, all the delay and all of the admittedly overstated danger, and all the massive dependence on oil with its potential for conflict in the Middle East, could have been avoided if only the FedGov had not been fixated on weapons of mass destruction. I knew that government had screwed up nukes but I did not know the enormous, wicked extent of the deception.
  • By weight, thorium can produce 200 times as much energy as uranium, reactors are cheaper to design and waste, much cheaper to store - even if it is stored; for in thorium reactors, the waste can be regenerated for use as fuel. It is also inherently safer, since its fission reaction has to be primed; absent an external neutron stream, it shuts down automatically.
  • Control rods are not needed, either to regulate energy production or to stop fission in an emergency, because the fission rate is determined by the proton accelerator. If the accelerator stops sending protons, fission stops almost instantly.
  • Thorium is in coal. Take the thorium out of the coal, use it as a power source, and then turn the coal into synfuel. The Germans perfected this process, and there is actually now a commercial plant running in South Africa by a company called Sasol.
  • India is switching to thorium and China is committed to extensive use of this technology.

Thanks to David Ward for the following:

There are a couple of pretty good Ted videos on thorium and small reactors. You should give it a gander.
Here is a link:
and his Thorium website:

Here is one on small reactors, but not strictly thorium:


11A071 Nukes by Jim Davies, 3/13/2011    

The world's known reserves of uranium will last us 80 years at current use rates, with a much larger potential supply available with additional exploration; nuclear power is by far the safest, cleanest and least politically vulnerable fuel known to mankind. It would be an enormous tragedy, therefore, if last week's awful earthquake in Japan were to delay the construction of new nuclear generating plants.

Government has, alas, been intimately involved in nuclear energy ever since it was discovered, and the result has been an inordinate dependence on unstable supplies of oil and on coal - which, though abundant and domestic, is the dirtiest fuel of all. Wind, solar, geothermal etc are all very attractive in theory but still far too expensive to compete in a free energy market. So in the near to medium term, nuclear power generation is very obviously the best choice.

That government intrusion has so far had three phases. In the first, the FedGov pressured the urgent development of the new science of nuclear fission by pumping vast resources into the Manhattan Project, for the express purpose of exterminating human beings en masse. Destruction is the main business of government, and is the one thing at which it is quite effective. A mere five years after Einstein wrote his famous letter advising FDR to begin, a quarter of a million Japanese men, women and children were suddenly and terribly killed - though some of them lingered many days in agony. The single, small and wholly unexpected benefit from those two explosions was the discovery, decades later, that a moderate exposure to nuclear radiation (suffered by those living on the edges of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki) actually prolonged life! Seems that radiation, like water, can be healthy in small doses even though fatal in large ones.

The second phase followed fast: the FedGov pushed the electricity industry to develop power generators faster than prudence, in a free market, would have suggested. This was still a new and unproven technology, with obvious hazards if done wrong; I was a junior and temporary intern in the 1950s in one nuclear design lab and all the scientists worked feverishly to maximize safety by understanding neutron flux through the massive concrete shields they were designing, but if the companies (and their insurers) had been responsible for any possible spillage of radiation there is no question, they would have taken more time. Government absolved them of that responsibility by writing the Price Anderson Act, which limited liability; so they rushed to market at indecent speed. Very fortunately, there were no serious accidents but we owe that more to luck than to sober judgment.

Then thirdly after the minor accident at Three Mile Island, the Feds reversed course and banned all further plant construction until very recently, and the result was a tragic abortion of a highly promising technology at the very time when understanding of safety factors was increasing exponentially! Thus, government was completely out of phase; hurrying when the free market would have been cautious, prohibitive when it should have got out of the way. This was so colossally stupid as to compare badly even with some other governments, such as those of France and Sweden, which now generate most of their electricity in nuclear plants. If we are very lucky, the Feds will continue to permit the market to work somewhat, even despite the shockers at Fukushima Daini and Daiichi; business people are perfectly able on their own to work out that it's not wise to build reactors right on top of known earthquake-prone fault lines.

When government has evaporated, choices about ways to generate power will be left to those who will live with all the consequences - risks of bankruptcy as well as hopes of healthy profits - and that's exactly the way it ought to be. I predict nukes will be a popular pick.

11A074 Nukes, Revisited by Jim Davies, 3/16/2011    

Since blogging Nukes [see above] a couple of days ago, the situation in Japan has become worse. Some ask: have I had second thoughts?

Absolutely not! This will be out of date when read, events are moving so fast, but however bad it gets there is no rationale whatever for amending what was blogged: that nuclear fission is by far the safest way to generate power, and after government has disappeared the free market will bring much more of it - but not, because of the owners' own interests, located close to well-known geological fault lines. That's because (as it showed) absent government, owners and their insurers would carry full responsibility and be neither protected nor hampered by that meddlesome and distorting third party.

Whatever the outcome in Japan, government did it. Not a foot can be placed, anywhere in the nuclear industry, without nanny government's direction. If the half dozen nuclear plants were built where quakes often quake and tsunamis often flood, the Japanese government is responsible. The worse the outcome, the more powerful the argument for dispensing with government. That is the logical and accurate lesson to draw but, tragically, not a single government licensed medium will draw it. For conclusions that rational, you have to come here.

The design of the reactors in question was drawn in the late 1950s and is the boiling water type. Water is used both to moderate the fuel rods by absorbing neutrons and to produce steam for the turbines. When the rods are fully immersed the chain reactions end, but the circulating water is still hot and needs to keep moving after that action, for the fuel rods have plenty of latent heat remaining to be dissipated; so the design provided a backup pump for it in case the primary one should fail. Unfortunately, both the primary and secondary pump equipment in this case were swamped by the tsunami, so the water stopped circulating. Temperatures and pressures rose, the top popped and some hydrogen exploded, releasing a little radioactive gas. The operators managed to circulate some sea water to act as coolant - not clear to me yet how they pumped it - but still, the temperature kept rising and melted some of the fuel rod casings. Clearly now in retrospect, the design fault was to place the pumps where a tsunami - common enough in those parts, the word itself is Japanese - could close them down. The pumps were in a basement, ready to be flooded by the first incoming wave, and even their diesel fuel tanks were placed above ground level, in a perfect inversion of what common sense would suggest.

Again: those design flaws were examined and permitted by government. In a recent publication Simon Black has pointed out that while Japanese are a talented and resourceful people their whole economy has been so mismanaged by government as to have been stagnant for a quarter of a century, and this disaster will oblige it either to open up to free enterprise and immigration, or else to slide off the list of the world's most prosperous nations. His point about immigration is that law there has made it very difficult, but now with such a vast amount of rebuilding required labor will be sorely needed and plenty is available - from overseas. Only government can prevent people coming to help.

Just think: 30 years ago, statists here were clamoring for the USA to follow the Japanese example of an economy closely managed by government. They never admitted it (perhaps they were too dumb to realize) but that sentiment is pure Fascism. It never worked and never will, and additional proof lies now in the smoking hulks of half a dozen reactors.

You'll not hear this on Establishment TV, but the choice is clear: a very safe, clean, cheap and abundant source of energy for several generations to come, or else government - with its lethal, bumbling incompetence and its arrogant interference and its arsenals of nuclear warheads sufficient to wipe out the human race several times over. I've already made mine. What's yours?

11A081 Thorium by Jim Davies, 3/23/2011    

Had I kept up properly with my physics over the last half century, I would have known this already and for sure would have told you; but I didn't, so I'm sorry. My only consolation is that hardly anyone else told you, either: but the news is that thorium can with several advantages be used as a nuclear fuel. Here's a handy child's guide to thorium fission. [COPIED BELOW]

Not, mind, that I'm going soft on uranium power plants. As shown in Nukes Revisited, even in the unique circumstances of Fukushima they are not the hazard to civilization that some ignorantly suppose; some dangerous remedies had to be applied and several brave men took heavy risks and may suffer cancer and foreshortened lives as a result, but at this writing the great Japanese tragedy of 2011 has claimed about 15,000 victims of whom not a single one resulted from nuclear radiation. There was a near-miss, in the sense that the meltdown might have been much worse, but (again, as shown there) the danger came not from technology but from government interference and ineptitude. Yesterday's excellent news is that cooling pump power is restored and so radiation levels should from now on steeply decrease.

That government ineptitude may be even worse than I supposed last week. "Fail-unsafe" by Edwin Smith in the Libertarian Enterprise reveals that when the earthquake struck Japan, by government edict all power was immediately shut off. For most circumstances that may be sensible; but abruptly to pull the plug on a nuclear power plant meant that the reactor suddenly overheated, at the very moment when freshly pumped cooling water became unavailable. If Smith is right, it means that the emergency that kept us all holding our breath for a week was directly caused by incompetent government intrusion.

So, regular uranium-based nukes are quite safe enough if government doesn't interfere, either to "help" or hinder their design and operation - but the thorium alternative way to generate electricity is even safer yet. I'm much obliged to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the Telegraph for his explanation last weekend. Quote: "US physicists in the late 1940s explored thorium fuel for power. It has a higher neutron yield than uranium, a better fission rating, longer fuel cycles, and does not require the extra cost of isotope separation. The plans were shelved because thorium does not produce plutonium for bombs."

Thorium is as abundant as lead, and produces far less radioactive waste than uranium. But development was shunted aside by the FedGov because it could not be used to exterminate its enemies. Sonofagun. All the impassioned anti-nuclear agitation of the last half century, all the delay and all of the admittedly overstated danger, and all the massive dependence on oil with its potential for conflict in the Middle East, could have been avoided if only the FedGov had not been fixated on weapons of mass destruction. I knew that government had screwed up nukes - two ZGBlogs this month prove it - but I did not know the enormous, wicked extent of the deception. I should have known; mea culpa. By weight, thorium can produce 200 times as much energy as uranium, reactors are cheaper to design and waste, much cheaper to store - even if it is stored; for in thorium reactors, the waste can be regenerated for use as fuel. It is also inherently safer, since its fission reaction has to be primed; absent an external neutron stream, it shuts down automatically.

India is switching to thorium, and as Evans-Pritchard remarked, China is committed to extensive use of this technology. In a zero government society multiple fuels and technologies will of course compete, with no single bureaucracy, influenced by lobbies from one of them (oil?) or another (coal?) enforcing a uniform policy that pleases only traffickers in political power. I predict thorium will compete strongly.

11A089 Outside the Box by Jim Davies, 3/31/2011    

One of the delights of breaking free of the near-universal assumption that government is necessary, is that one enters a community of bright people able to see the world with clear vision. Yesterday was a prime example, for me. This ZGBlog is a bit short because I plan to introduce you to what came to me before the morning was three hours old, and leave you to enjoy them too.

First, an alert ZGBlogger emailed me to draw attention to a revolutionary way to produce energy on a large scale. It may well dominate the next century or more, but I must admit not having heard of it. It's well enough known that deep under the ocean there are such things as hydrothermal geysers, but for some reason I had supposed that they are few and so deep as to be way out of mankind's reach. Seems I was wrong. They are very numerous, and often in relatively shallow water under 3,000 meters; BP's "Deepwater Horizon" was at half that depth and the Titanic lies twice as deep. So they are not inaccessible. Thing is, they produce a prodigious amount of energy, and Bruce C Marshall has invented a way to capture it. Read and enjoy:

This new technology is not a done deal; governments can be expected to obstruct the private ownership of portions of the ocean, which would bring the project enormous help even if it's not an absolute prerequisite, and a single power plant needs a horrid amount of investment money, and so on; but the invention is there and it promises to put even thorium plants into the shade. What a marvelous antidote to the relentless gloom about Fukushima saturating pro-government TV.

Then I paid my daily visit to Strike the Root, and found two of my most-favorite authors had each penned a truly excellent, outstanding piece.

Jakub Bozydar Wisniewski contrasts the logic of zero government society with wooly and self-contradictory "bleeding heart" liberalism, while the enigmatic author Tzo (who lives "inside your head") brilliantly takes apart Stanley Milgram's shortfall in his famous experiment about obedience to authority. Tzo shows that Milgram came as close as a Remington razor to the accurate conclusion that "authority" (or the belief in it) is at the root of evil, yet failed to take the vital step of saying so. And for good measure, Tzo is funny. This is an article not to miss.
« Last Edit: 2014-March-24 09:55:53 PM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: 2011-July-09 01:55:22 PM »
  • News update #2 for readers of "A serious but not ponderous book about Nuclear Energy"

    In these updates, we try to bring you news of significant current scientific and technological developments in the field of nuclear energy. New, still in development, not yet completely tested, some will be tomorrow's news headlines, some may be obsolete within months or years. Often we have to rely on information from the people who are promoting them, who have a personal or financial interest in them, and who promise results which may or may not materialize. Many numbers that we cite are estimates, and differ from source to source; rarely are all the raw data they are based on available. We do our best to sort out fact from hype and to be accurate and understandable. You'll be the judge.
        Walter Scheider Cavendish Press Ann Arbor, PO Box 2588, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Thorium: Is It the Better Nuclear Fuel?
It may turn out to be a quantum leap in the search for economy and safety.

        Carlo Rubbia won a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1984 for the discovery of two elusive high energy particles, called the W and the Z. The discovery was a feat not only of physics, but of engineering. He is good at both, and now has another idea which could revolutionize the methods we use to retrieve nuclear energy.

        You may never have heard of thorium. It is a plentiful element; there is more of it in the earth's crust than uranium. No, it is not fissionable. But it can be made into a low weight isotope of uranium that is fissionable. Rubbia thinks it may be worth the trouble to do that, even if it is a roundabout route to nuclear fission.

         A good introduction to Rubbia's idea is in "Megawatts and Megatons," (pp153-163) by Richard Garwin and Georges Charpak, Knopf, NY 2001 (originally published in 1997 in French). Another summary, just 3 pages long, is in the CERN Courier, a publication of the European collider laboratory, of April 1995, available on the web at . The CERN report closes with this sentence: "With the heavy ecological implications of present nuclear and conventional energy sources, it is surprising how little R&D work is being invested anywhere in this potentially rewarding alternative energy solution."

         What is special about thorium?

         (1) Weapons-grade fissionable material (uranium233) is harder to retrieve safely and clandestinely from the thorium reactor than plutonium is from the uranium breeder reactor.
        (2) Thorium produces 10 to 10,000 times less long-lived radioactive waste than uranium or plutonium reactors.
        (3) Thorium comes out of the ground as a 100% pure, usable isotope, which does not require enrichment, whereas natural uranium contains only 0.7% fissionable U235.
        (4) Because thorium does not sustain chain reaction, fission stops by default if we stop priming it, and a runaway chain reaction accident is improbable.

        Besides, the priming process is extremely efficient: the nuclear process puts out 60 times the energy required to keep it primed. Because of this, the device is also called, (quite inappropriately) an "Energy Amplifier."

        Naturally occurring, thorium is in the form of the stable isotope, 90Th232. Notice that thorium is just two places removed on the periodic table from Uranium. In a sequence of nuclear processes exactly like those by which the non-fissionable isotope, 92U238 is bumped up through Neptunium to Plutonium, 94Pu239, Thorium can be bumped up to a light weight isotope of Uranium, 92U233. (See p 135, Eq 15.01 and 15.02 of "A serious but not ponderous book about Nuclear Energy".) In each case, a non-fissionable isotope is converted to a fissionable one.

        Plutonium, while highly radioactive, can be shielded and concealed for shipping and storage, because the alpha rays that it emits do not penetrate lead. On the other hand, uranium233, the weapons-grade material that could be recovered from the thorium reactor, can not be as easily concealed. U233 is almost inextricably accompanied by 0.1% of U232, which, after a series of dissociations (to thallium208) emits gamma rays that penetrate everything.

        Here is the thorium sequence in the Rubbia reactor: A neutron is captured by 90Th232, which makes it 90Th233.

        90Th232        +        0n1        ->        90Th233        [1]

Thorium-233 spontaneously emits a beta particle (an electron from the nucleus, see p 173), leaving behind one additional proton, and one fewer neutron. ("...Nuclear Energy" p134) This is called "beta decay."

         90Th233        ->        91Pa233        +        ß        [2]

The element with 91 protons is Protactinium (Pa). The isotope 91PA233 also undergoes beta decay,

         91Pa233        ->        92U233        +        ß        [3]

The U233 isotope that is produced in step [3] is fissionable, but has fewer neutrons than its heavier cousin, Uranium-235, and its fission releases only 2 neutrons, not 3.

         92U233        +        0n1        ->        fission fragments        +        20n1        [4]

         If this sequence [1 through 4] is to replicate itself, it would require one neutron to generate the next U233 nucleus [1–3] and another would be required to induce the U233 nucleus to fission [4]. A chain reaction, then, could occur only with 100% utilization of the 2 neutrons emitted in [4]. 100% utilization means none can be allowed to get away, an ideal that can not occur in practice. With 98% utilization, the generation ratio (p 87-93) would be 0.98, and the half-life of the decline of the number of fissions per generation would be 50 generations. (1000 fissions in the zeroth generation would decline to 1000/e, or 368, fissions in 50 generations.)

                 This means that by itself, the fission process would die out very quickly. With a steady supply of "priming" neutrons, one can obtain, on the average, 50 new fissions from each priming neutron. There is, of course, a cost in providing the priming neutrons. But because the energy cost of the priming neutron is about 30 to 60 times less than the energy yield of the fissions it triggers, there is a net gain of energy of about 30 to 60. This is why it is called an Energy Amplifier (EA).

        The priming neutrons are emitted in a process called "spallation," which is the induced splitting of an otherwise non-fissionable large nucleus. In the EA, a proton beam impinges on lead, the high energy protons splitting lead nuclei, leading to release of neutrons. In Rubbia's design, the molten lead doubles also as primary coolant. The diagram at the left (above) shows the proposed arrangement, most of it below ground level. High energy protons emerge through a window in the tip of the proton beam tube inside the core. Protons split lead nuclei, with neutrons emitted into the core. The molten lead carries nuclear heat upward by convection.

        Pumping is required only in the secondary coolant loop, which carries the heat to where steam is made for the turbines. All other circulation is convection-driven, with no moving machinery. The lead and air circulation is guided along partitions that are not shown.

        The lead vessel is nearly 30 meters long and 6 meters in diameter, and contains 10,000 tons of lead. Control rods are not needed, either to regulate energy production or to stop fission in an emergency, because the fission rate is determined by the proton accelerator. If the accelerator stops sending protons, fission stops almost instantly. In an emergency, the proton accelerator can be switched off by a trigger signal, or it can be shut off automatically if overheating causes the expanding lead to overflow into the accelerator.

        Once fission is stopped, there is still the heat released from radioactive fission fragments that were produced before the shut-down. Although this rate of heat generation is a small fraction of that during normal operation of the reactor, the after-shutdown heat can accumulate rapidly if it is not removed (p 208). In the conventional uranium reactor this heat can be sufficient to melt the core and the bottom of the containment.

        There is no reason to believe that the prevalence of short-lived radioactive fission fragments (after fission is stopped) will be much different in the Rubbia reactor from that in uranium 235 reactors (p 208). But the EA is undoubtedly a safer reservoir for the after-shutdown heat than the conventional reactor, because it is filled with heat absorbing material (lead) that does not leak, does not require pumping to distribute the heat evenly, and will not boil away or make bubbles, as water does. Simple calculations suggest that the lead in this reactor has sufficient heat capacity to keep the temperature in the reactor below 1300oC even in the worst case, if the cooling system shuts down completely and no heat is removed from the reactor.

        The radioactive waste from the thorium reactor contains vastly less long-lived radioactive material than that from conventional reactors. In particular, plutonium is completely absent from the thorium reactor's waste. While the radioactivity during the first few days is likely to be similar to that in conventional reactors, there is at least a ten-fold reduction of radioactivity in the waste products after 100 years, and a 10,000 fold reduction after 500 years. From a waste storage point of view, this is a significant advantage.

        It is certainly premature to celebrate this technology yet. Much of the feasibility data is from small scale tests and from simulations. There are technical challenges that will have to be overcome. One of these is to find a containment material that does not have the nasty tendency that steel has to dissolve in molten lead. [Ceramic coating on the steel? ...Dennis]

        An encouraging fact is that so far, the simulations and tests have supported the theoretical predictions, which is a testament to the engineering savvy of Carlo Rubbia. In addition to the CERN group, several laboratories in the US, Japan, and Russia are working on various aspects of the EA technology.

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« Last Edit: 2012-February-29 09:47:24 AM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: 2012-November-14 04:06:30 PM »

Excerpt from interview at the following link...:
At the very end of this interview, Karl Denninger made some interesting comments about THORIUM.

Karl Denninger: Watch for Market Dislocations
by Louis James - Casey Research
Published : November 08th, 2012

Karl: ...we have to stop being stupid about energy policy. We have spent 40 years with our head in the sand on this. There are solutions to this problem. We knew how to fix this in the 1960s, believe it or not, and we refused to take those actions. There is a nuclear technology called thorium that has the ability to provide all the energy that we need for the next 10,000 years in the United States. We built one of these reactors at Oak Ridge in the 1960s, and we proved that it works.

L: But it didn't make a good weapons byproduct.

Karl: That's where the problem came from. You see, you can't make nuclear bombs out of the byproducts that come out of thorium reactors. So we shelved it in favor of the uranium fuel cycle, with all of the problems it has, including the drastic dangers that we saw played out at Fukushima and almost at Three Mile Island. But the other side of this is that thorium happens to be somewhere we really wish it wasn't. It's in coal, and it is responsible for almost all the lung cancers that are caused by coal-fired power plants because thorium is an alpha emitter, and alpha emitters, when they get into your lungs cause lung cancer.

We could very easily – and I've penciled this out on the back of an envelope, and it works – we could take the thorium out of the coal, use it as a power source, and then turn the coal into synfuel. The Germans perfected this process, and there is actually now a commercial plant running in South Africa by a company called Sasol. It is in commercial production, and it is producing synthetic diesel fuel at a blended cost. Now, they're not using nuclear power as the power source for it, just conventional power of about $60 a barrel. Now that happens to be 30% cheaper than what oil is going for right now. Why are we not doing this when we have 400 years' worth of coal reserves at present rates of consumption? The answer is that if you were to try to transfer petroleum into this, we would have to double the amount of coal that we use. That's uneconomic for a lot of reasons. I mean, how much strip mining would you like to do? But what if you could take the thorium out of the coal, use that for the power source, and thereby use the same amount of coal that we use today, and replace all of our foreign petroleum requirements? And the answer is, you can do exactly that. We just have this fixation with dual use when it comes to nuclear energy. We demand to be able to get bombs out of what we do, and that's why we're on the path that we are on. It's foolish.

L: And not likely to change without things breaking first.

Karl: We won't change it; but interestingly enough, the Chinese are already working on this, so we are going to get leapfrogged again. India is also working on thorium as a power source, but they're intending to use the fuel in a more conventionally designed reactor than a liquid fluoride salt. The liquid-fluoride-salt design has a number of advantages, both practical and from an energy perspective. One of the problems with conventional nuclear power is that the heat that it produces is very low quality. That's why you have to put the plants near oceans and big rivers and lakes, because you need huge amounts of cooling water in order to keep the thing under control. Liquid-salt thorium plants run at 650° Celsius internally, which is a much higher-quality heat source, so your thermodynamic efficiency is better. Only about a third of the energy that comes out of a nuclear power plant actually ends up as electricity. The rest is thrown away, and that's a result of the fact that the quality of the heat that it makes is relatively poor.
« Last Edit: 2012-November-14 04:19:35 PM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: 2013-November-16 10:19:01 AM »

America’s Extinction Level Event

The following article is NOT ABOUT thorium. It is about the dangers of continuing with the current uranium fueled systems.

America’s Extinction Level Event

November 15, 2013 - Featured, Health, Main - Tagged: dave hodges, depopulation, emp, false flag, genocide, government, meltdown, nuclear power plants, the common sense show   - 34 comments   

Dave Hodges November 15, 2013 The Common Sense Show
This article examines the likelihood of a monumental nuclear catastrophe in this country due to a takedown of the power grid. All discussions about a catastrophic failure of any nuclear facility must begin with a cursory analysis of what we have learned about the Fukushima event.

Lessons Learned from Fukushima

Fukushima is often spoken of by many, as a possible extinction level event because of the radiation threat. Fukushima continues to wreak havoc upon the world and in the United States as we are being bathed in deadly radiation from this event.

Coming to a neighborhood near you.

Because of Fukushima, fish are becoming inedible and the ocean currents as well as the prevailing ocean winds are carrying deadly radiation. Undoubtedly, by this time, the radioactivity has made its way into the transpiration cycle which means that crops are being dowsed with deadly radiation. The radiation has undoubtedly made its way into the water table in many areas and impacts every aspect of the food supply. The health costs to human beings is incalculable. This article is not about the devastation at Fukushima, instead, this article focuses on the fact that North America could have a total of 124 Fukushima events if the necessary conditions were present.

A Festering Problem

Long before Fukushima, American regulators knew that a power failure lasting for days involving the power grid connected to a nuclear plant, regardless of the cause, would most likely lead to a dangerous radioactive leak in at least several nuclear power plants. A complete loss of electrical power poses a major problem for nuclear power plants because the reactor core must be kept cool as well as the back-up cooling systems, all of which require massive amounts of power to work. Heretofore, all the NERC drills which test the readiness of a nuclear power plant are predicated on the notion that a blackout will only last 24 hours or less. Amazingly, this is the sum total of a NERC litmus test.   Although we have the technology needed to harden and protect our grid from an EMP event, whether natural or man-made, we have failed to do so. The cost for protecting the entire grid is placed at about the cost for one B-1 Stealth Bomber. Yet, as a nation, we have done nothing. This is inexplicable and inexcusable.   Our collective inaction against protecting the grid prompted Congressman Franks to write a scathing letter to the top officials of NERC. However, the good Congressman failed to mention the most important aspect of this problem. The problem is entirely fixable and NERC and the US government are leaving the American people and its infrastructure totally unprotected from a total meltdown of nuclear power plants as a result of a prolonged power failure.

Critical Analyses

According to Judy Haar, a recognized expert in nuclear plant failure analyses, when a nuclear power plant loses access to off-grid electricity, the event is referred to as a “station blackout”. Haar states that all 104 US nuclear power plants are built to withstand electrical outages without experiencing any core damage, through the activation of an automatic start up of emergency generators powered by diesel. Further, when emergency power kicks in, an automatic shutdown of the nuclear power plant commences. The dangerous control rods are dropped into the core, while water is pumped by the diesel power generators into the reactor to reduce the heat and thus, prevent a meltdown. Here is the catch in this process, the spent fuel rods are encased in both a primary and secondary containment structure which is designed to withstand a core meltdown. However, should the pumps stop because either the generators fail or diesel fuel is not available, the fuel rods are subsequently uncovered and a Fukushima type of core meltdown commences immediately. At this point, I took Judy Haar’s comments to a source of mine at the Palo Verde Nuclear power plant [West (UP wind) of Phoenix, Arizona...Dennis]. My source informed me that as per NERC policy, nuclear power plants are required to have enough diesel fuel to run for a period of seven days. Some plants have thirty days of diesel. This is the good news, but it is all downhill from here.

The Unresolved Power Blackout Problem

A long-term loss of outside electrical power will most certainly interrupt the circulation of cooling water to the pools. My Palo Verde nuclear power plant source informed me that there is no long term solution to a power blackout and that all bets are off if the blackout is due to an EMP attack. A more detailed analysis reveals that the spent fuel pools carry depleted fuel for the reactor. Normally, this spent fuel has had time to considerably decay and therefore, reducing radioactivity and heat. However, the newer discharged fuel still produces heat and needs cooling. Housed in high density storage racks, contained in buildings that vent directly into the atmosphere, radiation containment is not accounted for with regard to the spent fuel racks. In other words, there is no capture mechanism. In this scenario, accompanied by a lengthy electrical outage, and with the emergency power waning due to either generator failure or a lack of diesel needed to power the generators, the plant could lose the ability to provide cooling. The water will subsequently heat up, boil away and uncover the spent fuel rods which required being covered in at least 25 feet of water to remain benign from any deleterious effects. Ultimately, this would lead to fires as well and the release of radioactivity into the atmosphere. This would be the beginning of another Fukushima event right here on American soil. Both my source and Haar shared exactly the same scenario about how a meltdown would occur. Subsequently, I spoke with Roger Landry who worked for Raytheon in various Department of Defense projects for 28 years, many of them in this arena and Roger also confirmed this information and that the above information is well known in the industry. When I examine Congressman Franks letter to NERC and I read between the lines, it is clear that Franks knows of this risk as well, he just stops short of specifically mentioning it in his letter.

Placing Odds On a Failure Is a Fools Errand

An analysis of individual plant risks released in 2003 by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission shows that for 39 of the 104 nuclear reactors, the risk of core damage from a blackout was greater than 1 in 100,000. At 45 other plants the risk is greater than 1 in 1 million, the threshold NRC is using to determine which severe accidents should be evaluated in its latest analysis. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Beaver Valley Power Station, Unit 1, in Pennsylvania has the greatest risk of experiencing a core meltdown, 6.5 in 100,000, according to the analysis. These odds don’t sound like much until you consider that we have 124 nuclear power generating plants in the US and Canada and when we consider each individual facility, the odds of failure climb. How many meltdowns would it take in this country before our citizens would be condemned to the hellish nightmare, or worse, being experienced by the Japanese?

The $64 Million Dollar Question That’s Not Being Asked

None of the NERC, or the Nuclear Regulatory tests of handling a prolonged blackout at a nuclear power plant has answered two critical questions, “What happens when these nuclear power plants run out of diesel fuel needed to run the generators”, and “What happens when some of these generators fail”? In the event of an EMP attack, can tanker trucks with diesel fuel get to all of the nuclear power plants in the US in time to re-fuel them before they stop running? Will tanker trucks even be running themselves in the aftermath of an EMP attack? And in the event of an EMP attack, it is not likely that any plant which runs low on fuel, or has a generator malfunctions, will ever get any help to mitigate the crisis prior to a plethora of meltdowns occurring. Thus, every nuclear power plant in the country has the potential to cause a Chernobyl or Fukushima type accident if our country is hit by an EMP attack.


…And There Is More…

The ramifications raised in the previous paragraphs are significant. What if the blackout lasts longer than 24 hours? What if the reason for the blackout is an EMP burst caused by a high altitude nuclear blast and transportation comes to a standstill? In this instance, the cavalry is not coming. Adding fuel to the fire lies in the fact that the power transformers presently take at least one year to replace. Today, there is a three year backlog on ordering because so many have been ordered by China. This makes one wonder what the Chinese are preparing for with these multiple orders for both transformers and generators. In short, our unpreparedness is a prescription for disaster. As a byproduct of my investigation, I have discovered that most, if not all, of the nuclear power plants are on known earthquake fault lines. All of California’s nuclear power plants are located on an earthquake fault line. Can anyone tell me why would anyone in their right mind build a nuclear power plant on a fault line? To see the depth of this threat you can visit an interactive, overlay map at this site.


I have studied this issue for almost three months and this is the most elusive topic that I have ever investigated. The more facts I gather about the threat of a mass nuclear meltdown in this country, the more questions I realize that are going unanswered. With regard to the nuclear power industry we have the proverbial tiger by the tail. Big Sis stated that it is not matter of if we have a mass power grid takedown, but it is a matter of when. I would echo her concerns and apply the “not if, but when” admonition to the possibility of a mass meltdown in this country. It is only a matter of time until this scenario for disaster comes to fruition. Our collective negligence and high level of extreme depraved indifference on the part of NERC is criminal because this is indeed an Extinction Level Event.

At the end of the day, can anyone tell me why would any country be so negligent as to not provide its nuclear plants a fool proof method to cool the secondary processes of its nuclear materials at all of its plants? Why would ANY nuclear power plant be built on an earthquake fault line? Why are we even using nuclear energy under these circumstances?

34 thoughts on “America’s Extinction Level Event”

I have selected the following excerpts, which I consider "on topic", from an unusually large number of doomsday religious comments...Dennis

Avi November 15, 2013 at 5:57 am   

Each & every nuclear plant is a potential Fukushima.

Tim Martin November 15, 2013 at 6:35 am   

My friends and I have been reading articles from various sources that cover the subject matter such as this and to be honest its getting more difficult to believe when most if any of the LIFE SHATTERING EVENTS are forecast or more or less predicted with certainty and dire warning much as you express. WE WANT TO BELIEVE that those such as yourself are doing the best you can to provide the facts as you understand them. But its getting harder to take these things as serious when things do not happen—things like Martial Law, Obama going away, Ison/planet X, Madrid Earthquake, Economic Collapse, Pacific N.W. Earthquake, etc. etc….ect…………….. What ever happened to the GRID X II DRILL that was to occur ?

Gabby November 15, 2013 at 7:19 am   

Uh, Dave, I’m not sure what your background is in nuclear science but I don’t think you have this right. Alpha and Beta radiation (aka fallout from a nuclear blast) are caused by particulate matter atomized by the nuclear explosion, Gama radiation is high intensity and very short lived blast specific radiation that does most of the killing in a nuclear bomb blast and of course neutrol radiation is quite similar. The specific radioactive materials used a fuel in an reactor however are of the Alpha and Beta variety. Your skin, clothing, a pane of window glass etc. are all effective barriers to it. Reactor fuel is a HEAVY metal which could not float accross the pacific nor fly through the air on trade winds for any great distance. They sink, rather rapidly, into the local surroundings. Put a bit of strontium 90 on a two by four plank and float it out from Japan and yes it might make it to our shores and still be radioactive. Your diagram of a fallout event however is completely flawed as there was no explosion due to critical mass, no alpha/beta cloud of fallout, and no widespread radiation showered on America. So get your head straight before you join the Keepers Of Odd Knowledge Society my friend. Pease out…


William B Stoecker November 15, 2013 at 8:46 am   

The fact is that we simply do not know how devastating multiple meltdowns would be. On the one hand, the Three Mile Island incident neither killed nor injured anyone, and even Chernobyl, as it turned out, killed and injured only some of the workers inside the plant, and vegetation and animals are flourishing in the “contaminated” zone. There is evidence that some exposure to radiation is harmless(no spike in genetic defects or cancer occurred among Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors), and most of the most dangerous isotopes have a very short half life.
We should all be concerned about the ongoing disaster at Fukushima, but, again, there is no proof that anyone other than people in the immediate vicinity has in any way been harmed…yet.
Regardless of this, we can blame our corrupt elites for not making our nuclear plants safer, locating them away from known fault zones, and building inherently safe reactors (the technology exists). In addition, billions of dollars and over fifty years has been wasted on hot fusion research when we know that “cold” fusion does produce excess energy. We should be building safer reactors and putting our money into “cold” fusion research…but that does not fit the agenda of our lords and masters.

Gabby November 15, 2013 at 11:49 am   

It’s tough to hear opposing viewpoints Dave I know, but the incident this article and you describe simply has not happened to the magitude and serverity you suggest. The entire planet was iradiated by the Hirosima and Nagasaki bombs to a very minor extent but only people in the near vacinities experienced any ill effects. That being said, I do agree that governments are all careless with the well being of their subjects, except for the governmental elites themselves who would never tolerate a nuclear energy plant in their back yard, only in yours. I still think you’re a member of the Keepers Of Odd Knowledge Society…


Robert Nelson November 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm   

There are several methods to neutralize radioactive waste — none of them are being used; all of them are in fact dormant technologies. A comprehensive presentation of the available info is online at


When Chernobyl burned, the fire was doused on day 5 by dumping tons of dry ice to shock cool and suffocate it. The original advice was to use liquid nitrogen, but apparently it was not available on short notice. All power plants should have a large supply of liquid N on site for that purpose– but no….

None of the methods available are likely to be applied in a timely manner, so you might as well resign yourself to Near-Term Extinction.

See ya “On The Beach”

Black November 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm   

I got it! I got it! Let’s build some big steam turbines, and hook them up to the boiling water in the power plants. The turbines could run the pumps that circulate new water directly. We wouldn’t need the diesels to make electricity to run the pumps. Err… Wait a minute.

What? Don’t these nuclear power plants make electricity? Aren’t they there to produce electrical power? Can’t they make enough power to run even themselves? I mean, if they can’t create enough heat power to run themselves, how could they ever create enough heat to cause a meltdown?

If an EMP burst takes out the grid, won’t it take out the diesels as well as the nuclear plant electrical? If it doesn’t take the plant electrical out, why can’t the plant just provide all its electricity to run its own generators for itself without the diesel generators???

Look. If the plant can’t provide enough electricity to run itself, it certainly isn’t adding anything to the power of the country. Rather, it is simply wasting power created by the dam and coal-fired turbines/generators. If this is the case, let’s dismantle the nuclear power plants, with an embarrassing blush on our faces, ’cause we got taken by someone, to the tune of $billions, for a bunch of nuclear plants that are dragging the whole electrical system down, and wasting the electricity of the whole country… if the nuclear plants can’t make enough power to even power themselves, let alone the rest of the nation, that is.

I mean, if the generators that are powered by the diesels for emergencies can be protected from an EMP burst, why can’t we make the generators that are powered by the nuclear plants, themselves, to be protected from the EMP? If it isn’t feasible to protect ALL the generators, why not prepare a few protected generators… enough to run the water pumps that protect the nuclear plant? And the generators wouldn’t even be needed if the nuclear turbines ran the pumps directly, mechanically.

I don’t get it. This whole problem seems to be a big scare tactic. Not by Dave, of course. But by the whole government and the NERC. What am I missing? Sounds a little like the Y2K scare.


El November 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm   

What will be done about this? What can be done about this? It seems that we are all sitting ducks. The image of the U.S.A., is one of strength and power. In reality this is not the case. America has many achilles heals…

Lisa November 15, 2013 at 9:30 pm   

I believe it’s already happened in Japan. The radionuclides constantly spewing into the ocean and atmosphere from the ongoing meltdown with recurring criticalities is endlessly toxic. There is no comparison to Nagasaki, Hiroshima or Chernobyl. The amount and type of reacting fuel exposed to the environment and blown up into it (reactor 3) is way more than enough for an ELE. For detailed information from nuclear scientists as well as concerned citizens, please visit Prepare to cry for a while as it all sinks in.
Nuclear energy is a cover for producing nuclear weapons, period. All nuclear power plants are subsidized by governments. Man is completely lost–chasing after his own destruction when it was never even necessary. The most lucrative industry on earth is war, arms and banking. What other species does this? Values the profit from the business of death more than anything else? Humans aren’t fit to have dominion over anything. Without Christ it seems pointless to keep participating in such a failed system

Jim M November 15, 2013 at 11:03 pm   

Dave, you posed the question twice, “why would anyone build nuclear power facilities on a known fault line”? In the case of the California reactors, the answer is cooling water used. The ocean is a great source of water to cool the reactors. So locating them as close to the source as possible was the motivation there. I remember the nuke commission and the press was hit by your question in various forms, during the early stages of construction at the San Onofre site and the other on the central California coast. I also remember the answer was something along the lines of “we have precautionary systems built into the design of the reactors to resist damage by even the largest earthquakes”. I for one never bought into that answer, and I remember thinking about it every time I was driving past one in my travels up and down the coast.


« Last Edit: 2014-March-29 12:38:30 AM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: 2013-November-16 12:19:31 PM »

Long Blackouts Pose Risk to U.S. Nuclear Reactors

The following article is NOT ABOUT thorium. It is linked from the previous article and is about the dangers of continuing with the current uranium fueled systems.

Long Blackouts Pose Risk to U.S. Nuclear Reactors

March 29, 2011 - 5:16 AM
Dina Cappiello, Associated Press

Washington (AP) - Long before the nuclear emergency in Japan, U.S. regulators knew that a power failure lasting for days at an American nuclear plant, whatever the cause, could lead to a radioactive leak. Even so, they have only required the nation's 104 nuclear reactors to develop plans for dealing with much shorter blackouts on the assumption that power would be restored quickly.

In one nightmare simulation presented by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2009, it would take less than a day for radiation to escape from a reactor at a Pennsylvania nuclear power plant after an earthquake, flood or fire knocked out all electrical power and there was no way to keep the reactors cool after backup battery power ran out. That plant, the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station outside Lancaster, has reactors of the same older make and model as those releasing radiation at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, which is using other means to try to cool the reactors.

And like Fukushima Dai-ichi, the Peach Bottom plant has enough battery power on site to power emergency cooling systems for eight hours. In Japan, that wasn't enough time for power to be restored.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Energy Institute trade association, three of the six reactors at the plant still can't get power to operate the emergency cooling systems. Two were shut down at the time. In the sixth, the fuel was removed completely and put in the spent fuel pool when it was shut down for maintenance at the time of the disaster. A week after the March 11 earthquake, diesel generators started supplying power to two other two reactors, Units 5 and 6, the groups said.

The risk of a blackout leading to core damage, while extremely remote, exists at all U.S. nuclear power plants, and some are more susceptible than others, according to an Associated Press investigation. While regulators say they have confidence that measures adopted in the U.S. will prevent or significantly delay a core from melting and threatening a radioactive release, the events in Japan raise questions about whether U.S. power plants are as prepared as they could and should be.

"We didn't address a tsunami and an earthquake, but clearly we have known for some time that one of the weak links that makes accidents a little more likely is losing power," said Alan Kolaczkowski, a retired nuclear engineer who worked on a federal risk analysis of Peach Bottom released in 1990 and is familiar with the updated risk analysis.

Risk analyses conducted by the plants in 1991-94 and published by the commission in 2003 show that the chances of such an event striking a U.S. power plant are remote, even at the plant where the risk is the highest, the Beaver Valley Power Station in Pennsylvania.

These long odds are among the reasons why the United States since the late 1980s has only required nuclear power plants to cope with blackouts for four or eight hours, depending on the risk. That's about how much time batteries would last. After that, it is assumed that power would be restored. And so far, that's been the case.

Equipment put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks could buy more time. Otherwise, the reactor's radioactive core could begin to melt unless alternative cooling methods were employed. In Japan, the utility has tried using portable generators and dumped tons of seawater, among other things, on the reactors in an attempt to keep them cool.

A 2003 federal analysis looking at how to estimate the risk of containment failure said that should power be knocked out by an earthquake or tornado it "would be unlikely that power will be recovered in the time frame to prevent core meltdown."

In Japan, it was a one-two punch: first the earthquake, then the tsunami.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the crippled plant, found other ways to cool the reactor core and so far avert a full-scale meltdown without electricity. [This article was written in March, 2011. Since then it has been revealed to be a lie and that meltdown did occur...Dennis-2013-11-16]

"Clearly the coping duration is an issue on the table now," said Biff Bradley, director of risk assessment for the Nuclear Energy Institute. "The industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will have to go back in light of what we just observed and rethink station blackout duration."

David Lochbaum, a former plant engineer and nuclear safety director at the advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists, put it another way: "Japan shows what happens when you play beat-the-clock and lose."

Lochbaum plans to use the Japan disaster to press lawmakers and the nuclear power industry to do more when it comes to coping with prolonged blackouts, such as having temporary generators on site that can recharge batteries.

A complete loss of electrical power, generally speaking, poses a major problem for a nuclear power plant because the reactor core must be kept cool, and back-up cooling systems -- mostly pumps that replenish the core with water-- require massive amounts of power to work.

Without the electrical grid, or diesel generators, batteries can be used for a time, but they will not last long with the power demands. And when the batteries die, the systems that control and monitor the plant can also go dark, making it difficult to ascertain water levels and the condition of the core.

One variable not considered in the NRC risk assessments of severe blackouts was cooling water in spent fuel pools, where rods once used in the reactor are placed. With limited resources, the commission decided to focus its analysis on the reactor fuel, which has the potential to release more radiation.

An analysis of individual plant risks released in 2003 by the NRC shows that for 39 of the 104 nuclear reactors, the risk of core damage from a blackout was greater than 1 in 100,000. At 45 other plants the risk is greater than 1 in 1 million, the threshold NRC is using to determine which severe accidents should be evaluated in its latest analysis.

The Beaver Valley Power Station, Unit 1, in Pennsylvania had the greatest risk of core melt -- 6.5 in 100,000, according to the analysis. But that risk may have been reduced in subsequent years as NRC regulations required plants to do more to cope with blackouts. Todd Schneider, a spokesman for FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co., which runs Beaver Creek, told the AP that batteries on site would last less than a week.

In 1988, eight years after labeling blackouts "an unresolved safety issue," the NRC required nuclear power plants to improve the reliability of their diesel generators, have more backup generators on site, and better train personnel to restore power. These steps would allow them to keep the core cool for four to eight hours if they lost all electrical power. By contrast, the newest generation of nuclear power plant, which is still awaiting approval, can last 72 hours without taking any action, and a minimum of seven days if water is supplied by other means to cooling pools.

Despite the added safety measures, a 1997 report found that blackouts -- the loss of on-site and off-site electrical power -- remained "a dominant contributor to the risk of core melt at some plants." The events of Sept. 11, 2001, further solidified that nuclear reactors might have to keep the core cool for a longer period without power. After 9/11, the commission issued regulations requiring that plants have portable power supplies for relief valves and be able to manually operate an emergency reactor cooling system when batteries go out.

The NRC says these steps, and others, have reduced the risk of core melt from station blackouts from the current fleet of nuclear plants.

For instance, preliminary results of the latest analysis of the risks to the Peach Bottom plant show that any release caused by a blackout there would be far less rapid and would release less radiation than previously thought, even without any actions being taken. With more time, people can be evacuated. The NRC says improved computer models, coupled with up-to-date information about the plant, resulted in the rosier outlook.

"When you simplify, you always err towards the worst possible circumstance," Scott Burnell, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said of the earlier studies. The latest work shows that "even in situations where everything is broken and you can't do anything else, these events take a long time to play out," he said. "Even when you get to releasing into environment, much less of it is released than actually thought."

Exelon Corp., the operator of the Peach Bottom plant, referred all detailed questions about its preparedness and the risk analysis back to the NRC. In a news release issued earlier this month, the company, which operates 10 nuclear power plants, said "all Exelon nuclear plants are able to safely shut down and keep the fuel cooled even without electricity from the grid."

Other people, looking at the crisis unfolding in Japan, aren't so sure.

In the worst-case scenario, the NRC's 1990 risk assessment predicted that a core melt at Peach Bottom could begin in one hour if electrical power on- and off-site were lost, the diesel generators -- the main back-up source of power for the pumps that keep the core cool with water -- failed to work and other mitigating steps weren't taken.

"It is not a question that those things are definitely effective in this kind of scenario," said Richard Denning, a professor of nuclear engineering at Ohio State University, referring to the steps NRC has taken to prevent incidents. Denning had done work as a contractor on severe accident analyses for the NRC since 1975. He retired from Battelle Memorial Institute in 1995.

"They certainly could have made all the difference in this particular case," he said, referring to Japan. "That's assuming you have stored these things in a place that would not have been swept away by tsunami."

(Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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« Last Edit: 2013-November-16 12:22:03 PM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: 2013-November-16 12:53:20 PM »

After an EMP Event, Can A Nuclear Plant Shutdown Safely?

The following article is NOT ABOUT thorium. It is linked from a previous article and is about the dangers of continuing with the current uranium fueled systems.
About Judy Haar

Judy Haar holds a Master's Degree in Nuclear Chemistry. She has worked in the power industry on nuclear, fossil, cogeneration, geysers and alternative energy plants, traveling extensively. Her projects included failure anaysis, water chemistry, and meeting emission guidelines, to name a few.

Through her chemistry background, she has worked in the field of viruses and medical isotopes.

As an entrepreneur, Judy Haar has also started, developed, and grown a variety of small businesses. She now counsels hundreds of small business startups for and has continued her education in social media marketing.

Judy presents in workshops and seminars, and writes for Suite 101 in addition to freelancing as a writer. She also publishes on Kindle.

After an EMP Event, Can A Nuclear Plant Shutdown Safely?
January 25, 2012 by Judy Haar

How would an EMP affect our Nuclear Power Plants?

An EMP, or electromagnetic pulse, can be a potential threat to the United States and the world, that we are not prepared for. It can occur when a high-altitude nuclear weapon is detonated, or through severe space weather such as a solar flare or Coronal Mass Ejection. Even a lightening strike can produce an electromagnetic pulse, and interrupt transmission of power.

Although non-scheduled outages from power surges are usually transitory, the effect on power generation presents an unacceptable risk. The loss of supply not only cripples the end user but the generator of the power, as well. So, what happens when the transmission lines can not accept power from the producers, and how do the plants shut down under a station blackout condition? An EMP’s effect on the successful shutdown of a nuclear power plant must have consequences, so what are they?

Power Transmission and EMP

An EMP is caused by a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy and a rapid acceleration of charged particles. Through this burst, gamma rays collide with particles to produce free electrons which produce current (E1). It is this current that would destroy electronic equipment on Earth in the event of a severe solar storm, or an EMP attack.

A nuclear weapon detonation produces three waves, E1, E2,and E3. The third pulse, E3, is most like that of a solar event; the effect on the electromagnetic distortion in the Earth’s atmosphere. These longer-duration, lower-frequency pulses can ride the transmission lines and destroy unhardened transformers. The primary effect is to magnetize the cores of transformers connecting to the transmission lines, thus destroying their ability to step down or step up the power.

Today, with utility and non-utility power producers, transmission lines are connected over long distances, and regulated separately. By connecting the transmissions lines, transport of power becomes easier, but the vulnerability of a massive shutdown becomes a higher probability. A power surge from an EMP, an oversupply of voltage that can last up to 50 microseconds, has the capability to destroy transformers, shutting down power transmission and reducing a power plant’s output to zero. With a nuclear plant, this issue can become serious.

Nuclear Power Plant Shutdown After an EMP

When a electromagnetic energy-burst occurs, transformers can be destroyed in the electrical transmission lines carrying power away from the plant. When this happens, the nuclear power plant’s output is reduced to zero, and the plant shuts down. Nuclear power plants are designed to allow for sudden interruption of their output by many causes; lightening strikes, equipment failure and transmission failures, to name a few.

When a nuclear power plant loses off-site power, it is called a station blackout. All US nuclear power plants are designed to withstand this event with no core damage, through the automatic start of the emergency diesels. After the start of emergency power, the automatic shutdown of the plant commences. Control rods are dropped into the core, while water is pumped into the reactor to reduce the heat. The fuel is encased in a primary and secondary containment structure designed to withstand a potential core melt, should the pumps stop and fuel become uncovered.

Preventing a Nuclear Meltdown After a Blackout

Most station blackouts are assumed to be of short duration, concluded within 24 hours. With an electromagnetic pulse, however delays could extend from a short duration to months, and some hypothesize years, before power could be restored. Transformer parts can take one to two years to produce, and with potentially-reduced transportation efforts, maybe longer. Nuclear power plants typically have enough emergency diesel fuel to run for seven days, some up to thirty days, but all will need more fuel to continue the cooling operation in a prolonged station blackout. Depending on the size of the EMP and its effects, getting additional diesel to the plants in a timely manner may be difficult or impossible.

A recent petition has been submitted for rulemaking to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission on perhaps the most pressing issue of a long-term station blackout, “Regulations that would require facilities licensed by the NRC under 10 CFR Part 50 to assure long-term cooling and unattended water makeup o f spent fuel pools. There are 104 nuclear power reactors operating in the United States at 65 sites in 31 states.”

Each of these power plants has at least one and possibly more spent fuel pools. A long-term loss of outside power could interrupt the circulation of cooling water to the pools. Spent fuel pools carry depleted fuel for the reactor, up to five times the fuel in the core. Typically, this spent fuel has had considerable decay time reducing radioactivity and heat, but newer discharged fuel still produces heat and needs cooling.  Housed in high density storage racks, contained in industrial-design buildings that vent to the atmosphere, radiation containment is not provided for the spent fuel racks. With a long outage, where emergency power may be unavailable or unsustainable, cooling may not be possible. In this event, the water will heat and boil away, uncovering the spent fuel. The exposed fuel rods could then cause fires as well as the potential release of radioactivity.

An EMP’s Effects on Nuclear Reactors: Protection

So, how can nuclear reactors be protected from the effects of an EMP?  There are a number of simple changes that could make a big difference in the event of an electromagnetic pulse. For example:

  • Sensitive transmission components and electrical control systems can be encased in a metallic shield that would prevent external EMPs from entering.
  • Antennas and power connections can be equipped with surge protectors.

Mitigating the catastrophic effects of an EMP requires engineering know-how which many companies have spent time evaluating. In addition to the metallic shields for larger structures, a second layer of protection from clamp devices can add  local protection of high-risk components thus hardening against EMP. For new installations, cost for these protections are minimal. For older installations, identifying critical components and retrofitting is in process.

The Future of Nuclear Power and EMP-Damage-Prevention

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, through review and response to petitions for rulemaking, are reviewing potential effects of prolonged station blackouts for future action. The good news? The next generation of nuclear power, which uses advanced gravity-fed cooling, will not be burdened with this issue.


Carafano, J., Weitz, R. EMP Attacks- What the U.S. Must Do Now. (2010). Accessed January 25, 2012.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Power & Energy Systems Group, Ferc. EMP-GIC Metatech Reports 319-324 Executive Summary. Accessed January 25, 2012.

United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Petition for Rulemaking. (2011). Accessed January 25, 2012.

Hardened Structures Hardened Shelters, LLC. EMP Protection. Accessed January 25, 2012.

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1 Comment

• 21 days ago

So nothing is resolved yet and there are 65 potential radioactive fallout sources in the US alone (there are also a bunch in eastern Canada) that could result from the EFFECTS of an EMP of human (high-altitude nuclear bomb explosion) or major solar storm origin. A simple look at a nuclear facilities map of North America means the East Coast would be done for. That's a majority of the US's population gone from radiation poisoning if they haven't died from the results of societal breakdown beforehand.

Oh, and by the way it would be easier to keep replacement equipment in fully enclosed Faraday cages (your steel boxes) than trying to protect equipment in use. Any connection through the wall of the Faraday cage could allow the passage of an EMP, no matter how fast any circuit breaker could cut the line.

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« Reply #6 on: 2014-January-11 04:58:34 PM »

A BRAINSTORM using Thorium: The Thorium Car

Car Runs For 100 Years Without Refueling – The Thorium Car
November 13, 2013 By Aaron Wysocki

“If your car was powered by thorium, you would never need to refuel it. The vehicle would burn out long before the chemical did. The thorium would last so long, in fact, it would probably outlive you. That’s why a company called Laser Power Systems has created a concept for a thorium-powered car engine. The element is radioactive, and the team uses bits of it to build a laserbeam that heats water, produces steam, and powers an energy-producing turbine.*” Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian of The Young Turks discuss.

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