I'll try to briefly summarize the talks that were memorable for me:
Kirk Sorensen - keynote
Proposes to use a small, central fleet of faster-spectrum liquid Chloride reactors to breed U-233, which would be used to start a big fleet of LFTRs for power generation. Once the targeted number of self-sustaining LFTRs are started (1,000 @ 1GW(e) each, I believe) the Chloride reactors are shut down.
Jim Kennedy - rare earth elements
It looks like a similar talk may have been given at TEAC1. China has a stranglehold on global production of rare earth elements. Asian demand could consume 100% of expected rare earth production as soon as 2015. Financing for domestic mining hard to get. Proposes a national rare earth refinery.
Maurice Gunderson - CME Venture Capital
Eric Ingersoll - renewables hurt baseload
These two talks together made it absolutely clear to me that SMRs are essential for the future of nuclear power. Mr Gunderson explained that private capital is very interested in the energy sector, but only projects that can be brought up and liquidated within 10 years are amenable. Big GW plants have too many stakeholders to move that fast. Importantly, Mr Gunderson extended an open invitation for anyone in the Thorium community to pitch nuclear power ideas to him and his firm (they currently back NuPower).
Eric explained (I *think* it was Eric; the schedule didn't quite go down as printed) how wind and other renewables drive down margins on baseload. Since they're not baseload, one still has to have 100% capacity in baseload, which means all renewable capacity is excess supply, which drives price down via supply & demand. This makes new baseload very hard to finance, against existing coal plants with fully depreciated capital. Here again, SMRs are a solution because of their low capital costs.
Per Peterson - PB-AHTR
Ritsuo Yoshioka - FUJI MSR
These two talks presented quasi-mature reactor designs. Per's argument is, use a fuel that can be easily qualified to get the rest of LFTR/MSR technologies going -- in particular, Braytons and molten salt. Don't let fuel qual hold you up. Their reactor has 3 classes of pebbles I believe -- Uranium-based, Thorium-based, and plain graphite. They are modeling granular flows through the reactor to see if the pebbles will stay in separate regions.
Mr Yoshioka showed a 3rd-generation (I think) FUJI MSR design, with close to unity breeding.
Robert Hargraves - Aim High
Chris Uhlik - misc. LCA
Both of these were excellent general justifications for nuclear power. In particular, Chris Uhlik gave the best 'nuclear vs. everything' presentation I've seen. He's a perfect spokesman - an outdoorsy guy, charismatic, and not afraid to run real numbers. And his brother does PV development - a First Solar installation outside Las Vegas Chris claims is 2-3% efficient!
Andrew Hutton - Jefferson Lab (Nat'l Accel. Facility)
ADNA Corporation - GEM*STAR
These two were in the ADS breakout session. I think it's safe to say that everyone in the room was blown away. Cost of neutrons in kg/J has gone down by SEVEN orders of magnitude since 1965. Thousands of accelerators using superconducting RF technology deployed worldwide.
ADNA is a company working on a molten-salt based accelerator-driven subcritical reactor. They claim to be ready to built a grid-connected 100MW demo plant in Los Alamos county. It will use a 180m linac to produce spallation neutrons. The accelerator is 25% of the plant cost. Electricity for $0.07/kWh, vs. $0.09/kWh Los Alamos county average. They have a site in mind.
The way they put it was extremely compelling: the perceived problems with fission have always stemmed from a shortage of neutrons. Well, if we can make neutrons effectively, these go away. No enrichment OR reprocessing. Burn fluorinated spent fuel, depleted uranium, Thorium, the works. Leave fission products in the reactor, just crank up the beam. They claim a net energy gain of 20-60 depending on the fuel mix.
They also showed VERY interesting work on graphite, which should interest anyone concerned about the LFTR "plumbing problem". Some links:http://www.jlab.org/div_dept/directorat ... utton.htmlhttp://local.ans.org/virginia/meetings/2009/bowman.htmlhttp://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=ADNA+Corporation
Edit: The above from memory, so please correct me if you spot any errors!