What are these pictures on the home page?

This first picture you will find all across the internet if you look for molten salt reactors or, better, the molten salt reactor experiment or MSRE. Because that’s what it is: this picture was taken probably in 1964 or 1965, in Oak Ridge. The worker is on top of the molten salt reactor while it’s under construction. He’s standing on top of the reactor vessel, I’m not sure what he’s working on with his wrench.


The picture is a reminder that the msr technology was actually tested in the 1960s. The 8MWt reactor performed impressively in almost 4 years of experiments. It broke the record for continuous operation: a famous photograph shows Alvin Weinberg proudly noting ‘6000 full power hours’. One of the best quotes to illustrate its unhampered operation comes from Kirk Sorensen, who has spoken to some of the people who were at the controls at the time. Sorensen asked him how this period had been. They told him it was boring. “It just kept going.” Well, too bad for them, but to say it’s boring is just about the best thing that could ever be said about a nuclear reactor…


The second picture, the background picture of this site, is an ash tree, photographed in 2013 in Erden, Germany, a village on the borders of the Mosel river, a bit east from the historic town of Trier. The picture was taken during a bicycle trip on a camping ground, on the river bank. The ash tree is one of my favorites; it’s one of the few European trees that forms side trunks: branches so big that there’s no telling what’s the branch an what’s the trunk. Ash trees all have a completely individual look and yet you immediately recognize it as an ash tree. This one was particularly beautiful, standing happily by itself, spreading its lush crown over the river bank.

It was a surprise to find out that in the ancient poem of the Vikings, the Edda, the immensely big mythical tree of life called Yggdrasill was an ash. In the Edda, Yggdrasill connects the nine worlds, and the gods assembled under it each day…

The real ash has its roots deep in the gound, where each cubic meter of soil contains several grams of thorium and uranium. The ash tree is a subtle – or maybe not so subtle, once you get it – way to underline burning thorium or uranium is no more or less natural than, say, burning coal. Or burning ash wood, for that matter.

However, burning thorium and uranium will allow us to have more beautiful hills, untouched by coal mining, and more beautiful river banks, untouched by hydro plants. Burning coal and uranium will also render more prosperity for a bigger number of people – who then will have more beautiful ash trees on hills and river banks and the time and freedom to admire them. GZ