China Plans to Have Thorium Plant Running in 10 Years

An article in the South China Morning Post is reporting that China plans on completing the world’s first thorium nuclear reactor using thorium molten-salt technology 15 years sooner than was originally planned.

The urgency of completing this project has been brought on by the severe pollution problems China is facing, in large part caused by the growing number of coal power plants which currently produce about 70 per cent of the country’s electricity.

There are apparently significant challenges in developing a commercial thorium reactor — for example, molten salt produces a high amount of flouride and other corrosive chemicals, and there is much about thorium that is unknown. Still, the Chinese have “declared war” on pollution, and according to Professor Gu Zhongmao, an official at the China Institute of Atomic Energy, nuclear technology is the only option they have to win that war.

One wonders what will become of this project, however, if the E-Cat is recognized to be cleaner, cheaper, and able to be implemented in a much shorter time frame.

  • Doug Cutler

    Right now China has a strong commitment to next gen nuclear but nuclear takes a long time to build and we shall have to see how that commitment develops over time. Reason being there is an energy dark horse coming up fast on the outside and its name isn’t Cold Fusion – its Wind. Chinese wind energy is for the first time out-producing nuclear – and that’s actual total power, not just nameplate capacity: http://cleantechnica.com/2014/03/13/wind-leaves-nuclear-behind-china/ (BTW, China is also setting records for solar PV.)

    Nothing would please me more than to see LENR sweep in and obsolete all other forms of energy including wind and solar. So far that isn’t happening. And who here can say with certainty when we can drive past the E-Cat power plant on my way to work? In truth, no one. Will it be five years? Ten? Twenty? Is Cold Fusion just a new version of the old Hot Fusion waiting game? . . . .

    Meanwhile the global warming time bomb is tick, tick, ticking away and we’re running out of time. I’m not saying can the nukes – though you damn well better keep a close eye on them. But all LENR supporters should also be cheering for the cost plunging and fast growing renewable energy market if only to buy more time for further LENR research. High level research works best with the supports of a stable, sophisticated civilization which, in turn, requires a stable climate.

    • bachcole

      Not everyone here shares your sense of urgency about climate change, and here is why:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxFm1TXshZY

      It is fun to wallow in emotions. But I prefer wallowing in hope and excitement rather than fear and anxiety.

      • Doug Cutler

        Burt Rutan is an aviation rock star. That doesn’t make him a climate scientist. The world is full of people with no training in the field who consider themselves smarter than a thousand climate scientists. Its all pretense and hubris.

        I don’t know about you but I have a great deal of respect for highly specialized experts. I’ve known a lot of expert dental hygienists but only the actual dentist gets near my teeth with a drill. I’ve known a lot of good dentists but only the dentist/orthodontic surgeon performs my jaw surgery. Recently a expert eye surgeon – not my family physician – saved my vision in one eye. I’ve played piano all my life but I still trust the piano tuning to a trained technician. This is the normal state of affairs in the modern world; we have experts. Society grants them a degree of authority for all their skill, hard work and training and that’s a good thing otherwise we’d have door-to-door brain surgeons.

        Now suddenly the 2,000 bona fide leaders in their field, the 97% of recently peer-reviewed climate scientists are not to be trusted? Is it merely because we don’t want to hear what they have to say? And if you second guess the climatologists it means you’re also second guessing the Pentagon and US Military threat assessment that now regards global warming as a serious and “highly likely to occur” threat to the stability of modern societies. I’m sorry my friend, but not even Burt Rutan is that brilliant. Neither are you or I.

        For the record, I not one of those who thinks Florida will be under water by the end of the decade. I do believe, however, we need to be seriously weening ourselves off fossil fuels by mid-century. For the record I’m also a supporter of ongoing LENR research – though I must admit a greater partiality to the likes MFMP and Peter Hagelstein working hard in transparent process to achieve repeatable experiments. I wish all LENR researchers great and speedy success. Meanwhile the cost of solar PV is dropping like a stone. Austin Texas recently signed a long term deal for solar at 5c/kwh, a pretty good way in the meantime to harness the energy from the already fully functioning fusion reactor we call the sun.

        • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

          I also have tendencies to trust people from the domain, and this is why I follow the positions of Judith Curry, who had the bollocks to admit she commited misconduct when in the pack.

          the 97% is a myth, and if you analayse data when considering that the agnostic, moderate position is not “orthodox”, then it is about half of skeptics.

          It seems even that IPCC report is getting lukewarming.

          as we are on a LENR forum, we should remind that scientific consensus is obtained often by academic terror, and climategate have confirmed that there was terror agains dissenters, terrors agains dissenting journals, defunding, manipulation of communications…

          I agree that many skeptics make huge errors, as some LENr supporters or deniers do on calorimetry…

          to have a reasonable professional vision, best to to read Judith Curry, or even Pielke, Lindzen… as you can read Mann or Hansen…
          even the IPCC report in the body when analysed in a skeptical way, is not so “orthodox”.
          it is confirming many skeptics claims of few years ago, and cooling most of the scaremongerers you hear in journals.

          anyway as I always says, this is without any practical interest since we will stop producing CO2 with energy…
          it will only be an epistemological question, about academic terror, high impact journal mafia, media disinformations, extremist lobbying,… social science, like the channels on Mars, N rays, cold fusion denial, psychoanalysis, …

          • bachcole

            “it will only be an epistemological question, about academic terror, high
            impact journal mafia, media disinformations, extremist lobbying,…
            social science, like the channels on Mars, N rays, cold fusion denial,
            psychoanalysis, …” EXACTLY!

          • Doug Cutler

            Hello AlainCo. So we meet again . . . but under better circumstance for discussing LENR and related matters. My apologies for being a little blunt when last we met. I will restate that nothing would make me happier than seeing commercial grade CF hit the grid. I guess I’m just not as patient as yourself in waiting for it. Meanwhile, we share a key area of agreement so I will begin there:

            Like you, I believe the global warming debate grows increasingly moot and academic as we enter the Twilight of the Fossil Fuel Gods. (Glenn Beck’s ranch house covered in solar panels anyone? True story.) If I may take some small liberty, we also share a broad categorical agreement that this demise will flow from some relatively benign form of either direct of indirect nuclear force. Of course, the E-Cat – or some similar form of commercial grade LENR – would be the direct form. For the indirect form, I will stoop to a very small trick of meaning and describe the solar panel as passive collector of the sun’s own fusion energy.

            As stated, I grow impatient with the slow advent of commercial grade LENR. Meanwhile, as I’m sure you are aware, wind and solar are starting to hit some serious stride in the energy world. The possible cost of utility level LENR has been tossed around on this site. Some suggest 2c/kwh while others argue the infrastructure costs of retrofitting generating stations might well drive that number a little higher. Let’s use 3c/kwh for the sake of argument.

            As stated in my previous post, Austin Texas recently signed a long term deal for solar electricity at 5c/kwh. This is part of a consistent and precipitous drop in the cost of solar PV and there’s no indication yet that its hit bottom. Efficiency gains continue to be made in the hard costs of manufacturing as well as soft costs like installation and financing. Its not unlikely that within 5 to 10 yrs solar PV will hit 4c/kwh, indeed, very close to the projected cost of LENR. LENR would have clear advantages but renewables like solar PV and also wind have the overwhelming advantage of actually being available NOW. Even if we take Rossi at his word there may be issues of safety and dependability that could take years to work out. As yet there is no clear date for commercialization of any LENR product.

            As far as contrarian views within the climate science community I’m sure they exist. The contrarian position actually performs an important function in holding out non-orthodox ideas. Galileo, Newton and Einstein could be considered contrarian. The prestige pay-off for the contrarian proved right is ABSOLUTELY HUGE, thus the attraction for domain and non-domain professionals alike such as Burt Rutan above. Problem is contrarians are almost always wrong as the extremely rare occurrence of Galileos and Newtons show in sharp relief.

            As far as the 97% climate scientist consensus being a myth, I’m afraid I’m not persuaded. It just sounds like so much right wing fossil-fuel propaganda to me. Here are my sources. If you have any credible citations to contradict these I would be glad to see them.

            From Wikipedia:

            Anderegg, Prall, Harold, and Schneider, 2010

            A 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS) reviewed publication and citation data for 1,372 climate researchers and drew the following two conclusions:

            (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the
            field support the tenets of ACC (Anthropogenic Climate Change) outlined
            by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative
            climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers
            unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.[14]

            John Cook et al, 2013

            Cook et al examined 11,944 abstracts from the peer-reviewed
            scientific literature from 1991–2011 that matched the topics ‘global
            climate change’ or ‘global warming’.

            They concluded that the number of papers actually rejecting the consensus on AGW is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research.[21]

            In their discussion of the results, the authors . . . [add] that “the fundamental science of AGW is no longer controversial among the publishing science community and the remaining debate in the field has moved on to other topics.”[21]

            • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

              about the weak number of paper who challenge AGW theory; I would say like einstein : one is enough.

              note that terror against dissenters is not even hidden, and confirmed by climategate, by closing of one journal, by resign of one editor, by letters send to ministry asking for laws forbiding AGW “denial”…

              Wikipedia is nota reference but an actor in the debate, under control of some activist who may be right or wrong like on cold fusion.

              Be carefull when using consensus as an argument on a cold fusion site, as we are the example that academic consensus is erroneous.

              I would moderate as saying that in fact peer-reviewed paper absence and academic consensus means nothing if you dont’ look at the reason of the peer-rejection, and the content of teh consensus

              Judit curry made article about the 97% consensu, and later the 51% consensus

              http://judithcurry.com/2013/07/26/the-97-consensus/

              ” Isn’t everyone in the 97%? I am. – Andrew Montford

              I’m sure most of you have encountered the recent paper by Cook et al. (2013) Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature, which includes John Cook and Dana Nuccitelli of SkepticalScience fame. And the many critiques of this study that have appeared at WUWT, Blackboard, etc.

              IMO, the main point of all this is that he concept of a ‘consensus’ surrounding climate change is becoming increasingly meaningless.

              Ben Pile’s recent post What’s behind the battle of received wisdoms? has certainly stirred the pot. Some excerpts from Pile’s post:

              On the pages of the Guardian’s environment blog, Dana Nuccitelli (who is not a climate scientist) compiled a list of what he thought were Neil’s mistakes. ‘These are your climate errors on BBC Sunday Politics‘, he proclaimed. But half of Nuccitelli’s rebuttals related to Neil’s treatment of the study into the extent of the scientific consensus on climate change, co-authored by Nuccitelli, which represents (according to the study) the views of 97% of scientists. Davey had cited the study during the interview, but Neil had said that it had been largely discredited.

              (M)any sceptics have pointed out that the 97% figure encompasses the arguments of most climate sceptics. In evidence to the US Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee last week, Roy Spencer, a climate scientist who is routinely vilified for his apparent climate scepticism, claimed that his arguments fell within the 97% definition. Here in the UK, climate sceptic blogger and author of the Hockey Stick Illusion, Andrew Montford tweeted in the wake of the survey, ‘isn’t everyone in the 97%? I am’. This prompted Met Office climate scientist, Richard Betts to poll the readers of the Bishop Hill blog, ‘Do you all consider yourselves in the 97%?’. It seems that almost all do.

              later she added the 52% consensus of meteorologist
              http://judithcurry.com/2013/11/10/the-52-consensus/

              I know climatologist hate weather men, but weather men use models every day and as some says, they validate it everyday and know that climate model are proven 97% wrong

              recent news seems to show mainstream (less outspoken) climatologist who dissent with the scaremongerers.

              http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26655779

              (many other news in skeptic zone)

              in a way, judith curry is a warmist, but a lukewarmer who like most serious skeptic

              – admit CO2 cause some warming, question is how much
              – confirm planet temperature increased since 150-200years (before AGW should have done it)
              – agree that temperature is not sure flat for 17 years, but is sure much slowly climbing since 15years
              – that sealevel growth speed is slowly decreasing
              – that antartica ice grow
              – that extreme weather don’t evolve
              – that extreme wind event are historically low (like insurers know)
              – that models don’t match reality
              – that climate sensitivity is lower than claimed by IPCC journalist summary
              – that the pause about 80 years ago is unexplained by models, like current pause
              – that there is so huge uncertainties (the uncertainty monster of judith curry) in current climatology that current pretended confidence is not serious

              – that adverse effect are exaggerated (if not are an industry).

              • Doug Cutler

                You are correct, it only takes one Einstein. But the bar for overturning a consensus and shifting a paradigm is extremely high. One must do more than make claims. Many Newtonian physicists initially resisted Einstein’s ideas. It wasn’t until careful astronomical observations in 1919 confirmed his predictions of gravitational deflection of starlight that Einstein triumphed. The evidence was so compelling that even the detractors were dragged into the new paradigm whether they wanted it or not. In the instance of Curry and others we see no such similar slam dunk evidence nor mass exodus among her peers. Indeed, she retains many critics among peers. The fact of the Pentagon taking climate warnings very seriously is also still in play.

                But lets assume for the sake of argument the split among climatologists is more like 50-50. You then have two divergent forecasts: one is for tornados, the other for high winds. So what do you do? Do you plan for a day of kite flying or do you gather friends and family together and head for shelter? I know what I do. Yes, I’m invoking the Cautionary Principal and with extreme vigor. Climate collapse is not something we can afford to guess wrong on.

                But lets back away from the precipice for a moment. Remember, we both agree these concerns may be entirely academic. Rather, perhaps you might clarify for me your general position on CO2 from fossil fuel. Even without AGW we still have at least three other compelling reasons for ending fossil fuel reliance ASAP: 1) 7 million annual deaths from air pollution – as recently reported, 2) ocean acidification and 3) Vladimir Putin.

                I’m not sure its what you intend but you seem to suggest that since AGW is relatively non-urgent we can just bide our time until commercial grade LENR hits the grid. (Again, I stress that no one as yet is offering a firm date for commercial LENR.) Meanwhile millions die from fossil fuel related air pollution and oceans and geopolitics degrade.

                In the later case, Putin is now essential acting as a petrol zsar. His regime survives on oil and gas revenues. In Western Europe the wisdom of advancing rigorous renewable energy programs is now more apparent than ever. In the Ukraine, even in the face of monetary stress, they continue to add solar panels as fast as possible in a effort to reduce reliance on Russian gas. Still, it’s a slow process. It was a sharp drop in the price of oil that helped push the Soviet Union over the edge last time. A sudden advent of commercial grade LENR would achieve a similar effect. I’d love to see it. Meantime, every new kilowatt of EU power from renewables lessons Russia’s leverage. Its no time to sit back and wait.

                Climate change in general. I’m no climate scientist but I’ll hazard to comment on a few points:

                The 15 or 17 year temperature plateau is widely admitted. Climate change deniers often attempt to use it as proof AGW is false. Climate, like weather is a chaotic system. You can predict within a range the average annual rainfall for a given region but not the exact day it will rain. Likewise expect a degree of long range variation. Its also important to point out that the plateau is anything but a return to normal; the climate has gotten hotter and is staying hotter. In order to use the plateau as evidence for AGW negation you would also need to disprove other possible explanations for the plateau such as increased volcanic activity reflecting solar radiation or perhaps more importantly, heat uptake by deep ocean currents. New research into this later vector seems to indicate that deep oceans currents are being affected which is not good news.

                I might disagree completely on the insurers point. There’s plenty of indication the insurance sector is increasingly worried about climate change:

                http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-magazine/an-industry-that-has-woken-up-to-climate-change-no-deniers-at-global-resinsurance-giant/article15635331/?page=all

                http://www.forbes.com/sites/mindylubber/2012/10/11/climate-proofing-the-insurance-industry/

                Other points you make I’ve seen rigorously rebutted by actual climate scientists. If you seek a more worthy opponent to test your ideas I suggest you engage some of the hardcore climate change advocates that hang out at CleanTech Media or similar sites.

                On the point of a lack of scientific consensus for LENR I think that’s a little complicated. I make a distinction between what I call laboratory grade LENR and commercial grade LENR. In terms of the lab grade LENR, I think we see an increasing interest from ranking scientists. Should the efforts of MFMP and Hagelstein to design experiments with higher replication rates I think you would see a sharp increase in that interest. I think a greater skepticism remains with the claims for commercial grade LENR, especially as regards to power output, demonstration methodology and implementation timelines.

                Finally, there’s more good news in the solar sector – which I don’t know why anyone except fossil fuel executives wouldn’t be pleased about. Several yeas ago George Bush Jr. started the SunShot program (paraphrase of MoonShot) with the ultimate goal of reducing the cost of installed utility scale solar PV to $1/watt by 2020 at which point solar PV basically overtakes all other utility scale energy including nuclear, coal and gas. With recent developments, not just in China but by US FirstSolar and GE, it looks like the Sunshot will hit its goal three years early in 2017. Now, LENR may come in later and eclipse solar – and that would be fine with me – but it looks more and more like wind and solar will may be the first to eclipse fossil fuels.

                AlainCo, I do appreciate your tone. Facts and concepts only. A respectful conversation of minds rather than a banging of heads. I’ve enjoyed debating with you. I think I’ve said all I have to say for now – which is quite a lot. I now leave the last word to you.

      • CaptD

        bachcole – RE:”But I prefer wallowing in hope and excitement rather than fear and anxiety.”

        While you and many others are “Wallowing” huge numbers of people are installing Solar (of all flavors) and immediately starting to generate clean, Green Energy that has no possibility of causing a Fukushima-type meltdown disaster or a radioactive WIPP storage leak environmental debacle!

        Society needs Energy and spending many billions yearly on “wallowing” is not helping anyone improve their lives except for those receiving a Nuclear Payback*.

        * http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Nuclear+payback

        Those that support nuclear power because nuclear power somehow supports them; no matter what the health implications or other “costs” are for others.

  • Steve H

    Industrial plants typically require between 2 and 10 Mega-Watts with an in-rush current of 250 amps at 11 kilo-Volts. On second thoughts it’s probably better to go back to steam driven turbines instead of motors. That will be a better fit for LENR technology.
    LENR could make a come-back for steam as the prime moving force for industry!

  • GreenWin

    Why not just read the Elforsk-Levi Report and get to work on something a whole lot less dangerous and costly?? Thorium fuel cycles have been used in the USA since the early 60s. They have always resulted in failure.

    • Obvious

      The Chinese have with Candu have successfully tested mixed thorium and recycled uranium in a reactor. Not a best case but decent proof of concept.
      It almost looks like an Ecat could be stuffed into a Candu in place of the rod bundles.

  • Steve H

    Until Rossi develops a 2000 Mega Watt reactor – the problem remains the same. The E-Cat is an incredible leap in technology but it is small change when it comes to real industrial output level.
    At the moment we are lead to believe that a 1 MW reactor is the largest E-Cat. This is only good for distributed, small capacity, power demand.

    It may be another ten years before R&D can deliver high capacity E-Cats.

    I don’t want to sound like some naysayer, I have followed Rossi’s work for many years now. We need to understand it’s present limitations however, or we will loose credibility when trying to explain this grey-project technology to others.

    Warm regards to the community.

    Steve.

    • Omega Z

      Steve

      E-cats can be easily daisy chained. Limited only by the size of the turbine/generators.
      However, It is still an unproven technology & will take a while to reach that point. I expect a slow start until it has a proven track record. In the mean time, New capacity is still needed.

      It’s very much like people who want an E-cat home heating system. But their furnace quit last fall. What can they do when E-cats heaters aren’t yet on the market. Buy a conventional system.
      They have to have heat while their waiting. Life doesn’t have a pause button.

      • Steve H

        I understand and agree with your view on domestic E-Cats.
        Please see my thread on the Chinese Thorium reactor for further information on large industrial power generation.

        Warm regards,

        Steve.

  • Fortyniner

    In view of recent speculation about Chinese interest in cold fusion, the most optimistic view of this is that they are choosing not to put all their eggs in one basket. Thorium reactors could also be one answer to the world’s nuclear waste storage problems, so the export potential could be very high.

    • Omega Z

      Can’t put all their eggs in one basket
      Yes, LENR is still an unproven technology. This will take a while. They have to plan as if it doesn’t yet exist. Just in case unforeseen problems arise. They can always change course at a latter point.

      I would speculate changing course over the next 5 years would be simple, But becomes progressively more problematic each year after that.