The Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) project: Q&A
by Steve Kirsch
I collected answers to some questions people had about the IFR here. Tom Blees, George Stanford, Carl Page contributed most of the material and helped review this page for accuracy.
Q. Do we need nuclear? Can't we do it without it?
That's what I used to think. See this rebuttal to my 2006 Mercury News op-ed for the reasons we can't.
Q. If this is really so good, how come GE isn't building S-PRISM on their own nickel?
Nobody wants to risk it since it isn't a slam dunk. You don't get a reward if you solve global warming. And government funding doesn't seem to be so easy. DOE tried to get funding for GNEP (which included IFR technology) and got shot down (so far).
GE is a large conservative corporation. They already service a fleet of lightwater reactors, are building more of them around the world, and have the promise of yet more. It's hard enough in this country to move into new levels of reactor technology without trying to leapfrog straight into the 4th generation. Their 3rd generation ESBWR is in the 5th round of NRC certification, whereas the S-PRISM (a souped up and more developed version of the PRISM) isn't at the starting gate. These things take years at the glacial pace of the NRC, though of course if President Obama decided to go all Manhattan project on it we could most definitely get there quickly enough. If GE started pushing 4th generation breeder reactors, can you imagine the hue and cry from the antie groups? What's their incentive to do that? If they're convinced that ultimately we'll end up at 4th generation reactors anyway and they can make plenty of dough and keep a low profile just taking the go slow approach, don't you imagine that's exactly what they'll do? Besides, conceivably another country with whom we have nuclear technology sharing agreements might very well certify and build it before the NRC ever gets out of the starting gate, which would make it much easier for the eventual NRC certification.
Q. If this is really so good, how come someone in government isn't trying to get it restarted?
The DOE is attempting to resuscitate fast-reactor technology,
as part of the GNEP (Global Nuclear Energy Partnership) initiative. See
The IFR is one form of fast-reactor technology (metallic fuel with pyroprocessing), but there are others -- inferior, according to the IFR scientists. The important thing these days is to get the U.S. back into a leadership role in the development and management of nuclear power, recognizing that recycling in fast reactors is necessary if the long-lived waste is to be consumed, and if the full energy potential of the uranium is to be exploited. The GNEP would resuscitate fast-reactor technology in this country.
Q. Critics claim fast reactors are “expensive to build, complex to operate, susceptible to prolonged shutdown as a result of even minor malfunctions, and difficult and time-consuming to repair.”
I'm not aware of anyone who is an expert on Integral Fast
Reactor technology (who actually really understands the science) who has this
view. One Nobel prize winning physicist who was recently briefed on the IFR
(Burton Richter, former Director of SLAC) told me that, at best, there is
insufficient scientific evidence to make such a statement. Is there someone who
knows the fast reactor science as well as Dr. Chang or Dr. Till who holds that
view? Certainly not the MIT study (as they admitted up front). So whose expert
opinion are you relying on here?
Ray Hunter was for the past 29 years as the former Deputy Director of the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Should his view count? Here's what he wrote to me:
Q. A lot of critics claim the plants will be too expensive to build.The cost of a power plant is often expressed in terms of dollars per kilowatt of capacity. Every $1,000/kWe in initial cost adds, very roughly, one cent per kilowatt-hour to the cost of the electricity (assuming a 40-year write-off period and an interest rate of 8.5% per year).
The cost of a nuclear plant is very hard to predict these days, because it depends heavily on the regulatory climate. In more detail, here's something Eric Loewen (GE) has written on the subject of cost:
Q. How many IFR plants do we need to replace all the coal plants in the US?
There are 200 nuclear plants now supplying 20% of our power. Coal provides about half our power. So you'd need about 400 new nuclear plants to displace all the coal plants.
Q. Can you convert existing coal plants to be IFR plants?
One nice thing about the S-PRISM is that they're modular units and of relatively low output (one power block of two will provide 760 MW). They could be emplaced in excavations at existing coal plants and utilize the same turbines, condensers (towers or others), and grid infrastructure as the coal plants currently use, and the proper number of reactor vessels could be used to match the capabilities of those facilities. Essentially all you'd be replacing is the burner (and you'd have to build a new control room, of course, or drastically modify the current one). Thus you avoid most of the stranded costs. If stranded costs can thus be kept to a minimum, both here and, more importantly, in China, we'll be able to talk realistically not just about stopping to build new coal plants but replacing the existing ones, even the newest ones.
Q. What about waste?
George Stanford wrote the following in response to a WSJ article:
Q. How safe are these new nuclear designs?
Davis-Besse is a classic example of why Blees makes the argument in his book to completely divorce nuclear power from nationalism and to take all nuclear power out of the hands of private entities. The new Gen III LWRs, though, are so far advanced as to merit their designation as a different generation. The probabilistic risk assessment of the ESBWR is astronomical, one core melt accident every 29 million reactor-years. Since we don't have enough nuclear waste to load new IFRs quickly enough to meet the 2050 goal of zero emissions, the newest LWRs could be built to fill any gap that renewables and IFRs couldn't fill and can be expected to perform safely. Their safety features are far beyond our current reactors by orders of magnitude.
Q. How much fuel is there for IFR plants?
For maybe 50,000 of years if we can get past the stigma associated with breeder reactors. An esoteric but important point is that the IFR (GE calls it S-PRISM) uses metallic fuel, whereas competing proposals employ oxide fuel. Metallic fuel has both safety and breeding advantages. Breeding, however, is a dirty word these days, so the GNEP emphasis is on burning the transuranics, instead of using them to assure an expanding source of clean energy into the indefinite future. Blees estimates we can get 45,000 years of energy to power the entire planet from the nuclear material we know about today. But only if we use them in IFR plants or something similar. If we use our nuclear material in conventional plants, and don't build IFRs this century, we'll be about of fuel. It's like throwing away a huge energy source forever!!
Q. How come nobody's ever heard of it before now?
Tom Blees wrote:
Q. The IFR was invented a long long time ago. There are lots of more recent designs for nuclear reactors today. Aren't some of them superior to the IFR?
Tom Blees wrote:
Q. What's Gore's take on the IFR?
I was told by one of his spokespeople that he thinks there are other alternatives that make more sense. However, Gore has never been briefed on the IFR by anyone associated with the project, so this is Gore's uninformed opinion of the IFR.
Q. What does Mary Nichols, chair of California's Air Resources Board, think?
She is scheduled to be briefed. But she's long been saying publicly that nuclear has to be part of the mix and would make a comeback but only with breeder technology. So the IFR seems to fit her criteria.
Q. How about the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)?
Dave Lochbaum, Director of the Nuclear Safety Project, UCS has been in the nuclear industry for nearly 30 years. He wrote:
While I'm a big supporter of UCS in general, in this case, I must say that that is the kind of thinking, or lack thereof, that apparently caused research and development to be shut off in 1994. Too bad about the delay that it caused. We can expect this sort of intransigence to continue.
When Jim Hansen proposed in 2000 that non-CO2 forcings were important, UCS jumped all over his paper and refused to allow him to send a message making the case for the non-CO2 forcings to the lists to which they had sent their non-scientific abusive evaluation.
Blees responded to every objection UCS had about the IFR. So if you want to see both sides of the argument, that's the document to read.
Q. How does IFR compare to wind and solar?
Wind and solar at this point aren't as economically attractive as the IFR, and there's no guarantee that they will be superior to the IFR in the future.
IFRs would be cheaper than business as usual which is critical. Blees has the numbers in his book.
IFRs require virtually no space compared to a wind or solar farm. You just need water. And as far as the fuel goes, there is nothing that approaches the power density of IFR. You can generate a huge amount of energy with a very tiny amount of fuel.
Q. Don't IFR plants increase the terrorism risk?
It's hard to objectively answer that question. How can you prove it? In general, no, the fuel isn't suitable for making a bomb. You'd be much better off breaking into a second generation plant if you were going to try to break into a plant. And just like we can secure our airports chemical plants, etc, with not a lot of work, you can design these plants to be virtually impregnable by terrorists. That makes these plants a low risk because you have to do a lot of work to get nothing you can use.
However, there should still be a global political framework for managing these plants. Blees talks about this in his book.
You should look at the risks compared to other technology and the degree that they can be managed.
Q. Can you restart IFR politically?
Gore has said that to solve global warming, we need to re-define what is "politically possible." In the case of nuclear, more recently the public has become much more receptive to entertaining nuclear power and most energy experts are agnostic on nuclear at worst. Having Gore advocate for the IFR would certainly help. Having John Kerry advocate for the IFR would be significant as well since he was one of the leaders of the opposition in 1994.
Getting the support of key influencers is critical to getting this off the ground.
Without that, it will be way too easy for anyone to say no since that is the safe thing to say.
This will get mischaracterized and misinterpreted repeatedly and in numerous ways. It's like playing Chinese telephones. Sometimes it will be intentional, sometimes inadvertent. All the more reason why the IFR advocates need to be painstakingly accurate.
Q. What about the "key disadvantages" listed on the wikipedia page on the IFR?
George Stanford had to answer this for me. Here's what he wrote:
* Reprocessing nuclear fuel using pyroprocessing and electrorefining has not yet been demonstrated on a commercial scale. As such, investing in a large IFR plant is considered a higher financial risk than a conventional light water reactor.
* The flammability of sodium. Sodium burns easily in air, and will ignite spontaneously on contact with water. The use of an intermediate coolant loop between the reactor and the turbines minimizes the risk of a sodium fire in the reactor core.
* Under neutron bombardment, sodium-24 is produced. This is highly radioactive, emitting an energetic gamma ray of 2.7 MeV followed by a beta decay to form magnesium-24. Half life is only 15 hours, so this isotope is not a long-term hazard - indeed it has medical applications. Nevertheless, the presence of sodium-24 further necessitates the use of the intermediate coolant loop between the reactor and the turbines.
Q. Can the IFR be sufficient in itself to solve the energy crisis and global warming problems?
Q. Doesn't the use of sodium and "breeder reactor" create a political problem? After all, there was that 1995 Japan breeder reactor accident video.
The video is actually a recreation, and in order to get it on film they had to blow air through there to keep the smoke cleared, so the fire burned more energetically due to the air flow. Sodium actually burns at a pretty low temperature. This was NOT radioactive sodium, either, and they just went in and cleaned it up afterwards. But it created a political firestorm because they tried to cover it up. Sodium is NOT a deal breaker, not by a long shot
Q. What additional research do we need on the IFR before we build one?
There's not really a lot of research to be done on this. We just have to get off the dime and build them. The last step of the project that got short-circuited was the commercial scale pyroprocessing, but by the time Congress killed it the facilities had already been built and were ready to go. It's a pretty simple technology and had been used over the course of the years of the IFR research to make over 3,400 fuel slugs. We're not talking about large amounts here, either, only about a gallon a day for a 2.5 GW reactor. That's peanuts. I think it's important to stress not that research has to be restarted, which makes this sound undeveloped, but that we have to build one of them.
Q. How much would it cost to build a 1 GW IFR plant?
Competitive with dirty pulverized coal plants. But f you factor in the external costs of coal plants there's no contest, even if you don't include global warming!
The first one will probably cost around $1 to $2 billion. Sound like a lot? Read on...
You've probably read about the Meerwinds North Sea wind farm, and Pickens' proposed mondo wind farm. Using their own figures, the cost per gigawatt from them is going to be in the neighborhood of $15 billion. If you just look at the figures they like to throw out there it doesn't look that expensive because all they tell you is peak production, and they conveniently disregard capacity factors. But capacity factors is what it's all about: how much electricity they'll actually produce over time. Are you familiar with the Spanish mirror/tower solar generator? The amphitheater-like tracking mirrors that focus on a cooker at the top of a tower that turns a turbine? They're going to build several of them. The cost per GW? Probably in the vicinity of $30 billion! Again, there's that pesky capacity factor to take into account. Compare this to the expected cost of a 3rd generation nuclear reactor from Westinghouse at about $1 billion/GW, or even a 3rd generation ABWR that can be built (and are being built) for $1.2-1.4 billion/GW. The IFR could be expected to be in the same range, and you don't have to wait for the wind to blow or the sun to shine. So when you look at this, which technology do you think will win out if we can get past the political minefields? Why? Concentrated energy. There's nothing like E=mc2
Q. Some detractors say the costs for the IFR are too high to be practical.
Beware those people who toss out supposed facts and figures that they just pull out of the air or out of ancient history (nuclear-wise) which don't apply to modern systems of which they're usually completely ignorant. But it's important to be able to authoritatively shoot them to pieces, otherwise they muddy the issue like we see too often in today's media, where everything turns into a he-said, she-said instead of using facts to refute falsehoods. That applies to their time-worn arguments not only about the economics of nuclear power but of waste and safety and proliferation issues.
You can expect the fossil fuel industry to trot out experts who will tell you what a bad idea the IFR is. Should you believe them? Or should you believe the scientists who worked on the project for 10 years?
It would be great to have Congress ask the NAS to make an unbiased assessment because when it comes to a PR war, the fossil fuel industry will win.
Q. Isn't nuclear a bad word?
All the anti-nuclear activists harp on 2nd generation fiascos. Only a few third generation nuclear power plants have been built. There have been a few built in Japan and they're building more in Japan, China, and Taiwan.
Q. How reliable is the stuff in Blees's book about the IFR?
Blees spent around 10 years of his life writing it. Here's what Blees told me:
Q. How clean is an IFR plant? Does it emit any CO2?
IFRs don't put
out any CO2 (although the employees exhale some). Usually people who make these
arguments talk about how much
Q. Why does the USA build and run reactors so badly? Too much unique engineering, no standardization, corrupt construction teams, corrupt or overly "streamlined" maintenance...
Then you DO know. All those problems led to the the horror stories of the past. We have to settle on one or two designs and address all those other issues. Now at least we have technology that can bring a lot of former antinuclear activists out of their now irrelevant mindset. Some who have read Blees's book have become big backers, people who were on the front lines trying to shut down nuclear plants in the past. It's not just technology that we have to have, though. If we're going to be responsible we have to set up an international regime to forestall diversion of fissile material.
Q. In the USA I think politically it would not be too hard to replace aging nuclear plants or coal plants with IFR's. One could argue the IFR could replace a Coal plant with less radiation and toxic pollution, and noisy train trips. I think building nuclear in green fields will continue to be hard for a while due to NIMBY groups. But there is space in those 3 square mile security zones for some new boxes.
Well, there's always the NIMBY thing, but much of the complex could be underground, especially in areas where you don't have to build cooling towers. And there's no smoke or any output. Besides, they can be stuck outside cities in the countryside. In France there's little objection to living near nuclear plants. With even far safer plants being built going forward, eventually people would understand the issues and come around. But there are now organizations ideologically opposed to anything nuclear, and they are very influential. They too have to either change their tune-very difficult-or else have their ideological stances deflated by facts. That may well prove to be one of the toughest battles, which is ironic since IFRs are what can actually eliminate fossil fuels. It is the environmentalists now fighting the environmentalists!
Q. There are lots of people trying to prepare energy agendas for the Obama and McCain administrations right now. You should try to make sure IFR and other well designed nuclear plants are included.
You would hardly believe how hard the IFR supporters have been trying for months to hand this to Obama on a silver platter. It has been a huge frustration.
Q. We are spending trivial amounts on national energy research. I think it should be a minimum of $100/american devoted to energy research, since every American will save that much in the near term if it is successful. That would be $30 billion, and we could push forward on all these fronts. In comparison to the $800 billion / year we spend on foreign oil alone that is likely to be a hell of a bargain.
Ironically the IFR is hardly going to take any money at all for research, we just have to build them. If we'd fund boron car research at Sandia Labs, where they're already considering it, we could likely have them coming to market in five years (based on conversations with one of their physicists). That would be huge!
Q. John Kerry argued against the IFR on grounds it would be a threat to non-proliferation efforts. Isn't that still true?
I think it really depends on your point of view. There is no objective way to prove which answer is right. There are only arguments.
This is not an easy subject and Blees spends a lot of time in his book discussing how you deal with this. If you want an in-depth answer, you should see his book. But basically, he argues that like the other problems, this one is political, not technological. And they are entirely capable of solution
One argument is that the genie is out of the bottle. Most of the other nuclear nations are building these now or soon will be. We have to ask ourselves: are we safer if we bury our head in the sand and hope their designs are safe from accidents and terrorists? Or do we lead the world in designing safe reactors and export our technology to other countries? While accidents and terrorists are important considerations, I think a more important point is this: Without active U.S. participation in organizing rational management of the nuclear fuel cycle, there will be a leadership void, and the technologies (uranium enrichment and spent-fuel processing) needed to produce weapons material will spread without international safeguards against misuse.
Or we can play devil's advocate and agree with Kerry and we'll just restrict the IFR technology only to countries who already have nuclear capability since it is those countries who also emit 80% of the greenhouse gases. So it wouldn't make things any worse if you did that. And you'd actually make things better because the material used in the IFR plants under normal conditions can't be used to make weapons. So the more you can get those countries to build new IFR plants instead of second generation nuclear plants, the safer we'll all be. So if you want to reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation and if you want to reduce the risk of a nuclear catastophe, canceling the IFR would work against your objective. If other countries are going to build a nuclear plant, you want them to build IFR plants. No question. It's in everyone's best interest. And it means more energy for everyone as we saw from the chart earlier.On the other hand, IFRs could be used to make weapons-grade plutonium, so building them wouldn't necessarily contribute to non-proliferation, but it's not clear it makes things worse.
Expert bomb designers at Livermore National Laboratory looked at the problem in detail, and concluded that plutonium-bearing material taken from anywhere in the IFR cycle was so ornery, because of inherent heat, radioactivity and spontaneous neutrons, that making a bomb with it without chemical separation of the plutonium would be essentially impossible - far, far harder than using today's reactor-grade plutonium.
First of all, they would need a PUREX-type plant-something that does not exist in the IFR cycle.
Second, the input material is so fiendishly radioactive that the processing facility would have to be more elaborate than any PUREX plant now in existence. The operations would have to be done entirely by remote control, behind heavy shielding, or the operators would die before getting the job done. The installation would cost millions, and would be very hard to conceal.
Third, a routine safeguards regime would readily spot any such modification to an IFR plant, or diversion of highly radioactive material beyond the plant.
Fourth, of all the ways there are to get plutonium-of any isotopic quality-this is probably the all-time, hands-down hardest.
Q. Is it safe? How often can we expect to see a meltdown?
For the GE S-PRISM design, if the entire planet used IFRs, we can reasonably expect an accident once every 380,000 years according to the probabilistic risk scenarios calculated by GE.
Q. A former Alcoa executive said this about the IFR:
George Stanford provided this response:
It's likely if we made this a national priority, it could move a lot faster (like we did with the Manhattan Project).
The argument that it might take a long time is an argument for starting immediately. Nobody, even the critics, have suggested that waiting around makes it happen faster when we finally need to do it. We need to get out from under a "let's just pursue the quick fixes" mentality we have now. The time to do these longer term projects is before they are needed. Are we going to wait for our existing nuclear material to be depleted before it is a crisis? And then, once again, we will be too late. We need forward, visionary thinking in this country. It seems to be in short supply.
Here's what Blees wrote in response to my answer above:
Q. Is there any real world experience in building commercial fast nuclear reactors?
We actually have some real-world experience in the building of commercial fast reactors. In 1972 what was then the Soviet Union built a sodium-cooled fast reactor on the shore of the Caspian Sea, in what is now west Kazakhstan. The BN-350, while capable of generating 350 MW of electricity, was instead set up for dual purposes. It produced 150 MW of electricity and the remainder of the energy was used for desalination, some 120,000 cubic meters of water per day. This was a prototype, designed to demonstrate the economic viability of such an integrated system, which it did quite successfully. Not only that, but the Soviets reprocessed the fuel in a pyroprocessing system much like the one envisioned by the Argonne project. A 1995 analysis by Argonne National Laboratory had this to say about the BN-350:
Note the date: 1972! And people say that something the Soviets built 36 years ago should take another 36 years for us to try? By the way, we will need plenty of desalination plants as our population continues to grow toward 9-10 billion. We don't have 36 years to drag our feet.
Q. How could we ramp this up?
Q. What's the next step?
The commercial demonstration should be a top national priority. A private consortium involving GE might be able to do it as well.
Ideally, Congress should fund DOE to have GE build a demonstration plant built. In order to expedite certification and licensing by the NRC, the most expeditious way would be to build a reactor vessel for $50 million, stick it at a university or national lab, and instead of filling it with sodium fill it with water. Build a mockup of the fuel assemblies, also out of non-radioactive material, and use that setup-which would require no licensing-as a prototype to demonstrate to the NRC the efficacy of the systems. For example, the NRC would say, what happens if you drop a fuel assembly when refueling. So you'd go over and run through it with the prototype. Once the thing is certified, you could drain it and use it in an actual power plant, where a single module would produce 380 MWe. They're designed to be built in power blocks of 2 reactor vessels each, feeding one large turbine that would put out 760 MW. You could fire up the first power block as soon as it's ready, even as you build further ones at the same facility. All would share a central control room and recycling facility.
Other comments on the IFR
Comments from a nuclear and renewable energy engineering Professor:
A very interesting article. There is quite a long history to the IFR as Steve points out. My take on it is this. The 80s and 90s were a disaster for any kind of development of nuclear energy in this country because "nuclear" not just "breeder" was a bad word. (Here is where social behavior dictated decisions on technology for over 2 decades). Its only now, when we're in a real squeeze with our pocketbooks and things like the threat of climate change that all of a sudden make a little high level waste look not so bad by comparison to the alternatives. In 2000, I was involved in a very large effort by the DOE to identify advanced reactor concepts that would be safer, more reliable, more economical and produce less waste than conventional plants. It was called the Generation IV program. The fast reactor was among 6 concepts downselected from hundreds. The IFR is a fast reactor which means that it can breed plutonium for additional fuel and it can also be used to "burn" up heavy isotopes produced by the current fleet of reactors so that the storage burden can be significantly reduced. But its just one of several fast reactor concepts, so the issue really using fast reactors.
Then DOE introduced this GNEP concept which is a plan to develop these fast reactors for burning wastes while producing new fuel. Unfortunately, as Steve noted, Congress zeroed the budget for it this year and also, the National Academy issued a very negative report on it. There are some problems with the GNEP concept that go beyond the reactor itself, but when this concept was presented by DOE, I myself was skeptical. Not because it was a bad idea, but because the country wasn't ready for it. As someone who has lived their entire career in a technology that was out of favor, I know that there is a lot of work to do to regain true acceptance for nuclear energy in this country and you have to walk before you run. That is, we need to establish that the industry can build and operate the advanced light water reactors first before taking the leap to a breeder-burner system that brings in a lot of other issues like making, handling and safeguarding plutonium. So its interesting that this is again more of a social issue than a technical issue. People take a long time to forget or change their minds. One reason that nuclear is coming into favor is because most of the opponents retired or died off. We saw that in the attitude of students coming out of high school when about the year 2000, they starting coming to college with neutral to positive view of nuclear energy - it turns out that the biggest opponents of this technology were high school science teachers. Its the same reason why half the cars in Europe run on diesel and none do here - it was a bad introduction in the 70s and people have long memories. (BTW, this is why its so important that the PHEV makers get it right the first time or that technology will be shelved for another 20-30 years). So people need to be comfortable with these plants again and you need to do it with advanced forms of conventional plants, and then move on to breeders. There is time for that strategy. If we could only figure out how to navigate the social landscape like we can the technical one, we'd be much further ahead.
By the way, I appreciate your e-mail on the issue of conservation and building energy use. You're right on - all our energy saving devices and new supplies of energy is an enormous waste if we can't address basic wasteful practices. The challenge for MMPEI is how to play in this game through research and education, which is our mission. I've been trying to understand the conservation issue more and how gains have been made in the past. I haven't run across hard data yet, but most of the studies I"ve looked at indicate that most all of the improvements in energy conservation have been through technological improvements in efficiency, and very little related behavior (turning thermostats down, driving less, etc.). The latter go in cycles but like dieting, most all people regress to old habits. Devices don't go backward. This is an interesting situation. It seems to say that behavior modification is very difficult and perhaps the best strategy for true savings in energy, but rather to prepare people mentally for changes to come.
Comments from Bruno Comby, Ph.D., founder and President of Environmentalists for Nuclear Power:
"This excellent and fascinating book by Tom Blees is an easy-reader and a taboo-breaker, yet based on solid science. It shows the way to a new era for humanity and for our planet. A world with plentiful energy, respectful of the environment, awaits us if we make the right choices. As the author demonstrates, tomorrow's world will be powered by safe, clean, abundant and affordable nuclear power. All the technology that is needed is available right now to move from the carbon era to a clean nuclear era giving us access to a peaceful world with plentiful resources without harming the environment. The carbon age was a great step forward with the Industrial Revolution brought by coal and steam engines after the Middle Ages, but now it drives us into pollution, global warming, wars and scarcity of resources. Far from the usual gloomy outlooks on the future, this book presents real solutions to solve the main challenges humanity faces. This book is the most important book that has ever been written on sustainable development. We can build in a few decades a better world for 10 billion inhabitants and more. Stop lamenting about pollution, global warming and the difficult times ahead : read this book, it offers the solutions. A better world is possible rapidly, but only if we open our minds and develop the three key technologies that are readily available to change the face of the world in the 21st century, paving the way to a world where energy, transportation and resources are plentiful, clean, cheap and fully recycled, therefore environmentally friendly. You MUST read it ! It is not A revolution, it is THE revolution, THE way to go!"
Comments from a retired engineer:
Comments from William Hannum who worked on the IFR;
For more information, see the list of References on my main IFR page