PART ONEPART TWOPART THREEThe source of this article’s title (Something is rotten in the state of Denmark) is line spoken by Marcellus (and not Hamlet as is commonly believed) is one of the most recognizable lines in all of Shakespeare’s works.
The reader will of course regard the statement as being something of the obvious in relation to the two countries mentioned. These two countries are cited as they are at the top and bottom of the list of the nation states of this world. See: http://www.listofcountriesoftheworld.com/
So far as the debate about climate change is concerned (Who is responsible and are the effects as problematic as some say) a very revealing insight can be gleaned by listening to the half hour television programme screened recently in the USA – in the three YouTube videos above. In the programme Tom Blees describes how the Climton administration called time on a promising new technology.
The question the British Gazette would ask is: Why?
Readers may be interested in this brief explanation about the issues relating to nuclear fission by Mr Blees:
Uranium is about 99% Uranium-238 and about 0.7% Uranium-235. Our current slow neutron (thermal) reactors use mostly use Uranium-235 as a fuel, so the Uranium has to be enriched to around 5% Uranium-235, the remainder of the fuel being Uranium-238. In the core, Uranium-235 is fissioned creates heat energy (which can be converted into electrical energy) and excess neutrons, these hit the Uranium-238, forming Plutonium-239 which can also be fissioned to create energy. The problem is enriching Uranium discards a whole lot of Uranium-238, and not enough excess neutrons are created to convert enough Uranium-238 into Plutonium-239 at a rate which matches the rate at which the fuel is consumed. The fuel then is discarded when it runs out of fuel or becomes too damaged from the intense radiation.
If you change the coolant to a gas, or liquid metal like Sodium and use fast neutrons (some of these reactors use a molten salt coolant and retain thermal neutrons) then it becomes possible to have higher temperatures which increases thermodynamic efficiency from 35%, to around 45%. And Plutonium-239 can be now be created from Uranium-238 at a rate which matches or exceeds the rate at which the Plutonium-239 and/or Uranium-235 is burned. This kind of reactor is known as a breeder. It’s the closest thing to a perpetual motion machine that is probably possible – it converts materials that are not fuel, into fuel. The end result is a reactor that utilizes Uranium around 150 times more efficiently that current reactors, apart from the starting charge to get the reaction started no enrichment is required (recycled nuclear waste can provide the starting charge and the Uranium-238…), nuclear waste now becomes the fuel, and the waste from this reactor is only more radioactive than Uranium ore for a few hundred years. It also becomes viable to use Thorium instead of Uranium-238, and it becomes economical to mine lower grade ores (or seawater). Rule of thumb with minerals is doubling of price leads to ten fold increase in reserves. Uranium now makes up 2%-4% the cost of nuclear power, this is 150 times as efficient.
Mr Blees’s book, Prescription for the Planet can be found here: http://prescriptionfortheplanet.com/