Dr. Charles Bowman

Charles Bowman received a Ph. D. in nuclear physics from Duke University in 1961 and a B.S. in physics from Virginia Tech in 1956. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). He led neutron source developments and their science application at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and LANL.

Dr. Bowman was the first construction project manager for the Manuel Lujan Neutron Scattering Center at Los Alamos, and assembled the Weapons Neutron Research group at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE). He devised means to provide the proton beam concurrently to both facilities, enabling LANSCE to become the world’s most versatile facility for neutron science. His last project at LANL was the origination and leadership of Accelerator Transmutation of (nuclear) Waste.

He formed Accelerator-Driven Neutron Applications (ADNA) Corporation in 1997 to devote full attention to optimizing the benefits to nuclear energy generation of supplementing fission neutrons with neutrons from accelerators.

GEM*STAR (Green Energy Multiplier*Subcritical Technology for Alternative Reactors) is an accelerator-driven reactor operating with a continuous-flow molten-salt fuel in a graphite matrix devised as a practical and economic approach to the solution of most of the major problems of nuclear energy. It can use natural uranium fuel generating as much electric power as a Light Water Reactor (LWR) generates from the same mined uranium. GEM*STAR also can burn unreprocessed LWR spent fuel including uranium, fission products and all higher actinides, generating as much electricity from this waste as the LWR had generated. Therefore, the spent fuel from today’s LWR is provided a future that is alternative to long-term cask storage, reprocessing, or once-through geologic storage.

GEM*STAR uses liquid fuel allowing recycling of its own output as later-pass fuel without any chemical processing operations. This repeated recycling allows transmutation of the long lived fission products and higher actinides, thereby delaying the need for geologic storage for centuries and reducing the ultimate waste to be stored by about a factor of 10. GEM*STAR lowers electricity cost in spite of the accelerator by achieving a higher thermal-to-electric efficiency and avoiding the technical and political problems of current nuclear-power technology arising from enrichment, reprocessing, fast reactor deployment, and near-term high-level waste storage. Avoiding the need for enrichment and reprocessing is a major step toward divorcing nuclear energy from nuclear weapons technology. Without generating “Green House Gases” and by keeping electricity costs competitive with today’s coal, GEM*STAR will compete with and ultimately displace coal for baseline electricity generation.

Dr. Bowman is one of the leading authorities on plutonium having worked with the material for more than fifty years. GEM*STAR reactors’ ability to use existing stocks of plutonium and plutonium containing spent nuclear fuel thus comes with a strong scientific pedigree built up over a lifetime:

  1. Doctoral thesis awarded by Duke University that reported the first accurate measurements related to materials neutron damage and neutron transport properties for the materials used to construct plutonium breeder reactors.
  2. Present at the 1962 Christmas Island test of the nuclear weapon that yielded a power ten times that of the Hiroshima explosion. From a kneeling position I was blown over by the shock wave, burned by the radiated heat, and watched as the mushroom cloud grew in size until it extended directly overhead and then beyond. Almost every structure on Christmas Island was damaged by the shock wave. In less than 24 hours I experienced a second plutonium warhead test of about the same size.
  3. Pioneered the measurement of many of the nuclear properties of all of the isotopes of plutonium present in nuclear weapons or nuclear reactors.
  4. Measured the spins of resonances in 239Pu and 241Pu to confirm the Bohr-Wheeler conjecture about the spin dependence of the fission widths of neutron resonances.
  5. Performed the first and only measurement of the vulnerability of nuclear weapons to neutron fields that might be encountered in nuclear wartime conditions, which certified the codes used for evaluating all of the nuclear weapons in the U. S. nuclear arsenal.
  6. Performed plutonium measurements that guided the international design efforts for plutonium breeder reactors and that eliminated the leading British design.
  7. Performed the first measurements that enabled testing of codes written to transport neutrons through large thicknesses of weapons plutonium.
  8. Measured properties of nuclear materials generated from plutonium reactions that were ten times as nuclear reactive as weapons plutonium and 300 times more radioactive than 239Pu.
  9. In 1970 tests found a significant plutonium “burden” in my lungs.
  10. Oversaw Project 17 (1993-1996) arranged by the U. S. State Department to prevent 450 Russian scientists from leaking weapons technology to the Middle East by providing financial support to develop accelerator-based technology for destroying waste plutonium.
  11. Thwarted the effort to place 34 tons of excess weapons plutonium in Yucca Mountain where it could undergo spontaneous nuclear explosions that Edward Teller referred to as autocatalytic events.
  12. Devised means to destroy 34 tons of excess weapons plutonium to be demonstrated using the Los Alamos LANSCE accelerator at less than one tenth the cost of the best DOE alternative.
  13. Devised means for using the LANSCE accelerator to produce the tritium component of every plutonium weapon at 1/30 the cost of the DOE’s alternative.
  14. Devised means for generating nuclear energy from natural uranium rather than enriched uranium to avoid the proliferation issue dominating the U. S.- Iran relationship.
  15. Devised means to eliminate reprocessing needed to recover plutonium from today’s reactor spent fuel so as to avoid the proliferation aspects of reprocessing technology.
  16. Devised means for using nuclear heat from plutonium burning to produce 100 % renewable diesel from remnant wood recovered from New Mexico forest fires.

Principal Advisors

Dr. Ganapati Rao Myneni
Dr. Myneni is currently a Senior Staff Scientist at The Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility. He is one of the world’s leading experts on material properties at cryogenic temperatures. Invented high performance electron source electrodes. – Invented ingot niobium technology which is now vigorously pursued world wide to improve the efficiency of superconducting radio frequency (SRF) linacs at reduced cost for world wide discovery science programs as well as new nuclear energy systems.

Dr. David L Blond
David L Blond manages his own boutique consulting firm specializing in quantifying and forecasting the economic market for more than 400 individual industries and 72 countries. He has a background in measuring the costs associated with complex projects. When he was Senior Economist at the Department of Defense he developed a cost modelling program for the DoD budget based on a build-up of engineering and cost elements. His role with ADNA has been to both provide initial cost estimates of building and deploying reactors and fuel plants, the economic benefits of these systems for the US and world economies, and the market potential and profitability of these systems.

Dr. Bruce Vogelaar
Dr. Vogelaar is a Professor of Nuclear Physics at Virginia Tech.