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One year ago, I wrote a blog predicting the developments in the Dutch energy world:
“Energy in 2015: the year of the end of the Energieakkoord and the breakthrough of thorium MSR”
(in Dutch)

So what happened?

The Energieakkoord (energy agreement, our energy policy framework) has not been officially abolished, but the parliament, in an outburst of Paris-COP21 fever, has decided to close down all our coal plants, even the two brand new ones that are extremely efficient and clean and that were deployed this year. While the core of the energieakkoord was the deal that Greenpeace and the rest of the green lobby got their €25 billion worth of wind turbines, while the electricity companies were allowed to keep their new coal plants.
Shutting down the coal plants after all, in essence killed the energieakkoord.

My second prediction was about the thorium MSR technology. I predicted that at the end of the year every energy expert who is part of the energy debate would know what thorium MSR is and would appreciate its advantages.
Well.. that was actually more like a promise than a prediction, because I did not exactly sit down and wait for things to happen…
But little could I have guessed what would really happen in 2015!

One year later we have a great community of thorium MSR enthousiasts, meeting on our LinkedIn group (please join us if you want to be kept informed!) and the developments on the thorium MSR field have been simply incredible.

I wrote a new years message to the thorium MSR community summing up the most  important mile stones of last year, that I gladly share with you on this blog.

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New Year message for the thorium MSR community

Best wishes to all of you!

2015 was a great year for thorium MSR, reaching two important milestones, that will be mentioned below. Our Dutch thorium MSR community can look back on a very good year:

– We had our very successful international conference in Delft (which is available entirely on video, see link below)

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The European SAMOFAR project, chaired by our expert Prof. Jan Leen Kloosterman, was granted by the EU and had a great start in Delft

– The Dutch parliament has twice asked the energy minister (Kamp) to assess the advantages of thorium energy, the second time in a motion that specifically requested an inquiry by our Delft experts, and the motion was supported by almost the entire parliament, excluding the Green Left movement. Most energy experts in the chamber are positive about thorium MSR, some even outspoken.

– At a meeting of energy experts organised by Cogen (Dutch combined heat-power generation organization) on November 28, Jeroen van der Veer, former Shell CEO and now chair of the New Energy Architecture working group of the World Economic Forum in Davos, came up with a very far-reaching statement: In their next report, they will designate thorium MSR as a disruptive technology for the energy supply, mainly because of the absence of long lasting nuclear waste. Large scale application was expected to be decades away, but still it was marked as disruptive.

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Coming from such a high ranking expert team, this is a milestone in the recognition of thorium MSR. It means that from now on, big power industries would be wise to start preparing for a technology transition from fossil power generation to molten salt reactor technology.

– There was a lot of attention for thorium MSR in the mainstream press, and in almost all occasions in the Netherlands where there is discussion about a sustainable future, one of the speakers or someone in the audience comes up with thorium MSR

So it is clear that we managed to get thorium on the map with a positive, fresh, new and very sustainable image. I thank all of you for your efforts in this very successful campaign!

I consider it as a very important development that at the COP21 in Paris, four of the most prominent climate activist scientists (amongst them James Hansen, who was already featured in our symposium as a thorium MSR friend) made very strong statements to the joint press: substantial reduction of fossil fuel use is a myth, unless the world chooses for a very, very ambitious 4th generation nuclear program.

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This assessment is supported by the fact that Google and Bill Gates announced that they had to stop their billion dollar projects for creating a sustainable world with solar and wind technology: it is just not feasible.

Gates now focuses a.o. on new nuclear technology, with attention to all options, including thorium MSR, and even LENR, but (as for now!) his nuclear team of Terrapower is working mainly on its own travelling wave reactor design.

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Unique line-up after Delft symposium: all MSR start-ups of the world (except Thorcon Power):
Terrestrial Energy, Trans Atomic Power, DFR-IFK, Moltex, Copenhagen Atomics, Energy Process Developments, Flibe Energy

Since our symposium, I have stayed in contact with some of the visiting startups, and we see a steady focus on producing a first MSR within a decade by Terrestrial Energy and Thorcon Power. Thorcon recently announced its deal with the Indonesian government, which is the first real project to build thorium MSR reactors and is of course the second huge milestone for thorium MSR!

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We also see that there is a lot of interest from the financial world. Financing a concrete MSR project seems no longer to be a problem.

As was already concluded at the symposium, the licensing is now the greatest threshold. No countries have regulation or would even know how to make regulation. Especially in the US attempts have been made to drastically speed up the process of 4th generation nuclear regulation and licensing. A great role in this is plaid by Leslie Dewan.

It recently appeared that President Obama is strongly supporting new nuclear, and is willing to take large steps in the licensing field.

In 2016 a Netherlands based thorium MSR foundation will be established that will coordinate all our efforts and will run an interactive web site with all available objective information, checked by experts, and provide a much less primitive platform for interaction than the poor attempt I did in this LinkedIn group.

The foundation will focus on providing top quality information, and on coordinating and stimulating all efforts to bring thorium MSR technology within reach as soon as possible.

An important part of this will be trying to get regulating processes started as soon as possible.

Please go on posting your comments on the Notification Board, or the Dutch Prikbord for matters that are only interesting to Dutch members, and put interesting links to information or press releases on the Informative Links and Video’s page and the Thorium in the Press page.

Feel free to use any language you want!

Check this notification board and the agenda for the announcement of our first activity this year, where you will be invited to meet us, and a spectacular mystery guest!

Later this year we will pay attention to the 1,5 hours ARTE documentary of Myriam Tonelotto about thorium MSR that will be broadcasted in almost all countries. This will be a boost for the image of thorium MSR and help it to be accepted as the breakthrough technology to focus on for our future energy supply

Let’s all continue our efforts, and turn 2016 into the Breakthrough Year of thorium MSR!

Theo Wolters

 

The video recording of all presentations of our symposium can be seen here in Collegerama format.
The numbers before the speakers correspond with the yellow dots on the timeline.

> 1. Tim van der Hagen
> 2. Jan Leen Kloosterman
> 3. Jilt Sietsma
> 4. Rudy Konings
> 5. Kirk Sorensen
> 6. Dave LeBlanc
> 7. David Martin
> 8. Rory O’Sullivan
> 9. Leslie Dewan
> 10. Jorrit Swaneveld
> 11. Jan Leen Kloosterman
> 12. Tim van der Hagen
> 13. James Hansen en Hans Blix in de thorium MSR documentaire voor ARTE

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All links in this message:

SAMOFAR:
www.tnw.tudelft.nl/en/current/latest-news/article/detail/samofar-op-weg-naar-de-ultiem-veilige-kernreactor-1

Hansen e.a.:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIbziE-78DI

Bill Gates:
http://www.nlslash.nl/TMID/Gates_renewables.doc

Google:
http://www.nlslash.nl/TMID/Google_renewables.doc

Thorcon in Indonesia
http://www.itheo.org/articles/indonesia-and-thorcon-develop-thorium-msr

Obama:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/11/06/fact-sheet-obama-administration-announces-actions-ensure-nuclear-energy

Delft 2015 thorium MSR:
https://collegerama.tudelft.nl/Mediasite/Play/67f503b8e0bf41b1b870b86cb63b674a1d

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