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July 06, 2013

Pakistan approves budget for two 1100 MW China built nuclear reactors and Vietnam progresses on discussions for their planned nuclear reactors

1. Pakistan's Cabinet Executive Committee approved Thursday setting up two 1,100 megawatt nuclear power plants at the Karachi coast, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said. Budget documents had revealed the setting up of only one 1,100 megawatt coastal power plant at Karachi, with Chinese assistance.

All-optical transistor for classical and quantum computers

An optical switch that can be turned on by a single photon could point toward new designs for both classical and quantum computers.

In the latest issue of the journal Science, researchers at MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics — together with colleagues at Harvard University and the Vienna University of Technology — describe the experimental realization of an optical switch that’s controlled by a single photon, allowing light to govern the transmission of light. As such, it’s the optical analog of a transistor, the fundamental component of a computing circuit.

Moreover, since the weird, counterintuitive effects of quantum physics are easier to see in individual particles than in clusters of particles, the ability to use a single photon to flip the switch could make it useful for quantum computing.

The heart of the switch is a pair of highly reflective mirrors. When the switch is on, an optical signal — a beam of light — can pass through both mirrors. When the switch is off, only about 20 percent of the light in the signal can get through.

All-Optical Switch and Transistor Gated by One Stored Photon

Synthetic Biologists have for the first time synthesized eColi ribosomes

Synthetic biology researchers at Northwestern University, working with partners at Harvard Medical School, have for the first time synthesized ribosomes -- cell structures responsible for generating all proteins and enzymes in our bodies -- from scratch in a test tube.

Customized ribosomes could lead to new antibiotics and new proteins.

Others have previously tried to synthesize ribosomes from their constituent parts, but the efforts have yielded poorly functional ribosomes under conditions that do not replicate the environment of a living cell. In addition, attempts to combine ribosome synthesis and assembly in a single process have failed for decades.



Molecular Systems Biology - In vitro integration of ribosomal RNA synthesis, ribosome assembly, and translation

* An integrated synthesis, assembly, and translation technology (termed iSAT) was developed to construct ribosomes in vitro.
* iSAT mimics co-transcription of rRNA and ribosome assembly as it occurs in vivo.
* iSAT makes possible the in vitro construction of modified ribosomes.
* iSAT is expected to aid studies of ribosome assembly and open new avenues for making ribosomes with altered capabilities


DARPA shifting to short tactical range hypersonic and possible joint work with US Air force

Darpa plans to switch its hypersonic focus to shorter, tactical ranges and launch a hypersonics “initiative” to include flight demonstrations of an air-breathing cruise missile and unpowered boost-glide weapon. If approved, the demos could be conducted jointly with the U.S. Air Force, which is eager to follow the success of its X-51A scramjet demonstrator with a high-speed strike weapon program.

Spacex reusable test rocket has more accurate sensors for more precise landing

On June 14, 2013 SpaceX's Grasshopper flew 325 m (1066 feet)--higher than Manhattan's Chrysler Building--before smoothly landing back on the pad. For the first time in this test, Grasshopper made use of its full navigation sensor suite with the F9-R closed loop control flight algorithms to accomplish a precision landing. Most rockets are equipped with sensors to determine position, but these sensors are generally not accurate enough to accomplish the type of precision landing necessary with Grasshopper.

Previous Grasshopper tests relied on the other rocket sensors but for this test, an additional, higher accuracy sensor was in the control loop. In other words, SpaceX was directly controlling the vehicle based on new sensor readings, adding a new level of accuracy in sensing the distance between Grasshopper and the ground, enabling a more precise landing.

Grasshopper is a 10-story Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicle designed to test the technologies needed to return a rocket back to Earth intact. While most rockets are designed to burn up on atmosphere reentry, SpaceX rockets are being designed not only to withstand reentry, but also to return to the launch pad for a vertical landing. The Grasshopper VTVL vehicle represents a critical step towards this goal.

Grasshopper consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage tank, Merlin 1D engine, four steel and aluminum landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure.




July 05, 2013

Mixture of three cell types self-assembles into a liver bud and used to create functioning liver in mice

Japanese researchers have created functioning liver tissue from stem cells and successfully transplanted them into mice.

The researchers found that a mixture of human liver precursor cells and two other cell types can spontaneously form three-dimensional structures dubbed “liver buds.” In the mice, these liver buds formed functional connections with natural blood vessels and perform some liver-specific functions such as breaking down drugs in the bloodstream.

It’s possible the technique will work with other organ types, including the pancreas, kidney, or lungs, lead author Takanori Takebe, a scientist at Yokohama City University in Japan.

This is the first demonstration that a rudimentary human organ can be produced using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

Nature -Vascularized and functional human liver from an iPSC-derived organ bud transplant


Generation of human liver with functional vascular networks in vivo.

India's 500 MWe fast breeder is on track for 2014 completion

India's first fast breeder reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu is the first ever commercial fast breeder nuclear reactor currently under its final stages of construction. It will be a 500 MWe reactor and should be completed around Sept, 2014.

The PFBR can use the thorium fuel cycle and it's an established fact that India is home to world's second largest reserves of Thorium.

The PFBR at Kalpakkam uses Uranium-238 (not Thorium) to breed the new fissile material inside a sodium-cooled fast reactor. India's 'Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) is responsible for harnessing the power produced by the reactor.



July 04, 2013

India, Argentina and Middle Eastern Countries Have major nuclear energy plans

1. Currently, India has 20 nuclear reactors operating in six plants, providing about three per cent of the country’s energy. But 44 more reactors are either slated for construction or are already being built. By 2050, India wants a quarter of its energy to be nuclear.

Dr Singh said India could produce 470 GW of nuclear power by then “if the country thinks big and executes its plans correctly”.

2. Iran intends to produce “about 20,000 megawatts of nuclear-generated electricity” over the next few years, according to the Director of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani.

3. Argentina is still committed to developing its fourth and fifth nuclear power plants and expects to invest the US$35.7bn remaining of its US$42bn national nuclear power plan, announced in 2006, by 2023, according to federal planning minister Julio de Vido.

During his speech at the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st century in St Petersburg this week, de Vido said that nuclear power could make up 15% to 18% of the matrix in Argentina. Nuclear power generation accounted for less than 5% of the mix in 2012.

Prediction - Religious will be a global minority by 2025 in WIN-Gallup polls and Athiest and Agnostic will be the number one category by 2040s

A Gallup-Win survey found 39% of people were atheist and nonreligious in the world and 59% were religious. There was a 9% drop in the self-declared religious from the 2005 to the 2012 poll.

The trend would indicate that self declared religious would drop to about 50% in 2020. The trend from 2005 to 2012: Religiosity drops by 9%, while atheism rises by 3%. Most of the shift is not drifting from their faith, but claiming to be ‘not religious’ while remaining within the faith. Just repeating the 2005 to 2012 drop from 2012 to 2019 would get Religosity to 50%, so even a slowing of the trend would easily get to a global minority of religious people by 2025.

My predictions
- Global not religious will be 55% by 2025
- Global Athiest/Agnostic will be 20+% by 2025
- Global Athiest/Agnistic will be the number one category by 2040 with 35+%

This is based upon the continuation 9% religosity drop over 7 years.
The continued drop in religosity is based upon the far lower religosity of youth versus the oldest people.
It is also based upon the global trend to increased education and per capita wealth.

We summarized the Pew global religious landscape survey and more on the Gallup survey in this other article

Shifts in demographics, per capita wealth and education are driving the shift to 'not religious'

Additional demographic breakdowns indicate that if everyone were financially over $50,000 per capita PPP GDP and had college education then religiosity would be a minority of the global population. The survey trends indicate that the shift to 'not religious' is happening faster.

* Younger people are less religious. The shift in age groups over 12 years should shift to 'not religious' by about 10% for the overall population. People in the oldest group are far more religious than the youngest group, so as the old people die, they are being replaced with less religious youth.

* There is increasing global GDP PPP per capita. By 2025, there will be 4.2 billion in the global middle class and wealthier people are statistically less religious.


Urban high income (over $70,000 PPP per household) will also be impacted. This will increase from below 20 million households in 2010 to over 60 million in 2025 in the Emerging 440 cities. China will account for 19% of the new urban high income households.




Pew Global Religious Unaffiliated is number 3 with 16% but Gallop shows 40% are non-religious or Athiest

A comprehensive demographic study of more than 230 countries and territories conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life estimates that there are 5.8 billion religiously affiliated adults and children around the globe, representing 84% of the 2010 world population of 6.9 billion.

The demographic study – based on analysis of more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers – finds 2.2 billion Christians (32% of the world’s population), 1.6 billion Muslims (23%), 1 billion Hindus (15%), nearly 500 million Buddhists (7%) and 14 million Jews (0.2%) around the world as of 2010.

Roughly one-in-six people around the globe (1.1 billion, or 16%) have no religious affiliation. This makes the unaffiliated the third-largest religious group worldwide, behind Christians and Muslims, and about equal in size to the world’s Catholic population.

The religiously unaffiliated include atheists, agnostics and people who do not identify with any particular religion in surveys. However, many of the religiously unaffiliated have some religious beliefs. For example, belief in God or a higher power is shared by 7% of Chinese unaffiliated adults, 30% of French unaffiliated adults and 68% of unaffiliated U.S. adults. Some of the unaffiliated also engage in certain kinds of religious practices. For example, 7% of unaffiliated adults in France and 2 7% of those in the United States say they attend religious serv ices at least once a year. And in China, 44% of unaffiliated adults say they have worshiped at a graveside or tomb in the past year


A Gallup-Win survey found a higher count of atheism and nonreligious in the world.


The WIN-Gallup International ‘Religiosity and Atheism Index’ which measures global self-perceptions on beliefs is based on interviews with more than 50,000 men and women selected from 57 countries across the globe in five continents. The survey also provides trend data for shifts in attitudes since 2005.




Bionic Telescopic Contact Lens zoom 2.8 times and 3D Printed Bionic Ear to hear far beyond normal human range

1. Contact lens and modified 3D TV glasses allows wearers to switch from normal to 2.8 times zoom

Researchers have created contact lenses which, when paired with special spectacles, bestow telescopic vision on their wearers.

The contact-lens-and-spectacles combination magnifies scene details by 2.8 times.

Polarising filters in the spectacles allow wearers to switch between normal and telescopic vision.

The telescopic sight system has been developed to help people suffering age-related blindness.



Optics Express - Switchable telescopic contact lens

July 03, 2013

New method enables 1.6 terabit per second to be transmitted over 1.1 kilometer fiber could boost internet speed

The data capacity of single-mode optical fibers, while having increased by four orders of magnitude over the last 30 years, is rapidly reaching the limits imposed by the fiber’s nonlinear effects. But a bicoastal team has devised a new fiber optic technology that promises to increase bandwidth dramatically, meeting today’s ever-increasing demand for data-intensive activities like video streaming.

New research by optical fiber experts at Boston University and optical communications systems experts at the University of Southern California created a new kind of optical fiber stable enough to transmit donut-shaped laser beams called optical vortices, also known as orbital angular momentum (OAM) beams. OAM beams are generating interest not only in communications, but also atom manipulation and optical tweezers.

They packed several colors into each mode and used multiple modes. Unlike in conventional fibers, OAM modes in these specially designed fibers can carry data streams across an optical fiber while remaining separate at the receiving end.

Ramachandran’s OAM fiber had four modes (an optical fiber typically has two), and he and Willner showed that for each OAM mode, they could transmit 400 Gb/s in just a single wavelength of light — or 1.6 Tb/s across 10 wavelengths — over the course of 0.68 miles (1.1 km).

“This is very impressive,” University of Rochester physicist Robert Boyd told Science. “I can imagine a huge commercial market.”

Journal Science - Terabit-Scale Orbital Angular Momentum Mode Division Multiplexing in Fibers



In 2012, the same research team led by USC developed a system of transmitting data using twisted beams of light at ultra-high speeds – up to 2.56 terabits per second through free space. That method didn’t work, however, when it was tried in a standard optical fiber.

Full Body Donation Can be Ethical and Head Transplanting can have ethical and valid clinical uses

The need for organ donors has never been greater. Presently, there are more than 110,000 people on the national waiting list who need a life-saving organ transplant.

Organ donations in the USA are made after a donor has been declared brain dead.

Recently a proposed procedure seems to make the possibility of human body transplants (head transplants) a near term possibility.

There has been strong reaction around the internet and in other news sources.

I do not see the argument that donating all of the body of a brain dead person to another recipient is unethical. It seems that careful policy would make it as ethical as organ donation from someone deceased.

Experiments on animals for body transplant also seems ethical as it would be work to lead to clinical treatment.

Data on the number of US organ transplants in each year.


The number of organ donors ranges from about 6 to 34 donors per million people depending upon country. There are plans to get up to 40 donors per million people. The number of organ transplants is higher because one donor could provide organs for multiple transplants.

There has been work to make genetically modified pigs as a source for human heart transplants.

Internet Reactions to Technical Hurdles overcome for Head Transplants

Recently Nextbigfuture wrote about technical hurdles being overcome for head transplants.

Quick list of the some of the reactions -
* Several have noted that they should really be called body transplants
* Someone tweeted that the top 1% will always get ahead
* The article made the front page of Reddit
* Fark - Giving and getting head just became easier .
* Humorist Dave Barry notes that the Weekly World News Had This Years Ago
* Some writers of fiction like Peter Adams Salomon - At this point I would like to say “Well, I told you so…”
* Various bioethics people are freaking out over the possibility.

One of the Case Western doctor (Dr Jerry Silver) who repaired rat spinal cord damage - “It’s complete fantasy, that you could use [PEG technology] in such a traumatic injury in an adult mammal,” Silver says. “But to severe a head and even contemplate the possibility of gluing axons back properly across the lesion to their neighbors is pure and utter fantasy in my opinion.”

* Qz.com had coverage.

Canavero (who wrote the paper) estimates that the total cost of a head transplant would be at least €10 million euros ($13 million.)

Telegraph UK - Canavero says a team of 100 could perform the operation in 36 hours. Both heads would have to be removed at the same time, and reconnected within an hour.

"This is no longer science fiction. This could be done today — now. If this operation is done it will provide a few people with a substantial amount of extra life,” he said. “The only reason I have not gone further is funding.

Canavero is most known for waking a woman (2008) who was in a vegetative state for two years.

The technical hurdles have now been cleared thanks to cell engineering. As described in a paper, the keystone to successful spinal cord linkage is the possibility to fuse the severed axons in the cord by exploiting the power of membrane fusogens/sealants. Agents exist that can reconstitute the membranes of a cut axon and animal data have accrued since 1999 that restoration of axonal function is possible. One such molecule is poly-ethylene glycol (PEG), a widely used molecule with many applications from industrial manufacturing to medicine, including as an excipient in many pharmaceutical products. Another is chitosan, a polysaccharide used in medicine and other fields.


Surgical Neurological International - HEAVEN: The head anastomosis venture Project outline for the first human head transplantation with spinal linkage (GEMINI)

Goodbye to blogs - the Oil Drum and Alfin2100

Alfin

Alfin had several blogs and published regularly each week. Alfin suddenly stopped publishing on January 27, 2013 and did not respond to moderate any comments. This circumstantial evidence would suggest a sudden change (like bad health). If Alfin is still around, best wishes and if not then Goodbye to good blogs.

The Oil Drum going to Archive July 31, 2013
The website theOildrum will convert to archive mode after July 31, 2013. Those behind the Oildrum made this decision due to scarcity of new content caused by a dwindling number of contributors.

I have written a few article for theOildrum.

Nuclear Power for the Oilsands.

Uranium supplies are likely to be adequate until 2020

I know that a few years ago the board at theOildrum chose to restrict what they chose to publish.

The lack of content and contributors was a self inflicted problem at theoildrum.

Nanoantenna with metamaterial effects are on track to boost data storage by ten times and can be used for cancer treatment and other applications

Nanantennas by Nano-Meta Technologies provide for efficient control of light with nano-meter precision. The company is developing nanostructured compounds that can concentrate light through plasmonic effects to surmount a hurdle called the diffraction limit, which affects the resolution of light microscopes and lithography.

Possible applications include:

* Heat-assisted magnetic data recording (HAMR) allowing for ultra high (10X or more) data storage densities
* Ultra-thin optical elements - reflectors, lenses, holograms - constructed with nanoantenna-based
metasurfaces, for the visible and IR frequency range, e.g. low-weight, low-cost camera elements
* Chemical/bio/medical sensing and probing with disposable substrates

July 02, 2013

World Uranium production in 2012 was 58394 tons so it was a split with Dittmar for two bets in 2012

The World Nuclear Association reports 58,394 tons of uranium produced for 2012. This was 4720 tons more than the previous peak production in 2010.

Dittmar made a new prediction of a 58kton peak in uranium. He would be wrong if not for his error bars (plus or minus 4000 tons) to allow it to have an absolute top of 62 ktons.

The first quarter of 2013 has Kazatomprom and Cameco running 1000 tons ahead of the first quarter in 2012.

Since the recovery of uranium prices since about 2003, there has been a lot of activity in preparing to open new mines in many countries. The WNA reference scenario projects world uranium demand as about 72,680 tU in 2015, and most of this will need to come directly from mines (in 2010, 22% came from secondary sources and this shrunk to 14% in 2012).


Some of the new mines expected to reach substantial production in the next few years are:

Vitimsky    Russia     2013
Four Mile   Australia  2013
Cigar Lake  Canada     2013
Talvivaara  Finland    2014
Imouraren   Niger      2015
Husab       Namibia    2015

Now let us review the uranium and nuclear bets with Dittmar

Michael Dittmar wrote a series of posts about nuclear energy that was published on The Oil Drum in 2009. In the first post of the series, he said that uranium "civilian uranium stocks are expected to be exhausted during the next few years" and "the current uranium supply situation is unsustainable". Basically lack of uranium production from uranium mines would cause lack of nuclear fuel which would result in steadily dropping nuclear power generation. I made a series of three bets with Dittmar.

1. World Uranium production (I won in 2010, 2011, 2012)
2. World Nuclear power generation bets going to 2018 (I won in 2010, lost 2009, 2011, 2012)
3. Uranium production in Kazakhstan (I won 2010, 2011)

So out of 9 bets, I have won 6 bets and lost 3.

More details on the bets and prospects for 2013 and onwards

Harvard has a new US Shale Oil Study forecasts US as world number one oil producer with 16 million barrels per day of all liquid oil in 2017

In a paper titled “The Shale Oil Boom: A U.S. Phenomenon,” [64 pages] Maugeri wrote that the unique characteristics of shale oil production are ideal for the United States -- and unlikely to be mirrored elsewhere in the world. These factors include the availability of drilling rigs, and the entrepreneurial nature of the American exploration and production industry, both critical for the thousands of wells required for shale oil exploitation.

Maugeri, author of a 2012 report forecasting rapid growth of global oil production and belying the notion that oil output has “peaked,” argues in his new paper that the boom in U.S. shale oil production is central to the overall U.S. oil surge. If oil prices remain close to today’s levels, total U.S. production of all forms of oil [all liquids includes natural gas liquids and ethanol] could grow from 11.3 million barrels per day to 16 million barrels per day by 2017.

The dramatic surge in U.S. shale oil production could more than triple the current American output of shale oil to five million barrels a day by 2017, which would likely make the United States the No. 1 oil producer in the world, according to the new study by researcher Maugeri at Harvard Kennedy School.

NOTE - The United States is already the world's number one oil producer in terms of all liquid oil production.

The shale oil counts as crude oil so 10.4 million bpd would put the US as the number one crude oil producer in the world in 2017 unless there is increased production from Russia and/or Saudi Arabia. Updated EIA oil production comparison between USA, Russia and Saudi Arabia is here.



He used a possible best-case scenario encompassing a West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price of $85 per barrel in 2013, $80 per barrel in 2014, $75 in 2016, and $65 long term, along with an 8 percent per-well cost reduction per year through 2017 (that is consistent with what is already happening across the shale industry), and the progressive easing of the transportation problems that now imply significant price discounts for most of U.S. shale crude oils. My projection of the total U.S. oil potential also assumes that, from 2013 to 2017, more than 6,000 new oil producing wells are brought online annually in the shale/tight oil arena alone


202 Story Sky City to start in September and finish in December

A year has gone by since the over 200 story Sky City factory mass produced skyscraper plan was announced and there is no sign of the skyscraper. The site, which was to supposed to have been home to the 220-storey [new plans are for a 202 story] tower on the Daze Lake by now, is still a verdant expanse playing host to the cattle of local villagers instead.

The land is still a vacant lot with no work started on the foundation.

Mainland media recently reported the building would break ground soon, though Broad Group denied it. The company has not provided any timetable so far.

Wang Jinyun, who works for a company that obtained a contract to build a main road in front of the proposed Sky City tower, said: "Construction work will begin in September and the target will be to complete construction by December."

The government still has safety concerns, Wang told the South China Morning Post in May, adding: "Come again in three months, you will see a big difference."

China builds the world's largest free standing building that can hold 20 Sydney Opera houses and has triple the area of the Pentagon

Located in Chengdu (population 14 million), capital of Sichuan province in southwestern China, the New Century Global Center is the "largest freestanding building in the world," Chinese officials say.

Though the words "world's largest" usually bring to mind an image of a towering skyscraper, this project actually isn't all that tall. But it's certainly big.

At 500 meters long, 400 meters wide and 100 meters high, the 1.76-million-square-meter mega-structure (18.94 million-square-foot) is capable of housing 20 Sydney Opera Houses and almost three times the size of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

The Global Center, which opened June 28, is home to business offices, hotels, movie theaters, shopping malls, a faux Mediterranean village and family-themed attractions such as a water park called Paradise Island.



Australian and Chinese Corsortium propose rebuilding Sydney with prefabricated skyscrapers and ports and no Australian taxpayer money

Australia's government rejected a $100 billion Chinese project proposal to rebuild much of Sydney without any taxpayer money and will proceed with the $13 billion WestConnex project that will require significant taxpayer funding.

An Australian and Chinese consortium known as Aspire Sydney would have built the M4 East motorway in exchange for the rights to develop more than 150 hectares of state-owned land along the rail corridor from Central to Strathfield.

Rail lines would be rebuilt underground and the land filled with prefabricated high-rise apartments, commercial space and the M4 East. Construction materials would be moved to the site on overhead conveyor belts from a new port near Glebe.

Construction material would be shipped to a prefabricated port at Blackwattle Bay, near Glebe. To avoid bringing traffic to a standstill, it would be run to and from the building site on an overhead conveyor system along Wattle, Abercrombie and Cleveland streets.

The state government rejected the proposal in November but proponent Ross Cameron will not go quietly. He has called on state and federal politicians, and the people of Sydney, to give the plan a fighting chance. It should be fully evaluated, he says, adding that anything less would be ''a tragedy and a gross injustice''.

At least 150 high-rise towers prefabricated in China and hundreds of smaller buildings would be assembled along the corridor.



July 01, 2013

Larger habitable zone suggests 60 billion planets could sustain water, life in the Milky Way Galaxy

A new study that calculates the influence of cloud behavior on climate doubles the number of potentially habitable planets orbiting red dwarfs, the most common type of stars in the universe. This finding means that in the Milky Way galaxy alone, 60 billion planets may be orbiting red dwarf stars in the habitable zone.

Researchers at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University based their study, which appears in Astrophysical Journal Letters, on rigorous computer simulations of cloud behavior on alien planets. This cloud behavior dramatically expanded the estimated habitable zone of red dwarfs, which are much smaller and fainter than stars like the sun.

Current data from NASA’s Kepler Mission, a space observatory searching for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars, suggest there is approximately one Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of each red dwarf. The UChicago-Northwestern study roughly doubles that estimate to two habitable planets for each red dwarf. It also suggests new ways for astronomers to test whether planets orbiting red dwarfs have cloud cover.


A planet with clouds and surface water orbits a red dwarf star in this artist’s conception of the Gliese 581 star system. New findings from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University show that planets orbiting red dwarf stars are more likely to be habitable than previously believed. Illustration by Lynette Cook


The Astrophysical Journal Letters - Stabilizing Cloud Feedback Dramatically Expands the Habitable Zone of Tidally Locked Planets

A copy of the full 25 page paper is here

The TPC - DBI thorium nuclear reactor patent

Thorium-based nuclear reactor and method US 20100067644 A1 by Hector A. D'Auvergne is the design that is being proposed by Thorium Power Canada and DBI.

There was a second patent application - Reactor tray vertical geometry with vitrified waste control US 20060171498 A1

Thorium Power Canada is in talks with Chile and Indonesia for 10MW and 25MW reactors that would provide power cheaper than coal power and with reactors that could be built in less than 2 years.

A nuclear reactor and method for generating energy from fertile and fissile nuclear fuel material. The reactor may comprise a pressure vessel for housing a nuclear reactor core, the vessel having a lower vessel with an upwardly facing opening and a vessel closure head having a sealable access port. The vessel closure head may be positionable in differing positions relative to the lower vessel so that differing portions of the interior of the pressure vessel may be accessed through the access port. The lower vessel may include penetrations for lateral insertion of one or more reactor control blades into the interior of the lower vessel. The reactor core may comprise an inner driver region having substantially fissile nuclear fuel material, a breeder region substantially surrounding the driver region and having substantially fertile nuclear fuel material, a moderator substantially surrounding the breeder region, and a distal burner region having substantially fissile nuclear fuel material with higher fission product concentration than the driver region and being adaptable to receive neutrons from the driver and breeder regions. Generated heat from nuclear fuel in the reactor core may be removed by a gaseous coolant whereby the heated coolant is utilized to maintain the temperature of the moderator.


Thorium Reactor with rods schematic

Thorium Power Canada is in advanced talks with Chile and Indonesia for 10 MW and 25 MW solid thorium fueled reactors

The TPC (Thorium Power Canada) Thorium Reactor is a one-of-a-kind technology whose modular design can achieve any output desired at significantly reduced capital and carrying costs. The cost to build a reactor is estimated at $2.0 million per MW and can be built in 18-24 months versus conventional reactors at 5-7 years. Through a partnership with DBI, the company’s thorium reactor design provides a nuclear alternative to fossil fuel consumption, taking advantage of abundant and widely available thorium deposits. The TPC Thorium Reactor has been in research and development since 1970.

There is 2010 patent Thorium-based nuclear reactor and method US 20100067644 A1 by Hector A. D'Auvergne who is the main person behind this reactor design.

Nextbigfuture has summarized the patent.

Chilean 10 MW Thorium Desalination Plant

They are planning a 10 MW thorium reactor located in CopiapĆ³, Chile consists of a core and reactor manufactured by DBI Operating Company in California. The balance of plant, including all buildings and required infrastructure will be constructed on site.

It is estimated that the TPC Thorium Reactor will provide enough power to produce 20 million litres per day at the desalination plant. This is the equivalent amount that would power 3500 homes.

An application for condition approval to build a demonstration reactor has been submitted to the Chilean Government.

Indonesian 25 MW Thorium Power Project

Thorium Power Canada is presently preparing a proposal for the development of a 25 MW thorium reactor in Indonesia. This demonstration power project will provide electrical power to the country’s power grid.

Indonesia could install a reactor on the island of Kalimantan in as soon as two years, Kerr said. The reactor would either connect to the grid in the rapidly expanding country, or power a water desalination plant.



Carnival of Nuclear Energy 163

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 163 is up at Hiroshima Syndrome.

Mark Lynas blog -Under the proposed Contracts for Difference system currently passing through Parliament as part of the Energy Bill, if the wholesale price of electricity is higher than the strike price in future, the generator will pay the difference back to the taxpayer; if it is lower they receive a subsidy to top it up. Either way this fixes the price for a decade and a half, allowing investments to be made on the basis of a known revenue stream for wind, solar, biomass or whatever.

here’s the important point about the new figures: nuclear is likely to be highly competitive with all the renewables, and may still be the cheapest option. Current negotiations around the ‘strike price’ to be paid for nuclear-generated electricity from Hinkley Point C are understood to be converging on a price in the £90-100 range – my guess is that the final deal will see the UK Government paying just under £95 per megawatt-hour for nuclear electricity under the new system.



Planet Labs will launch 28 cubesat satellites in one rocket launch next year

Planet Labs hitches rides on commercial rockets made by the likes of Orbital Sciences (ORB) and SpaceX, and has its devices ride as secondary payloads to larger, more expensive satellites.

CubeSats can take pictures, perform science experiments, and communicate with Earth. They just do so way cheaper than traditional gear by playing off increasingly powerful consumer electronics and free software, such as the Linux operating system.

Planet Labs aims to provide frequent snapshots of the planet, allowing users to track changes—from traffic jams to deforestation—in close to real time.

Planet Labs’ satellites will use moderate resolution, making out objects three to five meters wide. But thanks to the sheer number of satellites, the fleet should be able to take more frequent snapshots of the globe.


Planet Labs plans to launch a constellation of Earth-imaging satellites, each consisting of one or more CubeSat units like the one shown here.

New High Speed line cuts time from Ningbo to Nanjing from 5 hours to two hours

The opening of a new high-speed train line linking Nanjing, Jiangsu province, with Ningbo, Zhejiang's only deepwater port, will not only make the integration of the Yangtze River Delta region (population 75 million) almost a certainty.

The new high-speed rail line passing through Hangzhou, Zhejiang's provincial capital, will commence operations on Monday. Formerly, it took more than five hours to go from Nanjing to Ningbo, but the high-speed rail line will reduce that time to about two hours.


China is also making the high speed rail system smarter and safer. A prototype of China's first intelligent high-speed has been developed successfully by the CSR Qingdao Sifang Locomotive Co., Ltd on June 25.

June 30, 2013

Feedly and Digg reader seems to have User Interface and ease of use that are good Google Reader replacements

1. Digg reader seems to have a user interface that is more like the Google reader immediately after it imports the Google reader settings.

2. Feedly has some easy configurations to allow for organization by subscription and several other views such as magazine style.

3. The old reader requires that you get the subscription.xml file.

You can download the zip file of a backup of google reader from the google.com/takout Then unzip the backup and get the subscription.xml file.

Upon uploading the file to theoldereader, the initial settings is to list all of the unread items together instead of organizing them by subscription.

Skylon spaceplane full prototype engine gets funding

The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, singled out the SABRE project that will power Skylon into space in his 2013 spending review delivered to Parliament.

The rumored funding amount is £60Million ($90Million). This would not be full Phase 3 funding. It would help get private cofunding.

The hybrid engine - its name stands for Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine - is currently being developed by Reaction Engines, based at Abingdon, near Oxford.

Unlike conventional aircraft engines, SABRE switches in flight to become a rocket engine that can boost Skylon to a speed faster than Mach 5, or more than five times the speed of sound.

It works like this. After take-off, SABRE first mixes hydrogen with air it sucks in. Then it switches to rocket mode, using oxygen carried in its own tanks to accelerate into space.

The breakthrough in the engine’s development came when SABRE engineers showed they can cool the incoming airstream from a temperature of over 1,000 C to -150 C in less than a hundredth of a second without the engine frosting up.

Skylon’s 82-metre long fuselage will be built from carbon-fiber reinforced plastic with a black ceramic skin to protect against the heat of re-entry. It will be powered by two SABRE engines.

Fine Tubes manufactured over 2000km of tubing for Skylon, with each tube at a wall thickness of just half the diameter of a human hair. Reaction Engines' objective is so challenging that a lot of goals had to be met; the tubes had to be lightweight, highly heat and pressure resistant, and have a strength that could cope with thermal expansions. The resulting heat exchangers are 100 times lighter than existing technologies and enable the cooling of airstreams from over 1000°C to -150°C in less than 1/100th of a second.

SKYLON SABRE Heatex from Reaction Engines Ltd on Vimeo.