Re: [asa] vast new gas supplies

From: David Clounch <>
Date: Wed Dec 09 2009 - 21:38:35 EST

On Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 6:37 AM, Iain Strachan <>wrote:

> On Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 11:36 AM, David Clounch <>wrote:
>> I think of it in terms of what is available. When will it be depleted
>> and when will that sub-industry collapse, leaving humanity without energy?
>> Of course there will be economic collapse long before actual depletion.
>> Unless there are vast new sources of uranium we don't yet know about I don't
>> see a long term answer to energy supply.
> On the contrary, nuclear is an extremely long term answer to energy supply.
> Existing fission reactors use only U-235, which is 0.7% of natural uranium.
> As such it is a limited resource. But fast breeder reactors can be used to
> convert the U-238 (99.3%) of natural uranium to the fissionable product
> Pu-239.

Are there any governments proposing the usage of breeder reactors? My
assumption is these styles of reactor are frowned upon because plutonium
presents a huge waste storage problem. The other thing I don't know about
is whether breeder technology is as safe in its operation as more
conventional models. I think the anti-nuclear lobby will have a cow over
breeders. Given these are the same folks that embrace AGW I expect a huge
political warfare to take place before any widespread deployment of
plutonium generators. Because of this I just ignore the
presence/possibility of breeders as a solution.

Seems to me a peak energy crisis is the real crisis, not a warming crisis.

Look, we have been really good at putting particle pollutants in the air to
increase the albedo of the planet to get a cooling effect. And we could do
that deliberately. If the people who are so concerned over GW are serious
they would be fighting the anti-pollution measures that are lowering the
albedo. They would also be proposing nuclear if they were serious. Do they
in fact do either? I suspect not. So I am very skeptical of everything.
I am suspsicious of the real agenda behind the AGW movement.

> According to Wikipedia there is enough U-238 around to be an energy supply
> for five billion years, but I think this must be a mistake - I would have
> put it at several thousand years.
> In addition it is possible to use U-233 that is bred from Thorium - an
> element that is 3.5 times as common as uranium, as an intermediate term
> solution.
> For the long term solution, one must look to Nuclear Fusion. Current
> reactors are based on a D-T reaction which requires the breeding of Tritium
> from Lithium - an abundant element, which according to Wikipedia would last
> 3000 years if all the worlds energy came from this source. If it became
> feasible in the future to have sustainable power from a D-D fusion reaction
> then (again according to Wikipedia) there would be sufficient for 150
> billion years.
> I wouldn't trust any of these figures, to be honest. For a better
> estimate, consult David MacKay's book "Sustainable Energy without the Hot
> Air", which is available on the web. However, Fusion is an extremely long
> term solution, and it appears that, given Thorium and Fast breeder reactors,
> that nuclear fission is almost certainly a sufficiently long medium-term
> solution to allow the fusion solution to be developed.
> Iain
> --
> -----------
> Non timeo sed caveo

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Wed Dec 9 21:39:09 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Dec 09 2009 - 21:39:09 EST