Err, no, they don\’t.
FT Alphaville has lovely fun mocking AEP and his piece on thorium based reactors.
Now it\’s true that AEP was a tad over the top: but nothing in his piece was wrong, even if he glossed over the odd technical difficulty. You can run a reactor on thorium, there is lot\’s of it around, it would be cheap, there isn\’t much waste and no, a thorium reactor cannot have a runaway meltdown.
But what elevates the FT\’s misunderstanding to a truly higher level is that they compare AEP\’s enthusiasm to part of a Dan Brown novel.
Gosh, tee hee, eh?
Well, we at FT Alphaville are definitely not scientists, but we can’t help feeling we have heard about this sort of particle-accelerator generated energy before.
The world’s largest scientific research facility-Switzerland’s Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN)-recently succeeded in producing the first particles of antimatter.
Antimatter is identical to physical matter except that it is composed of particles whose electric charges are opposite to those found in normal matter. Antimatter is the most powerful energy source known to man.
It releases energy with 100 percent efficiency (nuclear fission is 1.5 percent efficient). Antimatter creates no pollution or radiation, and a droplet could power New York City for a full day. There is, however, one catch . . . Antimatter is highly unstable.
It ignites when it comes in contact with absolutely anything . . . even air. A single gram of antimatter contains the energy of a 20-kiloton nuclear bomb-the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Until recently antimatter has been created only in very small amounts (a few atoms at a time).
But CERN has now broken ground on its new Antiproton Decelerator-an advanced antimatter production facility that promises to create antimatter in much larger quantities. One question looms: Will this highly volatile substance save the world, or will it be used to create the most deadly weapon ever made?
That was an extract from Dan Brown’s 2000 bestseller Angels & Demons.
Very tee hee in fact. For they\’ve managed to pick the one and only piece of science from a Dan Brown novel which actually happens to be true.
Over the past 20 years scientists at CERN have been using antiparticles in many different ways for their daily work.
Antiparticles can be generated by colliding subatomic particles. Before being delivered to the various physics experiments, they must be isolated, collected and stored in order to tune their energy to the appropriate level.
Until now, each of these steps has been carried out by a dedicated machine with the main purpose of providing high energy antiparticles.
But now the first \”self-contained antiproton factory\”, the Antiproton Decelerator (or AD), is operational at CERN . It will produce the low energy antiprotons needed for a range of studies, including the synthesis of antihydrogen atoms – the creation of antimatter.