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back to article Bill Gates' nuclear firm plans hot, salty push into power

The nuclear power firm being hailed by Bill Gates as the answer to mankind's future energy needs is planning a proprietary approach to an old atomic idea to further its global ambitions. TerraPower is an offshoot of patent holding company Intellectual Ventures, which was co-founded by former 14-year Microsoftie Nathan Myhrvold. …

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"Proprietary" and "patents"

I love Open Source as much as the next guy, but why such insistence on terms like "proprietary" and "patents"?

That's how new technology is usually developed – innovators get a grace period to cash in, before their designs are granted to society. Too often the system gets abused by incumbents, but it is not in itself bad, as has often been pointed around here.

Surely El Reg has no intention to take part in the nuclear bashing that is so common among less enlightened vehicles?

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Thumb Up

Re: "Proprietary" and "patents"

Well, opposed to Bounce-Back and Rouded Corners, nuclear technology is something you want to have patents on. Not in the least to have a decent chance of recouping the costs of proving the technology to be "safe".

I definitely like the idea of reactors that repurpose spent rods for more bang for your buck. Feed the waste of the old reactors into the new. Get Paid Twice, as Tagon would say..

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Re: "Proprietary" and "patents"

Indeed. Though the involvement of ex-Microsofties gives margin to all sort of jokes, I hope they can turn their idea into an actual (and lucrative) product – the sooner the better.

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What MS jokes?

Surely you're not suggesting that the uranium rod is shaped like Clippy?

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Meh

One small problem

America actually has a policy of not reprocessing its spent fuel rods (by spent I mean that have used maybe 1-2% of their fissionable material).

USG policy is it encourages proliferation because you'd have to split the fissionables right down to Pu and U235 and that could be diverted (this is the US I'm talking about) into making illegal nukes.

However newer processes split it into "fissionable" and "crap" streams. Adequate for nuclear fuel use but (in principal) much too difficult to engineer into a viable A-bomb.

AFAIK everyone else just ships their spent rods to the repro plant in their country and gets new rods in return (possibly with a discount, but the prices are pretty secret).

So for Terra Powers cunning plan to work they have to get either a)The USG to accept reprocessing in the US or b)Allow export of spent fuel to Europe/Japan/Russia for separation.

Note this idea originated with Dr Strangelove Edmund Teller and the joker is that enriched "spark plug" was pretty enriched IE > 20% (Low Enriched Uranium) to HEU (or "bomb grade" as some call it).

USG is quite keen on reducing the number of places that use HEU, not increasing them (even if it will burn up fairly quickly and be inaccessible for the next 30-100 years).

Engineering a new reactor design is (and I use the term relatively) the easy part.

Getting it certified in the US will be tough.

So good luck with that.

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Re: "Proprietary" and "patents"

"innovators get a grace period to cash in, before their designs are granted to society"

Intellectual Ventures is just part of an industry practising hard to get better at avoiding the 'granted to society' part. Highly appropriate though, for an industry with such long lead times they'll need all the patent life prolonging tricks in their arsenal to fund the tech!

Still, nice to see some moves on safer and more efficient fission. Amazing what can happen when there's less pressure to generate useful side products for the military and actual make sane design choices.

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Re: One small problem

Interesting comment. But I assume this is not necessarily focused on the US. Plenty of other countries with spent fuel rods.

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Boffin

Re: One small problem

America actually has a policy of not reprocessing its spent fuel rods (by spent I mean that have used maybe 1-2% of their fissionable material).

Well, technically molten salt reactors don't "reprocess" spent fuel, they take it as-is, and continually "burn" the fissionable material until there is seldom anything radioactive left in it.

This is often marketed as an advantage (both economic and political) of the design, as it would both provide a safe destination for all that spent fuel, and make energy (i.e. money) from it.

Of course it all makes your friendly neighborhood oil trusts less than ecstatic about them...

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Re: One small problem

>Interesting comment. But I assume this is not necessarily focused on the US. Plenty of other countries with spent fuel rods.

Bingo, like China.

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Unhappy

Re: One small problem

"Interesting comment. But I assume this is not necessarily focused on the US. Plenty of other countries with spent fuel rods."

Because they already have nuclear reactors and a reprocessing chain to recycle them through.

And good luck with exporting nuclear technology out of the "Land of the Free (TM)"

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Boffin

@xperroni

"This is often marketed as an advantage (both economic and political) of the design, as it would both provide a safe destination for all that spent fuel, and make energy (i.e. money) from it."

It's also good for burning all that weapons grade HEU from excess nukes and can run on Thorium. I agree, what's not to love.

Actually if it's a conspiracy you want I'd look to the existing reactor mfgs.

Somewhat like disposable head razors they tend to make their money on the fuel elements, which turn out to be grossly incompatible between designs. Buy the reactor, sign up to the replacement service for life.

OTOH the MSR refueling tool is (potentially) a shovel and some (heavily shielded) bags of salt.

No reactor mfg would have come up with the MSR on their own.

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Re: One small problem

I'm pretty sure that most of the French nuke plants are based off American designs, which I believe would be exporting of nuke tech outside the land of the free :)

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Big Brother

Re: @xperroni

Actually if it's a conspiracy you want I'd look to the existing reactor mfgs.

Incumbents will take measures to make life difficult to new entrants. This is no conspiracy, it's a fact of capitalism we're all familiar with. It is true in IT, I don't see how it wouldn't be in any other industry, including energy.

So it should come as no surprise to anyone here that established energy companies of all colors will go from political lobbying to outright smear campaigns to prevent or slow down adoption of these new technologies – though I'd guess nuclear companies would be less enthusiastic about striking too close to home, while fossil fuel companies would have nothing to lose, and much to retain.

And of course, there are always those who can be convinced to campaign for measures that are ultimately against their own best interests...

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Re: America actually has a policy of not reprocessing its spent fuel rods

I don't see that as a major obstacle.

A few campaign donations here and there, some sweet investment opportunities for family members but not the actual congresscritters and it should all go away.

What concerns me is that this process ought to outrage me, but I seem to be running out of outrage.

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Re: And good luck with exporting nuclear technology

Depends on the nature of the nuclear technology. If it is something that actually reduces the chances of nuclear proliferation I think you've got a decent chance of getting it passed. But it has to be truly reductive and not just a rationalization of exporting otherwise potentially dangerous technology.

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Meh

@oolour

"Bingo, like China."

Yes I'd heard the Chinese are legendary for their lack of spent fuel rod processing technology.

Not to mention their keenness to outsource the reprocessing abroad because of their worries about proliferation.

It's such an obvious market when you think about it.

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Re: One small problem

Just as there's one really minor problem with MSR units, true, lose power, they shut down.

Starting them is a cast iron bitch though, or more accurately, cast salt bitch, as one has to find a way to remelt that solidified salt. It's the same problem with liquid metal reactors.

If I were heading that project, we'd not be using silly traveling wave units, but seeing about a more condensed sized thorium reactor, with a small separator for the radioisotopes that poison the reaction until they decay into a useful isotope again.

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Re: @xperroni

"No reactor mfg would have come up with the MSR on their own."

Actually, the US DoD had developed those originally, as well as molten sodium reactors.

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Happy

@Wzrd1

"Actually, the US DoD had developed those originally, as well as molten sodium reactors."

Yes.

That was my point.

Westinghouse developed the PWR under contract to the USN because they knew about steam turbine systems and that's basically what this is.

Oak Ridge designed molten salt to meet the NPB nuclear plane programme. Their priorities were totally different.

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Mushroom

@ Jon Smyth 9teen

I was referring to a previous El Reg article that was linked in the article itself:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/12/07/bill_gates_terrapower_china/

I don't know why building something related to this would be out of the realm of plausibility from an intellectual property or export control perspective when the Chinese already operate nuclear plants based on Western technology and are partners in fusion research (though I have a feeling that is not going anywhere).

N.B. the o's are knuckles, and the r a thumb, I am sure you can figure out the rest. Not sure if you are insinuating a genetic defect or trying to frenchify my handle ;)

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Angel

Re: @xperroni

Established energy companies invest in new technologies, if there is a return on the investment. Same thing with IT technologies. If there is a return, there is investment. If there is greater return on running older technologies, there is no investment.

Government regulation determines the speed to return on investment. Reduce the regulation, this decreases the speed to implementation, which decreases the cost, the solution shows a return on investment, the investment starts, jobs are created. Government is the problem, in the energy sector.

The smear tactics are used against "carbon" based energy, today. This is against everyone's interest. Carbon carries hydrogen atoms efficiently and breaking those bonds creates energy (as well as H2O and CO2 - both of which allow plants to make sugar & grow, so human food can have something to eat!) ;-)

As an example: we have natural gas buses and cars - well established technologies... yet politicians are killing coal plants to re-direct portable [clean natural gas] fuel to fixed power stations [located far from human populations.] This is dumb since dependence upon portable petrol could be reduced with clean natural gas [in heavily human populated areas] increasingly introduced for portable transportation.

I know how everyone loves electric & hybrid cars, but those are really dirty... the byproducts from batteries. I love batteries, don't get me wrong, but they are far more dangerous than byproducts from carbon based fuel.

Nuclear is a far better solution to Natural Gas for base-power. Coal based plants should remain on-line until they can be replaced with nuclear plants which can run on nuclear waste - which solves many more long term issues. (Keeps the rail line profitable, to subsidise mass transportation costs!)

(nuclear explosion icon, for effect)

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Headmaster

Re: @xperroni

Established energy companies invest in new technologies, if there is a return on the investment.

Established companies of all kinds invest into incremental improvements to their core business infrastructure. Investing in anything "disruptive" – i.e. that obviates any relevant amount of current equipment, personnel etc – is either blocked or sabotaged by internal politics, as the bosses responsible for said kit and bods will fight to keep their departments relevant.

IBM saw the PC revolution coming a mile away, yet it couldn't for the life of it avoid crippling OS/2. Before that, Edison passed on the chance of adopting AC technology for his electric company because it would disrupt its intended business case of selling generators wholesale. Before that, Western Union snubbed the telephone because it didn't fit in the paper-centric workflow of telegraph machines...

The list goes on and on.

The smear tactics are used against "carbon" based energy, today. This is against everyone's interest.

You would think so, but in fact no.

All those fancy new "renewable" wind and solar plants people gush about – what do you think powers the grid when the wind is not blowing or the Sun isn't shining?

Tip: it starts with "fossil fuel" and ends with "plants".

The current "renewables" craze is doing wonders for the fossil fuel market, as every "clean" plant needs a couple thermoelectric counterparts to take up from where they let us down.

yet politicians are killing coal plants

Germany is deploying new coal plants like there's no tomorrow. I have yet to learn of any decommissioning of comparable size anywhere in the world...

[clean natural gas]

Natural gas is "clean" only in the sense that it releases less soot and sulfur than other fossil fuels, but it still produces large amounts of carbon gasses. It also got terrific price volatility, so you might want to think again about basing much of an economy on it.

I know how everyone loves electric & hybrid cars, but those are really dirty...

And anyway, you'll need something to power all those batteries.

I still stand by my previous point: incumbent energy companies will slow down adoption of technologies that pose a threat to their current businesses, just like companies in any other market. The fact they'll promote those technologies that secure and / or complement their investments doesn't change that.

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Anonymous Coward

Forget fusion?

Why don't Bill Gates, Warren Buffett et al. each chuck a couple of billion of their personal wealth into the pot and just get the job done?

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Anonymous Coward

Money != Progress

Economical power generating fusion is hard. It's hard in a way that can not be solved by throwing money at it.

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Re: Money != Progress

"Money != Progress. Economical power generating fusion is hard. It's hard in a way that can not be solved by throwing money at it."

The prevalence of people who don't realize this is very distressing. Parenthetically, and sadly, "Money = Progress" seems to be the basis of modern politics.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Money != Progress

"The prevalence of people who don't realize this is very distressing. Parenthetically, and sadly, "Money = Progress" seems to be the basis of modern politics."

As a scientist I wholeheartedly disagree with you. Throwing money/resources and the best brains at tricky problems most certainly can produce stunning results. Just look at the Manhattan Project and the Apollo space programme as examples in support of this argument.

With governments around the world implementing austerity measures and large science projects seen as a soft target, I'm afraid the only solution, short of a more progressive taxation system, is for the obscenely wealthy elite to be just a little more philanthropic. After all, at last count, this tiny group of people were sitting on purely financial assets (excluding property, yachts, gold etc.) in excess of $32 trillion!

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/22/us-offshore-wealth-idUSBRE86L03U20120722

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Meh

Yes and no

The Manhattan Project constructed a small number of big, expensive atomic bombs, and the Apollo program constructed a small number of big, expensive moon rockets. But this was enough to get the job done - the US won World War II and beat the Russians to the Moon. Economies of scale were not necessary.

We *have* tried this approach with fusion - we've thrown lots of money and brainpower at it, and have designed and built a small number of big, expensive demonstration reactors that show that it is indeed possible to generate electricity from nuclear fusion. But, in this case, this is NOT enough to do the job. You've got to scale it up. You need to build a Model T, not a Saturn V.

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Re: Money != Progress

Agreed. When you look at the fusion reactor designs you are looking at stoves that use flamethrowers for pilot lights.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yes and no

"We *have* tried this approach with fusion - we've thrown lots of money and brainpower at it..."

Errr no, we really haven't. I would urge you to check the figures below:

Adjusting for inflation total US fusion spending is $29.1 Billion.

That’s for 57 years of fusion funding.

That’s an average of $393 Million a year - adjusted to $510 million per year in the US.  This includes NIF as well as Tokamaks and alternatives.

Some perspective:

- Those 57 years of fusion research cost less than half of what congress wants to spend this year on Stealth bombers ($68.1 Billion) - each stealth bomber costs around $512 million, so that’s one year of fusion research.

- 57 years of fusion research costs as much as 72 days of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

- 57 years of fusion research costs as much as one year of health industry research.  Health is important, but this is a good opportunity to reflect on the routine practice of pharmaceutical companies in R&D - they spend billions on trials of new pharmaceuticals, many of which do not make it to the marketplace.  They consider this a cost of business, rather than waste or failure.

- 57 years of fusion research is equal to one fifth of Wall Street executive bonuses this year ($144 Billion).

- This is a little more than what BP had to put aside for the gulf oil spill ($20 Billion).

- The United Arab Emirates dropped a quick $20 billion on building an experimental Carbon Neutral City.

- Americans spent $2 Billion on life coaches, $500 million on self-help tapes, and $180 million on male pedicures in one year (per Harley Davidson Ad).

http://focusfusion.org/index.php/site/reframe/wasteful

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Unhappy

Re: Yes and no

"We *have* tried this approach with fusion - we've thrown lots of money and brainpower at it, and have designed and built a small number of big, expensive demonstration reactors that show that it is indeed possible to generate electricity from nuclear fusion. "

No.

AFAIK no fusion reactor has ever generated electricity.

An after the act analysis may have indicated the fusion energy released exceeded the power consumption but so far actual energy collection and generation systems are still in planning.

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Re: Forget fusion?

"Why don't Bill Gates, Warren Buffett et al. each chuck a couple of billion of their personal wealth into the pot and just get the job done?"

Because it's not just cash sitting in a piggy bank. Most likely it is already invested in other businesses, or loaned to them. Even if the owners hold it as "cash at bank", the bank is using that as part of its deposits to lend to other businesses or to invest.

It is a common fallacy that the world if full of idle money; In reality you always have to make a choice between how it is being used, and if you don't make that choice then the institution that holds the money for you will make the choice on your behalf.

Given that there's plenty of things you can get a return on now, would you invest in fusion when it still looks to be thirty years minimum away from producing energy?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Money != Progress

@ac 00:23 As a scientist you should know better than to cherry pick results <grin>. I would counter with (for example) breast cancer. A lot of time, a lot of money but still a killer.

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Re: Money != Progress

Operative word: CAN. --- as opposed to WILL.

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WTF?

Re: Money != Progress

Strange that our self professed but anonymous "scientist" selected those two projects. The science of the Maude project was conducted by a Britain under intense financial strain enduring a state of all out war. The other example, the V2 rocket programme was conducted by a Germany facing similar inconveniences.

Perhaps our anonymous "scientist" doesn't know the difference between science and large engineering projects.

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Re: Money != Progress

"(for example) breast cancer. A lot of time, a lot of money but still a killer."

While the stats are subject to the usual errors that pay-for-procedure produces (over diagnosis of the people who can pay etc) I'm pretty sure that breast cancer mortality rates are declining.

Whether it's declining at rate that is acceptable for the huge focus on funding it gets compared to other more life threatening cancers, or other diseases. It's also not really a killer by any relative measure. Something like 40,000 deaths from breast cancer out of ~600,000 deaths from cancer out of the ~2.4 million deaths a year. Those figures are from USA, western Europe should be about the same, poorer countries usually have lower cancer mortality rates, be it from lack of detection/reporting or early mortality.

Want a real killer disease? TB. We've got drugs to treat it, very cheaply, and it still kills 1.4 million people worldwide. For women in low to mid income countries it's the second or third most likely cause of death. There continue to be great strides forward, and by 2015 total TB infections might, for the first time ever, be reducing.

This is the real issue with any technology (medicine, power generation). It's not just making the theory, it's all the fiddly putting it into practice. LTS reactors have been built that generate. Engineering this technology upwards is going to be costly, but doable in the next 10-30 years for commercial power generation. Fusion is hundreds of years away from commercial production, if ever. We can already make fusion bombs, so no need for studying controlled fusion ;)

As for making money, if/when LTS reactors come online that can be fed spent fuel rods then the liabilities that the various nation states have taken upon themselves can finally have a way of being resolved. My understanding was always that from a business perspective a LTS reactor is far better, but doesn't get your country a seat on the security council. So in exchange for the weapons grade stuff, the governments will cover the future waste disposal. Which currently consists of hundreds of tons of hot metal sitting in ponds of circulating water, waiting for a solution.

As a scientist, I always want our frontiers of knowledge to be pushed back. As an engineer, I always want apply our knowledge to improve our lives. Got to balance the two :)

I'd also rather we where using safe-ish nuke plants, bio gas, and other such tech to help stretch our extracted hydrocarbons. Gonna need everything we can get if we're gonna go and conquer space :)

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Re: our anonymous "scientist" doesn't know the difference

More like he/she doesn't care. His screeds read like they were lifted right off the web page for the Union of Concerned Scientists. I wonder if they pay astroturfers?

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Pirate

TB and how not to control it

Apologies for derailing the topic, but current practice with TB in Britain at least could be likened to a lesson in how not to do things. The first problem with TB is to realise that to get rid of it, you need to get rid of any and all carriers of the disease. The second problem is to convince politicians that no, this is not an optional policy and that no, this problem is not going to go away if they ignore it. The final problem is that most environmental campaigners are quite startlingly stupid, extremely noisy and not a bit shy about parading blithering ignorance to the world in general; politicians mistake noisy morons for valuable votes.

Bovine tuberculosis is a zoonotic; it will infect almost any mammal species. It also has a trick of secreting a waxy coating, which makes it very resistant to normal immune system antibodies; the only thing that does stop it is an inflammatory response but only animal species that have co-evolved with it do this response. Cows do it, humans do it, badgers do NOT do it. So, once TB gets into the badger population it spreads like crazy and turns badgers into mobile TB factories. Vaccines do not work on badgers; they get TB just as easily as before, but live a little bit longer due to being a bit more resistant; vaccinating badgers is an expensive way to annoy brocks and possibly make the problem worse (heavily infected badgers die relatively quickly, less infected but still infectious ones get to do a Typhoid Mary impression for much longer).

So now we have a perfect storm: daft politicians listening to clueless lusers and dithering gormlessly whilst a bad situation gets worse.

There's a direct parallel here with the situation with UK electrical generation capacity; we're in a mess because our politicians are a bunch of weak-willed vapid arses without any moral fibre, sense of urgency or ability to do their jobs. The bovine TB crisis will be solved only when most of the badger setts of southern England get a short, toxic visit from some nice DEFRA chappies and their portable carbon monoxide generator; the power crisis will similarly be solved only when someone tells the EU to go do one, and invests in lots of small LFTR molten thorium salt reactors.

And the one key thing to remember is this: DO NOT LISTEN TO THE GREAT UNCLUED! We don't do it with complex technical stuff, we don't do it with engineering, computers or anything except public policy that the public are equally clueless about.

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Meh

Re: TB and how not to control it

<long bovine TB post>

I think the previous poster was talking about human TB, which IIRC is on the rise in the UK as antibiotic strains are passing their resistance through plasmids.

But since you're interested perhaps DEFRA could look at using a more sensitive tests and finding out just how many of those "TB Free" cattle it allowed to move were actually infected after all.

Or perhaps it's time the UK started looking at why they spend a stupid amount of money killing and disposing of these cattle. How serious is the TB to humans, not other cattle.

Or (and this really is quite insane. Apparently only 1 farmer has done it) how about breeding TB resistance into cattle the way they breed for meat or milk production.

Now perhaps we could return to the subject at hand.

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IT Angle

Re: TB and how not to control it

Erm... completely agree with the (rather brief) point about the politicos and energy policy... but not so sure about the badger rampage.

Straight off the top - why not just BCG cattle for example? We know where they all are, after all. Surely removing bovine TB from the bovines, or at least greatly reducing transmission & virulence, is a better solution than paying for death squads to scour the countryside on a mission to eradicate the wildlife. There must be better ways!

Just curious... not meaning to solicit a comprehensive derailment. The curious tangent would suggest that you have an altogether greater interest in the topic than I.

Dr (of what) Dan Holdsworth (from where), if you don't mind me asking?

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Re: Forget fusion?

"Why don't Bill Gates, Warren Buffett et al. each chuck a couple of billion of their personal wealth into the pot and just get the job done?"

Do you mean like they've repeatedly done in other projects?

You're awfully keen on spending other people's money!

You obviously are a contractor.

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Re: Money != Progress

"As a scientist I wholeheartedly disagree with you. Throwing money/resources and the best brains at tricky problems most certainly can produce stunning results. Just look at the Manhattan Project and the Apollo space programme as examples in support of this argument."

I suspect you're too close to see how your argument failed.

Both were extensions or purely military programs. The NASA programs were part of ICBM research, which is why governments worry when certain, erm, problematic nations become capable of putting a satellite in orbit. If you can do that, you're a short step from an ICBM.

Apollo was purely a Cold War challenge between the US and USSR. Once the point was firmly driven home, the Apollo program was cancelled.

In short, if research isn't about blowing shit up or otherwise killing people, it doesn't get priority funding.

Which is why Smallpox was cured, as the USSR had weaponized it, but dialysis hasn't advanced much in decades and still only approximates 12% of human kidney function and that poorly.

Why we have drones that can travel around the world, loitering about in one place for a while, then returning back to the US, but we still don't have a cure for HIV infection.

Why we can monitor all e-mail communications in the nation of one's choice, but can't stop a humble trojan horse or worm, but can trash centrifuges with said humble worm.

Why we still rely on boiling water to generate electrical or most other power, yet can EMP a power grid into oblivion.

I can go on all day with examples of destruction being a priority over beneficial technologies, I'm retired military and observed at great length.

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Re: Yes and no

"But, in this case, this is NOT enough to do the job. You've got to scale it up. You need to build a Model T, not a Saturn V."

I disagree. To develop effective and efficient fusion, you need to build a Saturn V from hell on steroids, someone will then add improvements to make a Model T fusion plant later.

First, get the damned thing working, then tune it and scale it down.

Nuclear warheads taught us that lesson quite effectively, if you ever look at the size of the first models, then modern equivalents.

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Unhappy

Re: Yes and no

"Nuclear warheads taught us that lesson quite effectively, if you ever look at the size of the first models, then modern equivalents."

True.

Problem is it's been close to 70 years and no one seems able to get the big one working yet.

But man has it produced a really healthy crop of fusion and plasma PhD's,

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Forget fusion?

"It is a common fallacy that the world if full of idle money; In reality you always have to make a choice between how it is being used, and if you don't make that choice then the institution that holds the money for you will make the choice on your behalf.

Given that there's plenty of things you can get a return on now, would you invest in fusion when it still looks to be thirty years minimum away from producing energy?"

We're talking about people here who are so rich they couldn't physically spend their accumulated fortune within their grandkids' lifetimes let alone their own! What really is the point of amassing all that wealth? Why not leave a real legacy that could benefit the rest of human kind for the foreseeable future?

In fact, it's a question that the rest of society will be forced to confront at some stage, because wealth continues to concentrate to the point where the elite's personal assets, squirrelled away out of sight of the taxman, are in fact becoming a drain on the global economy.

Read and learn:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/22/us-offshore-wealth-idUSBRE86L03U20120722

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Big Brother

Re: Forget fusion?

A common fallacy.

That's not "squirreled away". It's in factories, plant and investment schemes providing jobs and generating wealth.

Of course, quite a bit of it will be on the Wall Street Casino too, unfortunately.

But once the taxman gets hold of it, it will be destroyed forevermore...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Forget fusion?

"A common fallacy.

That's not "squirreled away". It's in factories, plant and investment schemes providing jobs and generating wealth."

Did you bother to read the article I linked to? I guess not, Here's a quote from it.

"The study estimating the extent of global private financial wealth held in offshore accounts - excluding non-financial assets such as real estate, gold, yachts and racehorses - puts the sum at between $21 and $32 trillion.

The report also highlights the impact on the balance sheets of 139 developing countries of money held in tax havens by private elites, putting wealth beyond the reach of local tax authorities.

The research estimates that since the 1970s, the richest citizens of these 139 countries had amassed $7.3 to $9.3 trillion of "unrecorded offshore wealth" by 2010.

Private wealth held offshore represents "a huge black hole in the world economy," Henry said in a statement."

The 32 trillion discussed is purely PERSONAL wealth, sitting IDLE in offshore tax havens and doing NOTHING of any benefit to anybody, except insuring the elites remain the elite for generations to come. Economists agree this situation is damaging, but I guess you in your ignorance know better, right?

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Unhappy

Re: Money != Progress

SOME types of problem can be solved by money throwing. Others cannot.

When you have a problem like 'we have 13 alternative approaches, all of which have worked in the lab, now we need to work out which one is the most cost-effective/safest etc," are amenable to throwing money.

Problems like 'we have 13 approaches none of which really have worked satisfactorally at all' sometimes throwing money at them wont get you to the14th solution, which does in fact work.

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