Technology that can change the world . . .
The Solution’s Been There All Along
At the dawn of the nuclear age, the United States made a fatal error in its choice of which technology to use for generating electric power using uranium. Should it use enriched uranium thus running a controlled nuclear bomb in light water reactors or should it develop accelerator technology to supply neutrons to sustain a chain reaction of fissile materials in sub-critical fuel sources?
It chose to build reactors that have become white elephants with multiple layers of control to stop a run-away nuclear reaction from turning entire communities into wastelands. The result is that rather than a solution to the world’s low-carbon energy needs, nuclear energy is no longer seen as a real solution to the long-term energy needs of the world.
Accelerator Driven Nuclear Reactors are a single source solution to the global energy need without adding carbon and at a cost point well below conventional nuclear. Initial fuel sources are waste nuclear by-products built up over the last sixty years since the dawn of the nuclear age — 50 tons of W-Pu (US only) from START treaties currently without a use and needing disposal and 65,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel sitting on reactor sites in the US and additional amounts stored on foreign sites. Long-term sources include natural uranium from mining, thorium, and uranium from sea water.
The estimated cost of a fully functioning 1 Gigawatt sized Gem*Star reactor is estimated to be under $ 2 billion.
We estimate that the cost of a small, 60 MWe reactor using the existing accelerator combined with a small liquid fuel plant (75 million gallons per year) can be had for less than $ 200 million dollars. Assuming the entire amount is borrowed at 7% per year with term of 7 years, the revenues without subsidy are more than breakeven, but with the estimated $ 1.00 subsidy on the $ 1.38 current wholesale price of diesel, the early returns are over 40% on revenues increasing to 70% once the plant is fully paid off. This assumes a modest increase in the price of diesel over this period (3% per year).
Once the initial system gains commercial certification from the NRC then GEM*STAR can be used to transform the global energy equation replacing burning coal and even natural gas in existing coal fired plants.