Integral Fast Reactor

Rod Adams (check out his website) put me onto this fantastic book about the Integral Fast Reactor that was developed by Argonne Labs (now Idaho National Lab) from 1984 to 1994.

Plentiful Energy CoverI have been reading the book for the last few days and find it fascinating. Even though I have been a nuclear advocate for decades, I continue to learn new things about nuclear all the time.

I am also amazed at how much the anti-nuclear folks have defined the terms and framed the area of acceptable debate regarding the role of nuclear energy in the US for the last 40 years. In short, they have created the reality that they want.

Consider this paragraph from page 108 of the book:

This is the situation: Plutonium, as used in the IFR, cannot be simply demonized and forgotten. It is the means to unlimited electricity. The magnitude of the needs and estimates of the sources that might be able to fill those needs lead to one simple point: Fast reactors only, taking advantage of the breeding properties of plutonium in a fast spectrum, much improved over any uranium isotope, can change in a fundamental way the outlook for energy on the necessary massive scale. Their resource extension properties multiply the amount of usable fuel by a factor of a hundred or so, fully two orders of magnitude. Fine calculations are unnecessary. Demand can be met for many centuries, by a technology that is known today, and whose properties are largely established. This technology is not speculative, as are fusion, new breakthroughs in solar, or other suggested alternatives. It can be counted on.

Instead of plutonium being the most evil and toxic thing on earth (according to the antis), it is in fact, the means to “unlimited electricity”.

The book is well worth reading.




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