America Is Letting China Steal Our Valuable Nuclear Innovations

The U.S. Is Letting China Steal Its Nuclear Innovations … Just Like Xerox Let Apple and Microsoft Steal Its Valuable Breakthroughs

Microsoft and Apple grew rich by using Xerox’s innovation.

Xerox’s research arm (called Xerox Parc) invented the “graphical user interface” used by all modern computers. Bill Gates famously admitted to Steve Jobs that both Microsoft and Apple had ripped of Xerox’s GUI.

Xerox could have made a fortune on its innovation. But it didn’t realize what it had … and failed to capitalize on its breakthroughs (Xerox tried to sue to protect its invention … but years too late, and the lawsuit was thrown out because Xerox had missed the deadline for suing).

The same dynamic is playing out in the nuclear industry.

Specifically, the U.S. created a safer, more efficient form of nuclear energy running on thorium. But – like Xerox Parc – America isn’t doing anything with its innovation, and China is running off with prize.

The Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard notes:

If China’s dash for thorium power succeeds, it will vastly alter the global energy landscape ….

China’s Academy of Sciences said it had chosen a “thorium-based molten salt reactor system”. The liquid fuel idea was pioneered by US physicists at Oak Ridge National Lab in the 1960s, but the US has long since dropped the ball. Further evidence of Barack `Obama’s “Sputnik moment”, you could say.

Chinese scientists claim that hazardous waste will be a thousand times less than with uranium. The system is inherently less prone to disaster.

“The reactor has an amazing safety feature,” said Kirk Sorensen, a former NASA engineer at Teledyne Brown and a thorium expert.

Here is a short, must-watch TED talk by Sorensen:



The Telegraph continues:

Professor Robert Cywinksi from Huddersfield University said thorium must be bombarded with neutrons to drive the fission process. “There is no chain reaction. Fission dies the moment you switch off the photon beam. There are not enough neutrons for it continue of its own accord,” he said.

Dr Cywinski, who anchors a UK-wide thorium team, said the residual heat left behind in a crisis would be “orders of magnitude less” than in a uranium reactor.

The earth’s crust holds 80 years of uranium at expected usage rates, he said. Thorium is as common as lead. America has buried tons as a by-product of rare earth metals mining. Norway has so much that Oslo is planning a post-oil era where thorium might drive the country’s next great phase of wealth. Even Britain has seams in Wales and in the granite cliffs of Cornwall. Almost all the mineral is usable as fuel, compared to 0.7pc of uranium. There is enough to power civilization for thousands of years.

***

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. As a happy bonus, it can burn up plutonium and toxic waste from old reactors, reducing radio-toxicity and acting as an eco-cleaner.

Dr Cywinski is developing an accelerator driven sub-critical reactor for thorium, a cutting-edge project worldwide …. The idea is to make pint-size 600MW reactors.

Popular Science reports:

It would be based on thorium, a radioactive element that is much more abundant, and much more safe, than traditional sources of nuclear power.

Some advocates believe small nuclear reactors powered by thorium could wean the world off coal and natural gas, and do it more safely than traditional nuclear. Thorium is not only abundant, but more efficient than uranium or coal — one ton of the silver metal can produce as much energy as 200 tons of uranium, or 3.5 million tons of coal, as the Mail on Sunday calculates it.

***

Thorium reactors would not melt down, in part because they require an external input to produce fission. Thorium atoms would release energy when bombarded by high-energy neutrons, such as the type supplied in a particle accelerator.

Wired points out:

“President Obama talked about a Sputnik-type call to action in his [State of the Union] address,” wrote Charles Hart, a a retired semiconductor researcher and frequent commenter on the Energy From Thorium discussion forum. “I think this qualifies.”

While nearly all current nuclear reactors run on uranium, the radioactive element thorium is recognized as a safer, cleaner and more abundant alternative fuel. Thorium is particularly well-suited for use in molten-salt reactors, or MSRs. Nuclear reactions take place inside a fluid core rather than solid fuel rods, and there’s no risk of meltdown.

In addition to their safety, MSRs can consume various nuclear-fuel types, including existing stocks of nuclear waste. Their byproducts are unsuitable for making weapons of any type. They can also operate as breeders, producing more fuel than they consume.

In the 1960s and 70s, the United States carried out extensive research on thorium and MSRs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. That work was abandoned — partly, believe many, because uranium reactors generated bomb-grade plutonium as a byproduct. Today, with nuclear weapons less in demand and cheap oil’s twilight approaching, several countries — including India, France and Norway — are pursuing thorium-based nuclear-fuel cycles. (The grassroots movement to promote an American thorium power supply was covered in this December 2009 Wired magazine feature.)

China’s new program is the largest national thorium-MSR initiative to date. The People’s Republic had already announced plans to build dozens of new nuclear reactors over the next 20 years, increasing its nuclear power supply 20-fold and weaning itself off coal, of which it’s now one of the world’s largest consumers. Designing a thorium-based molten-salt reactor could place China at the forefront of the race to build environmentally safe, cost-effective and politically palatable reactors.

***

A Chinese thorium-based nuclear power supply is seen by many nuclear advocates and analysts as a threat to U.S. economic competitiveness. During a presentation at Oak Ridge on Jan. 31, Jim Kennedy, CEO of St. Louis–based Wings Enterprises (which is trying to win approval to start a mine for rare earths and thorium at Pea Ridge, Missouri) portrayed the Chinese thorium development as potentially crippling.

If we miss the boat on this, how can we possibly compete in the world economy?” Kennedy asked. “What else do we have left to export?”

According to thorium advocates, the United States could find itself 20 years from now importing technology originally developed nearly four decades ago at one of America’s premier national R&D facilities. The alarmist version of China’s next-gen nuclear strategy come down to this: If you like foreign-oil dependency, you’re going to love foreign-nuclear dependency.

***

While the international “Generation IV” nuclear R&D initiative includes a working group on thorium MSRs, China has made clear its intention to go it alone. The Chinese Academy of Sciences announcement explicitly states that the PRC plans to develop and control intellectual property around thorium for its own benefit.

“This will enable China to firmly grasp the lifeline of energy in its own hands,” stated the Wen Hui Bao report.

The U.S. is acting just like Xerox Parc, letting others steal its innovations … and losing entire markets in the process.

If America fails to capitalize on its breakthrough, and let’s China obtain all of the relevant thorium energy patents, we could lose the entire market.

Too bad the U.S. government – instead of developing the thorium concept which it innovated decades ago – is protecting an obsolete uranium model which was chosen only because produced plutonium for nuclear warheads and powered nuclear submarines.

Indeed, our government is doubling-down on archaic and unsafe technology: the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved construction of new nuclear plants which do not incorporate the safety measures needed to prevent a Fukushima meltdown here … and the same companies which built and operated Fukushima will build and run the U.S. plants as well.

Brilliant.

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  • LD

    The plans were shelved because thorium does not produce plutonium for bombs. As a happy bonus, it can burn up plutonium and toxic waste from old reactors, reducing radio-toxicity and acting as an eco-cleaner. (article above)

    No. Per: http://www.nirs.org/factsheets/lovinsonifretc.pdf

    “The dominant type of new nuclear power plant, light-water reactors (LWRs), proved impossible to finance in the robust 2005–08 capital market, despite new U.S. subsidies approaching or exceeding their total construction cost. New LWRs are now so costly and slow that they save 2–20 times less carbon, approximately 20–40 times slower, than micro power and efficient end-use.

    As this becomes evident, other kinds of reactors are being proposed instead–novel designs that claim to solve LWRs’ problems of economics, proliferation, and waste. Even climate-protection pioneer Jim Hansen says these “Generation IV” reactors merit rapid R&D. But on closer examination, the two kinds most often promoted -Integral Fast Reactors (IFRs) and

    **thorium reactors–reveal no economic, environmental, or security rationale, and the thesis is unsound for any nuclear reactor.**

    […] Thorium reactors
    Some enthusiasts prefer fueling reactors with thorium–an element 3 times as abundant as uranium but even more uneconomic to use. India has for decades failed to commercialize breeder reactors to exploit its thorium depos- its. But thorium can’t fuel a reactor by itself: rather, a uranium- or plutonium fueled reactor

    **can convert thorium-232 into fissionable (and plutonium-like, highly bomb-usable) uranium-233. Thorium’s proliferation, waste, safety, and cost problems differ only in detail from uranium’s:**

    e.g., thorium ore makes less mill waste, but highly radioactive U-232 makes fabricating or reprocessing U-233 fuel hard and costly. And with uranium-based nuclear power continuing its decades-long eco- nomic collapse, it’s awfully late to be thinking of developing a whole new fuel cycle whose problems differ only in detail from current versions.

    Spent LWR fuel “burned” in IFRs, it’s claimed, could meet all humanity’s energy needs for centuries. But renewables and efficiency can do that forever at far lower cost, with no proliferation, nuclear wastes, or major risks. Moreover, any new type of reactor would probably cost even more than today’s models: even if the nuclear part of a new plant were free, the rest–two-thirds of its capital cost–would still be grossly uncompetitive with any efficiency and most renewables, sending out a kilowatt-hour for ~9–13¢/kWh instead of new LWRs’ ~12–18+¢. In contrast, the average U.S. wind farm completed in 2007 sold its power (net of a 1¢/ kWh subsidy that’s a small fraction of nuclear subsidies) for 4.5¢/kWh. Add ~0.4¢ to make it dispatch- able whether the wind is blowing or not and you get under a nickel delivered to the grid.

    Most other renewables also beat new thermal power plants too; cogeneration is often comparable or cheaper, and efficiency is cheaper than just running any nuclear-or fossil-fueled plant. Obviously these options would also easily beat proposed fusion reactors that are sometimes claimed to be comparable to to- day’s fission reactors in size and cost. And unlike any kind of hypothetical fusion or new fission reactor–or LWRs, which have a market share below 2%–efficiency and micro power now provide at least half the world’s new electrical services, adding tens of times more capacity each year than nuclear power does. It’s a far bigger gamble to assume that the nuclear market loser will become a winner than that these winners will turn to losers.”

  • Jim G

    Great article Wash. You’re on top of technology and Finance. I have been interested in this for a while. Let us know about “opportunities” in thorium.

    It seems kind of funny, but it seems thorium is a by product of rare earth mining. The Chinese probably have enough of their own. But we may need some soon. Who is your bet as a Thorium supplier? CXZ – a domestic company? LYS? Is thorium the element that it giving Lynas problems in Mayasia? I think so.

  • http://www.economic-undertow.com/ steve from virginia

    It’s never going to end, the fabulous fantasy of Thorium reactors and more free mileage, presumably. It’s always about the cars, in the end, there is no escape from the fucking cars, the TVs, the useless and pointless waste that has taken over from civilization.

    First of all, only two liquid sodium fluoride reactors have ever been built: the Oak Ridge MSRE and the ARE (Aircraft Reactor Experiment) both were constructed in the 1960s. The MSRE never burned Thorium fuel, only Plutonium and Uranium. As with all reactors, there are ‘on paper’ pros and cons to the sodium fluoride designs. One positive is that transuranic- and actinide isotopes can be burned in this kind of reactor as in ‘fast’ reactors.

    In reality, Thorium reactors are actual nuclear reactors. The problem with ALL reactors is the energy flux is contained in a space too small for the reactor to operate safely. Without the concentration of energy in small spaces, the reactors will not work at all.

    – All reactors operate at the very edge of 1960s metallurgy- and design technology. There is very little margin for error with ANY reactor, certainly for large power reactors of the kind built since 1975 (3500 mwt).

    – All reactors — including Thorium reactors — are proliferation hazards with multiple pathways to enrichment of U, Cu or Pu fuel or using enriched U within the ordinary operating cycle to produce nuclear weapons. Power reactors of all kinds and forms are the children of nuclear weapons industry, the front for it. Until reactors are repudiated, there will be no end to nuclear weapons and the threat of all-out (thermo)nuclear war.

    – Reactor buildings/equipment within MSR-type reactors become too intensely radioactive to approach ( for repairs or other necessary work). This is usually promoted as a feature rather than a bug. Proactinium-233 is more radioactive than Plutonium or Uranium 235 which are ordinary reactor fuels.

    – Because of radiation, potential criticality (leading to a nuclear explosion), fluorine poisoning and other technical matter the decommissioning of the MSR was not completed (for a small research reactor) until 40 years after the experiment concluded in 1969: http://www.ornl.gov/info/reports/1988/3445602722702.pdf.

    – Reactor types operate at much higher temperatures than current light water reactors.

    – Fluorine is sublimely toxic, it must never be allowed near humans without protection.

    – Reactor operating stresses in experimental reactor exceed the limits of current metallurgy: the ‘superalloys’ (Hastalloy N’) used in reactor vessel, processing equipment and heat exchanger(s) are expensive and very difficult to fabricate. Operating stresses on equipment and materials is currently a cause of shutdowns and leaks in light-water reactors which do not operate under MSR heat loads. MSRE operation took place over 4 years: current operating cycles for light-water plants at much higher thermal loads is 50 years and longer. It is unknown whether the Hastalloy materials as well as supporting components (pumps, valves, vents, tanks, stirrers, etc.) would survive the high-temperature, high corrosion, high thermolysis, high radiation environment long enough for a reactor to be economically useful (pay for itself).

    – No reactors (no industrial enterprises of any scale at any time in history) have ever paid for themselves, all require endless debt subsidy. Can the (broke) world afford more junk?

    – There is no current operating experience with MSRs (although this lack of experience would become less of a problem over time). The no-experience interval would be one of great danger as was the no-experience level with light-water reactors (Chernobyl-4, TMI, Davis-Besse).

    – There is no well-developed use or purpose to the energy transformed into electricity by way of this kind of reactor. Electricity would be generated to waste for no return as electricity is generated today. Best to have uses with returns — electric uses that pay for themselves — before more capacity is added. The best way to ensure this outcome is to price electricity much higher, at least 10x higher than it costs today. It will then not be wasted.

    More critical thinking is needed before there are any further endorsements of any sort of nuclear enterprise, thank you.

  • http://www.economic-undertow.com/ steve from virginia

    It’s never going to end, the fabulous fantasy of Thorium reactors and more free mileage, presumably. It’s always about the cars, in the end, there is no escape from the fucking cars, the TVs, the useless and pointless waste that has taken over from civilization.

    First of all, only two liquid sodium fluoride reactors have ever been built: the Oak Ridge MSRE and the ARE (Aircraft Reactor Experiment) both were constructed in the 1960s. The MSRE never burned Thorium fuel, only Plutonium and Uranium. As with all reactors, there are ‘on paper’ pros and cons to the sodium fluoride designs. One positive is that transuranic- and actinide isotopes can be burned in this kind of reactor as in ‘fast’ reactors.

    In reality, Thorium reactors are actual nuclear reactors. The problem with ALL reactors is the energy flux is contained in a space too small for the reactor to operate safely. Without the concentration of energy in small spaces, the reactors will not work at all.

    – All reactors operate at the very edge of 1960s metallurgy- and design technology. There is very little margin for error with ANY reactor, certainly for large power reactors of the kind built since 1975 (3500 mwt).

    – All reactors — including Thorium reactors — are proliferation hazards with multiple pathways to enrichment of U, Cu or Pu fuel or using enriched U within the ordinary operating cycle to produce nuclear weapons. Power reactors of all kinds and forms are the children of nuclear weapons industry, the front for it. Until reactors are repudiated, there will be no end to nuclear weapons and the threat of all-out (thermo)nuclear war.

    – Reactor buildings/equipment within MSR-type reactors become too intensely radioactive to approach ( for repairs or other necessary work). This is usually promoted as a feature rather than a bug. Proactinium-233 is more radioactive than Plutonium or Uranium 235 which are ordinary reactor fuels.

    – Because of radiation, potential criticality (leading to a nuclear explosion), fluorine poisoning and other technical matter the decommissioning of the MSR was not completed (for a small research reactor) until 40 years after the experiment concluded in 1969: http://www.ornl.gov/info/reports/1988/3445602722702.pdf.

    – Reactor types operate at much higher temperatures than current light water reactors.

    – Fluorine is sublimely toxic, it must never be allowed near humans without protection.

    – Reactor operating stresses in experimental reactor exceed the limits of current metallurgy: the ‘superalloys’ (Hastalloy N’) used in reactor vessel, processing equipment and heat exchanger(s) are expensive and very difficult to fabricate. Operating stresses on equipment and materials is currently a cause of shutdowns and leaks in light-water reactors which do not operate under MSR heat loads. MSRE operation took place over 4 years: current operating cycles for light-water plants at much higher thermal loads is 50 years and longer. It is unknown whether the Hastalloy materials as well as supporting components (pumps, valves, vents, tanks, stirrers, etc.) would survive the high-temperature, high corrosion, high thermolysis, high radiation environment long enough for a reactor to be economically useful (pay for itself).

    – No reactors (no industrial enterprises of any scale at any time in history) have ever paid for themselves, all require endless debt subsidy. Can the (broke) world afford more junk?

    – There is no current operating experience with MSRs (although this lack of experience would become less of a problem over time). The no-experience interval would be one of great danger as was the no-experience level with light-water reactors (Chernobyl-4, TMI, Davis-Besse).

    – There is no well-developed use or purpose to the energy transformed into electricity by way of this kind of reactor. Electricity would be generated to waste for no return as electricity is generated today. Best to have uses with returns — electric uses that pay for themselves — before more capacity is added. The best way to ensure this outcome is to price electricity much higher, at least 10x higher than it costs today. It will then not be wasted.

    More critical thinking is needed before there are any further endorsements of any sort of nuclear enterprise, thank you.

  • no way

    Test.

  • no way

    Dear Washington,

    Excellent article and well put sentiment.

    From the verbal-diarrhea diatribe responses of LD and Steve-from-virginia, it looks like you must have hit a raw nerve with this two fragile minded religious fanatics. Both of these egotistical fools wrote responses to your article that are longer than your original article; then they had the nerve to post their incoherent opinions twice (!). This is typical of extremist activists; narcissism, the inability to admit their wrong about anything (without a nervous breakdown) and intolerance for anything that deviates from their personal orthodoxy is typical of hypocrites like these.

    Irrespective of what these two ignoramuses believe, the facts are that investment in conventional nuclear power has taken off in a big way, especially in Uranium mining and consolidation (both in Australia and Canada; the countries with the largest reserves). This is happening in anticipation of the hundreds of reactors that are going to be built in the two countries that need power generation the most, the mega-countries of India and China (double digit growth requirements in the power sector for coming DECADES). Unlike the artsie activists that talked down your article, the people investing 100s of millions of dollars in Uranium mining are not fools; they’re hard-nosed businessmen and scientists (who actually have a track record of success). So nuclear power plants are going to be built on a large scale no matter how much some spoiled brat whining activist living in virginia, california or new york thinks; even if there are further earthquakes and tsunamis, it will not stop.

    You are quite correct that Thorium is the way to go for the mid-term and the long term, whether that be in the form of MSR Thorium reactors or some other Thorium reactor technology, these variants with pan out in the future.

    The largest reserves of Thorium are not in Norway, but in the United States, India and Australia, each representing approximately 25% of global reserves according to the USGS; according to the IAEA and the OECD India likely has the largest reserves at 40% of the Earth’s reserves. Not surprisingly the country that has done the greatest amount of R&D on Thorium reactors and fuel cycle is India.

    India has also been assisting Israel in this technology lending them expertise and technology; Israel may have viable sources of Thorium with its borders and is very interested in becoming energy independent (for obvious strategic reasons). Thorium interests in the US are working with their counterparts in Russia on the MSR and other Thorium technologies. China, on the other hand, is playing catch up, for example buying Thorium reactor technology from Siemens.

    While China’s own Thorium research is currently quite rudimentary, only a fool would underestimate the Chinese and their national will (fools like anti-nuclear activists). When the Chinese make something a national imperative, they’ll throw as much men, materials, money and other resources to achieve that objective. That makes the economic argument of some wishful anti-nuclear-energy groupies look stupid. Unlike private investors, the Chinese government and the multinationals and banks it OWNS can sink in far larger amounts of capital and for far longer than any consortium of private investors in the West. The Chinese have already demonstrated that they’re willing to lose money hand-over-fist to achieve a national objective. Something they already done in technologically complex fields such as 3&4G wireless industry (there’s a good chance that your mobile calls are being serving by good quality Chinese baseband radios), an industry which they now dominate; (If the chinese were willing to spend as much as $40Billion on the Beijing Olympics, a sports event, what do you think they’d be willing to spend on energy independence?- something that’s tied to their national economic and military security). They can spread the R&D, commercialization and production costs for Thorium technology over a far greater time period and consumer base than private concerns in the US; ie. they can dump the costs onto their captive power utility companies and recoop the costs from the Chinese consumer over a long period (as an example, Chinese mobile operators (owned by the chinese government) have to pay more for chinese built telecom equipment than operators in the Europe or the US for same equipment). So the argument no one will invest in Nuclear technology and power plants is wishful thinking on the part of anti-nuclear-power fools and their paymasters in the Fossil fuel industry (and Saudi Arabia). I think the term “useful idiots” comes to mind when one thinks of the mindless fools that undermine US energy independence and reduction of emissions thru Nuclear Power, protesting unknowingly at the behest of foundations that receive money from competing energy industries.

    You can’t blame the Chinese for doing whats right for their country and future. You can’t blame the Chinese for the fact that many US politicians and bureaucrats are will to sell out their own country at the behest of special interest lobbies, such as the fossil-fuel industries, the defense lobby and foreign lobbies such as the Saudis. These same lobbies are currently lobbying the US govt to put pressure on the Indian govt to stop Indian progress in the Thorium fuel cycle; they might succeed given how weak and corrupt the current Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, is.

    Ironically, the people who might actually save US thorium efforts might be the Chinese themselves. The threat of China successfully commercializing Thorium reactors might breath life back into the US Thorium effort. The China are too strong to be blackmailed or bribed by anyone to halt their efforts, so if it looks like their success may be inevitable, that’s going to make it very hard for naysayers in the US to stop American scientists from proceeding with this promising technology.

    Excellent article. God Bless you and God Bless your country.

  • dmx

    This post is unintentionally hilarious and typical of the nationalist demagoguery that pervades the American mentality.

    Because China is now developing a technology that America chose of its own free
    will not to develop decades ago, that is considered “stealing”?

    By this definition, most nations including America itself are thieves.

    Americans are always running their mouth about the virtues of capitalist
    competition–but only when the USA wins and benefits. But if other countries
    are able to economically compete with America, all of a sudden Americans stamp
    their feet and pout that those darn foreigners aren’t playing fair somehow.

    Ultimately, this article reveals a more important and deeper American
    pathology: namely, how pathetically nervous and paranoid America is, as its
    capitalist system implodes and other nations–particularly the BRIC nations–emerge
    as competitors.

    And America’s obsessive anti-Chinese Sinophobia today harkens back to the
    Japan-Bashing of the 1980s, when another Asian country was demonized in the
    American psyche as a hated economic antagonist. The more things change…

    Better yet, United States today is reminiscent of 1930s Nazi Germany, which
    sought scapegoats to blame for its economic malaise and launched multiple wars
    of aggression as its only recourse to solve domestic economic problems.

    All the USA really needs is a charismatic leader and political movement that
    can galvanize American nationalism from the grassroots to save the US
    Fatherland. ;-)

    BTW, America is the last country on the planet to whine about someone else
    “stealing” their precious inventions.

    America’s capitalist system and entire US Way of Life(TM) are based upon theft
    since 1776 and George “slaveowner” Washingon.

    America stole and now occupies an entire continent from the Atlantic to the
    Pacific, and it literally stole Black people from Africa to serve as slaves to
    build up the America Empire.

    Today, American theft includes waging wars of aggression around the world to
    control and steal energy resources, while trying to deny them to other nations
    (like China and other “economic competitors”).

    This is done through America’s Big Lies called the “War on Terrorism,” “humanitarian military intervention,” or “defending freedom and democracy”–which any honest person knows have
    always been pretexts for America’s ambitions for world conquest in general and the theft of energy resources especially.

    This is not to mention another issue that most Proud Amurikans want to cover up: American Dollar Hegemony. As a result of the US Petro Dollar being the world’s only reserve currency, America is able to “borrow” money from other nations that it will NEVER repay–thus extracting the “largest free
    lunch in history,” as Michael Hudson’s book below puts it.

    America: Host or Parasite?
    http://michael-hudson.com/2007/03/america-host-or-parasite/

    Super Imperialism: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance
    http://michael-hudson.com/2003/03/press-release-super-imperialism/

    Yet, you rarely hear about this outrageous American financial theft in not only
    the mainstream media but even the (phony) alternative media as well.

    • http://www.facebook.com/foolishphilosopher Samuel Tunes

      You missed the point. The article is not a call for justice but to rouse competition.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bruce-Miller/100000952005408 Bruce Miller

    “He who dares not offend cannot be honest” Thomas Paine

  • dmx

    “This American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it.” — Al Capone

  • martae

    Zerox had no plans to develop the graphical interface. It was just something PARC came up with. Management did not have the vision. Besides, it’s better the Chinese develop, and sell LFTRS, than not have them available at all.

  • Alastair

    Concentrated Solar Thermal with molten salts storage is already here and delivering baseload despatch power in Spain (Gemasolar). The first demonstration plant was made in California until it lost federal funding under Pres Bush. It’s cheap, simple, genuinely clean (not sorta clean like thorium reactors) and will get a whole lot cheaper once broad deployment starts exactly as wind and solarPV did. Nukes continue to rise in cost, struggle for social licence and funding and difficult to insure.

    Fuck life on the moon — I want to save as many of the ecosystems and life supports of a safe climate on Earth. If Thorium reactors was a done product then I’d be more interested, it won’t get done in this the critical decade for Climate Change action and faces as many problems as “clean coal” or carbon capture and sequestration which is essentially a pipe-dream because the economics just aren’t there even if the tech ever makes it out of the Fossil Fuel myths funding lab.

  • Buhguh Neilsen

    Dear “Washingtonsblog”,

    Excellent article and well put sentiment. You are quite correct that Thorium is the way to go for the mid-term and the long term,

    The facts are that investment in conventional nuclear power has taken off in a big way, especially in Uranium mining and consolidation (both in Australia and Canada; the countries with the largest Uranium reserves). This is happening in anticipation of the hundreds of reactors that are going to be built in the two countries that need power generation the most, the mega-countries of India and China (double digit growth requirements in the power sector for coming DECADES).

    According to the USGS, the largest reserves of Thorium are not in Norway, but in the United States, India and Australia, each representing approximately 25% of global reserves Additionally, according to surveys commissioned by the IAEA and the OECD India likely has the largest reserves at 40% of the Earth’s reserves; it’s no surprise then that India that has done the greatest amount of R&D on Thorium reactors and fuel cycle over the last 30 years.

    In fact, it was the threat of India building a pilot commercial Thorium reactor (the Indians presented the design at an international nuclear conference, announcing that construction would commence soon), that prompted the Bush administration to unilaterally offer India a Uranium Supply deal that would break the Nuclear fuel embargo that had been imposed on India; in the resulting deal the US virtually forced the Nuclear Suppliers Group to offer favorable nuclear fuel and nuclear systems access to India in the US-India nuclear deal. What really surprised the Indians was the speed and desperation the Bush administration exhibited in getting the deal thru; this only happened after India had announced the intention to build a pilot commercial scale Thorium cycle power reactor.

    • Sylvester Stuhleone

      Clearly what you’re implying is that a viable thorium fuel cycle scares the hell out of various energy and banking cartels; the countries that successful implement it will have virtual energy independence from both the Uranium Cartel and the fossil fuel cartels. For example, given Israel’s extreme vulnerability, they are actively pursuing Thorium fuel-cycle research since Israel has viable sources of Thorium within its borders. Not surprisingly Israel has sought an obtained Indian assistance in this technology; India has been lending them expertise, experience and technology.

      China, on the other hand, is rapidly catching up, for example buying Thorium reactor technology from Siemens (The Pebble-bed reactor). While China’s own Thorium research is currently quite rudimentary, only a fool would underestimate the Chinese and their national will. When the Chinese make something a national imperative, they’ll throw as much men, materials, money and other resources to achieve that objective. If the Chinese were willing to spend as much as $40Billion on the Beijing Olympics, a SPORTS event, what do you think they’d be willing to spend on energy independence?- Energy Independence is something that’s tied to their national economic and military security.

      You can’t blame the Chinese for doing whats right for their country and future. You can’t blame the Chinese for the fact that many US politicians and bureaucrats are willing to sell out their own country at the behest of special interest lobbies such as the Uranium lobby, the fossil-fuel industries and foreign lobbies such as the Saudis. You can’t blame the Chinese for the fact that corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and commercial interests in the US deliberately scuppered and crippled American Thorium R&D progress in the 1960s and 70s. You can’t blame the Chinese that corrupt US politicians held back American progress in technologies that the US was far ahead of the rest of the world in.

      These same lobbies are currently lobbying the US govt to put pressure on the Indian govt to stop Indian progress in the Thorium fuel cycle; they might succeed given how weak and corrupt the current Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, is.

      Fortunately, such pressure won’t work on China. Outside competition is good for the United States: Ironically, the people who might actually save US thorium efforts might be the Chinese themselves. The threat of China successfully commercializing Thorium reactors might breath life back into US thorium technology. The China are too strong to be browbeat, blackmailed or bribed by anyone to halt their efforts, so if it looks like their success may be inevitable, that’s going to make it very hard for naysayers in the US to stop American scientists from proceeding with this promising technology.

  • itellu3times

    Two things, first that it turns out that lead is actually pretty rare, rarer than gold, so “more common than lead” isn’t all that common, and second that ol’ Xerox made one or two half-assed attempts to use their own GUI invention but other than those STILL hasn’t ever done much with it. They could, y’know.

 

 

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