Now that the first trial of the ‘When Worlds Collide’ MOOC is complete, I’ll try and keep this blog up dated with thoughts and information. I’ll also be going back through the many thousands of discussion comments in the MOOC, and I plan to compile an ebook we can use for the ‘alpha’ launch of the course in March.
I’ll use the blog to post parts of the ebook for comment and reflection. I’ll also be using the blog as an aide memoir and will be posting links to research articles, unless you are in a University it’s likely that you won’t be able to access the full texts of the articles, but you should be able to see the abstracts.
Civil nuclear power is clearly an area where science could potentially be of great benefit to society, particularly with an energy crisis and global climate chaos looming. In the past, development of nuclear power plant designs was heavily influenced by the need to provide weapons grade material, as shown by this article on technological lock in of light water reactors:
[Edit, DOI link doesn’t seem to work, not sure why, try this one:
or use Scholar Google to search for ‘Nuclear Reactor Technological Lock In’
However, there are alternatives, such as the thorium reactors being developed in India:
I’d be interested to know if anyone has any thoughts on firstly, the technical aspects of thorium reactors vs the current technology used in commercial civil nuclear reactors, and secondly, if thorium reactors are safer, why we aren’t adopting them. Is reactor design still geared to producing material for weapons? Or is this now past?