IFR BURNS ALL Nuclear waste.

IFR 30,000% INCREASED Efficiency. IFRs use virtually all of the energy content in the Uranium or Thorium fuel whereas a traditional light water reactor uses less than 1% of that energy content. This means that breeder reactors can power the energy needs of the planet for over a billion years.

This reactor is cooled by liquid sodium and fueled by a metallic alloy of uranium and plutonium. The fuel is contained in steel cladding with liquid sodium filling in the space between the fuel and the cladding.

The Integral Fast Reactor (originally Advanced Liquid-Metal Reactor) was a design for a fast reactor (nuclear reactor using fast neutrons and no neutron moderator) distinguished by a nuclear fuel cycle using reprocessing via electrorefining at the reactor site itself.

Experimental Breeder Reactor II, which served as the prototype for the Integral Fast Reactor

The U.S. Department of Energy built a prototype but canceled the project in 1994, three years before completion. The predecessor was the Experimental Breeder Reactor II. The Generation IV Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactor is its successor as the currently proposed U.S sodium-cooled fast breeder reactor design. Other countries have also designed and operated their own fast reactors.


Global significance

fission products
Q *
99Tc 0.211 6.1385 294 β
126Sn 0.230 0.1084 4050 βγ
79Se 0.295 0.0447 151 β
93Zr 1.53 5.4575 91 βγ
135Cs 2.3  6.9110 269 β
107Pd 6.5  1.2499 33 β
129I 15.7  0.8410 194 βγ


In traditional water-cooled reactors the core must be maintained at a high pressure to keep the water liquid at high temperatures. In contrast, since the IFR is a liquid metal cooled reactor, the core could operate at close to ambient pressure, dramatically reducing the danger of a loss of coolant accident. The entire reactor core, heat exchangers and primary cooling pumps are immersed in a pool of liquid sodium, making a loss of primary coolant extremely unlikely. The coolant loops are designed to allow for cooling through natural convection, meaning that in the case of a power loss or unexpected reactor shutdown, the heat from the reactor core would be sufficient to keep the coolant circulating even if the primary cooling pumps were to fail.

The IFR also utilizes a passively safe fuel configuration. The fuel and cladding are designed such that when they expand due to increased temperatures, more neutrons would be able to escape the core, thus reducing the rate of the fission chain reaction. At sufficiently high temperatures, this effect would stop the reactor even without external action from operators or safety systems. This was demonstrated in a series of safety tests on the prototype.

Liquid sodium presents safety problems because it ignites spontaneously on contact with air and can cause explosions on contact with water. To reduce the risk of explosions following a leak of water from the steam turbines, the IFR design (as with other sodium-cooled fast reactors) includes an intermediate liquid-metal coolant loop between the reactor and the steam turbines. The purpose of this loop is to ensure that any explosion following accidental mixing of sodium and turbine water would be limited to the secondary heat exchanger and not pose a risk to the reactor itself.

According to IFR inventor Charles Till, no radioactivity will be released under any plausible circumstance. A wide range of unexpected events that would cause destructive and hazardous failures in other reactor systems would not damage the IFR.

Efficiency and fuel cycle

fission products
Q *
155Eu 4.76 .0803 252 βγ
85Kr 10.76 .2180 687 βγ
113mCd 14.1 .0008 316 β
90Sr 28.9 4.505 2826 β
137Cs 30.23 6.337 1176 βγ
121mSn 43.9 .00005 390 βγ
151Sm 90 .5314 77 β

The goals of the IFR project were to increase the efficiency of uranium usage by breeding plutonium and eliminating the need for transuranic isotopes ever to leave the site. The reactor was an unmoderated design running on fast neutrons, designed to allow any transuranic isotope to be consumed (and in some cases used as fuel).

Compared to current light-water reactors with a once-through fuel cycle that induces fission (and derives energy) from less than 1% of the uranium found in nature, a breeder reactor like the IFR has a very efficient (99.5% of uranium undergoes fission) fuel cycle.[3] The basic scheme used electrolytic separation to remove transuranics and actinides from the wastes and concentrate them. These concentrated fuels were then reformed, on site, into new fuel elements.

The available fuel metals were never separated from the plutonium, and therefore there was no direct way to use the fuel metals in nuclear weapons. Also, plutonium never had to leave the site, and thus was far less open to unauthorized diversion.

Another important benefit of removing the long half-life transuranics from the waste cycle is that the remaining waste becomes a much shorter-term hazard. After the actinides (reprocessed uranium, plutonium, and minor actinides) are recycled, the remaining radioactive waste isotopes are fission products, with half-life of 90 years (Sm-151) or less or 211,100 years (Tc-99) and more; plus any activation products from the non-fuel reactor components. (Tc-99 and Iodine-129 are also candidates for nuclear transmutation to stable isotopes by neutron capture.)

The result is that within 200 years, such wastes are no more radioactive than the ores of natural radioactive elements.[3]

Comparisons to light-water reactors

Buildup of heavy actinides in present thermal reactors,[4] which cannot fission actinide nuclides that have an even number of neutrons. Fast reactors can fission all actinides.

IFR BURNS ALL Nuclear waste

IFR-style reactors produce much less waste than LWR-style reactors, and can even consume other waste as fuel.

The primary argument for pursuing IFR-style technology today is that it provides the best solution to the existing nuclear waste problem because breeder reactors can be fueled from the waste products of existing reactors as well as from the plutonium used in weapons. Depleted uranium (DU) waste can also be used as fuel in IFR reactors.

The waste products of IFR reactors either have a short halflife, which means that it quickly "burns out" and ends up relatively safe, or a long halflife, which means that they are unlikely to emit a significant amount of protons except from very large quantities. The volume of highly-radioactive waste is 5% or 1/20th the volume as compared to a light water plant of the same size. The high level waste from reprocessing is highly radioactive for only 400 years instead of 10,000 years.

The two forms of waste produced from IFR, a noble metal form and a ceramic form, contain no plutonium or other actinides. The radioactivity of the waste decays to levels similar to the original ore in about 200 years.[3]

The on-site reprocessing of fuel means that the volume of nuclear waste leaving the plant is tiny compared to LWR spent fuel.[5] In fact, in the U.S. most spent LWR fuel has remained in storage at the reactor site instead of being transported for reprocessing or placement in a geological repository. The smaller volumes of high level waste from reprocessing could stay at reactor sites for some time, but are intensely radioactive from medium-lived fission products and need to be stored securely. Repository capacity is constrained not by volume but by heat generation, and heat generation from medium-lived fission products is about the same per unit power from any kind of fission reactor, limiting early repository emplacement.

"Others counter that actinide removal would offer few if any significant advantages for disposal in a geologic repository because some of the fission product nuclides of greatest concern in scenarios such as groundwater leaching actually have longer half-lives than the radioactive actinides. The concern about a waste cannot end after hundreds of years even if all the actinides are removed when the remaining waste contains radioactive fission products such as technetium-99, iodine-129, and cesium-135 with the halflives between 213,000 and 15.7 million years" [6]

IFR 30,000% INCREASED Efficiency

IFRs use virtually all of the energy content in the uranium fuel whereas a traditional light water reactor uses less than 1% of that energy content. This means that breeder reactors can power the energy needs of the planet for over a billion years. [7]

Carbon dioxide

IFRs and LWRs both emit no CO2 during operation, although construction and fuel processing may require small CO2 emissions.

Actinides Half-life Fission products
244Cm 241Pu f 250Cf 243Cmf 10–30 y 137Cs 90Sr 85Kr  
232 f   238Pu f is for
69–90 y     151Sm nc➔
4n 249Cf  f 242Amf 141–351 No fission product
has half-life 102
to 2×105 years
241Am   251Cf  f 431–898
240Pu 229Th 246Cm 243Am 5–7 ky
4n 245Cmf 250Cm 239Pu f 8–24 ky
233U    f 230Th 231Pa 32–160
4n+1 234U 4n+3 211–290 99Tc   126Sn 79Se
248Cm 242Pu 340–373 Long-lived fission products
  237Np 4n+2 1–2 my 93Zr 135Cs nc➔  
236U 4n+1 247Cmf 6–23   107Pd 129I
244Pu   80 my >7% >5% >1% >.1%
232Th 238U 235U    f 0.7–12by fission product yield


Fast reactor fuel must be at least 20% fissile, greater than the low enriched uranium used in LWRs. The fissile material could initially include highly enriched uranium or plutonium, from LWR spent fuel, decommissioned nuclear weapons, or other sources. During operation the reactor breeds more fissile material from fertile material.

The fertile material in fast reactor fuel can be depleted uranium (mostly U-238), natural uranium, or reprocessed uranium from spent fuel from traditional light water reactors,[3] and even include nonfissile isotopes of plutonium and minor actinide isotopes. Assuming no leakage of actinides to the waste stream during reprocessing, a 1GWe IFR-style reactor would consume about 1 ton of fertile material per year and produce about 1 ton of fission products.

The IFR fuel cycle's reprocessing by pyroprocessing (in this case, electrorefining) does not need to produce pure plutonium free of fission product radioactivity as the PUREX process is designed to do. The purpose of reprocessing in the IFR fuel cycle is simply to reduce the level of those fission products that are neutron poisons; even those need not be completely removed. The electrorefined spent fuel is highly radioactive, but because new fuel need not be precisely fabricated like LWR fuel pellets but can simply be cast, remote fabrication can be used, reducing exposure to workers.

Like any fast reactor, by changing the material used in the blankets, the IFR can be operated over a spectrum from breeder to self-sufficient to burner. In breeder mode (using U-238 blankets) it will produce more fissile material than it consumes. This is useful for providing fissile material for starting up other plants. Using steel reflectors instead of U-238 blankets, the reactor operates in pure burner mode and is not a net creator of fissile material; on balance it will consume fissile and fertile material and, assuming loss-free reprocessing, output no actinides but only fission products and activation products. Amount of fissile material needed could be a limiting factor to very widespread deployment of fast reactors, if stocks of surplus weapons plutonium and LWR spent fuel plutonium are not sufficient. To maximize the rate at which fast reactors can be deployed, they can be operated in maximum breeding mode.

Because the current cost of enriched uranium is low compared to the expected cost of large-scale pyroprocessing and electrorefining equipment and the cost of building a secondary coolant loop, the higher fuel costs of a thermal reactor over the expected operating lifetime of the plant are offset by increased capital cost. (Currently in the United States, utilities pay a flat rate of 1/10 of a cent per kilowatt hour for disposal of high level radioactive waste. If this charge were based on the longevity of the waste, closed fuel cycles might become more financially competitive.)


IFR concept

Reprocessing nuclear fuel using pyroprocessing and electrorefining has not yet been demonstrated on a commercial scale, so investing in a large IFR-style plant may be a higher financial risk than a conventional light water reactor.

INCREASED Passive safety

The IFR uses metal alloy fuel (uranium/plutonium/zirconium) which is a good conductor of heat, unlike the LWR's (and even some fast breeder reactors') uranium oxide which is a poor conductor of heat and reaches high temperatures at the center of fuel pellets. The IFR also has a smaller volume of fuel, since the fissile material is diluted with fertile material by a ratio of 5 or less, compared to about 30 for LWR fuel. The IFR core requires more heat removal per core volume during operation than the LWR core; but on the other hand, after a shutdown, there is far less trapped heat that is still diffusing out and needs to be removed. However, decay heat generation from short-lived fission products and actinides is comparable in both cases, starting at a high level and decreasing with time elapsed after shutdown.

Self-regulation of the IFR's power level depends mainly on thermal expansion of the fuel which allows more neutrons to escape, damping the chain reaction. LWRs have less effect from thermal expansion of fuel (since much of the core is the neutron moderator) but have strong negative feedback from Doppler broadening (which acts on thermal and epithermal neutrons, not fast neutrons) and negative void coefficient from boiling of the water moderator/coolant; the less dense steam returns fewer and less-thermalized neutrons to the fuel, which are more likely to be captured by U-238 than induce fissions.

IFRs are able to withstand both a loss of flow without SCRAM and loss of heat sink without SCRAM. In addition to passive shutdown of the reactor, the convection current generated in the primary coolant system will prevent fuel damage (core meltdown). These capabilities were demonstrated in the EBR-II.[8] The ultimate point is that no radioactivity will be released under any circumstance. According to IFR inventor Charles Till, under even very, very unlikely circumstances which would lead to a mess in other reactors, it would not even incur damage.

The flammability of sodium is a risk to operators. 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.


IFRs and LWRs both produce plutonium, which can be used for weapons production, but the IFR fuel cycle has some design features that make proliferation more difficult. Unlike PUREX reprocessing, the IFR's electrolytic reprocessing, at least of spent fuel itself, need not separate out pure plutonium. The plutonium also stays at the reactor site and can be consumed by the same or other reactors. While it is possible to extract the plutonium, international monitoring of a closed system is claimed to be much easier than one that has external reprocessing.

Because reactor-grade plutonium contains isotopes of plutonium with high spontaneous fission rates, it is more difficult, though not impossible, to produce nuclear weapons from high-burnup spent fuel. This also could be circumvented with isotopic separation, but this is more difficult than uranium enrichment due to the high radioactivity of the plutonium.

Proliferation risks are not eliminated. "The plutonium from ALMR recycled fuel would have an isotopic composition similar to that obtained from other spent nuclear fuel sources. Whereas this might make it less than ideal for weapons production, it would still be adequate for unsophisticated nuclear bomb designs. In fact the U.S. government detonated a nuclear device in 1962 using low-grade plutonium typical of that produced by civilian powerplants." [9] "If, instead of processing spent fuel, the ALMR system were used to reprocess irradiated fertile (breeding) material in the electrorefiner, the resulting plutonium would be a superior material, with a nearly ideal isotope composition for nuclear weapons manufacture" [10]

Reactor design and construction

A commercial version of the IFR, S-PRISM, can be built in a factory and transported to the site. This modular design (311 MWe modules) reduces costs and allows nuclear plants of various sizes (311 MWe and any integer multiple) to be economically constructed.

Cost assessments taking account of the complete life cycle show that fast reactors could be no more expensive than the most widely used reactors in the world – water-moderated water-cooled reactors.[11]


Research on the reactor began in 1984 at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Illinois. Argonne is a part of the U.S. Department of Energy's national laboratory system, and is operated on a contract by the University of Chicago.

Argonne previously had a branch campus named "Argonne West" in Idaho Falls, Idaho that is now part of the Idaho National Laboratory. In the past, at the branch campus, physicists from Argonne had built what was known as the Experimental Breeder Reactor II (EBR II). In the mean time, physicists at Argonne had designed the IFR concept, and it was decided that the EBR II would be converted to an IFR. Charles Till, a Canadian physicist from Argonne, was the head of the IFR project, and Yoon Chang was the deputy head. Till was positioned in Idaho, while Chang was in Illinois.

With the election of President Bill Clinton in 1992, and the appointment of Hazel O'Leary as the Secretary of Energy, there was pressure from the top to cancel the IFR. Sen. John Kerry (D, MA) and O'Leary led the opposition to the reactor, arguing that it would be a threat to non-proliferation efforts, and that it was a continuation of the Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project that had been canceled by Congress.

IFR opponents also presented a report[12] by the DOE's Office of Nuclear Safety regarding a former Argonne employee's allegations that Argonne had retaliated against him for raising concerns about safety, as well as about the quality of research done on the IFR program. The report received international attention, with a notable difference in the coverage it received from major scientific publications. The British journal Nature entitled its article "Report backs whistleblower", and also noted conflicts of interest on the part of a DOE panel that assessed IFR research.[13]. In contrast, the article that appeared in Science was entitled "Was Argonne Whistleblower Really Blowing Smoke?".[14] Remarkably, that article did not disclose that the Director of Argonne National Laboratories, Alan Schriesheim, was a member of the Board of Directors of Science's parent organization, the American Association for the Advancement of Science.[15]

Despite support for the reactor by then-Rep. Richard Durbin (D, IL) and U.S. Senators Carol Mosley Braun (D, IL) and Paul Simon (D, IL), funding for the reactor was slashed, and it was ultimately canceled in 1994 by S.Amdt. 2127 to H.R. 4506.

In 2001, as part of the Generation IV roadmap, the DOE tasked a 242 person team of scientists from DOE, UC Berkeley, MIT, Stanford, ANL, LLNL, Toshiba, Westinghouse, Duke, EPRI, and other institutions to evaluate 19 of the best reactor designs on 27 different criteria. The IFR ranked #1 in their study which was released April 9, 2002.[1]

At present there are no Integral Fast Reactors in commercial operation.

See also


  1. ^ a b DOE Comparative Study of 19 reactor designs on 27 criteria April 9, 2002
  2. ^ Breeder Reactors: A renewable energy source
  3. ^ a b c d An Introduction to Argonne National Laboratory's INTEGRAL FAST REACTOR (IFR) PROGRAM
  4. ^ Sasahara, Akihiro; Matsumura, Tetsuo; Nicolaou, Giorgos; Papaioannou, Dimitri (April 2004). "Neutron and Gamma Ray Source Evaluation of LWR High Burn-up UO2 and MOX Spent Fuels". Journal of NUCLEAR SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY 41 (4): 448–456. doi:10.3327/jnst.41.448. 
  5. ^ Estimates from Argonne National Laboratory place the output of waste of a 1000 MWe plant operating at 70% capacity at 1700 pounds/year.
  6. ^ Technical options for the advanced liquid metal reactor, page 30
  7. ^ How long will nuclear energy last?
  8. ^ The IFR at Argonne National Laboratory
  9. ^ Technical options for the advanced liquid metal reactor, page 34
  10. ^ Technical options for the advanced liquid metal reactor, page 36
  11. ^ BN-800 as a New Stage in the Development of Fast Sodium-Cooled Reactors
  12. ^ Report of investigation into allegations of retaliation for raising safety and quality of work issues regarding Argonne National Laboratory's Integral Fast Reactor Project, Report Number DOE/NS-0005P, 1991 Dec 01 OSTI Identifier OSTI ID: 6030509,
  13. ^ Report backs whistleblower, Nature 356, 469 (9 April 1992)
  14. ^ Science, Vol. 256, No. 5055, 17 April 1992
  15. ^

U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment (May 1994). Technical Options for the Advanced Liquid Metal Reactor. U.S. Government Printing Office. ISBN 1428920684. 

External links


Drawing of the PRISM Reactor

S-PRISM, also called PRISM (Power Reactor Innovative Small Module), is the name of a nuclear power plant design by General Electric-Hitachi based on a sodium-cooled fast breeder reactor[1]. The design utilizes reactor modules, each having a power output of 311 MWe, to enable factory fabrication at low cost. The design is based on the Integral Fast Reactor. The Integral Fast Reactor was developed at the West Campus of the Argonne National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho and was the intended successor to the Experimental Breeder Reactor II. The Integral Fast Reactor project was shut down by the U.S. Congress in 1994. The S-PRISM represents General Electric-Hitachi's Generation IV reactor solution to closing the nuclear fuel cycle and is also part of its Advanced Recycling Center proposition[2] to U.S. Congress to deal with nuclear waste.


  1. ^ GE Energy press release
  2. ^ Testimony to U.S. Congress

Nuclear power: Going fast

Jun 23, 2009 11:28 EDT
I was offline most of yesterday attending a high-intensity series of presentations hosted by Esquire magazine in the magnificent suite of rooms at the top of the new Hearst tower. GE’s Eric Loewen was there, talking about nuclear power, and specifically what he calls a PRISM reactor — a fourth-generation nuclear power station which runs on the nuclear waste generated by all the previous generations of nuclear power stations.

PRISM is GE’s name for an integral fast reactor, or IFR, and it’s a pretty great technology. The amount of fuel which already exists for such reactors would be enough to power the world for millennia — no new mining needed. Fast reactors also solve at a stroke the problem of what to do with the vast amounts of nuclear waste which are being stockpiled unhappily around the world. They’re super-safe: if they fail they just stop working, they don’t melt down. And they can even literally replace coal power stations:

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.

And best of all they’re eminently affordable: Loewen showed that they could be profitable selling energy at just 5 cents per KwH — which means that you don’t need to price carbon emissions at all to make these power stations economically attractive. With pricing on carbon emissions, of course, they become even economically compelling.

So what’s the problem? They’re untested, and the regulators in the US will take many years and many billions of dollars before they will approve such a project. And legislation is needed, too — including legislation allowing the use of nuclear waste as a fuel. But mainly all that’s needed is political will. It’s unclear the degree to which Steven Chu, the US energy secretary, supports this technology. But if he puts the weight of the Obama administration into supporting this technology and trying to make it a reality, then a lot of private capital will start flowing into the area. And it might be much, much easier to achieve ambitious carbon-emission reduction targets than many people currently think.


Press releases

GEH’s “Generation IV” PRISM reactor technology

Nuclear Fuel Recycling Technology Leadership Earns GE Engineer Prestigious Honor from American Nuclear Society

WILMINGTON, N.C.—June 16, 2009—GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) announced today that the American Nuclear Society (ANS) has honored engineer Charles Boardman with the prestigious Cisler Medal for his decades of leadership in the development of GEH’s “Generation IV” PRISM reactor technology.

The PRISM reactor is a cornerstone of GEH’s proposed Advanced Recycling Center (ARC) for recycling spent fuel from nuclear power plants. The technology offers a timely solution to one of the industry’s most significant public policy and environmental challenges, turning spent nuclear fuel into an asset.

“Charles Boardman’s commitment to the development of advanced nuclear reactor and fuel recycling technology could provide significant benefits for the United States for many decades to come,” said ANS President William E. Burchill. “Recycling would address one of the challenges raised by the resurgence of nuclear energy, retrieving large amounts of energy from used fuel and greatly reducing radioactive waste.”

The ANS awarded Boardman the Walker Lee Cisler Medal today during the organization’s annual conference in Atlanta, Ga. The ANS is a not-for-profit, international scientific and educational organization covering nuclear science and technology. The Cisler Medal recognizes leadership in the field of “fast reactor” technology and its potential applications for power generation.

GEH’s proposed recycling center is being evaluated by the U.S. Department of Energy and Congress as the government determines the country’s long-term strategy for spent nuclear fuel.

Currently, spent nuclear fuel is safely stored in special pools or in dry casks installed at nuclear power plant sites, a practice adopted by the U.S. government. Approximately 95% of the material in spent nuclear fuel from light water reactors is considered untapped energy that could be used to generate electricity in different kinds of nuclear reactors.

GEH’s proposed ARC system would permit much of this spent fuel to be recycled in the PRISM reactor to generate additional electricity for consumers. As a result, utilities also would be able to reduce the amount of spent fuel that needs to be stored on-site.

Boardman, who retired from GE in 2001, worked on GE’s advanced nuclear energy technology programs and led the development of GE’s fast-breeder reactor concept. During his tenure, he served as manager of systems and plant engineering for the PRISM/Advanced Liquid Metal Reactor (ALMR) and S-PRISM plant designs.

During a career that began in 1964, he contributed to the conception and implementation of evolutionary passive safety features integrated into GEH’s current Generation III ABWR and Generation III+ ESBWR reactor designs—even as he also looked to the development of Generation IV reactor technology.

Following his retirement, Boardman continued working with numerous government and nuclear energy organizations to help spearhead the continued research and development of the PRISM and other Generation IV reactor concepts.

The PRISM, which would use liquid sodium as the primary coolant instead of water, is designed to potentially increase the fuel use of nuclear power plants 20-fold.

“We are proud that the ANS has selected Charles Boardman for the Cisler Medal in recognition of the contributions he has made to the field of advanced nuclear reactor technology,” said Jack Fuller, GEH’s President and CEO. “Charles Boardman has contributed to GE’s legacy of championing crucial energy research as the world seeks environmentally sound, baseload sources of energy in the years to come.”

Boardman’s work has led to additional study of the potential for dual-purpose plants for both nuclear energy and desalination, along with ABWR design developments, gas-cooled reactors and overall plant-optimization studies.

The resident of Saratoga, Calif., holds 13 patents related to the design of containments, decay heat removal, power generation and sodium-heated generators. Boardman has written a vast array of technical papers and has been a frequent expert speaker on advanced nuclear energy topics.

John Sackett, a former director with the Argonne National Laboratory, worked closely with Boardman in the development of GE’s ALMR and subsequent S-PRISM designs.

“(Charles) was clearly the key individual in translating information from the R&D community into practical application…,” Sackett wrote in support of Boardman’s award nomination. “The PRISM design … is a safe, economically competitive system which will be important to the nation as we move forward.”

About GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy

Based in Wilmington, N.C., GEH is a world-leading provider of advanced reactors and nuclear services. Established in June 2007, GEH is a global nuclear alliance created by GE and Hitachi to serve the global nuclear industry. The nuclear alliance executes a single, strategic vision to create a broader portfolio of solutions, expanding its capabilities for new reactor and service opportunities. The alliance offers customers around the world the technological leadership required to effectively enhance reactor performance, power output and safety.

For more information, contact:

Ned Glascock
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy
+1 910 675 5729

Howard Masto or Tom Murnane
Masto Public Relations
+1 518 786 6488

Sodium explodes on exposure the water or air. It is an accident waiting to happen.

"If something can go wrong, it will!!" - Murphey's Law

Lead is safer.





For the future the Big Lie (A concept created by Goebbels) is that of Global Warming -

THIS IS A target set up, to be shot down -  The Strawman type of Argument - To confuse and disillusion -

The Real Problem is that of Global Pollution

The real Problem is that of POWER!!

A lie designed to confuse and allow a mix of fuels to create power and to keep Coal and Petroleum as highly polluting power sources in the so-called mix whereas their pollution properties should stop them dead!!

A Lie designed to move people in the direction of carbon dioxide-less yet and highly expensive (Who owns the uranium mines? Who owns the nuclear technology?) nuclear power which with IFR breeder reactors can provide 260 Terawatts per year (currently 13 Terawatts) for 100,000 years of electrical power.

The system will be that powerful countries will process the nuclear fuel thus removing atomic bombs from the menu of most countries, and thus supply electrical power and its technology for the whole world. It is planned that Nuclear power will supply 50% of the electricity of Europe by 2030.

Profit is the motive and the whole world held to ransom by the Uranium and technology and nuclear processing owners.

As we can see that the future of this world is to become one, integrated with one President, so we can see that evolution demands that electricity is provided by Sun Power.

Because of the Power and Control which oil and Nuclear power provides, the research and development of Sun Power has been very delayed - stopped!!

Power Generation by steam from sunlight reflected onto water pipes in deserts has been proven.

*DC lossless transmission of electrical power from desert to the cities has also been cracked.

Photo-voltaic cells look promising when efficiency and mass production nano-technology have been cracked together with cheap 50KW house batteries.

* Study Planning on the pure DC transmission scheme for Chinaaposs future power transmission from the West to the East
Ying Huang; Zheng Xu
Power Engineering Society General Meeting, 2004. IEEE
Volume , Issue , 10-10 June 2004 Page(s):1459 - 1463 Vol.2
Digital Object Identifier   10.1109/PES.2004.1373110
Summary:In the year after 2015, China's national power grid interconnection will have been completed. Most likely, there will be four synchronous power systems, that is, big East China power grids, central China power grids, South China power grids and Northwest China power grids. For the long distance (more than 1000 km) bulk power (more than 50 GW) transmission from the West to the East, if the pure DC transmission scheme is adopted, there will be more and more HVDC links feeding power to different points in the same synchronous AC network. An important issue arising in such a situation is the influence of the multiinfeed HVDC links on the security of the AC systems. This paper analyzes the transient stability of each system under various AC and DC disturbances. The recovery characteristics of the multiinfeed HVDC links are also investigated. The results show that pure DC power transmission from the West to the East of China is technically feasible



The Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) project...













"In the decade from 1984 to 1994, scientists at Argonne National Laboratory developed an advanced technology that promised safe nuclear power unlimited by fuel supplies, with a waste product sharply reduced both in radioactive lifetime and amount. The program, called the IFR, was cancelled suddenly in 1994, before the technology could be perfected in every detail. Its story is not widely known, nor are its implications widely appreciated. It is a story well worth telling, and this series of articles does precisely that."
                        --- excerpt from Plentiful Energy and the IFR story by Charles Till

IFR story is a story of how the US government paid billions to our National Laboratories to engineer a solution to the energy and climate crisis (before it became a crisis), the solution worked!!

A nuclear power plant design invented at Argonne National Lab 24 years ago has none of the drawbacks of conventional nuclear plants

To control climate change, we must get rid of virtually all carbon emissions from coal. To do that, we need a way to generate power for a cost less than coal, that can generate power reliably 24x7, and that can be constructed virtually anywhere. Solar and wind don't meet the need; that is why even environmentally progressive countries such as Germany are still building coal plants. But we have a technology that can displace coal, but it is not well known. It was a billion dollar government research project...over 10 years at our top government national laboratory for energy (Argonne National Laboratory)...the largest energy research project in our history. Our government had finally done something truly visionary and great! But the project was quashed by President Clinton in 1994 because Clinton said it was unneeded and the scientists who worked on it were ordered to remain silent. One of our country's leading experts on global warming, Jim Hansen, recently re-discovered the IFR. Those who have been briefed on the IFR believe it is an essential  technology we must develop to combat climate change and should be restarted immediately. This led to Hansen including restarting 4th generation nuclear power as one of his 5 top priorities for President Obama (see the bottom of page 7 in Hansen's Tell Barack Obama the Truth -- The Whole Truth).

The DOE tried to restart it under GNEP, but Congress has zeroed the funding for GNEP (not for reasons relating to the IFR which nobody in Congress knows anything about). Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

California Lt. Governor John Garamendi flew in the top IFR scientists and convened a meeting of experts in the field including one Nobel prize winner (Burton Richter, former Director of SLAC). Garamendi came away impressed and convinced that this is something we must do and is working to take the next steps in California.

by Steve Kirsch

August 10, 2008

Until now, I have been pretty agnostic about nuclear power. In fact, in May 2006, I wrote an op-ed for the San Jose Mercury News on why we shouldn't pursue nuclear power as a solution for global warming which infuriated the pro-nuclear people.

After reading Hansen's newsletter (where I first learned about the IFR) and doing months of research on the IFR listening to arguments on both sides, I've changed my opinion. And some really smart friends of mine have read the stuff below, done their research, and their minds have changed as well. In fact, I don't know anyone with an open mind who has met with the scientists who worked on the project who hasn't come away impressed. Even the harshest critics of the IFR admit that that they might be wrong.

I first heard about the IFR on August 4, 2008, in an email I received from James Hansen who is one of our nation's top climate experts. The email summarized his recent trip overseas to meet with foreign leaders.

The two most important things that Hansen tells foreign heads of state are (from page 5):

  1. Annual CO2 emissions, and thus percent reduction of annual emissions, is not an appropriate metric for controlling climate change. Instead, we must limit the total fossil fuel CO2 emission.
  2. Phase-out of coal emissions is the sine qua non for climate stabilization.

In other words, if we don't get rid of coal plants all over the planet, we're completely hosed. The sooner we do that, the better. Getting rid of every single coal plant is the single most important thing we can do to slow down global warming. If we cannot do that, then nothing else matters. We are basically re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. We will go down with the ship.

Displacing coal plants is hard because they are really cheap (since the utilities are not assessed of their pollution), they can be built anywhere where water is available (all thermal power plants, fossil or nuclear, have to be able to get rid of excess heat), and because they provide power 24x7. That's why every week to 10 days, another coal-fired power plant opens somewhere in China that is big enough to serve all the households in Dallas or San Diego.

Getting rid of them is hard. Even with all the awareness about the harm of coal plants to the environment in the US, we have been unsuccessful in displacing them. Today,  we still get 49% of our electric power from coal plants. If we can't displace coal plants in the US, how can we expect other countries, like China, to displace their coal plants?

Fundamentally, to get rid of coal plants and have any hope at all on controlling climate change, you must to come up with a power plant capable of 24x7 operation that can be built anywhere that is just as cheap (or cheaper) to build and operate as a coal plant. If you had that, then you'd have an economic incentive for people to make the environmentally responsible choice. There would be no reason to build coal plants anymore.

So if the US developed a way to generate electric power that had no CO2 emissions, was as cheap as coal, and provided 24x7 power, and could be built anywhere, and didn't require a lot of land to build, and was very safe, and didn't increase the risk from terrorism then that would be a great thing. It would mean that China would have an economic incentive to build these plants rather than coal plants.

We don't have that now. Concentrated solar plants can only be economically built in certain locations. Same for wind power. And both are intermittent sources (although if you have enough wind power over enough area in the right corridor, it can be pretty reliable).

Such an invention would, quite literally, save the planet from destruction. It would be the "holy grail" in the fight against global warming. It would arguably be the most important invention in history.

So you'd think that if such an invention existed, everyone would know about it, wouldn't you?

Well, would you believe that our top energy scientists invented a technology that does all those things and more! These plants can also get rid of the waste from existing nuclear power plants! And unlike nuclear plants where there is only a finite amount of nuclear material available (I think about 100 years), these plants make their own fuel so they will last 100,000 years. Remember Einstein's famous E=mc2? The point is that if you do it right, a little bit of matter can make a lot of energy.

And would you believe the research was done more than 20 years ago in 1984 by a large group of US scientists at Argonne National Laboratory?

The Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) is a fourth generation nuclear design that provides a clean, inexhaustible source of power, cheap, with virtually no waste, inherently safe (if you remove the cooling, it shuts down rather than melts down), and the added benefit that it consumes the nuclear waste from other nuclear plants that we can’t figure out how to get rid of.

Advantages include:

  1. It can be fueled entirely with material recovered from today's used nuclear fuel.
  2. It consumes virtually all the long-lived radioactive isotopes that worry people who are concerned about the "nuclear waste problem," reducing the needed isolation time to less than 500 years.
  3. It could provide all the energy needed for centuries (perhaps as many as 50,000 years), feeding only on the uranium that has already been mined
  4. It uses uranium resources with 100 to 300 times the efficiency of today's reactors.
  5. It does not require enrichment of uranium.
  6. It has less proliferation potential than the reprocessing method now used in several countries.
  7. It's 24x7 baseline power
  8. It can be built anywhere there is water
  9. The power is very inexpensive (some estimates are as low as 2 cents/kWh to produce)
  10. Safe from melt down because if something goes wrong, the reactor naturally shuts down rather than blows up
  11. And, of course, it emits no greenhouse gases.

What's wrong with that? Absolutely nothing...that is if you look at the facts and the science rather than the words.

Sadly, most people when they hear "nuclear reactor" or "breeder reactor" react negatively. "Not in my backyard," they say. But that's because of second generation nuclear technology. When people say "no nuclear," they really are referring to "second generation nuclear." Everything about the IFR and fourth generation technology is completely different. The words with negative connotations are no longer negative. Yet we have this bad habit of remembering the bad associations. We have to overcome that. For example, one scientist told me, "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." So, in other words, we are doing stupid things because "breeding" is a dirty word. "Breeding" for the IFR is the nuclear equivalent of "recycling and re-using." That's a good thing, not a bad thing. And the safe word, "burning," is actually a bad thing. So the connotations are actually reversed.

We actually gave a group of our smartest scientists funding for 10 years and left them alone to come up with something brilliant so that it could be completed before we actually needed to deploy it. Talk about visionary, long-term thinking! Of course today things are different. Today, Congress is completely shortsighted. After gas is at $4/gallon, they say we need to drill for more oil. Well if that is the solution, how come we didn't do that 10 years ago so we wouldn't have a crisis?

So here, in a rare instance of long term strategic investment and vision, our government did something really amazing in funding this project. And the scientists returned that trust by delivering on their promises. And then our government thanks them by pulling the plug on the project just before it was completed.

When Bill Clinton cancelled the funding in 1994, he said in his State of the Union speech that he did it because the project was unnecessary, not because it didn't meet any of its objectives. In his speech, he said, "We will terminate unnecessary programs in advanced reactor development."

He never asked the National Academy of Sciences to look into whether this project was unnecessary. Why not? Shouldn't you do a little objective research before you pull the plug on the biggest energy research project in history?

The Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) technology is arguably the single most important thing we can do to stop global warming. If it isn't the single most important thing, it's awfully close to the top.

So if this is so great, how come everyone isn't all over this technology?

Because nobody knew about it!

How can that be?

Because the DOE ordered the scientists working on the project not to talk about it.

Why would the government do that?

Why do you think the government would pour billions of dollars into the biggest energy research project in history and then not just cancel it, but do their best to bury it? The researchers at Argonne developed a safe and economical source of unlimited clean energy. Between that and the other renewable power technologies we wouldn't need oil, coal, gas or uranium mining/drilling anymore. We're talking about putting the most powerful corporations on the planet out of business. Not out of malice or spite, but simply because they won't be needed anymore and because what they're doing to the planet is killing us.

Some people think that the fossil fuel lobbyists could tell you why our government ordered the scientists not to talk about it. It's similar to the gag order (and edits to manuscripts and reports including IPCC reports) that the administration likes to put on scientists who try to talk about global warming. Jim Hansen can tell you a few stories about that since he's experienced it first hand.

In fact, Hansen himself just found out about the IFR recently. Hansen is very informed. So if he didn't know about it, it's probably not well known. And that's what I found when I asked around.

According to this article that just appeared in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Bill Gates is investing in a project at Intellectual Ventures to "create a new type of nuclear reactor that would use fuels other than enriched uranium -- including spent fuel from existing reactors." The article quoted Myhrvold as saying " The idea is to create a nuclear reactor that is simpler and cheaper than current reactors, and generates clean power without waste or proliferation problems."

Well that's exactly what the IFR did. They knew about the IFR. It would be great if he could help it succeed or has ideas on how to make it even better.

GE has created a commercial plant design called the S-PRISM. GE is ready and willing to build a plant (a) to demonstrate the technical feasibility of a commercial-scale operation, and (b) to narrow the existing uncertainty in the final cost. They are not proposing, yet, to plunge into mass production of S-PRISMs. We can start building a reactor vessel for around $50 million.

Apparently, Al Gore doesn't know about the IFR either. Check out this video where Senator Craig (a strong advocate of the IFR in 1994 but not really known for his advocacy of good science) chastises Gore for his role in cancelling advanced nuclear research in 1994. Gore doesn't know what Craig was talking about. More recently, people associated with the IFR tried to brief Gore, but they couldn't get past Gore's defensive linemen.

Cancelling the IFR was a huge mistake...One US Senator even commented how Congress will regret that decision. He said,

"I assure my colleagues someday our Nation will regret and reverse this shortsighted decision. But complete or not, the concept and the work done to prove it remain genius and a great contribution to the world."

"Through his work on the Integral Fast Reactor program, Dr. Till demonstrated that his technical solutions out paced the ability of the political process to appreciate them."

I couldn't have said that better. And Senator Kempthorne, who also isn't exactly known for his advocacy of science, is still waiting for his colleagues in Congress to regret and reverse their decision.

The good news is that DOE is trying to restart IFR with the GNEP (Global Nuclear Energy Partnership) initiative. The GNEP, if it is allowed to proceed, will involve a commercial demonstration that will establish the degree of economic competitiveness of the recycling process.  General Electric thinks they can build an economically viable system and they already have a complete commercial design completed (S-PRISM).

But it looks as though Congress, in a classic case of throwing the baby out with the bath water, might decide to zero the funding of GNEP due to other aspects of the GNEP program.

Once again Congress shows how easily they seem to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The same Congress that brought you the Iraq war is now making sure that the best solution to the global warming never sees the light of day.

Hansen was blunt in his most recent trip report when he wrote “we should not have bailed out of research on fast reactors.” Yet here we are doing it again. When are our politicians going to start listening to our scientists who are trying to solve the global warming problem?

Are there any other promising technologies that have no emissions and the potential to displace coal plants and can be sited anywhere? I don't know of any other than this.

But we should be looking at the ideas that are on the table now and funding the most promising 5 ideas with stable long-term funding (e.g., 10 years or more) that isn't subject to the capriciousness of Congress. That way, we'll have solutions available when we desperately need them instead of the normal short sighted approach we take which is to react to a crisis rather than take preventative steps. An energy crisis should never have occurred in the US. We should have been making huge investments in renewable research 10 to 20 years ago. 

In this case we got lucky and did make the investment in electric power generation and the technology is available today when we need it. What a miracle.

Now we need another miracle: we need our government to restart the research at Argonne, we need the NRC to accelerate the approval of the plant designs, and we need to allow utilities to start building these plants. GE is ready and willing to build a demonstration plant.

California has a ban on new nuclear plants until the waste problem is solved. But building the IFR solves the waste problem. So I hope California will be a leader in incentivizing our utilities to start building these plants here. If California needs to change the law to do that, it should.

For around $50M, we can build a reactor vessel to expedite certification and licensing by the NRC. That's a small price to pay to prove we have a silver bullet to solve the global warming problem. This is too good an opportunity to pass up.

I am not suggesting that the IFR is the be-all, end-all solution to the global warming problem. Some people believe other technologies (e.g., high-altitude wind, such as, solar thermal such as Ausra, the work MIT is doing on solar electrolysis and fuel cells, or enhanced geothermal (EGS)) might be a silver bullet. Maybe. Maybe not. Most experts think you need a mix of good solutions just like we have a mix of ways to generate power today.

From a risk management point of view, you certainly want to cultivate and develop at least a small portfolio of silver bullets, i.e., "silver buckshot." After spending a lot of time talking to the people who built this technology, it's clear to me that the IFR deserves a place in that portfolio. The research at Argonne should be restarted now and someone should ask GE to build one; either a big utility or Congress should give DOE the money so they can have GE build a pilot S-PRISM test plant.

We are running out of time. If we do not start using breeder reactors, such as the IFR, this century, then it appears we will reach "peak nuclear" this century. If we use 4th generation breeder reactors such as the IFR (whose only disadvantage seems to be perception), we can extend the usable life of our nuclear resources to 1,000 years or more (see GamePlan, p. 126) with the IFR folks estimating over 50,000 years.

Also, it's not something we can decide to do later. If our objective is to get to 20% nuclear in our energy mix, that means we must build one 3GW plant per week for the next 25 years (see GamePlan, p. 149)!

So unless we are absolutely 100% sure we don't need nuclear, we should start very soon, or that option will be lost forever.

Mary Nichols, the highly respected chair of California's Air Resources Board has been convinced for years, and has said publicly, that nuclear would be needed and would make a comeback but only with breeder technology. While she has not yet been briefed in the IFR, she wants to learn more about it and a meeting has been set up.

A number of people who have read the above had additional insightful questions, such as "how do you respond to the disadvantages listed on the wikipedia page on the IFR?" or "if this is so good, why doesn't GE have a customer for the S-PRISM?" or "how do you address the proliferation problem?" Those questions, and more, are answered here: The Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) project: Q&A.

Here are some more interesting facts: Also, the Carbon Dioxide web page provides detail about recycling CO2: See the section titled: CO2 is valuable, don't waste it, recycle it! So this would solve our problem of how to eliminate CO2 for transportation with complete compatibility with our existing infrastructure. Experts think it would take 15 to 20 years of work before this is viable, however. Here are two excellent videos:     ("Syntrolysis" - Idaho National Laboratory)<>  (Northern Arizona State University)

There is a LOT of misinformation that is unfortunately being spread by seemingly credible sources. For example, here are some items to consider in response to an article that recently appeared in Scientific American:

--  The plutonium at WIPP is only "deadly" after a few thousand years if you go down there and live in close contact with it with it -- and maybe not even then.

        The problems with fast reactors have been non-fundamental.  Examples:
--  The Monju reactor was undamaged by the fire, and has been kept shut down for political reasons.  I think it has been given the go-ahead to start up.
--  The EBR-II fast reactor worked flawlessly for many years.
--  The Phenix fast reactor in France has been on-line for decades.
--  The Superphenix reactor was shut down for political reasons, after it finally had its problems behind it and was working well.
--  The Russian BN-600 has been working well for decades
--  As you well know, the IFR technology has not yet been implemented. so Lyman's claim that "it never worked" is nonsense.
--  The fast-reactor waste would consist of 1 ton of fission products per GWe-year.  True, "thousands of tons" if there were thousands of reactors.  Easily dealt with -- harmless in less than 500 years (unlike coal waste).

Comments on the IFR from one of Australia's top climatologists

It's not just noted climatologist Jim Hansen and noted British environmental author Mark Lynas who think that IFRs are critical to solving the climate crisis. Below are some comments I received from Barry Brook, of Australia's top climatologists.

Brook read Blees' book and wrote this review of Prescription for the Planet on his website:

This list of posts also include what will eventually be a 6-part review series of the book by Tom Blees, Prescription for the Planet, which, within its 400 pages, describes IFR and some related technologies (boron-powered vehicles and plasma burners for waste recycling) that together circumscribe the most practical and innovate energy and sustainability solution I have yet encountered. It also looks carefully at how to achieve the energy revolution required on an international scale. It is, in my opinion, the most important book ever written on energy and climate solutions.

That prompted Friends of the Earth Australia to write a critique of the IFR. Here is Brook's (and other's) response to the FOE critique of the IFR. Note that while Brook has several links to the FoE critique so that readers can see both sides of the issue, FoE doesn't reciprocate. FoE provides no links whatsoever to Brook's site. So much for FoE promoting an open, balanced discussion.

The other thing the critics lack is a viable alternative, but they really never focus on this. They'll talk about terrorism or proliferation risks or all the reasons why the IFR isn't a perfect solution. That's not the point. The point about climate change is we have to displace coal at a minimum. If not the IFR, then what? The critics never talk about that.

I wrote to Brook:

this is so infuriating since IFRs are FAR FAR better than existing nuclear plants and existing nuclear plants have an INCREDIBLE safety record....far safer than any other power source. Obama's new Secretary of Energy Steve Chu points out that existing nuke plants produce 70% of the GHG-free power in is even more amazing when you consider the fact that we haven't started building a new nuclear plant for 30 years!

He wrote back (emphasis mine):

It is infuriating, I agree, because environmental groups seem to be willing to sacrifice great opportunities to fix fundamental problems, completely, because of historical (and even then, mostly ill founded) biases, ideologies and misinformation. My primary goal is about fixing the climate change problem. I was utterly depressed when I worked through the numbers on renewables and found they didn’t stack up. But did I push that aside and pretend it was the solution anyway? No way! I got angry and felt without hope (until I found out about IFR). But I didn’t lie to myself or others in the interim (I just implied there was little hope, when pushed…). That form of disingenuous debating is what must be stamped out here, and that is why rebuttals of ‘propaganda’ pieces like that from FoE (the most strident anties in Australia who helped kill discussion on the Gen III issue here a few years back) MUST be pursued.


Even Gen III+ like the ESBWR are incredibly safe. IFRs just do it even better (good old physical laws). Anyway, I’ll get off my podium now.

Then I wrote:

In the FOE piece, they wrote:

Also ignoring the fact that 70-80+% of greenhouse emissions arise from sectors other than electricity generation - so Kirsch's claim that IFR's could be the "holy grail in the fight against global warming" is stupid.

but coal alone is responsible for 20% of global GHG emissions! See


More importantly, that pew page also says: 68 percent of India’s CO2 emissions are from coal


Yikes. The point is that if you can't get rid of coal, we're screwed.

To which he replied:


What he wrote is at best  grossly disingenuous. You need to solve the electricity carbon problem to fix the vehicular fuels problem, space heating and embedded energy in building and manufactured goods, and Tom has a solution for MSW [municipal solid waste] also. About half of agricultural emissions can also be solved if you have a zero-carbon energy source. Then you just need to worry about the ruminant methane and carbon from deforestation. But the bottom line is, if you fix electricity, every else will fall into place.


As you said in an earlier doc, Steve, if we don’t stop coal in places like China and India, we’re hosed, irrespective of what we might do in the US and Oz (and even if we could do with without advanced nuclear, which quite clearly we can’t: ).


If you want more on why renewables cannot do the job, read over the comments section in these two posts:

I also pointed out to him that when I ask the IFR critics in the US for their plan for how they propose to stop China and India from using coal, they don't have an answer and admit nuclear is the way to go. He asked the same question of the critics in Australia. Here's what he wrote:

I had a similar set of arguments with an anti-nuclear campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation recently – he started hammering me about proliferation risks, and so I asked him what his plan was for replacing the 484 GW of coal-fired power stations already installed in China, and the further 200 or so plants in the planning or construction pipeline. Like your critic, he had no answer.


Similarly a strong collection of climate action groups recently protested at the Australian Parliament House and came up with a manifesto on actions required to produce a zero-carbon Australia. But one of their ‘non negotiables’ was a ban on all nuclear power. So I pointed out to them that they’re obviously not 100% committed to solving the climate problem fully after all [this was their ambit claim] – at least if it conflicts with other entrenched ideologies [as an alternative example, I’m not a vegetarian, but for scientific reasons I will no longer choose to eat beef or sheep if I have the option because of the climate-forcing effect of ruminant methane]. No answer.


There is a critique of IFR here: I plan to post a response on my blog, since the author Jim Green linked to it from a comment. Let me know if you have anything specific to say in response to it and I’ll add it to the rejoinder I’m about to write [with acknowledgement).


Anyway, please do keep me in the loop – I’ve vitally interested in pushing this forward and am getting traction. My full list of articles on IFR is here:

Comments on Mark Lynas's website in debate between Greenpeace and Blees

Mark Lynas read Blees book, checked out the facts, and found out conventional "wisdom" about advanced nuclear was wrong. So he came out in favor of the IFR. He was quickly denounced by his peers (see Mark Lynas: the green heretic persecuted for his nuclear conversion). He offered Greenpeace a chance to respond on the Mark Lynas blog, and also published Blees' rebuttal to the Greenpeace comments. Here are some of the reader comments from Blees' rebuttal (since at that point readers could evaluate both sides):

Regardless of what Greenpeace states on environmental grounds, they are not independent and not objective. They have no reason to want nuclear power in any form even if they want to resolve AGW issues.

Thank you Tom for your article and also to Mark for posting it for us. A clear, concise and informative article which for me would seem to illustrate sensibly that nuclear power is not only viable in every way but also relatively safe. Additionally of course as Tom says we should explore and invest in renewables. What a great position it would be to not need nuclear power in the future, although like many I think we will need it. I will leave those better qualified to argue the science here but Tom’s points are well made. I await Greenpeace’s response again with baited breath!

An eloquent and in-depth rebuttal, Mr. Blees. If only all solutions were as rock solid as this one…

Thank you Tom for you rebuttal. Nuclear is here for the foreseeable future and in some places growing. There are also no guarantees that renewables can replace fossil fuels within the uncertain timeframe, even with the desired demand side reduction. On this basis alone I’m convinced that it would be logical to invest in testing S-PRISM. It sounds a little too good to be true and may well be just another pipe dream. But again that’s an argument for getting the testing done.

We seemed to be stuck in old school debate as usual; Mark Lynas and/or Tom Blees presents an optimistic picture, while Greenpeace presents the negative one. It kind of makes it difficult to take either side seriously. Most of us readers aren’t educated enough to know which bit we should be throwing our pinch of salt on.

In the meantime, nuclear is becoming smaller and  more affordable

Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes

Toshiba Builds 100x Smaller Micro Nuclear Reactor

Summary of IFR benefits

  1. energy security
  2. global stability
  3. environmental quality
  4. anthropogenic global warming
  5. nuclear waste

You can justify the investment on just the waste problem alone, but the IFR is far more important. Calculations from a number of respected sources indicates that renewables are insufficient to solve our energy problems. That leaves nuclear. Even NRDC admits that. But the best nuclear by far is the IFR because existing nuclear is not sustainable (we'll run out of fuel unless we use breeder reactors like the IFR) and has higher costs and risks than IFRs. The IFR is simply a better nuclear design that is currently our best option as we move forward.

References on why renewables are insufficient to solve the climate crisis

Energy Secretary Chu, the President of MIT, and the renewable experts at the most recent Aspen Institute Energy Forum all agree that it is not responsible to believe that you can solve the climate crisis without nuclear. Here are a few more references.

Australia:,25197,25817955-601,00.html. MINING giant Rio Tinto has urged Kevin Rudd to immediately begin work on a regulatory regime allowing use of nuclear energy in Australia, arguing the viability of energy alternatives has been dramatically overstated. The company has advised the government to consider "every option" for power generation because its pledges on reducing carbon emissions and using renewable energy will expose industry and consumers to huge increases in their power bills. And it says that overly optimistic assumptions on the viability of alternatives such as wind and geothermal power, as well as so-called clean coal technologies, have created a "false optimism" which the government must challenge by commissioning new research. Some regions of Australia will not be located near good renewable energy resources or sufficient geological storage formations for CCS," the submission says. In these circumstances nuclear energy may provide the optimum clear, reliable and affordable energy option."

UK: is particular good. David MacKay examines five plans for the UK to move a pure renewable society. The conclusion is that renewables are not sufficient: "Any plan that doesn’t make heavy use of nuclear power or “clean coal” has to make up the energy balance using renewable power bought in from other countries."

Japan: In particular, here's a description of Japan's quandry with respect to renewables: Here's a statement from Japan's Federation of Electric Power (FEPC) companies on why renewables, while desirable, are not sufficient: says: Alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power are also attractive options in that they are clean and inexhaustible. And while their use will no doubt grow over the years, such resources remain hamstrung by a variety of drawbacks, from their susceptibility to the vagaries of weather and poor energy conversion rates to inferior cost efficiency. Continuous efforts will be made in research and development in order to utilize such alternative energy sources. However, until the technological hurdles obstructing them - and there are many - are overcome, nuclear power remains among the most viable means of power generation. 

Information on cost of nuclear reactors

See The New Economics of Nuclear Power by the WNA.

The dual CANDU-6 reactors at Qinshan were $2.88 billion for 1.4GWe of power and was put into operation for grid transmission on November 19, 2002 in Haiyan, Zhejiang Province.

Cost of Nuclear Power: The IFR cost is estimated by GE to be about $1,500 per kW. The first two ABWR's were commissioned in Japan in 1996 and 1997. These took just over 3 years to construct and were completed on budget. Their construction costs were around $2000 per KW. The Chinese Nuclear Power Industry has won contracts to build new plants of their own design at capital costs reported to be $1500 per KW and $1300 per KW at sites in South-East and North-East China. If completed on budget these facilities will be formidable competitors to the Western Nuclear Power Industry. If the AP1000 lives up to its promises of $1000 per KW construction cost and 3 year construction time, it will provide cheaper electricity than any other Fossil Fuel based generating facility, including Australian Coal power, even with no sequestration charges.

Here it is: Cost of 2 x Chinese CPR-1000 nuclear reactors cited as US$3.8 billion - that's $1,760/KW if they come in on budget: . Contrast that with the $8-10,000 often cited for building these in the USA. S

However, until there is competitive bidding on these reactors, it is admitted hard to assess the true cost.

In California, PG&E says that nuclear is the second cheapest power (the lowest cost is hydro but hydro isn't scalable). Diablo Canyon cost $5.52B according to the New York Times for 2.2GW of power. They need $1B every 20 years. The plant will probably last 60 years. So over 60 years, that's $7.5B invested to generate 2.2GW*24*365*60 GW of power which is less than 1 cent per kWh (.89 cents actually). But some of that power is wasted because it can't be used. And the capacity factor of one reactor is >101% and the other is 88.2%. So that increases the cost per kWh. And Diablo was very expensive due to the protestors and a costly engineering (mirror image) mistake. Even with all that, you can see the power is VERY VERY cheap.

Today, modular reactors are much less expensive than Diablo Canyon. Using multiple small reactors at a site allows you to shut down a reactor if needed and still deliver plenty of power. They are also cheaper to produce (since they are produced in a factory like cars) and more reliable since these are mass manufactured rather than 1 off designs.

Worldwide, nuclear power is undergoing a renaissance. There are 45 so-called generation III reactors under construction, including 12 in China, and another 388 are planned or proposed.

Cost comparison of nuclear vs. coal account for all costs shows nuclear is comparable to coal today

An objective look at costs of various power generation technologies can be found in Table 2 which is energy cost data from the CEC.

One of the biggest problems with the American reactor program and why it stalled in the '70s and '80s, Three Mile Island notwithstanding, was that the costs were escalating. When it cost $300 million to build a reactor in 1972 and it cost $6 billion in the early '80s, something has gone terribly wrong. Part of that was the legal suits that extended the reactor certification time over to a period of decades. So part of it was the anti-nuclear movement that did that, but also a part of it was each design was different. So everything was built anew, new features were tried out, every design needed a special certificate to actually be built and then another certificate to be run. So the whole system ultimately was set up to fail and things became more and more expensive.

If you can have a system where you have a standardized design with components that are built to a particular specification, if you can have components that are built in a factory and shipped to site rather than everything needed to be constructed on site, if you have modules where they're smaller such as they can be put on a rail car or on a large truck and taken to site and the many of these units put together to constitute a plant, then you can start to see that there's huge benefits in terms of efficiency, the fact that you don't need a standardized certificate for each and every new reactor, that there are economic benefits in building multiple units at a given factory. The places where this is happening is China and India right now. So although these have often been blamed as some of the worst carbon polluters, ultimately and ironically they could be the nations that lead us out of the carbon economy and into a low carbon economy based on nuclear power. AP-1000's made in China are expected to cost only around $1,000 per kW (see AP-1000 Reactor being built in China - current summary and possible problems)..

From New Life for Nuclear Power

Making a significant contribution to CO2 control would require a roughly 10-fold increase in the world's nuclear capacity. If nuclear reactors receive normal maintenance, they will "never" wear out, and this will profoundly affect the economic performance of the reactors. Time annihilates capital costs. The economic Achilles' heel of nuclear energy has been its high capital cost. In this respect, nuclear energy resembles renewable energy sources such as wind turbines, hydroelectric facilities, and photovoltaic cells, which have high capital costs but low operating expenses. If a reactor lasts beyond its amortization time, the burden of debt falls drastically. Indeed, according to one estimate, fully amortized nuclear reactors with total electricity production costs (operation and maintenance, fuel, and capital costs) below 2 cents per kilowatt hour are possible.

Electricity that inexpensive would make it economically feasible to power operations such as seawater desalinization, fulfilling a dream that was common in the early days of nuclear power.  says the
2 AP-1000s in florida will cost $14B. That's pretty pricey compared with the $1,000per KW claim (see

Yoon wrote:

What's been reported in Green Car Congress is misleading. Progress Energy Florida plans to build two nuclear units at their Levy County site. In the process of getting approval of the Florida Public Utility Commission, they submitted estimated project cost, which was very, very conservative --  I don't recall the numbers but they assumed high cost of money, high inflation rate, etc. And probably they doubled the capital costs that vendors were talking about. They wanted set the upper bounds so that they don't have come back to the PUC for revised cost estimates once the project was approved. As long as they carry out the project within the approved budget, they don't have to revisit the issue. The Green Car Congress assumed, based on the Florida numbers, $9448/kW which leads to 20 cents/kwhr at 14.57% fixed charge rate and O&M cost (including 2 cents/kwhr fuel cycle cost) of 8 cents/kwhr. The capital cost is probably a factor of 4 or so high and also the same for O&M. Today's total generating cost is less than 2 cents/kwhr and the fuel cycle cost is 0.55 cents/kwhr. 


Progrss Energy Florida has not signed a construction contract yet, so we don't know what the project cost will be. In fact, all 16 utilities who filed NRC license applications for 26 reactors have not signed contracts yet. Maybe the only exception might be NRG who is building ABWR in Texas. The capital costs for the next series of LWRs remain illusive. The estimate of $1000/kW for AP-1000 is probably too optimistic (with initial cost of $3500/kW in the U.S. About 60% of the reactors built in the last two decades or so probably is in the Southeast Asia. Typical costs there have been $2000-2500/kWe with construction period of less than four years. It behooves me why we cannot do the same in this country. Different labor rates or commodities costs do not explain it. I am concerned with the experience of the new Olkiluoto plant in Finland based on AREVA's 1600 MWe EPR. The project was to be completed this year, but the original fixed price cost has escalated by 50% with 3.5 years delay. I hope this is not a sign that will be repeated here again.

Barry wrote:

Steve, I wouldn't take that Florida price at face value. After all, there was the $26B figure coming out of Ontario recently (AECL and AREVA both came up with similar bids), and it took a bit of digging for me to find out what was behind that 'blowout'. Turns out the LCOE was a mere 5c/kWh:

I disagree with Ralph from NRDC in his confidence that regulatory ratcheting is a thing of the past (RR was, in my reading of history, the primary thing that killed NP construction in the US) -- there is nothing enshrined in law to guarantee that, which is one thing that makes the utilities nervous, I suspect.

Dan wrote:

Yoon et al: Similar experience here in Ontario. The RFP asked the vendor to assume 100% of the risk with massive contingencies, full risk coverage for the whole life of the plant, etc., etc. I was surprised that the AECL and AREVA bids came in as low as they did. 

The Ontario government behaved as if they were making every attempt to create an unbearable contract price. The anti-nukes were (and are) very happy.

Bottom line: Keep a close watch on the AP-1000 and ESBWR. In less than 4 years the first AP1000s should be coming on line in China. Additionally, the Chinese themselves have learned extensively from both S. Korea and Japan that have bought in reactors ahead of schedule and under or at budget. So it’s not entirely new territory we’re talking about.

Nuclear cost vs. solar

To compare with solar, for $50K, you can buy a solar rooftop system that has 8MWh annual output. So if you assume the annual output is actually completely steady 24x7, then that is producing an average of 913watts. So you spent $54,000 for a continuous KW of energy production capacity. So rooftop solar is 36 times more expensive than nuclear per watt installed (assuming nuclear at $1,500 per kW which is the GE IFR estimate which is below the $2,000 actual cost for the first two ABWRs in japan).

If the solar system works the same for 25 years, the cost per kwh of the power is $50,000/200,000= .25 per kwh. That's assuming no cost of capital for the $50K investment! So if you are an energy hog and you are getting hit paying 44 cents for a lot of your power, then solar panels actually can make sense. But in general, there are much more efficient ways to get the power than rooftop solar (see

There was a study of the real costs PV systems done in the UK that found results very similar to my calculation. They looked at a number of systems and the cheapest was slightly more than 20 pence per kWh assuming a 25 lifetime. That's 33 cents/kWh which is not far from my number. They also looked at the payback time compared to grid power and found that the most efficient installation would have to run for at least 45 years to make it a better deal than grid power. And the worst installation would have to run for 296 years before it would be a better deal than grid power. It short, all of the systems are a dumb investment; you never get your money back.

I see many others discovered the same thing. For example, see The economics and usefulness of domestic rooftop solar PV installations.
Nuclear lasts about 60 years compared to PV solar that lasts 25 years.

So it's actually 86 times cheaper to install nuclear capacity (not quite as much since you have to pay people to run your nuclear plant). Also, the nuclear capacity works 24x7. To utilize that 913W you would have to have a large, expensive and relatively short-lived (perhaps 10 years) battery to store energy when produced in excess, and to deliver power on demand when the sun isn't shining. So the system cost will be substantially higher than the figure I calculated. Or, you can use the grid for that storage/backup purpose -- but if everyone did that, well, it just wouldn't work, for obvious reasons, so grid backup cannot be part of a large-scale PV energy solution.

Lang's Solar Realities paper (see Solar power realities – supply-demand, storage and costs) came to a similar conclusion about PV solar:

By looking at the limit position, the paper highlights the very high costs imposed by mandating and subsidising solar power. The minimum power output, not the peak or average, is the main factor governing solar power’s economic viability. The capital cost would be 25 times more than nuclear power. The least-cost solar option would require 400 times more land area and emit 20 times more CO2 than nuclear power.

Conclusions: PV solar power is uneconomic. Government mandates and subsidies hide the true cost of renewable energy but these additional costs must be carried by others

Nuclear Safety

If you live next door to a nuclear reactor, there are a number of radiological studies done on a hypothetical person called Fencepost Man who's supposed to have his house on the fencepost on the boundary of a nuclear power site. He would get approximately one millirem of radiation more than the general public, and that might sound like a lot but in fact the general public gets over 300 millirems of radiation each year just from natural sources. So essentially there's no difference between living next door to a nuclear power plant and living in most other places in the world. And indeed, if you live on top of a granite intrusion you'd get about twice that. So people tend to be a bit irrational about radiation and we need to have a bit of an education campaign about that too.

Nuclear is one of the lowest risk forms of energy on a kWh basis

In the entire 50 year history of commercial nuclear in the United States, it is estimated that one person might have died. That was due to radiation release in the Three Mile Island accident (more below).

Modern reactors are designed on the principle of being inherently safe, and what that means is they have a number of design principles that are based on the laws of physics. So in order for them to melt down or explode there would have to be an extraordinary set of circumstances where you would have multiple systems failing, and in the new reactors that are being proposed, even more than that, you would have to have the laws of physics being violated, which of course is not particularly likely.

Design safety of modern day reactors are orders of magnitude better than original nuclear plants.

A Reactor Safety Study (RSS) was conducted in 1975 by Norman Rasmussen of MIT under NRC sponsorship. This probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) study was also known as the Rasmussen report and WASH-1400.  The RSS estimated that at the time (mid 70s) a reactor meltdown may be expected about once every 20,000 years of reactor operation; that is, if there were 100 reactors, there would be a meltdown once in 200 years. Three Mile Island (TMI) was NOT a full meltdown -- only partial, and it was still a watershed regarding changing safety systems and training (and the fateful regulatory ratcheting, but that's another story). There have been 400 water-moderated commercial reactors running for 30 years. That's 12,000 reactor years, with one partial meltdown (so far) -- entirely consistent with the prediction of an average of one meltdown every 20,000 years. And nobody was hurt. (Chernobyl doesn't count -- not water-moderated & not analyzed.)  notes the following:

The authors of the two principal reports on the Three Mile Island accident1, 2 agree that even if there had been a complete meltdown in that reactor, there very probably would have been essentially no harm to human health and no environmental damage. I know of no technical reports that have claimed otherwise. Moreover, all scientific studies agree that in the great majority of meltdown accidents there would be no detectable effects on human health, immediately or in later years. According to the government estimate, a meltdown would have to occur every week or so somewhere in the United States before nuclear power would be as dangerous as coal burning.

A thorough risk assessment was done on the GE-Hitachi ESBWR and found that a Three Mile Island style meltdown accident could occur once every 29 million reactor years. As you can see, a PRA puts the ESBWR about 3 orders of magnitude safer than the Gen II designs of the 1960s (and these have all been improved with later modifications).

Today's LWRs (i.e., those currently being built) incorporate safety features that are far beyond our current reactors (most of which were built 30 years ago) by orders of magnitude. Newer fourth generation reactors are even better since they rely on passive safety guaranteed by the laws of physics. They tested this to prove it would work: they disabled all the safety systems on the EBR-II reactor and all the alarms went off, but the reactor just shut down on its own with no release of radiation.

Chernobyl was a special type of reactor built by the Russians to breed plutonium for bombs, so it had a graphite core and it meant that if you had problems in the reactor where the water flow would stop, it would actually run out of control. No American reactor can actually do that. And Chernobyl also lacked a containment building, which was another problem because when it started a graphite fire all of the radioactive material was dispersed into the air, another disaster. That also can't happen in an American reactor. The Chernobyl nuclear reactor design would never have been approved in the US for a civilian power plant. Chernobyl was a RBMK type power plant. There are only a handful of these in the US and all of them are used for military purposes. There are no civilian RBMK power plants in the US generating commercial electricity. RBMK are considered unsafe for civilian use by the US Government. Only socialists use technology like that in populated areas. Current [obsolete] technology US Commercial Nuclear Power Plants are mostly Pressurized Water Reactors. TMI was one of these. Boiling Water Reactors comprise the rest.

These water reactors cannot have the kind of accident Chernobyl had. It is not physically possible.

Secondly, the operators allowed the scientists to experiment on the reactor and disable many of the safety systems. That's why it's important for the US to take a lead in having other countries adopt our designs rather than build their own. If we bury our head in the sand and pretend nuclear will go away, we are making a huge mistake. We should be taking a leadership role in reactor design and operator training, worldwide.

As far as Three Mile Island, the reactor was damaged but nobody was killed or injured from the radiation. Three Mile Island was a lesson where there was poor training of staff and a failed system for notifying the staff of actually what was happening. And so they made mistakes such as opening valves when they should have been shutting them and letting water in when they shouldn't have. But Three Mile Island didn't hurt anyone. There were no fatalities, there was no radioactivity of any note released into the environment. So even in that worst-case scenario for an American reactor there were essentially no problems. But of course the reactor was destroyed, it cost millions of dollars, and it set back the American nuclear program by decades really because of the effect on public opinion. That's gradually changed.  The accident resulted in improved operator training and the creation of more safety systems. According to the Report of the President's Commission on The Accident At Three Mile Island (the Kemeny Commission Report): "Just how serious was the accident? Based on our investigation of the health effects of the accident, we conclude that in spite of serious damage to the plant, most of the radiation was contained and the actual release will have a negligible effect on the physical health of individuals. The major health effect of the accident was found to be mental stress.... It is entirely possible that not a single extra cancer death will result. And for all our estimates, it is practically certain that the additional number of cancer deaths will be less than 10."

A study done 20 years after the Three Mile Island accident confirmed that the impacts were not significant:

Based on residential proximity and travel into and out of a 5-mile area during the 10 days after the accident, scientists estimated maximum and likely whole-body gamma exposures for each individual. The estimated average likely and maximum gamma doses were 0.09 mSv or 9 mrem and 0.25 mSv or 25 mrem, respectively. The range of likely gamma exposure was estimated to be 1-170 mrem. The average annual effective dose from natural background radiation in the United States United States is estimated to be approximately 3 mSv (300 mrem) [Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR BEIR Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiations  V) 1990]. These exposures were therefore considered minimal.


In conclusion, the mortality surveillance of this cohort, with a total of almost 20 years of follow-up, provides no consistent evidence that radioactivity released during the TMI accident (estimated maximum and likely gamma exposure) has had a significant impact on the mortality experience of this cohort through 1998.

 Three Mile Island: cancer risk ambiguous said:

A court-ordered study finds no "convincing evidence" of inceased cancer risk among people exposed to radiation from the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant.

The findings are "consistent with all the medical and scientific evidence we have so far," says physicist Jacob I. Fabrikant of the University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley is a public research university located in Berkeley, California, United States. Commonly referred to as UC Berkeley, Berkeley and Cal , who served on the staff of the 1979 presidential commission that investigated the accident. That panel concluded that the amount of radiation released during the mishap was a fraction of the region's normal annual background radiation from cosmic and geologic sources, and it predicted a maximum of one excess cancer death from the accident.

Also, nuclear is one of the safest forms of power generation and much much safer than coal that it would replace. Per

To compare the historical safety record of civilian nuclear energy with the historical record of other forms of electrical generation, Ball, Roberts, and Simpson, the IAEA, and the Paul Scherrer Institut found in separate studies that during the period from 1970 - 1992, there were just 39 on-the-job deaths of nuclear power plant workers, while during the same time period, there were 6,400 on-the-job deaths of coal power plant workers, 1,200 on-the-job deaths of natural gas power plant workers and members of the general public caused by natural gas power plants, and 4,000 deaths of members of the general public caused by hydroelectric power plants.[3][4][5] In particular, coal power plants are estimated to kill 24,000 Americans per year, due to lung disease[6] as well as causing 40,000 heart attacks per year[7] in the United States. According to esteemed journal Scientific American, the average coal power plant emits more than 100 times as much radiation per year than a comparatively sized nuclear power plant does, in the form of toxic coal waste known as fly ash.[8]

Current Gen III LWRs ARE inherently safe – the AP1000, for instance, uses a range of systems based on the laws of physics (in addition to engineered interventions), such as gravity-induced convention in the containment dome and emergency cooling takes that are forced by pressurised nitrogen and reliant on heat-based recirculation – that’s why it’s called the “Advanced Passive 1000”. It’s just the IFR does it more efficiently thanks to the properties of liquid metal coolants and metal fuels.

Nuclear waste

here's a reference from wikipedia page on nuclear_power:
Overall, nuclear power produces far less waste material than fossil-fuel based power plants. Coal-burning plants are particularly noted for producing large amounts of toxic and mildly radioactive ash due to concentrating naturally occurring metals and radioactive material from the coal. Contrary to popular belief, coal power actually results in more radioactive waste being released into the environment than nuclear power. The population effective dose equivalent from radiation from coal plants is 100 times as much as nuclear plants.[74]

The waste of LWR is actually incredibly safe compared to other energy technologies – about 5000 times safer than coal, for instance, based on a standard Loss of Life Expectancy (LLE) risk assessment (NOT counting climate-related damage). This is a great read:

But of course if you only have to deal with fission products and can recycle and use all the TRUs (which is true when using an IFR), the story is even better!

Worker safety

Remarkably, it is safer to work at a nuclear power plant than in the manufacturing sector and even the real estate and financial sectors.

The nuclear industry in the United States has maintained one of the best industrial safety records in the world with respect to all kinds of accidents. For 2008, the industry hit a new low of 0.13 industrial accidents per 200,000 worker-hours.[28] This is improved over 0.24 in 2005, which was still a factor of 14.6 less than the 3.5 number for all manufacturing industries.[29] Private industry has an accident rate of 1.3 per 200,000 worker hours.[30]

Uranium supply

See Once-through, using uranium from the oceans


Some anti-nuke people say nobody will insure nuclear plants. Here's the response from Rod Adams:

All nuclear plants in the US carry a required $300 million in private insurance and sign up to be part of a group insurance policy where all of the members are the owners of all of the other reactors in the country. If there is a claim against a nuclear facility that exceeds their private insurance, the members of the group kick in as much as $98 million each for a total pool of $10 Billion.

The only claims ever paid out in relationship to this system have been well below the private insurance limit. The pool has never kicked in and no taxpayer funds have ever been expended.

Compare that to the airline industry and the payouts that the government had to make back in 2001.

CO2 emissions

Life cycle CO2 emissions for nuclear power are lower than wind or solar (from )

On the carbon front, there is some CO2 emissions during the construction and as a result of fuel enrichment. The CO2 outputs of a nuclear plant are very, VERY low on a per kWh basis compared with other sources. It actually beats out wind and solar! - it is a little worse than hydro, since hydro has no fuel CO2 emissions over its lifecyle.

The "it produces plutonium argument"

See where the anti nuclear guy says fourth generation breeder reactors produce plutonium. Heck, every nuclear reactor produces plutonium. But the IFRs consume the plutonium and the IFR's don't require enrichment. Those are 2 key points. I particular enjoyed this comment:

It is like saying car engine factories produce engine blocks and this maximizes the risk of guns.

To work in that context, there would have to be a single word for any round channel in which expanding combustion gases propel a slider. He’s counting on the single word “plutonium” to mean two different things, without his audience knowing that it means two different things (a fallacy of equivocation).

I doubt Noonan expects any country or group to get nuclear weapons because it has power reactors. None ever has. Power reactors, if fed 238-U, make power reactor plutonium. Much cooler, smaller, simpler, cheaper reactors make weapon-grade plutonium, as different from the other kind as is a gun barrel from an Ecotec engine block.

The theoretical usability of the engine block as a multibarrel cannon represents a very long way around to a very inferior result, weapon-wise. Using power reactor plutonium for weapons is similarly believed to be a long way around to an inferior result, and so has apparently never been tried.

(When the American gas industry’s Hazel O’Leary was in public office, her government published a claim to this effect, but acknowledged that the yield of the bomb that was produced may have been zero, and did not acknowledge that the supposedly power-reactor-derived plutonium was quite unlike any being made today. More at Jeremy Whitlock’s “Canadian Nuclear FAQ”.)

The terrorist attack scenario argument

The WWF position paper on nuclear energy which is included in Climate Solutions - WWF's Vision for 2050 references a UCS study Impacts of a Terrorist Attack at Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant  which says a properly done terrorist attack could result in 44,000 short term deaths and eventually kill 518,000 people from cancer. The economic damages within 100 miles would exceed $1.1 trillion for the 95th percentile case, and could be as great as $2.1 trillion for the worst case evaluated, based on Environmental Protection Agency guidance for population relocation and cleanup. Millions of people would require permanent relocation.

To put that in perspective, 9/11 is estimated to have cause nearly $2 trillion in damage.

So WWF could have written a paper saying we shouldn't have buildings and airplanes because under a worst case scenario, they can combine to cause $2 trillion in damage and thousands of deaths.

And Greenpeace would argue that we shouldn't have any chemical plants at all since 15,000 are a ripe target for sabatoge. They argue that a study by the Army surgeon general, conducted soon after 9/11, found that up to 2.4 million people could be killed or wounded by a terrorist attack on a single chemical plant. So chemical plants are far more dangerous than our worse case nuclear attack. Should we now shut down all chemical plants?

The problem with the WWF scenario is that they never tell you what the likelihood of such an event happening really is.

Studies have been done to show that containment buildings would withstand the impact of a fully fueled jet aircraft. This scenario involves essentially a hollow tube of aluminium and steel, holding a few hundred thousand litres of gasoline, colliding with a heavily reinformed concrete dome designed to contain extreme internal steam pressure. Some relevant comments re: that particular Indian Point scenario are here:

The $2 trillion figure, even if you accept their assumptions (which are highly disputable), is the 99.9th percentile. That is, this cost would be incurred once in every 1,000 plane hits to a reactor like nuclear point. Of course if you bury an IFR, the risk is virtually zero. This is an example of disingenous people taking advantage of the general populace's gross ignorance on the matter of risk and probability.

There is a good discussion of this general by Bernard Cohen:
I like this quote:

"It is very difficult to predict the future of scientific developments, and few would even dare to make predictions extending beyond the next 50 years. However, based on everything we know now, one can make a strong case for the thesis that nuclear fission reactors will be providing a large fraction of our energy needs for the next million years. If that should come to pass, a history of energy production written at that remote date may well record that the worst reactor accident of all time occurred at Chernobyl, USSR, in April of 1986."

...and think this section is useful: Truly, the possibilities are limited only by ones imagination, and as the previous WWF treatment of nuclear emissions showed, the imaginations of those folks runs way, way into fantasy land.

The Worst Possible Accident

One subject we have not discussed here is the "worst possible nuclear accident," because there is no such thing. In any field of endeavor, it is easy to concoct a possible accident scenario that is worse than anything that has been previously proposed, although it will be of lower probability. One can imagine a gasoline spill causing a fire that would wipe out a whole city, killing most of its inhabitants. It might require a lot of improbable circumstances combining together, like water lines being frozen to prevent effective fire fighting, a traffic jam aggravated by street construction or traffic accidents limiting access to fire fighters, some substandard gas lines which the heat from the fire caused to leak, a high wind frequently shifting to spread the fire in all directions, a strong atmospheric temperature inversion after the whole city has become engulfed in flame to keep the smoke close to the ground, a lot of bridges and tunnels closed for various reasons, eliminating escape routes, some errors in advising the public, and so forth. Each of these situations is improbable, so a combination of many of them occurring in sequence is highly improbable, but it is certainly not impossible.

If anyone thinks that is the worst possible consequence of a gasoline spill, consider the possibility of the fire being spread by glowing embers to other cities which were left without protection because their firefighters were off assisting the first city; or of a disease epidemic spawned by unsanitary conditions left by the conflagration spreading over the country; or of communications foul-ups and misunderstandings caused by the fire leading to an exchange of nuclear weapon strikes. There is virtually no limit to the damage that is possible from a gasoline spill. But as the damage envisioned increases, the number of improbable circumstances required increases, so the probability for the eventuality becomes smaller and smaller. There is no such thing as the "worst possible accident," and any consideration of what terrible accidents are possible without simultaneously considering their low probability is a ridiculous exercise that can lead to completely deceptive conclusions.

The same reasoning applies to nuclear reactor accidents. Situations causing any number of deaths are possible, but the greater the consequences, the lower is the probability. The worst accident the RSS considered would cause about 50,000 deaths, with a probability of one occurrence in a billion years of reactor operation. A person's risk of being a victim of such an accident is 20,000 times less than the risk of being killed by lightning, and 1,000 times less than the risk of death from an airplane crashing into his or her house.7

But this once-in-a-billion-year accident is practically the only nuclear reactor accident ever discussed in the media. When it is discussed, its probability is hardly ever mentioned, and many people, including Helen Caldicott, who wrote a book on the subject, imply that it's the consequence of an average meltdown rather than of 1 out of 100,000 meltdowns. I have frequently been told that the probability doesn't matter — the very fact that such an accident is possible makes nuclear power unacceptable. According to that way of thinking, we have shown that the use of gasoline is not acceptable, and almost any human activity can similarly be shown to be unacceptable. If probability didn't matter, we would all die tomorrow from any one of thousands of dangers we live with constantly.

The "nuclear reprocessing is dangerous even if you use pyroprocessing" argument

UCS in their paper "Nuclear Power in a Warming World" claims pyroprocessing is just as dangerous as PUREX. They wrote:

According to a report from a 1999 workshop
at the DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory (LLNL), the transuranic elements or
other actinides in spent fuel could be used to build
nuclear weapons:
Examination of various cycles and the opinions
of weapons-design experts lead to the conclusion
that there is no ‘proliferation-proof’ nuclear power
cycle. Explosive Fissionable Material (EFM)
includes most of the actinides and their oxides.168
Dr. Bruce Goodwin of LLNL also maintained
at the workshop that “as nuclear weapons design
and engineering expertise combined with sufficient
technical capability become more common
in the world, it becomes possible to make nuclear
weapons out of an increasing number of technically
challenging explosive fissionable materials.”169
In other words, it is unwarranted to assume that
terrorists could not acquire the ability to build
nuclear weapons with the mixture of plutonium
and other actinides produced by UREX+.

A number of articles about making bombs from reprocessed material are available at

scroll down to articles published in Physics & Society.  The one titled Purex and Pyro refers to a LLL briefing that makes it clear that pyroprocessed fuel (Note that UCS concentrates on UREX+) is essentially useless for bombs.

Here are a few excerpts:

In his 1993 paper, J. Carson Mark wrote: “The difficulties of
developing an effective design of the most straightforward type are
not appreciably greater with reactor-grade plutonium than those
that have to be met for the use of weapons-grade plutonium.”[4]
That was based on his calculations, and on his apparent opinion
that the heat problem is trivial. However, to our knowledge no
weapons program, anywhere, ever, has made another attempt to
produce an explosion with reactor-grade plutonium. It is extremely
likely that the 1962 test demonstrated that reactor grade plutonium
is lousy material for making bombs, and that no nation, given the
data from that test, would want to use the stuff.

While the difference in weapons potential is one of degree rather
than principle, that difference is huge. The point is not that it can’t
be done, but rather that a would-be proliferator has far easier routes
to nuclear weapons.

By the way, it has sometimes been asserted that the chemically
impure plutonium produced by the pyrometallurgical process could
be used to make a bomb without further separation. This has been
convincingly refuted in an unpublished investigation by Livermore
National Laboratory (1994),which concluded that the transuranic
impurities render the material far too hot (thermally and
radioactively), and with far too many spontaneous neutrons, to
make it at all feasible.

Anyway, it is very much easier to make a bomb with highly
enriched uranium than with reactor grade plutonium. That route
would surely be taken by any organization that did not have access
to weapons-grade plutonium.

But making a bomb from highly enriched uranium is very very hard. And you'd still have to purify it to have any chance of success, and then make a reliable weapon out of it. And if you know how to do all that, then getting the material is going to be the least of your problems.

There are two scenarios here: either you think the terrorists are dumb or they are really smart. If they are dumb, they'll fail. If they are really smart, they'll know that the only way to realistically have any chance of making a bomb is to partner with a country like North Korea which already has the bombs. The scenario where they steal material, purify it, and build a bomb from scratch is unrealistic. Even highly organized countries with huge financial and scientific resources have a tough time making nuclear weapons. The easiest route for any terrorist is to partner with a rogue state who hates the United States and has nuclear weapons. The hardest route is to use the reactor waste product or pyroprocessed output. If you can do it with that, then eliminating pyroprocessing really isn't going to be much of a hurdle.

In any case, the IFR certainly isn't going to make a terrorist's task any easier than it is now.

The "nuclear gets huge subsidies" argument

I’d done a similar number crunch in response to an argument by a commenter
on my website about nuclear power being heavily subsidised. Here is my
reply, and a good follow-on comment by another guy who works for a CA

Many people are concerned that nuclear has received the lion’s share of
government funds. In the US (for which I have figures), Federal DOE energy
subsidies for solar+wind amounted to $0.026/kWh of electricity generated.
Nuclear power received $0.00038/kWh of electricity generated. That is,
‘technosolar’ got 68 times more funds per unit generation than nuclear. Of
course this is only direct subsidy — it does not include tax credits,
subsidies by power companies that must maintain spinning reserve for times
when wind is weak, or subsidies by customers who regularly pay a few cents
per kWh for Green Power. Wind in the US has also received a production
credit (subtracted from taxes, not income) of 1.8 c/kWh.

In the UK, between 1990-2005, total government allocations to renewables R&D
(including research council projects but leaving out fuel cells & embedded
generation) was about £180m while nuclear fission & fusion got about £370m-
more than double.

My numbers quoted for the US were subsidies for different generation sources
per kWh. Using the 2004 UK electricity figures, non-hydro renewables
produced 13.6 TWh of electricity and nuclear produced 73.7 TWh. Taking these
as average figures over the 1990-2005 period of 16 years, that amounts to
£0.00083/kWh for renewables and £0.000314/kWh for nuclear — so on that
basis, renewables gets 2.6 times more funds than nuclear. This is actually a
little unfair on nuclear, as over the period it has produced a lot more
energy, on average, than non-hydro renewables, which were close to nothing
in 1990 (whereas nuclear was 58 TWh).

Further, the  <> new ISA analysis
by Manfred Lenzen backs up the above — it puts subsidies for nuclear power
as lower than any other energy technology, based on the 2007-2009

Critique’s reply:
I guess that would be true if you only counted direct subsidies however you
must acknowledge the indirect subsidies over the 60 or so years that nuclear
power has been around as well as the technology transfer from military

It would be very difficult to exactly pin down the total amount of money
spent on nuclear however if you prefer the direct DOE figure then go ahead
and quote this one.

David Walter’s response:

Setting aside for a second the ‘indirect subsidies’ nuclear has received,
the main point is that wind and solar really wouldn’t even run, at all,
without these huge subsidies per kWhr they get. Period. They wouldn’t pay
for the maintenance and staffing on existing plant and material. This isn’t
true due to the massive revenue flow nuclear gets. Nuclear would keep on
going, *everywhere*, basically.

Now…the indirect subsidies. Yes, these are “historical” subsidies, 94%
(approx) received *prior* to 1974. In fact, it’s very hard to parse out.
Some were in fact *direct* and not “indirect”. But most it was as a result
of the Navy and Army nuclear program which the civilian side was a spin off.
The first civilian plant at Shippingport was a former Navy nuclear reactor
where they ran a variety fuels — including thorium — for R&D (all the while
pumping out MWs).

But how long does one ‘hold this ‘against’ nuclear? Really. The subsidy was
paid. Now, ever KW of power produced slowly reduces the % of that subsidy to
the overall ‘cost’ of a nuclear KW, doesn’t it? Should we NOT use nuclear
because it had massive subsidies, most of which was for military nuclear
propulsion programs?

Today, nuclear in my opinion is important enough TO subsidize. I’m all for
it. It’s a proven carbon mitigator. The subsidies have been more than worth
it. The US gov’t should set aside about 10 billion USD *specifically* to
deploy a variety of Generation IV reactors and get it over with.

From George Stanford:


     Our gov't is subsidizing "renewables" to the tune of $30 Billion (thanks to Jan van Erp for flagging the story).  See <>.

     Now let's do a little figgerin'.  "This administration has set a goal of doubling renewable electricity generation over the next three years," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement."  That can't include hydro, so the "renewable" fraction would go up to 4.8% (see figure below), adding to the grid 2.4% of its present capacity of 1,000,000 MWe, or 24,000 MWe.  But that's nameplate capacity, and actual capacity is perhaps 30% of that, so the additional real capacity is more like 7,200 MWe. 

     Thus the subsidy per kWe of real added capacity would be $30B / (7,200,000 kWe) = $4k / kWe, or $4B / GWe.  That, dear friends, is roughly the total cost of building a new nuclear plant, according to some estimates (not the lowest).

     It would be legitimate to observe that the $30B includes something for transmission lines.  It also would be legitimate to point out that most of that new transmission capacity would not be needed if the same new power came from nuclear plants near regions of high population density, instead of from the remote areas where the wind blows and the sun shines.

     Important:  This subsidy is not seed money to bring a new technology up to economic competitiveness, which would be a proper use of public funds.  It's largely for construction, with known technology -- and it will only partially cover the construction costs, at that.

     Let's not hear any more comments about excessive subsidies for nuclear power.

The Von Hippel arguments

From Robert Hargraves (posted to LA Times site):

Von Hippel's article is partly right but incomplete. Yes, spent fuel can be safely stored in dry casks for decades; there is no reason to panic. Yes, France's pioneering reprocessing is not good enough. It separates the uranium and plutonium, leaving low volume radioactive waste to store, but leaves France with excess uranium and plutonium. He is wrong about the US "we don't reprocess, you don't need to either" success. Banning US reprocessing didn't stop India, China, Pakistan, Israel, South Africa, and North Korea from making nuclear weapons, and it has not impeded Iran. France, UK, India, Japan, and Russia reprocess spent fuel. Spent nuclear fuel still contains 97% of its original potential energy. Technologies such as the integral fast reactor allow spent fuel to be "deep burned" to generate electric power. The integral fast reactor can also consume the much greater, fallow stocks of depleted uranium created by uranium enrichment plants that manufacture today's US nuclear reactor fuel. Even more energy can be harvested from more plentiful thorium using the liquid fluoride thorium reactor. There is enough carbon-free nuclear power for millennia.  

CANDU reactor

Built for under $2000 per kw in china. Can run on broad range of fuel, but doesn't fully transmute all actinides.

CANDU has a good neutron economy because heavy water has lower parasitic neutron capture than light water. That's why they can operate with natural uranium. Which also means CANDU can be fueled with a lot of alternate fuels -- reconstituted LWR spent fuel (so-called DUPIC cycle), reprocessed uranium from LWR spent fuel (U-235 content is still higher than natural uranium), and even plutonium or TRU containing fuel.

However, CANDU as well as any other thermal spectrum reactors cannot transmute minor actinides effectively. They convert actinides to even higher actinides than consuming them. Some are consumed but the net effect in long term radiological toxicity is insignificant.

Actinides can be consumed effectively only in fast reactors.

Next Steps

A request by GE for a 810 determination that the IFR is not sensitive nuclear technology seems to me to be the next step so discussions can be held with Russia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea.

What are the easy steps that Dr. Chu can authorize?    

1) Start the NRC licensing process of PRISM (using the Fuel Cycle R&D funds).  This make progress transparent to all stakeholders.    

2) Start the DOE Project Management requirements to get Congressional funding.  (DOE Order 413.3)    

3) With 1 started.... confidence come back to the system.  With 2 done you use the 1992 Energy Policy Act to start PRISM.  This puts the government action into doing appropriations, which seems to be a bit easier than authorization language.

Miscellaneous factoids about the IFR

1. Even with LWR, the EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) is so high that you could profitably ‘mine’ seawater for U at a decent energy return. So with conventional (~10 MtU) + phosphates (~30 MtU) we have at least 40 MtU of mineable U [probably substantially more] and another 4600 MtU in seawater. Let’s imagine we ran 10,000 GWe of LWR to supply all worldwide energy needs (including liquid fuel replacement). That’s a 27 fold increase compared to the output of LWR today. Current 370 GWe needs 65,000 tU/yr (if we weren’t using weapons Pu also). So 10,000 GWe of LWR would need 1.75 MtU. We have over 2,500 years of fuel – before we go to Th. Sea water extraction has been estimated at <$1,000/kg, which is expensive, but still about 100 times cheaper than coal, per joule. Of course it would be ludicrous to continue to use LWR beyond the next 50 years or so, but the point is that U is not going to run out even with a major expansion of LWR over the next few decades, as IFRs ramp up.

Bottom line: IFRs win hands down in the sustainability, safety and waste management stakes, and pyroprocessing trounces PUREX in regards to proliferation resistance. But LWRs are still a superb clean energy generation technology and a massive rollout of these, side by side with fast reactors, is (now, after understanding the issues) fine by me. We need all the extra Pu for initial IFR loadings that we can get. There is no need to dismiss LWR to win the IFR argument, in my humble opinion.

Before Al Gore became VP, he wrote a book Earth in the balance: "Ecology and the Human Spirit." On page 328, he wrote: “The research and development of alternative approaches should focus on discovering, first, how to build a passively safe design (whose safety does not depend upon the constant attention of bleary-eyed technicians) that eliminates many risks of current reactors, and second, whether there is a scientifically and politically acceptable means of disposing of – in fact, isolating, nuclear waste.” So that's exactly what the IFR provides. So it meets his criteria, but he won't endorse it and will not explain why he won't.

IFRs can be used to replace the burners in a coal plant. You cannot do that with a normal LWR reactor.

Even if you don't believe in global warming, you should definitely believe in the Atmospheric Brown Cloud (ABC). It's coming our way. Nuclear and the IFR is the best way to stop it.

A kilogram of uranium contains about as much energy as two million kilograms of coal, and coal is already a concentrated form of energy. So it's an incredibly concentrated form of energy if you can harness it to its full advantage.

A short IFR pitch

IFR story is a story of how the US government paid billions to our National Laboratories to engineer a solution to the energy and climate crisis (before it became a crisis), the solution worked, then President Clinton cancelled the project telling the world in his State of the Union speech that this power was "unnecessary."

Nuclear provides 70% of our clean energy in the US, even though we haven't built a new reactor in 30 years!

Despite nuclear being the elephant in the room, the world "nuclear" appears only TWICE in Waxman-Markey. That is absurd since we have 10 times as much energy just in the Depleted Uranium waste (which is just sitting there) than we have coal in the ground.

We are currently not doing anything to exploit our largest energy resource (which is also one of our cleanest). This reactor is ready to be built, GE has a design ready to built, and we are doing NOTHING.

More information on the IFR

1.    Why We Should Build an Integral Fast Reactor Now. Opinion piece on my blog

2.    Meet the Man Who Could End Global Warming Esquire Magazine named the IFR expert at GE as the Best and Brightest of 2009

3.    Plentiful Energy and the IFR Story: Article by Charles Till explaining the IFR (a must read)

4.    Operating and test experience with EBR-II, the IFR prototype. An excellent paper discussing the IFR.

5.    DOE study: 242 experts from all over the world compared 19 different nuclear reactor designs on 27 criteria: The IFR was rated #1. The obvious conclusion is that if you are going to build new nuclear plants, this is the design to pursue.

6.    "Nuclear power plants - now safer and cheaper (15 minute audio)
I highly recommend this. Barry Brook traces the history of nuclear power. Today, about 440 nuclear power reactors are in use, known as Generation 2 reactors. These were designed between 1960 and 1980. Recently, Generation 3 reactors have adopted a standard design, allowing for faster approval. 45 are being built. 350 are planned. Chernobyl was a cheap design. There was no containment building. Barry Brook describes Chernobyl as an accident waiting to happen. Newer reactors are orders of magnitude safer than the older models. Generation 4 is the new excitement. Efficiency is much higher meaning uranium supplies will last so much longer. They can burn a range of isotopes of uranium and other elements producing short-lived waste."

  1. The Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) project: Q&A: this page compiles answers the disadvantages brought up on the wikipedia page and other issues that people bring up
  2. Tell Barack Obama the Truth -- The Whole Truth November 21, 2008 article by James Hansen on why restarting the IFR should be a priority
  3. Mark Lynas: the green heretic persecuted for his nuclear conversion article by Mark Lynas describing how Lynas was surprised to find the "Green case against nuclear power is based largely on myth and dogma"
  4. Jim Hansen's August 4, 2008 trip report: Hansen describes, for the first time, how he first heard of the IFR
  5. IFR Q&A with Congress (Stanford answers)
  6. IFR Q&A with Congress (Kirsch answers)
  7. IFR Q&A with Congress (Blees answers)
  8. Comments on the Misguided Termination of the IFR Project: a must read!
  9. The Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) information page at UC Berkeley: An excellent summary of the technology and benefits
  10. PBS Frontline interview with Argonne Lab Director Charles Till
  11. Argonne Q&A: If the IFR is as good as it sounds, how come nobody is using it?
  12. Speech by Charles Till to Canadian Scientists about the IFR project
  13. Argonne Q&A about the IFR project
  14. Integral Fast Reactors: Source of Safe, Abundant, Non-Polluting Power: Article explaining the IFR by George S. Stanford, Ph.D., a scientist who worked on it.
  15. Wikipedia page on the Integral Fast Reactor
  16. Hannum, W. H., G. E. Marsh and G. S. Stanford, "Smarter Use of Nuclear Waste." Scientific American, December 2005, pp 84-91
  17. Opinion: How a 24-year-old technology can save the planet (Dec 7, 2008): an op-ed on how the IFR could save the planet
  18. Friends of the Earth Australia critique of the IFR where Blees responds with his comments Integral Fast Reactors for the masses. Barry Brook is currently drafting a direct response. Note that 68% of India's CO2 emissions are from coal! 20% of worldwide GHG emissions are from coal. See Coal and Climate Change Facts: The Pew Center on Global Climate Change
  19. Nuking green myths, an excellent op-ed written by Barry Brook and published in The Australian
  20. How Does Obama Expect to Solve the Climate Crisis Without a Plan? Huffington Post opinion on why nuclear is the best solution to the climate crisis
  21. Climate Bill Ignores Our Biggest Clean Energy Source: Huffington Post opinion on nuclear and the IFR.
  22. Nukes: a necessary part of our future?  A balanced look at the problem and the first comment sums up the situation quite nicely
  23. Kirsch Family Movie on How to Solve the Climate Crisis: This is a more entertaining version of what you've just read (3 minutes)
  24. The Truth About Energy: More generic site about nuclear power.
  25. Retirement of Dr. Charles Till: this says it all in one page.  "Unfortunately, this program was canceled just 2 short years before the proof of concept. I assure my colleagues someday our Nation will regret and reverse this shortsighted decision."

Knowledgeable people on IFR technology

Steve Kirsch Home Page (short version)



The Suppression of Fusion Power Generation by the Oligarchic Satanic, "Principle of Poverty"


How Satanic Lord Bertrand Russell Became an Evil Man


BaruchOld Rothschild- and Rockefeller hands created Austrian Economics and the Libertarian-Communist dialectic














SISTER CHANDRIKA: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


SWAMIJI: Sufferings. Because without suffering there's no purification. Whoever is interested in purifying oneself should accept suffering. If it comes, accept it. Or while trying to relieve others' sufferings, if you face suffering, accept it.

Thiruvalluvar - One of the Tamil Siddars - gives the example of gold. How is golden ore purified? How do you get 24 carat gold? By constantly melting it and relieving it from all unnecessary sediments, mixtures. This is done with a lot of suffering. The gold undergoes a lot of sufferings. Every time it's heated, it is raised one more carat.

TAMIL: Sudachudarum Ponnpole. 'The more you heat it, the more it shines.'

Because Alchemically, all the dross, the unnecessary carbon and other things are burnt out. Like that, the more you get heated by suffering the more you shine.

Because suffering is like burning.

That's why it's called tapasya.

Tapas means to burn.

In other words you are gently, or ur-gently, roasted.

Until you become ash. Then that's called the holy ash. An ash is a holy substance because it's totally burnt. That's why you have an ash, holy ash, in Christianity, in Hinduism. Vibhuti, we call it. Vibhuti means burnt ash. It's called vibhuti because it has all the great qualities of God. Everything that is beautiful, that is supreme, is vibhuti. And this ash, which is called vibhuti, was dirt. Or to be more frank, it was dung. But it's no longer dirt. The very same dirt, burnt out completely, so it's now purified well, is now vibhuti, holy ash.

So suffering is helpful. If you face a little suffering, if you don't enjoy the way the food is prepared, say, `Ah, here is another way of my purification. God is trying to purify my tongue through this instrument we call the mother of the house.' If we forget that, we might feel, 'What is this? Can't you make a little better food? Can't you give me one more blanket? One a little more soft?'

Why are spiritual seekers expected to live a simple life? To accept suffering. To see how they can bear suffering. It's not a comfortable life. That comes afterward. When you have suffered enough, when you get burnt totally, then you are not trampled.

As long as you are dung, you get trampled. And thrown into the dung pit.

But when you get burnt, you become holy ash and you go to the very forehead of the person. You are elevated to a great height. You are respected. So the benefit comes afterward. But until you are completely burnt you can't get that. You can't go to that height.

I don't know if you remember a parable that I used to give. The Hindu temples, you know, are mostly built of granite rock. The sanctum sanctorum – the several steps you go up, and then the statue, the image you worship. as God – is made out of granite rock.

One day I was in front of the altar. There was nobody except me and the Lord through the image.

All of a sudden I heard a conversation. I became curious and I sharpened my ears to hear that. The conversation was like this: 'Hi, brother! How come you are getting all the decorations, all the offerings? Milk and honey are poured over you, you get decorated with nice jewels, flowers.

Everyone comes and respects you. And this priest, even while he decorates you, he is stepping on me. Nobody seems even to look at me. Even if they don't decorate me and respect me, can't they at least leave me alone instead of trampling on me? How come? Don't you know we were brothers? We were together, almost twins.'

The other one said, 'Yes, my brother, I remember that. I can never forget it. We were together. We were one piece when we were brought from the neighboring rock quarry. But the sculptor started working and he split that one rock into two because it was too big for a statue.

And he picked you up first and started shaping you into a beautiful image. You know the sculptor! He started hitting at you with his iron chisel and hammer.

You became so furious, you shouted at him, yelled at him, 'How dare you do this? Leave me alone. I don't want to be hit like this.' And he thought that you are so unhappy, that you are possessed with a kind of ego or ignorance, so he just left you.

And then he took the other half and started working on me. I kept quiet. I thought there must be some reason for it. After all, he is the one who brought me all the way. Let him do whatever he wants. Of course it was really painful.

Constantly, he rolled me over and over, he hit me day and night. He was sometimes even sitting on me and hitting me. But I waited and waited and after several months, all of a sudden, one day, I saw myself as a beautiful image.

Now he has put me here and he is doing all the decorations. When he put me here I was a little too high for him to reach me, so he wanted a stepping stone and he thought to use you at least for that purpose. So he just placed you in front of me and that is why he is standing on you and pouring all the milk and honey on me.'

`Oh, I see. Well, if I had known that, I would have accepted all those things; but I didn't.'

`Well, I'm sorry, but it's too late. Just accept it. Pray for the next birth. And if somebody is hitting you, even if you don't know why, accept it. Be patient. Probably one day you will be respected. You'll be honored. You'll have all the decorations, all the festivities for you. Like me.'

That's what the Deity said. It's a conversation between the Deity and the stepping stone in front. Hm? So who was right?

SOMEONE: The Deity.

SWAMIJI: How did it become the Deity?

SOMEONE: By letting the sculptor work on him.

SWAMIJI: That's what. Did he work nicely, gently like this? (Swamiji strokes Sister Chandrika's cheek) `Sweet girl, sweet girl, give her a cake.' Did he do that? (Swamiji now gives Sister Chandrika a mock blow on the side of the head) Banging, banging, hm? That's what. Suffering. That's what he means. Didn't the Lord Jesus say, 'If someone hits you on the left cheek, show him the right one too'?

So, Blessed are the...
SISTER CHANDRIKA: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake.

SWAMIJI: Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. Well, it's easy to read this and even to interpret it. But when it comes in our own life, then we find it hard to swallow. That's why we should 'really be following it. Be good followers and good swallowers. (laughter)

(At this point, a member of the Ashram family comes up to Swamiji, giving him a coconut and a hammer with which to break it. This is sometimes done by devotees of Swamiji on their birthdays.)

SWAMIJI: See, this is a coconut. Do you know why the coconut is broken? The coconut represents the human mind. As people mostly identify themselves as the mind and talk in terms of that, they're all more or less like coconuts.

The coconut has three parts. The upper surface, which is covered with husk. Below the husk, you see the hard shell. Inside the shell you have that beautiful, white kernel.

The husk represents the tamasic part of the mind, which is the lazy mind.

The hard shell represents the rajasic part, the restless, extremely active mind, the egoistic part.

And the beautiful, white kernel inside represents the sattvic mind, or the tranquil one. That means, when the tranquil mind goes to one extreme, it becomes restless. And if it goes to the other extreme, it becomes lazy. So the not only for the birthdays.

In India, normally you take a coconut to the temple and put it in the hands of the priest. And he cracks it for you. It signifies that the teacher breaks your ego and brings out the beautiful you — to be offered to God.

Then the priest returns the coconut and the tasteful kernel is shared with everybody. That means, once God sees your purity, accepts you as His own, then he gives you back to be distributed to everybody. Your life becomes a beautiful and dedicated one, useful to everybody. That is the symbolic purpose of breaking a coconut.

(Swamiji prepares to strike the coconut.)
May you be free from ego and ignorance which causes the mortality of life, the mrithyor of life.

Om Tryambakam Yajamahe

Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam

Urvarukamiva Bandhanan

Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat

Hari Om Tat Sat. Om Shanthi.
(He cracks the coconut.)


Mahamrityunjaya Mantra (maha-mrityun-jaya) is one of the more potent of the ancient Sanskrit mantras. Maha mrityunjaya is a call for enlightenment and is a practice of purifying the karmas of the soul at a deep level. It is also said to be quite beneficial for mental, emotional, and physical health.

AUM/OM: Guided Meditation on Absolute reality. That which encompasses the three states of waking, dreaming, deep sleep, represented by AUM, the three levels of gross, subtle, causal, the three levels of conscious, unconscious, subconscious, and the three universal processes of coming, being, and going. It is Tamas, Rajas and Sattvas which when made one, symbolise Illumination. Absolute silence beyond the three levels is the silence after AUM when we use OM as a guided meditation, in order to project our energy in order to connect with the center of the Universe.

Tryambakam: Trya means three. Ambakam means eyes. It means the three eyes of the Absolute, which are the processes of creation, existence, and dissolution, as well as the other triads, which are part of AUM. A - The center of the earth - Kundalini Chakra , U the heart center, M the Ajna Chakra moving into Sahasrara Chakra. Absolute silence beyond the three levels is the silence after AUM when we use OM as a guided meditation, in order to project our energy in order to connect with the center of the Universe. Thus it is a guided meditation to extend ourselves outwards into the antahkarana, into the Universe, to connect with external chakras, external sources of power. It is Energy Enhancement. The three "eyes" means experiencing these three stages and triads at one time, AS ONE, from the higher, all pervasive vantage point of the Absolute.

Yajamahe: We rejoice in meditation on all of this.


Sugandhim: Means fragrance. Like a spreading fragrance, which permeates the whole of this planet, whilst we are in contact with that existence of the OM Antahkarana. It is the Buddhafield of the Illuminated.

Pushtivardhanam: Means that which sustains and nourishes all. Thus, the fragrance that permeates all flows from God, the sustainer of all beings, while also the essence of all beings.


Urvarukamiva: Urva means big and powerful. Arukam means disease, like the spiritual diseases of ignorance and untruth, which are like the death of Wisdom or Truth.

Bandhanan: Means bound down, as in bound down to the ignorance and untruth.


Mrityor: Means ignorance and untruth.

Mukshiya: Means liberation from the cycles of physical, mental, and spiritual death.

Maamritat: Means please give me rejuvenating nectar which descends like the wine of the Sufis, of Carmina Burana, from the center of the Universe, so as to have this liberation.
THIS IS THE ALCHEMICAL TAVERN OF CARMINA BURANA WHERE THE WINE - "EVERYBODY DRINKS IMMODERATELY" -IS THE KUNDALINI ENERGY OF THE MASTER - SATCHIDANAND Like the process of severing the cucumber from the creeping vine of the earth in order to ascend into the center of the Universe.

"this tavern is not closed, this tavern won't be stopped" from Mahayogi Baba Gorakhnath Ji



Energy Enhancement can lead you to God or the universal absolute and it promises Nirvana and transformation, as these things are within you already. Energy Enhancement will not “tell” you about truth, but will give you the Real Spiritual Experience to provoke and challenge and excite into awakening to the truth which lies within. This kind of truth cannot be given as it takes two to Tango and it is the purity and resolution of the Student which calls forth the Energies of Existence. Yet, it can felt through personal experiences which take you out of normal states of awareness – through Initiations and Rites of Passage calling you into new ways of seeing Self and everything you once believed was real.

Within you lies a doorway to the Infinite. The journey to find that doorway can be arduous for it takes you into the landscape of your inner being. Are you willing to Initiate one of the greatest challenges of your life? Are you willing to change your ideas of who you thought you were in order to discover who you really are? Say, “Yes”. Leave behind your safety net and discover the knowledge that is your birthright. Many stand at this doorway, but few dare enter.

Inside you live the Mysteries of the Universe. Energy Enhancement is a doorway into that Grand Adventure.


1.1. The Ideology of Work

Work for economic ends has not always been the dominant activity of mankind. It has only been dominant across the whole of society since the advent of industrial capitalism, about two hundred years ago. Before capitalism, people in pre-modern societies, in the Middle Ages and the Ancient World, worked far less than they do nowadays, as they do in the precapitalist societies that still exist today. In fact, the difference was such that the first industrialists, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, had great difficulty getting their workforce to do a full day's work, week in week out. The first factory bosses went bankrupt precisely for this reason.

That is to say that what the British and the Germans call `the work ethic' and the `work-based society' are recent phenomena.

It is a feature of `work-based societies' that they consider work as at one and the same time a moral duty, a social obligation and the route to personal success. The ideology of work assumes that,

- the more each individual works, the better off everyone will be;

- those who work little or not at all are acting against the interests of the community as a whole and do not deserve to be members of it;

- those who work hard achieve social success and those who do not succeed have only themselves to blame.
This ideology is still deeply ingrained and hardly a day passes without some politician, be he Right - or left-wing, urging us to work and insisting that work is the only way to solve the present crisis. If we are to `beat unemployment', they add, we must work more, not less.

1.2. The Crisis of the Work Ethic

In actual fact the work ethic has become obsolete. It is no longer true that producing more means working more, or that producing more will lead to a better way of life.

The connection between more and better has been broken; our needs for many products and services are already more than adequately met, and many of our as-yet- unsatisfied needs will be met not by producing more, but by producing differently, producing other things, or even producing less. This is especially true as regards our needs for air, water, space, silence, beauty, time and human contact.

Neither is it true any longer that the more each individual works, the better off everyone will be. The present crisis has stimulated technological change of an unprecedented scale and speed: `the micro-chip revolution'. The object and indeed the effect of this revolution has been to make rapidly increasing savings in labour, in the industrial, administrative and service sectors. Increasing production is secured in these sectors by decreasing amounts of labour. As a result, the social process of production no longer needs everyone to work in it on a full-time basis. The work ethic ceases to be viable in such a situation and workbased society is thrown into crisis.

1.3. The Neo-conservative Ideology of Hard Work

Not everyone is aware of this crisis. Some are aware of it but find it in their interest to deny its existence. This is true, in particular, of a large number of `neo-conservatives', bent on upholding the ideology of work in a context in which paid work is becoming increasingly scarce. They thus encourage people looking for paid work to enter into increasingly fierce competition with each other, relying on this competition to bring down the cost of labour (that is, wages) and allow the `strong' to eliminate the `weak'. They look to this neoDarwinian process of the `survival of the fittest' to bring about the rebirth of a dynamic form of capitalism, with all its blemishes removed together with all or part of its social legislation.

1.4. Working Less so that Everyone can Work

It is in the common interest of waged workers not to compete with one other, to organize a united response to their employers and collectively negotiate their conditions of employment with the latter. This common interest finds its expression in trade unionism.

In a context in which there is not enough paid full-time work to go round, abandoning the work ethic becomes a condition of survival for the trade-union movement. To do so is no betrayal on the movement's part. The liberation from work and the idea of `working less so everyone can work' were, after all, at the origin of the struggle of the labour movement.

1.5. Forms of Work

By work we have come to understand a paid activity, performed on behalf of a third party (the employer), to achieve goals we have not chosen for ourselves and according to procedures and schedules laid down by the person paying our wages. There is widespread confusion between `work' and `job' or `employment', as there is between the `right to work', the `right to a wage' and the `right to an income'.

Now, in practice, not all activities constitute work, and neither is all work paid or done with payment in mind. We have to distinguish between three types of work.

1.5.1. Work for economic ends

This is work done with payment in mind. Here money, that is, commodity exchange, is the principal goal. One works first of all to `earn a living', and the satisfaction or pleasure one may possibly derive from such work is a subordinate consideration. This may be termed -work for economic ends.

1.5.2. Domestic labour and work-for-oneself

This is work done not with a view to exchange but in order to achieve a result of which one is, directly, the principal beneficiary. `Reproductive' work, that is, domestic labour, which guarantees the basic and immediate necessities of life day after day - preparing food, keeping oneself and one's home clean, giving birth to children and bringing them up, and so on - is an example of this kind of work. It was and still is often the case that women are made to do such work on top of the work they do for economic ends.

Since the domestic community (the nuclear or extended family) is one in which life is based on sharing everything rather than on an accounting calculation and commodity exchange, it is only recently that the idea of wages for housework has arisen. Previously, by contrast, domestic labour was seen as work done by and for the domestic community as a whole. This attitude, it should be stressed, is only justifiable if all the members of the domestic community share the tasks equitably. A number of activists have called for women to be given wages for housework in the form of a public allowance, in recognition of the social utility of such work. But this will not lead to the equitable sharing of household chores and moreover it poses the following problems:

- it transforms domestic labour into work for economic ends, that is, into a domestic (servant's) job;
- it places domestic labour in the same category as socially useful work, whereas its aim is - and should be - not social utility but the well-being and personal fulfilment of the members of the community, which is not at all the same thing. The confusion between the fulfilment of individuals and their social utility stems from a totalitarian conception of society in which there is no place for the uniqueness and singularity of the individual or for the specificity of the private sphere. By nature this sphere is - and should be - exempt from social control and the criteria of public utility.

1.5.3. Autonomous activity

Autonomous activities are activities one performs freely and not from necessity, as ends in themselves. This includes all activities which are experienced as fulfilling, enriching, sources of meaning and happiness: artistic, philosophical, scientific, relational, educational, charitable and mutual-aid activities, activities of auto-production, and so on. All these activities require `work' in the sense that they require effort and methodical application but their meaning lies as much in their performance as in their product: activities such as these are the substance of life itself. But this always requires there to be no shortage of time. Indeed, the same activity - bringing up children, preparing a meal or taking care of our surroundings, for example - can take the form of a chore in which one is subject to what seem like oppressive constraints or of a gratifying activity, depending on whether one is harrassed by lack of time or whether the activity can be performed at leisure, in co-operation with others and through the voluntary sharing of the tasks involved.

1.6. The End of Utopia

The progressive domination of work for economic ends was only made possible by the advent of capitalism and the generalization of commodity exchange. We owe to it in particular the destruction of a great deal of non-commodity services and exchanges and domestic production in which work for economic ends and the pleasure of creating something of beauty were inextricably linked. This explains why the labour movement originally challenged the overriding importance industrial capitalism attached to waged work and economic ends. However, in calling for the abolition of wage labour and for the government or self government of society by freely associated workers in control of the means of production, the demands of the workers ran directly counter to the developments that were actually taking place. The movement was utopian in so far as the possibility of giving substance to its demands had not emerged.

Yet what was utopian in the early nineteenth century has ceased in part to be so today: the economy and the social process of production require decreasing quantities of wage labour. The subordination of all other human activities and goals to waged work, for economic ends is ceasing to be either necessary or meaningful. Emancipation from economic and commercial rationality is becoming a possibility, but it can only become reality through actions which also demonstrate its feasibility. Cultural action and the development of `alternative activities' take on particular significance in this context. I shall return to this point below.


2.1. Giving Meaning to the Changes: The Liberation of Time

Trade unionism cannot continue to exist as a movement with a future unless it expands its mission beyond the defence of the particular interests of waged workers. In industry, as in the classical tertiary sector, we are witnessing an increasingly accelerated reduction in the amount of labour required. The German trade-union movement has estimated that, of the new forms of technology which will be available by the year 2000, only 5 per cent are currently being put to use. The reserves of productivity (that is, foreseeable labour savings) in the industrial and classical tertiary sectors are immense.

The liberation from work for economic ends, through reductions in working hours and the development of other types of activities, self-regulated and self-determined by the individuals involved, is the only way to give positive meaning to the savings in wage labour brought about by the current technological revolution. The project for a society of liberated time, in which everyone will be able to work but will work less and less for economic ends, is the possible meaning of the current historical developments. Such a project is able to give cohesion and a unifying perspective to the different elements that make up the social movement since (1) it is a logical extension of the experiences and struggles of workers in the past; (2) it reaches beyond that experience and those struggles towards objectives which correspond to the interests of both workers and non-workers, and is thus able to cement bonds of solidarity and common political will between them; (3) it corresponds to the aspirations of the ever-growing proportion of men and women who wish to (re)gain control in and of their own lives.

2.2. Regaining Control Over One's Life

Workplace struggles have not lost any of their significance but the labour movement cannot afford to ignore the fact that other struggles, in other areas, are becoming increasingly important as far as the future of society and our regaining control over our own lives is concerned. In particular, the labour movement's campaign for a reduction in working hours cannot ignore the fact that the unpaid work done by women in the private sphere can be as hard as the labour which men and women have to put up with to earn their living. The campaign for a shortening of working hours must, then, go hand in hand with a new and equitable distribution of paid work amongst all those who wish to work, and for an equitable redistribution of the unpaid tasks of the domestic sphere. The trade-union movement cannot be indifferent to the specific women's movement campaigns on these questions and it must take these into account when determining its own c'ourses of action, especially with respect to the arrangement and self-management of work schedules.

Nor can the trade-union movement be indifferent to people's campaigns against the invasion of their environment by mega-technological systems which upset or destroy the environment and subject vast regions and their populations to unchecked technocratic control, so as to meet logistical or safety requirements.

The right of individuals to sovereign control over their own lives and ways of cooperating with others suffers no exception. It cannot be gained in the field of work and work relations at the expense of struggles going on in other fields, any more than it can be gained in these other fields at the expense of labour struggles.

2.3. Towards 50 per cent Marginalization

A progressive wide-scale reduction in working hours without loss of income is the necessary (though not sufficient, as l will go on to explain) condition for the redistribution of paid work amongst all those who wish to work; and for an equitable redistribution of the unpaid work in the private sphere. Everyone must therefore be able to work less so that everyone can lead a better life and earn their living by working. This is the only way the trend towards an increasingly deep division of society, the segmentation of the labour market and the marginalization of a growing percentage of the population can be checked and then reversed.

According to a study by Wolfgang Lecher, of the WSI (the Institute of Economic and Social Research of the DGB), the continuation of the present trend would lead, within the next ten years or so, to the following segmentation of the active population:
- 25 per cent will be skilled workers with permanent jobs in large firms protected by collective wage agreements;
- 25 per cent will be peripheral workers with insecure, unskilled and badly-paid jobs, whose work schedules vary according to the wishes of their employers and the fluctuations in the market;
- 50 per cent will be semi-unemployed, unemployed, marginalized workers, doing occasional or seasonal work and `odd jobs'. Already 51 per cent of the active population in France aged between 18 and 24 fit into this category (26 per cent unemployed, 25 per cent doing `odd jobs'); and the percentage is even higher in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and (especially) Britain.

2.4. The New Domestic Servants

The Right acknowledges and accepts the direction in which these developments are going. A new employers' ideology, the so-called ideology of `human resources', is seeking to integrate the stable core of permanent skilled workers into modern enterprises which are portrayed as `sites of intellectual and personal fulfilment', whilst advocating `modest jobs' for a `modest wage' in service enterprises, particularly `person to person' services, for the rest.

In the United States, which is often taken as a model, of the thirteen to fifteen million new jobs created in the last ten years, the majority are in the personal-service sector and are very often insecure, badly paid and offer no possibilities of achieving professional qualifications or advancement - jobs as caretakers, nightwatchmen, cleaners, waiters and waitresses, staff in `fast food' restaurants, nursing assistants, deliverymen/women, street sellers, shoeshiners, and so on.

These `person-to-person' services are, in reality, the jobs of domestic or personal servants in their modernized and Socialized guise. A French minister for social affairs acknowledged this fact when he suggested there should be tax incentives to encourage people to employ domestic servants.

This shows a striking parallel with the developments which took place during the last century when the introduction of intensive farming and the mechanization of the textile industry led to millions of unemployed people going into domestic service: `personal and domestic servants' represented 14 per cent of the working population in Britain between 1851 and 1911. It is quite likely that `person-to-person' services - and this includes jobs in massage and relaxation salons, therapy groups and psychological counselling bureaux, for example - today represent more than 14 per cent of the United States' working population.

As in the colonies in the past and many Third World countries today, a growing mass of people in the industrialized countries has been reduced to fighting each other for the `privilege' of selling their personal services to those who still maintain a decent income.

2.5. The Dangers of Trade-Union Neo-corporatism

As a result of all this, a new dividing line is cutting across class barriers, a fact commented on by Wolfgang Lecher in the study quoted above:

The opposition between labour and capital is increasingly coming to be overlaid by an antagonism between workers in permanent, wellprotected jobs on the one hand and on the other. . The trade unions run the risk of degenerating into a sort of mutual insurance for the relatively restricted and privileged group of permanent workers.
If they see their sole task as that of defending the interests of those with stable jobs, the trade unions run the risk of degenerating into a neocorporatist, conservative force, as has occurred in a number of countries in Latin America.
The task of the trade-union movement, if it wishes to survive and grow as a movement promoting individual and social liberation, must, therefore, be to extend its sphere of action beyond the limited defence of workers as workers, in their workplaces, much more clearly than it has done in the past. Trade unions will only avoid becoming a sectionalist, neo-corporatist force if the segmentation of society and the marginalization of a growing percentage of the population can be prevented. If this is to happen, an ambitious policy for a continual, programmed reduction in working hours is indispensable. Trade unions are incapable of implementing such a policy on their own. But through their campaigns they can ensure that the necessity for such a policy is accepted and, more importantly, they can adopt it as the objective governing their actions and their social project. A project for a society in which each can work less so that all can work better and live more becomes, today, one of the principal binding elements of social cohesion.

It still remains for us to examine: (1) the extent of the reduction in working hours that can be envisaged; (2) the cultural changes and cultural tasks which trade unions will have to tackle as a result; (3) the changes it will bring about in the life of individual people; (4) how it can be programmed, realized and made compatible with an improvement in our standard of living.


3.1. Towards the 1,000-hour Working Year

The current technological revolution is giving rise to savings in labour, the extent of which are often underestimated. Productivity in industry has risen between 5 per cent and 6 per cent per year since 1978; in the economy as a whole it has risen by between 3 per cent and 4 per cent per year. Production of commercial goods and services has risen by about 2 per cent per year. In other words, though the economy keeps growing, the amount of labour it requires diminishes every year by approximately 2 per cent.

This net saving in labour is set to accelerate between now and the end of the century, thanks, mainly, to the `improvements that can be predicted in robotics and information technology. Yet even without any acceleration, the amount of labour required by the economy will have diminished in the next ten years by about 22 per cent; in the next fifteen years it will have diminished by about a third.

The prospects from now until the beginning of the next century are therefore as follows: either current norms of full-time employment will be maintained and there will be another 35 per cent of the population unemployed on top of the current 10 per cent to 20 per cent; or else the number of hours spent in work for economic ends will be reduced in proportion to foreseeable savings in labour and the number of hours we work will decrease by between 30 per cent and 40 per cent - or even by half if everyone is to be guaranteed paid work. Evidently intermediate solutions can be envisaged, but the optimum solution is obviously the one which allows everyone to work but work less, work better and receive their share of the growing socially produced wealth in the form of an increasing real income. This presupposes a staged, programmed reduction in working hours from approximately 1,000 hours per year at present to approximately 1,000 hours per year in fifteen years' time, without any reduction in people's purchasing power. This calls for a whole series of specific policies, in particular a social policy which will make purchasing power dependent not on the amount of working hours put in but on the amount of social wealth produced. We will return to this later.

3.2. New Values, New Tasks

For the first time in modern history, we will be able to stop spending most of our time and our lives doing paid work. The liberation from work has become, for the first time, a tangible prospect. However, we must not underestimate the implications this has for each of us. The campaign for a continual and substantial reduction in the amount of paid work we do presupposes the latter's gradually ceasing to be the only - or main - occupation in our lives. It must, then, cease to be our principal source of identity and social insertion. Values other than economic values, activities other than the functional, instrumental, waged activities social apparatuses and institutions compel us to perform, will have to become predominant in our lives.

The cultural and societal change involved here demands from each of us a change in attitude which no state, government, political party or trade union can bring about on our behalf. We shall have to find a meaning in life other than gainful employment, the work ethic and productivity, and struggles centred on issues other than those implied in wage relations. The extent of these cultural changes is such that it would be futile to propose them were it not for the fact that the changes presently under way are already heading in this direction.

3.2.1. Liberation in work and liberation from work

Disaffection with waged work has been on the increase over the last twenty years or so, as shown by surveys conducted periodically by institutes in Germany and Sweden. Particularly prevalent among young workers, this attitude finds expression not so much in a lack of interest or a refusal to work hard but rather in a desire that work should fit into life instead of life having to fit into or be sacrificed to one's job or career. Workers, particularly young workers, aspire to (re)gain control of their lives and this increases their awareness of and openness to movements which have this specific aim.

This desire to liberate oneself from, or vis-a-vis, work should not be seen as opposed to the traditional union objectives of achieving liberation in work. On the contrary, past experience has shown that workers become more demanding with regard to their working conditions and work relations when their work leaves them time and energy to have a personal life. Conversely, personal self-development requires that the nature and hours of work should not be damaging to the workers' physical and psychic faculties. The trade-union movement must, therefore, keep campaigning on two levels simultaneously, just as it did in the past: for the `humanization' and enrichment of work and for a reduction in working hours, without loss of income.

The traditional task of the trade unions is as relevant now as ever. For although the employers' ideology sets great store by the reskilling and personalizing ofjobs and the policy of giving workers greater responsibility, in practice this revaluation of labour only affects a small and privileged elite.

For large sectors of industrial and service workers it entails not only redundancies, but the deskilling and standardization of numerous previously skilled jobs and the introduction of a system of constant electronic monitoring of behaviour and productivity. Instead of being liberating, computerization often intensifies labour by eliminating `dead time' and forcing an increase in the pace of work.

Often accompanied by putting workers on short time or the introduction of flexi-time, this intensification of work masks, as if by design, the fact that the intensity of human effort is now just a secondary factor of increased productivity, the main factor being the savings in human labour due to the high technical performance of the equipment employed. This equipment could be used to ease the strain and monotony of work, as well as working hours. This fact makes the arbitrary and oppressive nature of the intensification of labour all the more acutely felt.

3.2.2. New forms of work, new responsibilities

In general, labour is tending to become a secondary force of production by comparison with the power, degree of automation and complexity of the equipment involved. Jobs in which the notion of individual effort and output still retain some meaning,in which the quantity or quality of the product depends on the workers' application to their task and in which their pride in producing something well-made is still a source of personal and social identity, are becoming increasingly rare.

In robotized factories and process industries in particular, work consists essentially in monitoring, (re)programming and, should the occasion arise, correcting and repairing the functioning of automatic systems. Workers in this situation are on duty rather than at work. Their work is by nature intermittent. It is as dematerialized and functional to the system whose smooth running it ensures as that of `functionaries' or civil servants and, as in the case of the latter, often requires the worker to respect procedures whose minutest details have been laid down in advance and which preclude all forms of initiative and creativity. The control the workers exercise over their `product' and over the purpose it serves is minimal. Traditional work values and the traditional work ethic thus seem destined to give way to an ethic of service and, possibly, of responsibility towards the community, in so far as one's professional consciousness can now only consist in identifying oneself with the value of the function one fulfils and no longer with the value of the product of one's labour.

It thus becomes essential to ask ourselves what purpose we serve by the function we fulfil at `work'. Professional consciousness must therefore extend to include an examination of the effects technological, economic and commercial decisions have on society and civilization, and the issues that are at stake. ThiI is especially necessary in the case of technical and scientific workers, whose associations and groups have been known publicly to question the moral and political aims, values and consequences of the programmes they are to implement.

This broadening of professional consciousness, this assumption of a reflexive and critical perspective on the implications of one's professional activities can obviously occur in associations and discussion groups, but should also be a central concern of the trade-union movement. In the absence of such developments, we run the risk of seeing the emergence of a technocratic caste which uses its expertise, or allows others to use it, to reinforce the domination of big business and the state over its citizens.

At a time when the economy has less and less need for everyone to be in full-time employment, the question of why we work and what our work consists in doing assumes prime importance. Asking this question is our only way of protecting ourselves from an ethic of `hard work for its own sake' and `producing for the sake of producing' which in the end lead towards an acceptance of the war economy and war itself.

3.2.3. The importance of non-economic aims and actions

The capitalist economy is no longer able to guarantee everyone a right to economically useful and remunerated work. Hence the right to work cannot be guaranteed for everyone unless, first, the number of hours everyone works in the economy is reduced and, second, the possibilities of working outside the economy, in tasks not performed for economic ends, are developed and opened up to all. The trade union in everyday life: cultural tasks.

As has been shown, we cannot all be guaranteed the possibility of working within the economy unless working hours are reduced to approximately 1,000 hours per year. Waged work cannot then continue to be the most important element in our lives. Unless people are to become passive consumers of amusements, who are fed on and manipulated by a deluge of programmes, messages and media games, they must be given the possibility of developing interests and autonomous activities, including productive activities. Their socialization, that is, their insertion into society and their sense of belonging to a culture, will derive more from these autonomous activities than from the work an employer or institution defines for them. (The same remarks would also apply, should society prefer to have a mass of reasonably well-compensated people out of work rather than reduce working hours). The labour movement should not forget here that its origins lie in working-class cultural associations. It will not be able to survive as a movement unless it takes an interest in people's self-realization outside their work as well as in it, and helps or participates in the creation of sites and spaces in which people are able to develop their ability to take responsibility for their own lives and self-manage their social relations: open universities, community schools and community centres; service-exchange co-operatives and mutual-aid groups; cooperative repair and self-production workshops; discussion, skills-transfer and art and craft groups, and so on.

These are not tasks to be undertaken at some time in the distant future but objectives which should be given urgent priority now, for two reasons.

- The tendency of large-scale enterprises to sub-contract the maximum amount of manufacturing and services out to tiny enterprises employing an unstable, fluctuating workforce, or even people working from home, means it is essential that trade unions should exist in towns and suburbs and that they should be open to all who live in them. They must attract this floating workforce and the population as a whole, independently of their ability to organize waged workers at their workplaces.
- More than at any other time, the influence of the trade-union movement depends on its ability to contend with the cultural industry and the entertainment or leisure moguls, so as to break the monopoly they are aiming to acquire over consciousness-formation and our conception of future society, life and its priorities. The trade-union movement's cultural task is really a political one, if we give `political' its original meaning of an activity relating to the organization, future and good of the `city'. Trade unionism as one movement among many The trade union movement should also not ignore the Struggles which have developed in the last fifteen years or so in areas outside work. These campaigns, which are extremely varied in nature, are all characterized by the aspiration of individuals and communities to regain existential sovereignty and the power to determine their own lives. These campaigns have a common target: the dictatorial rule industry and the bureaucracy exercise in alliance with professions whose aim it is to monopolize knowledge in areas as diverse as health, education, energy requirements, town planning, the model and level of consumption, and so on. In all these areas, single-issue movements - the `new social movements' - are attempting to defend our right to self determination from forms of mega-technology and scientism which lead to the concentration of decision-making power in the hands of a technocracy whose expertise generally serves to legitimate the economic and political powers-that-be.
These campaigns of resistance to the professionalization, technocratization and monetarization of our lives are specific forms of a wider, more fundamental struggle for emancipation. They contain a radical potential which has repercussions on workplace struggles and they mould the consciousness of a growing number of people. It is essential for the trade-union movement to be receptive to the aspirations contained within these movements and to adopt them as part of its struggle. It is equally essential that it should see itself as an integral part of a wider, many-sided movement of individual and social emancipation. The fact that the trade-union movement is - and will remain - the best-organized force in this broader movement confers on it a particular responsibility: on it will largely depend the success or failure of all the other elements in this social movement. According to whether the trade-union movement opposes them or whether it seeks a common alliance and a common course of action with them,these other elements will be part of the left or will break with it, will engage with it in collective action or will remain minorities tempted to resort to violence.

The attitude of the trade-union movement towards the other social movements and their objectives will also determine its own evolution. If it divorces itself from them, if it refuses to be part of a wider movement, if it sees its mission as being limited to the defence of waged workers as such, it will inevitably degenerate into a conservative, neo-corporatist force.

3.3. Working Less, Living Better

3.3.1. The field of autonomous activities

A progressive reduction in working time to 1,000 hours or less per year gives completely new dimensions to disposable time. Non-working time is no longer necessarily time for the rest, recuperation, amusement and consumption; it no longer serves to compensate for the strain, constraints and frustrations of working time. Free time is no longer merely the always insufficient `time left over' we have to make the most of while we can and which is never long enough for embarking on a project of any kind.

If the working week were reduced to under twenty-five or thirty hours, we could fill our disposable time with activities which have no economic objective and which enrich the life of both individual and group: cultural and aesthetic activities whose aim is to give and create pleasure and enhance and `cultivate' our immediate environment; assistance, caring and mutual-aid activities which create a network of social relations and forms of solidarity throughout the neighbourhood or locality; the development of friendships and affective relationships; educational and artistic activities; the repairing and production of objects and growing food for our own use, `for the pleasure' of making something ourselves, of preserving things we can cherish and hand down to our children; service-exchange cooperatives, and so on. In this way it will be possible for an appreciable proportion of the services currently provided by professionals, commercial enterprises or public institutions to be provided on a voluntary basis by individuals themselves, as members of grassroots communities, according to needs they themselves have defined. I shall return to this later.

These activities, taken as a whole, should not be viewed as an alternative economic sector which forms part of a 'dual economy'. These activities are characterized by an absence of economic rationality and have no place in the economic sphere. The act of performing them, is not the means to achieve an end, to achieve satisfaction. It produces that satisfaction itself; it is an end in itself. The time we devote, for example, to music, love, education, exchanging of ideas, to creative activities, to looking after the sick, is time for living, and cannot be bought or sold at any price. Extending this time for living and reducing the amount of time devoted to necessary tasks or work for economic ends has been one of humanity's constant aims.

3.3.2. From the self-management of time to the self-management of life

There is no reason why we should make this reduction of the amount of paid work a reduction in daily or weekly working hours. Computerization and the greater flexibility of decentralized units of production increase the scope for individual and/or collective self-management of work schedules. This is already happening in Quebec, where public employees are able to arrange their monthly quota of 140 hours as best suits them individually. Factories and administrative bodies have been reorganized so that employees are no longer obliged to put in a set number of hours per day, with work stations functioning independently of one another. Such possibilities for workers themselves to manage their own time should be mobilized against schemes which introduce flexi-time on the employers' terms.

One thousand hours per year could, for example, be divided into twenty per week, done in two and a half days, or ten days per month, or twenty-five weeks per year, or ten months spread out over two years - without any loss of real income of course (I shall return to this). Working hours could also be defined as the amount of work performed over a lifetime: for example, a person could do 20,000 to 30,000 hours over a lifetime, which would be completed within the fifty years of their potential active working life and guarantee them - throughout their lifetime - the full income which their 1,600 hours per year provides at the present time.

A form of self-management such as this which spans an entire lifetime presents a number of advantages and has been the subject of much debate in Sweden. By allowing people to work more or less during certain periods in their lives, this arrangement allows them to be ahead or behind in the amount of work they have to do per year; to interrupt their professional activity over a number of months or years without loss of income in order, for example, to learn a new trade, set up a business, bring up children, build a house, or undertake an artistic, scientific, humanitarian or co-operative project.

The possibility of alternating between waged work and autonomous activities, or doing the two simultaneously, should not be interpreted as a devaluation of waged work. Personal development through autonomous activities always has repercussions on one's professional work. It enriches it and makes it more fruitful. The notion that one must devote oneself and one's time entirely and exclusively to a single job if one is to succeed or be creative is erroneous. The creator and the pioneer are generally jacks-of-all-trades with extremely diverse and changing interests and occupations. Einstein's theory of relativity came to him during the free time he had while working full-time job in the patent office in Berne.

In general, innovation and creativity are the result not of continuous, regular work but of a period of spasmodic effort (for example, twenty hours or more at a stretch in computer programming; three hundred to five hundred hours a month, over a period of several months, to set up a business or perfect a new type of technology or piece of equipment), followed by periods of reading, thinking, pottering about, travelling and emotional and intellectual interaction.

Continual hard slog does not make work more creative or more efficient; it only serves the will to power of those who defend the rank and the position of strength their work affords them. It is rare for pioneers, creators or high-level researchers to be at work for more than 1,000 hours per year on average. Experience has shown that two people, sharing a single position of responsibility (for example, as a dean of a university, a personnel manager, a legal adviser, a municipal architect or a doctor) and doing two and a half days each, do the job better more efficiently than one person doing the same job full-time.

3.3.3 The democratization of areas of competence

A policy for the reduction of working time limited solely to unskilled jobs will not avoid the division and segmentation of society it is designed precisely to prevent. All it will do is displace the split. It will give rise on one side to professional elites who monopolize the positions of responsibility and power and on the other to a mass of powerless deskilled, peripheral workers on short time. If the maximum number of people are to have access to creative, responsible, skilled jobs, then it is just as essential for the amount of working hours to be reduced here as elsewhere. The current scarcity of jobs such as these can be explained less by a lack of talents and will to develop a career than by the fact that creative, responsible, skilled jobs are monopolized by professional elites intent on defending their corporate and class privileges and powers. Reducing the amount of time work takes up will enable these jobs to be `democratized' and allow a larger percentage of the working population to have access to them, since it will create scope for people to acquire new skills and to study regardless of age.


When the economy requires a decreasing amount of labour and distributes less and less in the way of wages for an increasing volume of production, `the purchasing power of the population and their right to an income can no longer be made to depend on the amount of labour they supply. The purchasing power distributed must increase despite the reduction in the amount of labour required. The level of real income distributed and the quantity of labour supplied must become independent of each other, otherwise he demand for production will be insufficient and economic depression will deepen. The key question for all the industrial nations is not the principle of uncoupling the level a- income from the amount of labour the economy requires, but the way in which to implement this dissociation. Three formulas can be envisaged.

4.1. The Social-Democratic Logic

The creation of jobs outside the economy proper is often advocated, especially by the left, on the grounds that `There is no shortage of work, since there is virtually no limit to the needs we have to satisfy.' The question remains, however, as to whether these needs will be best satisfied through the waged labour of people employed to that end. Two categories of inherently non-commercializable needs can be distinguished.

- The first group relates to the environment on which our quality of life depends, and includes our need for space, clean air, silence and styles of architecture and urban planning which make it easy for us to meet and interact. These needs cannot be expressed on the market in terms of effective individual `demand' giving rise to a corresponding supply. The resources to which these needs relate cannot in fact be produced and sold, whatever the price offered for them. These needs will be satisfied not by working and producing more but by working and producing differently. To this end, a policy of selective public incentives and subsidies is required so as to express a collective level of demand which would make it possible to furnish the corresponding supply (especially in the case of re-afforestation, pollution control, energy conservation, urban development or the prevention of illnesses, for example). This will create a limited number of jobs. But part of the jobs thus created will be lost elsewhere because the consumption of energy, medical services and pharmaceutical products will diminish, as will the demand for goods and services, since jobs created by public demand are financed from public, fiscal resources drawn from the economy.
- The second category of non-economic needs which cannot be expressed in cash terms concerns helping and caring activities (for the aged, the disturbed, children, the sick, and so on). Industrialization has resulted in a shortage of time and autonomy, and its growth has been based on compensating for this by turning activities which were traditionally part of the private, family or community sphere into professional, commercialized ones. This has resulted in the impoverishment and depersonalization of human relations, the disintegration of grassroots communities and the standardization and technicization of caring and helping services - all things which the new social movements' are reacting against at different levels. We must consequently ask ourselves to what extent our need for the care and help provided for by these services, whether public or private, is generated by our lack of time; to what extent, therefore, that need would not be better met if we increased the time we had available rather than employing people to take care of our children, ageing parents, mixed-up adolescents and distressed friends in our stead. A reduction in working hours without loss of income could allow the repatriation to grassroots communities, through voluntary cooperation and mutual aid on the level of the neighbourhocd or block, of a growing number of services which will better satisfy our needs, and be better adapted to them, if we provide them for ourselves than they are when professionals are paid to administer them according to norms and procedures laid down by the state. It is not a question of dismantling the welfare state but of relieving it, as the amount of work we do for economic ends diminishes, of certain tasks which, apart from being expensive, also bring the tutelag'e of the state to bear on the beneficiaries.

4.2. The Liberal Logic
The second formula for uncoupling the level of income from the amount of labour supplied is the institution of a `social minimum' or `social income' unconditionally guaranteed to all citizens. This formula has its supporters on the left as well as on the Right. In general, its objective is to protect an increasing mass of unemployed people from extreme forms of poverty. In the most generous variants of this scheme, the social income guaranteed to all citizens is to be fixed above the poverty line.

The neo-liberal variant, however, fixes the guaranteed social income at or below subsistence level, with the result that the recipients are practically forced to earn a top-up income by doing `odd jobs', which will not prevent them receiving the guaranteed minimum income as long as their earned income does not exceed a certain amount. In this conception of the scheme, the guaranteed minimum is to allow the price of labour to change in keeping with the laws of supply and demand and, if necessary, to fall below subsistence level.

In all of the above cases,the guaranteed social income is essentially an unemployment allowance adapted to a situation in which a high percentage of the unemployed have never worked and have little chance of finding a regular paid job. It amounts to a form of social assistance provided by the state, which neither stems the tide of unemployment nor arrests the division of society into a class of active workers in full-time employment on the one hand and a marginalized mass of the unemployed and semi-employed on the other.

4.3. The Trade-Union Logic

The third formula for making the level of income independent of the amount of labour supplied is the reduction of working hours without loss of income. This proposal reconciles the right of everyone to have a paid job and the possibility for everyone to have a greater degree of existential autonomy and for individuals to exercise more control over their private, family and community lives. This proposal is most closely in keeping with the trade-union tradition. While the demand for a guaranteed social income is a social policy demand addressed to the state, and one which trade unions can neither carry through by direct mass action nor implement themselves through workers' control, the demand for a reduction in the working week to thirty-two, twenty-eight, twenty-four or twenty hours, without loss of real income, can be campaigned for through collective action and, more importantly, can create solidarity between workers, the unemployed and those people - a significant number of whom are women and young people - who wish their jobs to fit into their personal lives instead of requiring the sacrifice of the latter.

Contrary to the social income, which is a more or less inadequate compensation for social and economic exclusion, a reduction in working hours meets three basic requisites of justice:

- the savings in labour which technological development has created must benefit everyone;
- everyone must be able to work less so that everyone can work;
- the decrease in working hours must not entail a decrease in real income, since more wealth is being created by less labour.
These are not new aims. There is no shortage of collective agreements, and sectoral or company agreements which have, in the past, made provision for a progressive reduction in working hours accompanied by guarantees of purchasing power and a stabilization, if not indeed an increase, in the size of the workforce.
What is new is the fact that the technological revolution is now affecting all fields of activity and bringing about highly differentiated savings in labour. This will continue over a long period. Trade-union action is indispensable if we are to achieve reductions in working hours which correspond to the predictable rise in productivity: indispensable, in particular, if the reductions in working hours are to lead to employees being able to self-manage their time and not merely to more flexible-time on the employers' terms. But trade-union activity is not enough to effect a planned reduction in working hours by stages across the whole of society. This calls for specific policies which very much concern the trade-union movement but which cannot be conducted and implemented by it. These specific policies must focus on four areas: forecasting and programming; employment; training; and financing.

4.4. Complementary Policies

4.4.1. Productivity contracts

Increases in productivity are neither unpredictable nor unforeseen. Enterprises, industrial sectors and administrative bodies generally plan investment programmes spanning several years which are intended to produce predictable productivity gains. Social control over the technological revolution consists in translating these productivity forecasts into for example, company, sectoral or public-service contracts, which can serve as a framework for ongoing negotiations e necessary adjustments and means of implementation.

4.4.2. Employment policy

Increases in available productivity are obviously not the same in all companies, sectors and institutions. Social control over the technological revolution consists in avoiding a situation in which there are redundancies and a surplus of labour power in some sectors of the economy, while there is plenty of overtime and a shortage of labour in others.

It thus becomes essential for labour to be transferred from enterprises and industrial sectors in which there is rapid growth in available productivity to those where there is little or no growth. Such transfers are the condition for an approximately equal reduction in working hours for everyone, proportionate to the average growth in productivity of the economy as a whole, in conditions as close as possible to full employment. An employment policy which offers incentives for professional mobility is therefore necessary. This evidently presupposes the possibility of learning or relearning a trade at any age, without loss of income.

4.4.3. Educational reform

Current training methods are often inappropriate and not particularly stimulating. There is an urgent need at all levels of the education system for a reform which will focus on the individual's ability to learn by her or himself, on the acquisition of a range of related skills which will enable individuals to become polyvalent and develop their capacity to carry out a range of occupations. Schools also need to reverse their priorities: instead of giving priority to training `human computers' whose memory capacity, abilities of analysis and calculation and so on, are surpassed and largely made redundant by electronic computers, they need to give priority to developing irreplaceable human capabilities such as manual, artistic, emotional, relational and moral capabilities, and the ability to ask unforeseen questions, to search for a meaning, to reject non-sense even when it is logically coherent.

4.4.4. Fiscal reform

From the point where it takes only 1,000 hours per year or 20,000 to 30,000 hours per lifetime to create an amount of wealth equal to or greater than the amount we create at the present time in 1,600 hours per year or 40,000 to 50,000 hours in a working life, we must all be able to obtain a real income equal to or higher than our current salaries in exchange for a greatly reduced quantity of work. In practice, this means that in the future we must receive our full monthly income every month even if we work full-time only one month in every two or six months in a year or even two years out of four, so as to complete a personal, family or community project, or experiment with different lifestyles, just as we now receive our full salaries during paid holidays, training courses, possibly during periods of sabbatical leave, and so forth.

In contrast to the guaranteed social minimum granted by the state to those unable to find regular paid work, our regular monthly income will be the normal remuneration we have earned by performing the normal amount of labour the economy requires each individual to supply. The fact that the amount of labour required is so low that work can become intermittent and constitute an activity amongst a number of others, should not be an obstacle to its being remunerated by a full monthly income throughout one's life. This income corresponds to the portion of socially produced wealth to which each individual is entitled by virtue to their participation in the social process of production. It is, however, no longer a true salary, since it is not dependent on the amount of labour supplied (in the month or year) and is not intended to remunerate individuals as workers. It is therefore practically impossible for this income to be paid and guaranteed by economic units or enterprises, either in the form of increases in salary per hour of work or through contributions paid into a social fund. In both cases, the reduction by half of working hours, without loss of real income, would raise the hourly cost of labour to double the present level.

Leaving aside problems of competitiveness, the result would be a prohibitive rise in the relative price of highly labour-intensive services and forms of production such as building, agriculture, maintenance and repair work, and cultural and educational activities. This difficulty could be overcome by implementing the following solution: enterprises would only pay for the hours of work completed, on a negotiated wage-scale, which would thus ensure that the real costs of production were known. The loss of salary resulting from a reduction in working hours would be compensated from a guarantee fund which would pay for the working hours saved due to advances in technology, at the rate set for hours of work actually completed. This guarantee fund would be paid for out of a tax on automated production, comparable to VAT or the duty on alcohol, cigarettes, fuel or cars, for example. The rate of taxation of products would rise as their production costs decreased. The less socially desirable or useful that production, the higher this tax would be. As these taxes would be deductible from export costs, competitiveness would not be affected. The real income individuals receive would be made up of a direct salary and a social income which, in non-working periods in particular, would itself be sufficient to guarantee their normal standard of living.

The implementation of a system of political prices, reflecting the choices society has made, and the creation of a social income indepen ent of the amount of labour supplied, will in any case become necessary as the cost of bour in increasingly widespread robotized production is reduced to a negligible amount. The value of salaries distributed and the price of automated forms of production can o y be prevented from falling through the floor by a price-and-incomes policy by means f which society can assert its priorities and give direction and meaning to the advance of technology. Nevertheless, there is nothing to guarantee that society will choose the emancipation and autonomy of individuals as its priority or its intended direction, rather than seeking to dominate and exert even greater control over them. What direction the present social changes will take is still an open question; it is today and wil, for the foreseeable future remain, the central issue in social conflicts and the key question for social movements.


I have attempted to identify the meaning history could have, and to show what humanity and the trade-union movement could derive from the technological revolution we are witnessing at present. I have tried to indicate the direction in which we should advance, the policies we should follow if we are to bring this about. Events could nevertheless take a course which would miss the possible meaning of the current technological revolution. If this happens, I can see no other meaning in that revolution: our societies will continue to disintegrate, to become segmented, to sink into violence, injustice and fear


Andre Gorz

I see Civil Servants of the highest level crafting the social system of the future in what has happened since we first saw this advanced robotic and computerised manufacturing in the 1970's. This future has all been thought out for us in the words above we can see what has been planned.

According to a study by Wolfgang Lecher, of the WSI (the Institute of Economic and Social Research of the DGB), the continuation of the present trend would lead, within the next ten years or so, to the following segmentation of the active population:
- 25 per cent will be skilled workers with permanent jobs in large firms protected by collective wage agreements;
- 25 per cent will be peripheral workers with insecure, unskilled and badly-paid jobs, whose work schedules vary according to the wishes of their employers and the fluctuations in the market;
- 50 per cent will be semi-unemployed, unemployed, marginalized workers, doing occasional or seasonal work and `odd jobs'. Already 51 per cent of the active population in France aged between 18 and 24 fit into this category (26 per cent unemployed, 25 per cent doing `odd jobs'); and the percentage is even higher in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and (especially) Britain.

The Bell Shaped IQ curve neccesitates the above break down of the workforce. Reduction in population will result in a reduction of the High IQ, "prized", Workers. In the face of a 300 million strong university educated middle class in India (and 700 millions of incredibly poor lower classes) a reduction in population will just reduce the number of intelligent people available to the country.

All organs of Government are at work manipulating expectations and work myth concepts and war to get the minimum earnings acceptable to the poor.

29 Jul 2010, 10:36PM
This government has cut housing benefit for the long term unemployed because, as everyone knows, they are lazy workshy feckless bastards.

According to some figures up to 94% of those receiving disability benefits are being moved on to JSA.

Up to 600,000 public sector workers plus an unkown number of knock-on redundncies in the private sector are expected. The spending review here in scotland identified around 50,000 job cuts.

And this government in its fucking wisdom is now removing the compulsory retirement wage.

Can anyone, anyone at all I don't care if they are a Tory or a Lib Dem, can anyone at all tell me


Yet I would like to offer a new vision of the future. And it is here that all humanity and all the Unions can put their weight behind evolution for all humanity.

A key is the amount of benefit, unearned wages, which would be acceptable to the majority out of work. In order to stop revolution and manage the population a contract must be worked out between the elite and the benefit scroungers. Here an organisation, like a Union could benefit the majority.

Unearned wages, a basic income, could be given in the face of such a lack of work accorded by right of being born. Like a Family giving pocket money, housing and education to its children, so the country could give such patrimony, such a share in the country company which produces earnings to satisfy the needs of the poor on a yearly basis.

There is the analysis that because of productivity improvements in manufacturing that no work should be available. However it simply means that House machines - fridges, heating, air conditioning, TV are cheaper for everyone and these are now produced in China.

This largesse can only come through an increase in the Real Physical Economy - not the gambling Funny Money of Wall Street. This increase can only come through cheap plentiful energy and investment in infrastructure producing Cheap food through NAWAPA and the nuclear desalination of water, fourth generation nuclear electrical energy can be provided, almost free for 5000 years with the uranium already mined. Housing - concrete is priced on the cost of energy. Free education and entertainment mean a possible good life for all humanity without the need for "work". Channeling the passion of humanity in good directions will benefit all humanity.



- A Game Worth Playing

THIS ARTICLE IS CONCERNED with games and aims.

 It has been stated by Thomas Szasz that what people really need and demand from life is not wealth, comfort or esteem but games worth playing.1 He who cannot find a game worth playing is apt to fall prey to accidie, defined by the Fathers of the Church as one of the Deadly Sins, but now regarded as a symptom of sickness. Accidie is a paralysis of the will, a failure of the appetite, a condition of generalized boredom, total disenchantment—"God, oh God, how weary, stale, flat and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!" Such a state of mind, Szasz tells us, is a prelude to what is loosely called "mental illness," which, though Szasz defines this illness as a myth, nevertheless fills half the beds in hospitals and makes multitudes of people a burden to themselves and to society.

Seek, above all, for a game worth playing. Such is the advice of the oracle to modern man. Having found the game, play it with intensity—play as if your life and sanity depended on it. ( They do depend on it. ) Follow the example of the French existentialists and flourish a banner bearing the word "engagement." Though nothing means anything and all roads are marked "No EXIT," yet seem to offer a game worth playing, then invent one.2 For it must move as if your movements had some purpose. If life does not be clear, even to the most clouded intelligence, that any game is better than no game.

What sort of games does life offer? We can study Stephen Potter for tips on "gamesmanship." We can ( and should) read Eric Berne on Games People Play.3 If we have mathematical inclinations we can look into the work of John von Neumann or Norbert Wiener, who devoted some of their best thinking to the elaboration of a theory of games.4

From the Hindu scriptures we can learn of the cosmic game, the alternation of lila and nitya, the Dance of Shiva, in which primordial unity is transformed into multiplicity through the constant interplay of the three faunas. In the works of the mystic novelist, Hermann Hesse, we can read of the Magic Theater in which all life games are possible or of the game of games (Glassperlenspiel) in which all elements of human experience are brought together in a single synthesis."

What is a game? An interaction between people involving ulterior motives? Berne uses the word in this sense in Games People Play. But a game involves more than this. It is essentially a trial of strength or a trial of wits played within a matrix which is defined by rules."' Rules are essential. If the rules are not observed, the game ceases to be a game at all. A meaningful game of chess would be impossible if one player insisted on treating all pawns as queens.

Life games reflect real life aims. And the games men choose to play indicate not only their type, but also their level of inner development. Following Thomas Szasz ( more or less) we can divide life games into object games and meta-games. Object games can be thought of as games played for the attainment of material things, primarily money and the objects which money can buy. Meta-games are played for intangibles such as knowledge or the "salvation of the soul." In our culture object games predominate. In earlier cultures meta-games predominated. To the players of meta games, object games have always seemed shallow and futile, an attitude summarized in the Gospel saying: "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" To the players of object games, meta-games seem fuzzy and ill-defined, involving nebulous concepts like beauty, truth or salvation. The whole human population of the earth can be divided roughly into two groups, meta-game players and object-game players, the Prosperos and the Calibans.8 The Ascenders and the Descenders The two have never understood one another and it is safe to predict that they never will. They are, psychologically speaking, different species of man and their conflicts throughout the ages have added greatly to the sum of human misery.


Life Games

ALL games have an important and probably decisive influence on the destinies of the players under ordinary social conditions; but some offer more opportunities than others for lifelong careers and are more likely to involve relatively innocent bystanders. This group may be conveniently called Life Games Which we work on in Energy Enhancement Level 3. It includes "
Addict," "Defaulter," "Kick Me," "Now I've Got You, You Son of a Bitch," "See What You Made Me Do" and their principal variants. They merge on the one side with marital games, and on the other with those of the underworld. All these games are Implant Blockage created Distractions which are a total waste of time, only removable by Energy Enhancement meditation Based techniques.

Their use is promoted by Hollywood Advertising (Psychopathic Killing as an advertisement for people to join the Army) Bollywood Advertising (Dancing and sweet love to get you to enter into the Householder Game and create a massive Population so that a massive army can be generated) and childish novels as attention distracters from the Master Game.

Life games are a big subject to do with purpose, one of the energies of the Will, of the Avatar of Synthesis.

What is your purpose, your mission in this lifetime?

What is distracting you from your purpose?

Table I.







The big celebration, the wedding or housewarming, takes place not when the debt is discharged, but when it is undertaken.

What is emphasized on TV, for example, is not the middle-aged man who has finally paid off his mortgage, but the young man who moves into his new home with his family, proudly waving the papers he has just signed and which will bind him for most of his productive years.

After he has paid his debts—the mortgage, the college expenses for his children and his insurance—he is regarded as a problem, a "senior citizen" for whom society must provide not only material comforts but a new "purpose."

This is the life of Nothing. You come into this world with Nothing; make some money, pay the bills for the hospital and you leave with Nothing!!

As this is written, a sow bug crawls across a desk. If he is turned over on his back, one can observe the tremendous struggle he goes through to get on his feet again. During this interval he has a "purpose" in his life.

When he succeeds, one can almost see the look of victory on his face. Off he goes, and one can imagine him telling his tale at the next meeting of sow bugs, looked up to by the younger generation as an insect who has made it.

And yet mixed with his smugness is a little disappointment. Now that he has come out on top, life seems aimless. Maybe he will return in the hope of repeating his triumph. It might be worth marking his back with ink, so as to recognize him if he risks it. A courageous animal, the sow bug. No wonder he has survived for millions of years.

This is the Existential Position of Eric Berne which is true of any game except the Master Game of Illumination.

All games are played according to rules. In man-made games such as poker the rules are imposed by the laws of probability (odds against a straight are 254 to 1, against a flush, 508 to 1.) or they are dependent on special limitations (pawns and other pieces in chess each having its own move). In life games, rules are imposed by natural, economic or social conditions. The player must both remember the aim and know the rules. Apart from this, the quality of his game depends on his own innate characteristics.

Great chess masters are born, not made. Great football players are bound to have certain physical characteristics. The game a man can play is determined by his type ( of which more later). Ho who tries to play a game for which his type does not fit him violates his Own essence with consequences that are often disastrous.

The Low Games
The main types of life games are shown in Table I.

 Hog in Trough is an object game pure and simple. The aim is to get one's nose in the trough as deeply as possible, guzzle as much as possible, el¬bow the other hogs aside as forcefully as possible. A strong Hog in Trough player has all the qualities with which communist propa¬ganda endows the capitalist, insatiable greed, ruthlessness, cun¬ning, selfishness. Pure Hog in Trough is not considered entirely respeetahly iii the contemporary U.S.A. and is generally played today with a certain moderation that would have seemed sissy to the giants oi the game who savagely exploited the resources of the continent a century or so ago. Although the 4 trillions of dollars stolen out of the system by the latest 2008 housing bubble and by the yearly bubbles for 200 years - The rules of the game have become more complex and the game itself more subtle.

Cock on Dunghill is played for fame. It is designed primarily to inflate the false ego and to keep it inflated. Players of Cock on Dunghill are hungry to be known and talked about. They want, in a word, to be celebrities, whether or not they have anything worth celebrating. The game is practically forced upon people in some professions ( actors, politicians), who are compelled to maintain a "public image" which may have no relationship to the thing they really are. But the real player of Cock on Dunghill, whose happiness depends entirely on the frequency with which he (or she) sees his name in the papers, does not much care about public images. For him any publicity is better than no publicity. He would rather be well known as a scoundrel than not known at all.

The Moloch Game is the deadliest of all games, played for "glory" or for "victory," by various grades of professional mankillers (trained to regard such killing as creditable provided those they kill favor a different religion or political system and can thus be collectively referred to as "the enemy." "They were all bad" - Big Arnie. These people are created for a purpose and that purpose is the creation of poverty, low intellect - dumming down, in order to kill off the intellectual elite every few years - the cull, and control humanity for thousands of years. Moloch Game is a purely human game. Other mammals, though they fight with members of their own species, observe a certain decent moderation and rarely fight to the death.9 But the players of the Moloch Game have no moderation. Lured on by some glittering dream of glory or power, they kill with boundless enthusiasm, destroying whole cities, devastating entire countries. The game is played so passionately and with such abandon that nothing, neither pity, decency, sympathy or even common sense, is allowed to interfere with the destructive orgy. As the devotees of the god Moloch sacrificed their children to the idol, so the players of the Moloch Game sacrifice the lives of thousands of young males in the name of some glittering abstraction ( formerly "glory," now more generally "de¬fence") or a silly phrase couched in a dead language: "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori." - It is good and beautiful to die for ones country. 1

Some of the war poets (World War I vintage) had bitter things to say about this phrase:
"If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori."
(Wilfred Owen, Poems [New York: The Viking Press, 1931].)

But so great is the power wielded by the players of this game, exerted through various forms of coercion and blackmail, that the thousands of young men involved make little protest. They "go to their graves like beds," not daring to expose the emptiness of the glittering words on which the Moloch Game is based.

These three games, Hog in Trough, Cock on Dunghill and the Moloch Game, are all more or less pathological activities. The players who "win" win nothing that they can truly call their own. "Hog in Trough" may emerge twice as rich as Croesus only to find himself embittered, empty and unhappy, at a loss to know what to do with the wealth he has amassed.

"Cock on Dunghill" may make himself so famous that everyone knows his name only to realize that this fame of his is a mere shadow and a source of inconvenience.

Players of the Moloch Game may wade in blood up to the ears only to find that the victory or glory for which they sacrificed a million lives are empty words, like richly bedizened whores who lure men to their destruction. There is a criminal ele¬ment in all these games because, in every instance, they do harm both to the player and to the society of which he forms a part. So warped, however, are the standards by which men measure crimi¬nality that players of these games are more apt to be regarded as "pillars of society" than dangerous lunatics who should be exiled to remote islands where they can do no harm to themselves or Others.

Between the higher and the lower games is the neutral game, the Householder Game, the aim of which is simply to raise a family and provide it with the necessities of life. One cannot call it either a meta-game or an object game. It is the basic biological game on which the continuation of the human race depends. It is also possible to find, in every human society, a certain number of nonplayers, people who, due to some constitutional defect, are unable to find any game worth playing, who are, as a result, chronic outsiders, who feel alienated from society and generally become mentally deranged, tend to become antisocial and criminal

The High Games
The Meta-Games are rarely played in their pure form but are perverted in order to maintain dumming down. Money and wealth depend upon human invention to maintain the increase in human population, interaction, culture, genius and joy in life. Without this genius, humanity is set in the pattern of poverty seen on this planet for the last 100,000 years.

The Art Game is directed toward the expression of an inner awareness defined as beauty. The awareness is purely subjective. One mans beauty be another man's horror. The beautiful of one age can seem ugly to another. But bad players of the art game have no inner awareness all. They are technically proficient and imitate those who ha yg awareness, conforming to the fashion whatever that fashion may he. The whole Art Game, as played today, is heavily taintede with commercialism, the greed of the collector pervades it like a bad smell

It is further complicated by the tendency to show off that afflicts all contemporary artists, whether they be painters, sculptors, writers or composers. As all traditional concepts of the beautiful have been abandoned, anything goes, just so long, as it is new and startling. This makes it almost impossible to tell whether a work of art corresponds to some inner awareness of the artist or merely shows that he was trying to be clever 11

The Science Game is also rarely played in its pure form. Much of it is mere jugglery, a tiresome ringing of changes on a few basic
themes by investigators who are little more than technicians with higher degrees.

The Science Game has become so complex, so vast and so expensive that more or less routine enterprises are given preference.

Anything truly original tends to be excluded by that formidable array of committees that stands between the scientist and the money he needs for research. He must either tailor his research plans to fit the preconceived ideas of the committee or find himself without funds. Moreover, in the Science Game as in the Art Game there is much insincerity and a frenzied quest for status that sparks endless puerile arguments over priority of publication. The game is played not so much for knowledge as to bolster the scientist's ego.

To the Art Game and the Science Game we must add the Religion Game, a meta-game played for an aim loosely defined as the attainment of salvation. The Religion Game, as played in the past, had a fairly well-defined set of rules. It was essentially a game played by paid priests of one sort or another for their personal benefit. To compel their fellowmen to play the game, the priests invented various gods, with whom they alone could communicate, whose wrath they alone could assuage, whose cooperation they alone could enlist. He who wanted help from the gods or who wished to avert their wrath had to pay the priests to obtain his ends. The game was further enlivened, and the hold of the priests on the minds of their victims further strengthened, by the inven¬tion of two after-death states, a blissful heaven and a terrible hell. To stay out of the hell and get into the heaven, the player of the Religion Game had to pay the priests, or his relatives had to pay them after his death. This "pay the priest" aspect of the Religion Game has caused several cynics to define it as the world's oldest confidence trick designed to enable certain unscrupulous individuals to make a profit out of the credulity and suggestibility of their fellow men by interceding on their behalf with some nebulous god or ensuring their entry into an equally nebulous heaven. It was this aspect of the Religion Game that caused Sigmund Freud to ex¬claim, more in sorrow than anger: "The whole thing is so patently infantile, so incongruous with reality, that for one whose attitude to y is friendly it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life." 12

A hideous aspect of the Religion Game resulted from the insistence by certain priests that their brand of god was the only god, that their form of the game was the only permissible form. So eager were these priests to keep the game entirely in their own hands that they did not hesitate to persecute, torture or kill any who happened to wish to play the game by other rules.

This practice was started by the Jews, whose enthusiasm for their one and only and very jealous father-god justified those slaughterings the accounts of which constitute so much of the bulk of the Old Testament. As well has how to create an altar of sacrifice, how big, where to put the holes for the blood to run out of.

The Policy of the "Long War" is that of economic destruction to keep humanity at the level of the beast. In Current lexicon, "To bomb them back into the Stone Age" in order to maintain the control of humanity exerted for thousands of years. "It is not enough that I succeed, everyone else must fail" - Gengis Khan, who was paid in Machiavelian manner by the Catholic Popes to attack Islam from behind. The wars of Napolean and the First and Second World wars to destroy the economic capacity of Europe. Also Iraq, Iran, Afganistan. The practice was eagerly adopted by the elite of the so-called Christians, who, not satisfied with slaughtering Moslems and Jews, turned like rabid dogs on one another in a series of ghastly religious wars, Protestant versus Catholic. The Moslems, who borrowed the rules of their Religion Game from Jews and Christians alike, did not fail to copy the bad habits of both. Believers were exhorted in the Koran to wage war on the infidel, the slaughter of unbelievers being defined as one sure way of gaining entry into the Moslem heaven ( a much lusher paradise than the rather insipid affair offered by their priests to conforming Christians).

It would simplify our account of the games if we could offer the above description of the Religion Game without further comment. Unfortunately, this is impossible. Simply to define the Religion Game as the world's oldest con game is as "patently infantile" ( to borrow Freud's words) as it is to take seriously the anthropomorphic father-god floating in his bed sheet somewhere in the stratosphere surrounded by cherubs and seraphs and other improbable species of celestial fauna (the "gaseous vertebrate" so derided by Ernst Haeckel).

For it must be obvious to any fair-minded observer that there is another element in the Religion Game besides that of playing on the credulity of believers and selling them entry permits into a phoney heaven. All the great religions offer examples of saints and mystics who obviously did not play the game for material gain, whose indifference to personal comfort, to wealth and to fame was so complete as to arouse our wonder and admiration. It is equally obvious from the writings and sayings of these mystics that they were not so naive as to take seriously either the gaseous vertebrate or heaven with its golden harps or hell with its ovens. Obviously they played the game by entirely different rules and for entirely different aims from those of the priestly con men, who sold trips to heaven for hard cash and insisted on payment in advance (no refund if not fully satisfied, either).

What game did these mystics play? Within the matrix imposed by their religion, these players were attempting the most difficult game of all, the Master Game, the aim of which is the attainment of full consciousness or real awakening. It was natural for these players to play their game within a religious matrix. The basic idea underlying all the great religions is that man is asleep, that he lives amid dreams and delusions, that he cuts himself off from the universal consciousness (the only meaningful definition of God) to crawl into the narrow shell of a personal ego. To emerge from this narrow shell, to regain union with the universal consciousness, to pass from the darkness of the ego-centered illusion into the light of the non-ego, this was the real aim of the Religion Game as defined by the great teachers, Jesus, Gautama, Krishna, Mahavira, Lao-tze and the Platonic Socrates.

Among the Moslems this teaching was promulgated by the Sufis, who praised in their poems the delights of reunion with the Friend. To all these players, it was obvious that the Religion Game as played by the paid priests, with its shabby confidence tricks, promises, threats, persecutions and killings, was merely a hideous travesty of the real game, a terrible confirmation of the truth of the statement: "This people praise me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. . . They have eyes but see not, ears and hear not, neither do they understand."

So little did they understand that, at least within the matrix of the "Christian" religion, it actually became physically dangerous during several centuries to try to play the Master Game at all. Serious players found themselves accused of heresy, imprisoned by the Inquisitors, tortured, burned alive. It became impossible to play the game openly. To survive at all, one had to adopt a disguise, pretend that one's real interest was alchemy or magic, both of which were permitted by the priests, who did not understand the real significance of either.

Alchemy was particularly safe as its stated aim, the transmutation of base metals into gold, posed no challenge whatever to the authority of the priests. Therefore it was behind the mask of alchemy that many players of the Master Game concealed their real aims, formulating the rules of the game in an elaborate secret code in which the transmutations of substances within the body were expressed in terms of mercury, sulfur, salt and other ele¬ments. There were, of course, numerous alchemists who took the whole science at its face value, who believed that the Great Work referred to the production of metallic gold, who impoverished and frequently poisoned themselves in the quest for the great secret, and incidentally laid the foundations of modern chemistry. But for the serious alchemist the transmutation involved the formation of the pure spiritual golden aura - Aurum Non Vulgi - Not Fool's Gold, or the genesis of the homunculus, both of which symbolized the creation of fully conscious, cosmically oriented man out of the ego-centered puppet that goes by the name of man but is really only a pathetic caricature of what man could be. So well did the alchemists conceal their secrets that it took all the intuitive genius of Carl Gustav Jung (perhaps the leading authority on the subject) a large part of his life to unravel this mystery.13

Today no danger is involved in playing or attempting to play the Master Game. The tyranny of the priests has more or less ended. The Religion Game, though often as much of a con game as ever, is played without threats of torture and death. A good deal of the old venom has gone out of the game; in fact, it is even possible for priests who wear round their necks the label "Catholic" to be moderately polite to those who wear the once hated label "Protestant." So the game is now played with a certain amount of restraint not because men have become more tolerant, but because the whole issue of heaven versus hell, salvation versus damnation, is no longer taken very seriously. Even the theologians admit that the old father-god ( Haeckel's "gaseous vertebrate") is dead as far as anyone above the Jehovah's Witness level is concerned. The fight today is between rival political systems rather than rival theologies.

But although it is safe to play the Master Game, this has not served to make it popular. It still remains the most demanding and difficult of games and, in our society, there are few who play.

Contemporary man, hypnotized by the glitter of his own gadgets, has little contact with his inner world, concerns himself with outer, not inner space. But the Master Game is played entirely in the inner world, a vast and complex territory about which men know very little. The aim of the game is true awakening, full development of the powers latent in man.

The game can be played only by people whose observations of themselves and others have led them to a certain conclusion, namely, that man's ordinary state of consciousness, his so-called waking state, is not the highest level of consciousness of which he is capable. In fact, this state is so far from real awakening that it could appropriately be called a form of somnambulism, a condition of "waking sleep." 14

Once a person has reached this conclusion, he is no longer able to sleep comfortably. A new appetite develops within him, the hunger for real awakening, for full consciousness. He realizes that he sees, hears, knows only a tiny fraction of what he could see, hear and know, that he lives in the poorest, shabbiest of the rooms in his inner dwelling, but that he could enter other rooms, beauti¬ful and filled with treasures, the windows of which look out on eternity and infinity. In these rooms he would transcend his petty personal self and undergo spiritual rebirth, "the rising from the tomb" which is the theme of so many myths and the basis of all the mystery religions, including Christianity.

He who arrives at this conclusion is ready to play the Master Game. But though he may be ready, he does not necessarily know how to play. He cannot draw upon instinctive knowledge, for na¬ture has not endowed men with such instincts. She provides for man's development up to the age of puberty, she endows him with the instinct to propagate his kind, but after this she leaves him to his own devices. Far from helping man to develop further into the harmonious and enlightened being he might become, the blind force of evolution has actually put obstacles in his way.15

One who would play the Master Game is therefore compelled to seek a teacher, a skilled player who knows the rules. But where will he find such a teacher? A materialistic, spiritually impoverished culture can offer no instructions to the aspirant. The huge, highly specialized training centers that call themselves universities are obviously lacking in universality. They do not put the emphasis on expansion of consciousness first and acquisition of specialized knowledge second. They educate only a small part of man's totality. They cram the intellectual brain with facts, pay some lip service to the education of the physical body by encouraging idiotic competitive sports. But true education, in the sense of expansion of consciousness and the harmonious development of man's latent powers, they do not offer.

Here it is sufficient to say that the Master Game can never be made easy to play. It demands all that a man has, all his feelings, all his thoughts, his entire resources, physical and spiritual. If he tries to play it in a halfhearted way or tries to get results by unlawful means, he runs the risk of destroying his own potential. For this reason it is better not to embark on the game at all than to play it halfheartedly.

Energy Enhancement
The present site offers a synthesis of many methods derived from different sources, all of which are designed to help the practitioner to emerge from the darkness of waking sleep into the light of full consciousness. Purely for convenience, these methods are referred to collectively as Energy Enhancement, Enhancement because they bring about a higher synthesis, a new level of order within the psyche. Energy Enhancement is based on the idea that man can create by his own efforts a new being within himself ( the second birth). As a result, he can enjoy certain experiences, exercise certain powers, attain certain insights that are quite inconceivable to man in his once-born state.

Energy Enhancement involves the highest form of creativity of which man is capable, the creation of a truly inner-directed being out of a helpless other-directed slave. This creative work involves every aspect of man's behavior, the instinctive, motor, emotional and intellectual. It involves an understanding of the chemistry of the body and of the mind. It involves a study of type and all that pertains to type, the strengths and weaknesses that type imposes.

It involves a study of creative activity, arts, crafts, techniques of various kinds and of the effects these activities produce on levels of consciousness. It involves a study of events on the large scale and on the small, an awareness of the processes taking place in human and nonhuman communities that affect the individual adversely or otherwise. For man cannot be studied apart from his environment and he who would know himself must also know the world in which he lives.

The theory of Energy Enhancement can be studied in books." The practice is a different matter. For this a teacher is necessary. One who tries to practice the method without a teacher almost inevitably encounters certain difficulties which he cannot surmount. The illusion-creating mechanism in man's psyche does not cease to operate merely because a man decides to practice Creative Psychology. In fact, in such a one, it may operate all the more actively. So he may enjoy all sorts of pseudo-experiences, the result not of an expansion of consciousness but of the workings of his own imagination. A teacher can help him to sort out the true from the false, can warn him about the traps that lie in his path. Furthermore, the solitary practitioner of Energy Enhancement lives today in a culture that is more or less totally opposed to the aims he has set himself, that does not recognize the existence of the Master Game, and regards players of this game as queer or slightly mad.

The player thus confronts great opposition from the culture in which he lives and must strive with forces which tend to bring his game to a halt before it has even started. Only by finding a teacher and becoming part of the group of pupils that that teacher has collected about him can the player find encouragement and support. Otherwise he simply forgets his aim, or wanders off down some side road and loses himself. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find such teachers and such groups.

They do not advertise, they operate under disguises. Moreover, there exists an abundance of frauds and fools who pass themselves off as teachers without having any right to do so. So the would-be player of the Master Game encounters at the outset one of the most difficult tests in his career. He must find a teacher who is neither a fool nor a fraud and convince that teacher that he, the would-be pupil, is worth teaching. His future development depends largely on the skill with which he performs this task.20




"I am now in the last week of the course and I feel like a totally different person. I have regained myself and have been given from nothing having no psychic vision at all at the start of the energy enhancement course, a clarity of psychic vision that is breathtaking."

"As we practiced on each other we came very quickly to realise this. I could literally feel the energy moving inside each chakra as the other person worked within me from several meters away and when I worked on the other person I could see me projecting energy to them and could see where the blockages were within their chakras.

I could force the energy from my centres into their centres and clean their centre bringing the energy full circle back to me. You could tell the state of their chakras by the amount of energy returning to your own centre and this was achieved by mind power only.

Before I came here Satchi said he would teach me to do it in this way and I was sceptical about this claim. I could never envision me having psychic vision, but I have now, I can now do astonishingly powerful Reiki sessions on people without going any where near them and distance healing over any distance is a piece of cake, incredible stuff."


"I am totally de-stressed and have expanded in every way. I feel stronger and fitter and much more mentally agile than I have ever felt in my life. The fog and confusion of life has gone and I feel that I have just received the inside information on everything.


I am ready for anything and am wide awake. I am full of the most incredible energy imaginable and have Energy Enhancement Reiki that is so powerful it staggers me. I know a thing or two about Reiki and had a very strong Reiki connection before I got here, now I have a connection that is beyond description and I have yet to undergo the second initiation this week and then the masters. I have opted to take this as an extra and for anyone who is interested, I believe this is beyond anything you will ever experienced anywhere."

I am now equipped with life tools and healing tools that one only dreams of and there is nothing out there in the world that will ever faze me again. I am absolutely delighted that I decided to come here, because this experience has changed me, for the good of me and for all those that I will touch when I leave here. I am so excited and can’t wait to start exploring my new found talents"


email for Course details




I have been to see Satchi & Devi almost once a year since 2005, and I have to say, that I have never been let down. Every time they greet me at the airport I am received in an atmosphere of great warmth, positivity and generosity, into which I soon relax and know that it’s safe to be me with all my “luggage”. In June 2010 I recently went on a 6 week course they were holding in India.


In the weeks I spent with them it was clear that the blockages I was removing with their help, were increasing the amount of energy flowing through me during meditation. I have never been one to naturally take to meditating, but with these new experiences of Samadhi (sam – with, adhi – light), it was certainly making it possible for me to sit for much longer periods.


I must concede, that on more than one occasion I started to object and complain about what we were doing, and the methods employed to transmute the blockages in my being. Satchi & Devi would patiently wait for me to see that the person complaining was not the real me, it was not the soul infused personality that I really am, but rather the voice of the blockages that did not want to go. There are different types of blockages, and of course, the easy ones are the first to go, but I was now experiencing some really tough ones. They can certainly be very cunning these blockages, and its thanks to the experience and energy of Satchi & Devi that I was able to continue on my way to overcome some really strong blockages.


My experiences of Samadhi: The first time I experienced anything other than a calm mind in meditation was actually the very first course I attended with Satchi & Devi in Spain. The experience of energy surging through my body was first felt in my 1st and 2nd chakras. It was like having champagne bubbling away in my lower abdomen. Before I talk about my experience here in India, I think it would be useful to describe briefly and partly a technique used to commence the flow of energy and so the entry into Samadhi. It’s to do with using the mind to visualise chakras above the head and below the base chakra to infinity. For me, the concept of infinity and trying to imagine this distance above my head, kind of triggered a bypass switch in my mind, and all of a sudden my mind was quite literally replaced by a surge of electricity and light – Samadhi. 


"If the Map is Correct, Experiences Follow" - Satchidanand


This time here in India I was experiencing different levels of Samadhi. During meditation I notice the attainment of a constant flow of energy through my being which gets more and more intense, and rises further and further up my body, the higher I go up the chakras above my head to an inconceivably bright and intense sun. Quite often my breathing slows or even stops a while at the head of an in-breath as my head feels infused with light. My body feels like it is being purified, and in fact it is, as light is being shone through me. I always finish the meditation feeling more positive about my life and the world around me and a feeling that really everything is ok.


Over and above this, I receive what I would describe as bolts of light lasting between 2-5 seconds.


During these brief moments, I am no longer a body with senses or even a sense of weighing or being anything, and am unable to think.

"In the Buddhafield we find we can Move On More Quickly!" - Satchidanand


It’s my experience that the body is like a resistor in an electronic circuit. The more blockages we have, the greater the resistance to the light. By removing a significant number of blockages, I have reduced the resistance of my gross and subtle body, and am now able to sit in Samadhi with ease. And of course, the more light I can sit in, the more blockages I can remove - now that’s what I call spiritual progress!


Thomas Blair







1. Szasz, T. S., The Myth of Mental Illness (New York: Hoeber-Harper, 1961).

2. "You're free. Choose. That is, invent." Sartre, J. P., Existentialism and Human Emotions (New York: Philosophical Library, 1957).

3. S. Berne, Eric, Games People Play (London: Deutsch, 1966).

4. Von_ Neumann, J., and Morgenstein, 0., Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1947); Wiener, Norbert, The Human Use of Human Beings (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1954).

5. Hesse, Hermann, Steppenwolf (London: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Ltd., 1963).

6. -, Magister Ludi (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1957).
7. See section on "matrices and codes" in Koestler, Arthur, The Act of Creation (London: Hutchinson, 1964).

8. Shakespeare, W., The Tempest. This is the most esoteric of all Shakespeare's plays. Its central theme work is the alchemical magnum Opus. For a modern variation on this theme, the reader should consult Fowles, J., The Magus (London: Jonathan Cape, 1966).

9. Carthy, J. D., and Ebling, F. J., editors, The Natural History of Aggression (New York: Academic Press, 1965).

10. Some of the war poets (World War I vintage) had bitter things to say about this phrase:
"If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori." (Wilfred Owen, Poems [New York: The Viking Press, 1931].)

11. "Creative thought, creative art or creative poetry are all excuses to expose the world to aberrations born in the sullied minds of the so-called intellectual elite of the West. The true creative artist never cries his creativeness to the skies. The true intellectual never claims to be one. It is the unfulfilled, the unsuccessful, the lazy and the foolish who weld together old bicycles and claim to be creative. They are sur¬rounded by their kind who shower the rubbish with praises so that, in their turn, they may be the recipients of praise." (Shiekh Abdul Muhl in Rafael Lefort's The Teachers of Gurdjieff [London: V. Gollancz, 1966], p. 115).

12. Freud, Sigmund, Civilisation and Its Discontents (Hogarth Press, 1963).

13. Jung's writings on alchemy are at times as obscure as the texts they interpret. The shortest and most lucid of his commentaries on this subject will be found in the chapter "The Work" in his Memories, Dreams and Reflections (Routledge and Collins, 1963)

14. This term, "waking sleep," is one of several technical terms used in the system of C. Gurdjieff, as intrepreted by P. D. Ouspensky. See Ouspensky's In Search of the Miraculous (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World).

15. For an account of the possible evolutionary origin of these obstacles, see Science and Salvation (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1962).

16. An attempt to outlaw use of peyote by members of the Native American Church was made by the legislature of the State of California but was ruled unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court.

11. It must be admitted that Patanjali, the great Hindu commentator on yoga, describes "simples" (ausadhi) along with samadhi (roughly, a state of meditation) among the means of attaining the siddhis (yogic powers) but ". . . hemp and similar drugs produced ecstasy and not the yogic samadhi." See Mircea Eliade's book in note 19. According to the latter authority the use of hemp, opium or other narcotics that belongs properly to shamanism, and to decadent shamanism at that.

12. "Verily there are many hard and almost insurmountable obstacles in Yoga, yet the Yogi should go on with his practice at all hazards; even were his life to come to the throat." Siva Samhita, translated by Vasu, R.B.S.C. (Lahore, 1888; reprinted in Allahabad, 1914).

13. Energy Enhancement, a modern synthesis, combines physiology and psychology, eliminates the artificial barrier created between them by dualistic theories separating mind and matter. There is no single formulation of the teaching. It cannot be learned from books, but only by practice under the guidance of a teacher, P. D. Ouspensky, G. Gurdjieff and others. See Ouspensky's In Search of the Miraculous, op. cit.; and his A New Model of the Universe (London: Kegan Paul, 1938); Gurdjieff, G., All and Everything (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1958); Gurdjieff, G,, Meetings with Remarkable Men (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1964). References will be made in this book to the "Gurdjieffian System," but the term is used only for convenience. The studies of Rafael Lefort in The Teachers of Gurdjieff (London: V. Gollanez, 1966)

Although it must be repeatedly emphasized that little can be learned from books, reading may be of some value in preparing the student and helping him to define what he needs to Know. The student, however, should beware of substituting mere reading for actual practice and guard against losing himself in the jungles of terminology and the deserts of mere scholasticism. The following books may prove useful:

Bernard, Theos, Hatha Yoga (London: Rider and Co., 1950).

Eliade, Mircea, Yoga: Immortality and Freedom (New York: Pantheon Books, 1958).

Evans-Wentz, W. Y., editor, The Tibetan Book of the Dead (London, Oxford University Press, 1935).

Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines (London: Oxford University Press, 1935).

Frankl, V. E., Man's Search for Meaning (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1963).

Idries Shah, The Sufis (London: W. H. Allen, 1964).

Jacobs, H., Western Psychotherapy and Hindu Sadhana (London:Allen and Unwin, 1961).

James, William, On Vital Reserves: The Energies of Men (New York: Holt, 1939).

The Varieties of Religious Experience (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1929).

Maslow, A. H., Toward a Psychology of Being (New York: Van Nostrand, 1962).

Mishra, R. W., The Textbook of Yoga Psychology (New York: The Julian Press, 1963).

Watts, Alan, Psychotherapy East and West (New York: Pantheon Books, 1961).
-, The Way of Zen (New York: Pantheon Books, 1957).

20. Madame Alexandra David-Neel has described in some detail the trials and tribulations of would-be initiates in Tibet during their search for a teacher. Admission to the Way is never made easy. Overcoming the obstacles deliberately put in the path demands heroic efforts on the part of the student. See David-Neel, Alexandra, Magic and Mystery in Tibet (London: Souvenir Press, 1967), Chapter V.








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