- Explores and develops market-based solutions.
SCGI's purpose is to provide technological and political frameworks that will result in policies leading to abundant energy and resources for all nations. Our primary effort is to get a commercial-scale version of the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) built as quickly as possible in order that it might prove the concept and provide a standard design that can be deployed globally. This project requires the involvement of the leading experts in the field (who are already members of SCGI) and their engagement with world leaders and policymakers who can achieve the goal.
Nuclear group presenting at the World Energy Forum: Dr. Alexander Bychkov, Director Intl. Atomic Energy Agency; Dr. Eric P. Loewen, GE/Hitachi & Past
Pres. American Nuclear Society; Tom Blees, author Prescription for the Planet; Dr. Evgeny Velikhov, physicist &
leader of ITER Project; Dr. Barry Brooks, Chair of Climate Change & Earth Sciences, Adelaide Australia.
As we enter the new year of 2013, we can look back on the previous year as one of significant progress. The conference that SCGI held at U.C. Berkeley in early October was a great success, with representatives from nine countries discussing international cooperation in the deployment of Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) technology. The white paper that resulted from that conference has allowed policymakers to consider the IFR with confidence, since high-level representatives from eight of the nine countries signed it, along with other endorsements from a variety of professionals. (The United Kingdom’s representatives at the conference were not able to sign because they are in the midst of a policy discussion regarding an offer from General Electric to build the PRISM reactor in Britain, and thus could not take a position by signing our conference white paper.)
SCGI had an opportunity to arrange a presentation at the World Energy Forum conference in Dubai just a couple weeks after the Berkeley conference. The president of WEF has asked Tom Blees and Barry Brook of SCGI to take a major role in next year’s conference. Given that the UAE is planning to build four nuclear reactors (in a deal with South Korea) and with other Middle Eastern countries considering nuclear power plant construction, next year’s conference will be a good time to bring the discussion of nuclear power in the Middle East to the fore. Tom and Barry plan to work on that as well as other conference events.
The plans are continuing to move forward to design the prototype pyroprocessing facility to convert spent fuel from our current fleet of reactors into metal fuel for fast reactors like the PRISM. We expect the final agreements to be drawn up early in 2013 so that the 2-year project can get underway. Meanwhile, there are now three countries seriously considering building an IFR-type reactor like the PRISM, though I can’t discuss the specifics at the moment since talks are ongoing. But it’s highly likely that at least one of those countries will make the decision to proceed in 2013, so both the reactor and the recycling components that comprise an IFR would be in development simultaneously. SCGI will work with the parties involved in both projects, with an important goal being to involve nuclear engineers from several countries so that once the first commercial-scale reactor is up and running we’ll be able to begin deploying them quickly, in several countries.
Because SCGI is involved in negotiations with public and private entities on issues with sweeping ramifications, a certain amount of discretion is necessary and unavoidable, so full details can’t be disclosed here. Developments that are suitable for publication will be posted on SCGI's website and in its newsletters.
Sign at entrance to World Energy Forum in Dubai announcing construction of four light-water nuclear reactors by the United Arab Emirates. Pictured: Nichole & Tom Blees, Barry Brook, Staffan Qvist, Peggy & Barrett Walker.
The first couple years of SCGI's existence have involved developing political contacts and discussions that can accomplish the daunting task of introducing a new type of nuclear technology on a commercial scale. In order for a technology to be widely deployed it must not only be technically but economically viable. GE's PRISM reactor—the commercial version of the IFR—promises to meet the economic requirements necessary for widespread adoption. Perhaps just as crucially, however, the modular PRISM is perfectly suited to replace coal burners at coal-fired power plants that are spewing not just CO2 but a host of pollutants into the atmosphere. With China, India, and even Germany building new coal-fired plants, an economically viable way must be found to allow them to abandon the coal without a crippling loss due to stranded infrastructure that has yet to pay for itself. The PRISM modules will be able to do that by simply replacing the coal burner with a small underground reactor vessel.
The successful demonstration of commercial-scale IFR technology will pave the way for an energy-abundant future for every nation, since we already have sufficient fuel at hand to power the entire planet for hundreds of years without any further mining or other sort of extraction process necessary. In the short term this will provide the USA, and those countries with which it first shares the technology, to initiate the largest public works project in the history of the planet. Several major US companies were involved in the development of the commercial design (GE, Westinghouse, Bechtel, Raytheon, etc.). Ultimately, though, companies all over the planet will participate in the fabrication and construction of these power plants. The resulting energy abundance will allow even the most benighted nations to develop far more rapidly than in a world where energy supplies are subject to constant competition due to their limited supply. SCGI's goal is to hasten that day.
Project Link http://thesciencecouncil.com
(Check sent: 4/3/2012)