Friday, October 28, 2011

Kirk Sorensen is a social media god

Kirk Sorensen is becoming well enough know to be beginning to acquire enemies. Not because he goes around hurting people, or because he is mean to puppies or is doing other wicked things. Kirk has things to say about energy and LFTR technology, and he is drawing more and more attention. The latest expression of anti-Kirk excess comes from JO ABBESS of Energy Change for Climate Control.
Kirk Sorensen is apparently a one-man propaganda machine. His personal energy must be immense. He keeps turning up everywhere.
Never since the days of Tesla versus Edison has there been such an energy-related public communications coup.

He is a social media god. He has to be . . . .


Anonymous said...

From nuclear technologist and MSR advocate to filthy propagandist in a single blog post! Capable of nothing but talk and a master of spinology! And if kirks personal failings weren't enough, MSRs and/or thorium based fuel cycles...
Kirk, doubtless you anticipated the response of these anti-nuclear cultists as your and others efforts became better known, but to be on the receiving end of such an utter dipshit...

BilloTheWisp said...

I just read the Jo Abbess post. The blather and stupidity spouted by Abbess simply shows how closed her mind is.

Anything that steps outside her doctinaire bigotry, especially if it is labelled "nuclear" must be evil and crushed.

It is quite timely that her post coincides with Halloween. No doubt in another time she would have been one of the witch-finders, a zealot or book burner.

ScandiGreen said...

On the off chance that my comment gets 'moderated away' on the Jo Abbess blog, here's some excepts of what I just posted over there:


"I’m not going to waste my time doing your work for you."

You have brought out a long ad hominem attack with exactly *one* relevant source which is riddled with basic miscomprehensions and errors and has now been refuted by numerous people and facts in these comments. If anyone has any "work" to do here it's you in either justifying your position or, if you have dignity enough, admitting you are wrong.


"The Thorium Fuel Cycle is not all it’s cracked up to be."

The 'Thorium Fuel Cycle' is the use of Thorium as a fissile fuel regardless of reactor design. Thorium can be used in many reactor types but for most reactor designs it is suboptimal -- it happens to be a very good fit for a LFTR. That isn't speculation, but rather easily deduced and proven through the physics and the atoms involved. Conflating those concepts is more reflective of a yokel copying and pasting hastily skimmed google search results than someone who has any serious comprehension of the subject.

The article you referenced in, btw, confuses thorium used in an MSR and the applicability of thorium as a fuel source in all reactor designs, is flat out wrong on the type and volume of waste produced by an MSR, is ignorant of the 'catalytic' role of the uranium present in a LFTR, and hangs its sole complaint on the idea that the technology might take some time to prove in commercial operation.

As if that were grounds to delay technology development. Development work and inspection is something one has to do with every new alternative energy solution. I can't rightly fathom how engineering and QHSE work on a proven power generation technology is grounds to not pursue such a technology. "Oh no, it might involve some work" is a poor excuse in my eyes. Does anyone seriously think we'll have 30% of global power generation on, say, solar within 5 years, anyways?

ScandiGreen said...



"How different is Kirk Sorensen’s approach to that of a charlatan ? He is selling vapourware – something that does not yet exist. Why should we be confident that he can deliver anything useful ?"

This obnoxious drivel is the reason I'm posting today...

Firstly, Kirk Sorensen is not selling anything, except the odd speech starring Kirk Sorensen. You keep writing like he's out pushing KirkCo reactors - blatantly false. He is raising awareness about a proven technology and is not asking anyone for any kind of funding.

Secondly, charlatans do not approach with well documented, proven, experiments showing hard numbers and project success. If they did they would cease to be charlatans because they would have the goods. It's a fine line, I know...

Thirdly: This is not something which 'does not yet exist' any more than the Saturn V rocket 'does not yet exist'. It's an old technology and lots of know-how has been lost… But in the mean time we've also had 50+ years of materials science, we have scads of awesome documentation, robots that can machine parts better than ever, and have honest to god computers that can help test, design, and monitor reactors better than we ever could before. That is to say: we did it before, we can do it again and better this time.

Finally, and if there is one part of this I hope people carry with them it's this: LFTRs are in no way, shape, or form an invention of Kirk Sorensen.

The man who directed the design of the original MSRs was Alvin Weinberg (, one of the primary scientists whose research set the stage for all current reactor designs. The grandaddy of modern nuclear reactors, if you will. There are very few people in the all of history with his gravitas regarding nuclear reactor design and not only did he invent the LFTR, but he campaigned for it's use instead of current designs for decades…

That is to say, when you ask "why should we be confident that *HE* can deliver anything useful?" the answer is: because 'HE' is the exact same dude who has built several working reactors, conducted vital research that set the foundation for every reactor in existence today, is one of the big founding fathers within nuclear power, AND he already built one of these AND it worked for half a decade.

There is (practically) no better possible resume to have behind something like this. So on one hand we have a highly respected physicist with several successful reactor designs under his belt, an Enrico Fermi award, and who worked directly with a lot of his peers from the Manhattan Project itself, and on the other hand we have… you, Jo…

The very fact you would ask that question shows a distastefully deep ignorance on this subject.


To summarize: your post was poorly sourced, primarily ad hominem, and shows that you really don't know what you're talking about. You have also, indirectly, disparaged a widely respected and well known physicist. While failing to provide a credible source for your statements despite multiple refutations of your original you have also clearly been dodging many of the questions posed by more qualified commenters that poke serious holes in your position…

I can only hope that interested readers take the time to read the longer comments here to get a more accurate picture of the current state of the technology.

Anon said...

Yeah, the commenters have really pwned her there (somehow I don't think she really cares all that much about whether or not she's correct, just whether she feels good).

She seems to have some very strange ideas like it being possible for the UK to be powered by renewable energy (despite that having been shown to be false) and that somehow nuclear can't work with a smart grid (despite fluid fuel reactors being extremely responsive).

LOL at renewable gas though (yes, the technology she mentioned is workable, but can only ever be a niche player, not the centrepiece).

Andrew Jaremko said...

Charles - thanks for posting this. I note that Jo Abbess put the full length Thorium Remix right in her post (!) and linked to several other of the thorium videos. She's making them easier to find and improving the search rankings by noticing them.

IIRC it was P.T. Barnum said that there's no such thing as bad publicity. She's given thorium some publicity in a corner of the web that Kirk might not otherwise reach. Ironically, she might actually be helping rather than discouraging nuclear. One can hope.

Soylent said...

"[...]that somehow nuclear can't work with a smart grid (despite fluid fuel reactors being extremely responsive)."

In a sense she is right. Nuclear doesn't need a 'smart grid' to micromanage when people's HVAC systems, washer dryers, refrigerators, water heaters and freezers are allowed to run in order to try and make up for the failings of an unreliable power source.

If you have lots of nuclear; why build a smart grid, continent spanning webs of HVDC and gobs of storage? That crap is just a millstone around your neck.

Anon said...

Soylent: In a sense she is right. Nuclear doesn't need a 'smart grid' to micromanage when people's HVAC systems, washer dryers, refrigerators, water heaters and freezers are allowed to run in order to try and make up for the failings of an unreliable power source.
She didn't say Nuclear didn't need a smart grid (nothing does, I can't think of a single energy technology that goes from unworkable to workable just by adding a smart grid).

If you have lots of nuclear; why build a smart grid, continent spanning webs of HVDC and gobs of storage? That crap is just a millstone around your neck.

Nuclear is actually likely to get more benefit from smart grid technologies (or at least the ones that are actually worth using, not all are) than renewables.

John in the Lot said...

This comment on Jo Abbess’ piece didn’t make it past her moderation either!
I really tried not to be too rude! Honest!
“Jo, if you believe that the 34 comments on your ill-informed and insulting piece about Kirk Sorensen and thorium could have been orchestrated by one man, I think that you live in a world of your own imaginings. A mindset which is closed and bigoted such as is often found at the fringe of serious debate. Don’t confuse me with the facts, I know what I think!
Knowing what they’re based on it’s impossible to take your views seriously!”

Charles Barton said...

So Charles, it is your view that Steve M, who is untrained in climare sciencew, is a better scientists than most trainened climate scientists. You might be right that Steve K knows moe about the mathmatical end of climant sciences than some climate scientists, but I suspect that there are some climate scientists who know as much or even know anout the math ene. You refuse to acknowledge the possibility that Steven M might be making mistakes. I find it implausible that he is infallable. it sounds like you are unwilling to consider the bery possibility that Steve M. could make a mistake.

DocForesight said...

Charles B - You posted this on the wrong thread. This thread is devoted to Kirk Sorensen and LFTR.

Must be hell to be so dedicated to questioning Steve M's credentials or accuracy in analyzing Mann's work that you forget which thread you're on - on your own blog.

I don't ever recall reading where Steve M ever claims to be infallible in his assessments and analysis.


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