A design for a Thorium nuclear reactor addresses one of the biggest fears associated with nuclear power – meltdown. A fission reaction can be maintained by firing a proton beam (similar to that generated by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN) in a straight line aimed at Thorium fuel (which is both more abundant and generates less nuclear waste than Uranium). The reaction can be turned off by switching off the beam. No Fukushima style meltdown if the power fails.
Sounds like a winner to me. Construction starts in 2015, should be operational by 2023. Can’t wait. Let’s hope it lives up to expectations.
New Scientist Magazine
A study by Dr Daniel Sarewitz has uncovered a ‘trend towards the pervasive over-selection and over-reporting of false positive results’. This is not the first time such evidence has been published. See ‘Why Most Published Research Findings Are False’ (J. P. A. Ioannidis PLoS Med. 2, e124; 2005).
‘How can we explain such pervasive bias? Like a magnetic field that pulls iron filings into alignment, a powerful cultural belief is aligning multiple sources of scientific bias in the same direction. The belief is that progress in science means the continual production of positive findings. All involved benefit from positive results, and from the appearance of progress. Scientists are rewarded both intellectually and professionally, science administrators are empowered and the public desire for a better world is answered. The lack of incentives to report negative results, replicate experiments or recognize inconsistencies, ambiguities and uncertainties is widely appreciated — but the necessary cultural change is incredibly difficult to achieve.’
Journal of Nature
It makes one despair!
Well if recent field trials in Alaska are anything to go by then the answer could be yes. Methane hydrates are the most abundant source of carbon based fuel on the planet. They exist in quantities many times that of oil, natural gas and coal combined. Don’t believe me? Then take a look at this report on the most conservative of web sites – the US Geological Survey http://marine.usgs.gov/fact-sheets/gas-hydrates/title.html
I don’t want to get too excited but even US Energy Secretary Chu thinks this is a technology that should be pursued. Now there are few instances that Steven Chu and I are on the same page when it comes to energy development. Using carbon dioxide to release the natural gas trapped in ice seems to be a master stroke.
I propose that all alternative energy research money be diverted to developing this wonder technology so then all us sceptics and warmists can live together in perfect harmony – I feel a song coming on. Now what do you think are the chances of that (the harmony not the song) – no I didn’t think so either
Piers Corbin, he of WeatherAction fame, has predicted that the muddled state of the Sun’s magnetic field will make things interesting, weather wise, this March. ‘Twill be interesting to see how things pan out.