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Chopstick
01-21-2011, 11:12 AM
<span style="color: #000099">This is no BS. It works and has been around since the 60s. The only reason we don't have them already is you can't make bombs with them. Thorium has 200 times more energy output than uranium. It is abundant. In fact it is so abundant it is considered a nuisance material in mining. The US government buried enough thorium to power this country for five hundred years because they did not know what else to do with it. A fistful of thorium could light up London for a week.

Thorium reactors are not pressurized. A leak would plug itself and an explosion or a china syndrome type meltdown is impossible. Thorium cannot sustain a chain reaction by itself. It requires an external energy source such as a particle beam to maintain the reaction. Once the reaction starts it produces enough energy to power the beam plus enough extra to run a power plant. If anything goes wrong, it shuts off naturally. It doesn't even need control rods. Unlike uranium reactors, you can turn them off and turn them right back on, instead of the days or weeks of complex procedures it takes to start and stop a uranium reactor.

Thorium reactors produce one tenth of one percent .1%, of the waste material that uranium reactors do and it has a half life of ten years. It is also less radioactive to begin with and is much easier to handle safely. It is totally inert in 300 years instead of 10,000.

Security and proliferation are also not much of a problem. Since the reactors are small the amount of fissile material that could be extracted is also small. It is a hard gamma emitter so it screws up bomb electronics and time to fatal exposure is three minutes. If you tried to get enough of it together to make a bomb, you would be dead and the bomb wouldn't work anyway.

Thorium reactors can burn existing nuclear waste and weapons grade material eliminating that problem also. The reactors are also scalable. They made a thorium reactor aircraft engine about thirty years ago. On a price scale per watt it comes in cheaper than coal.

.1% of the waste material
Can be used to eliminate existing and weapons grade material
200 times the energy output of uranium
Cheap and abundant enough to power the entire planet for tens of thousands or years.
It is also abundant and easy to detect through the solar system.
The list goes on and on


This isn't science fiction. This company is building them. There are a number of projects going on, India has a major one, to convert existing light water uranium reactors to use thorium. They are not as good as the pure thorium ADTRs but they are better.

Accelerator Driven Thorium Reactor (http://www.akersolutions.com/en/Global-menu/Products-and-Services/technology-segment/Energy-and-environmental/Nuclear/Novel-Thorium-Reactor/)

So here we sit behind the curve and I am sure you have a question at this point. So do I.

Pelosi Galore just spent 5.3 trillion dollars on what?

I don't know how many ADTRs we could build with five fracking trillion dollars but I will wager it's a bunch.

Here's another link talking about it.

link (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/7970619/Obama-could-kill-fossil-fuels-overnight-with-a-nuclear-dash-for-thorium.html) </span>

Obama could kill fossil fuels overnight with a nuclear dash for thorium

If Barack Obama were to marshal America’s vast scientific and strategic resources behind a new Manhattan Project, he might reasonably hope to reinvent the global energy landscape and sketch an end to our dependence on fossil fuels within three to five years.
Dr Rubbia says a tonne of the silvery metal produces as much energy as 200 tonnes of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coal

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor 6:55PM BST 29 Aug 2010

366 Comments

We could then stop arguing about wind mills, deepwater drilling, IPCC hockey sticks, or strategic reliance on the Kremlin. History will move on fast.

Muddling on with the status quo is not a grown-up policy. The International Energy Agency says the world must invest $26 trillion (£16.7 trillion) over the next 20 years to avert an energy shock. The scramble for scarce fuel is already leading to friction between China, India, and the West.

There is no certain bet in nuclear physics but work by Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) on the use of thorium as a cheap, clean and safe alternative to uranium in reactors may be the magic bullet we have all been hoping for, though we have barely begun to crack the potential of solar power.

Dr Rubbia says a tonne of the silvery metal – named after the Norse god of thunder, who also gave us Thor’s day or Thursday - produces as much energy as 200 tonnes of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coal. A mere fistful would light London for a week.

Thorium burns the plutonium residue left by uranium reactors, acting as an eco-cleaner. "It’s the Big One," said Kirk Sorensen, a former NASA rocket engineer and now chief nuclear technologist at Teledyne Brown Engineering.

pooltchr
01-21-2011, 12:06 PM
The entire world could become energy independent, and nobody is even talking about it.

Amazing!

Steve

Chopstick
01-21-2011, 01:51 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: pooltchr</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The entire world could become energy independent, and nobody is even talking about it.

Amazing!

Steve </div></div>

<span style="color: #000099">Yep. How about that? Makes you wonder how many other solutions are out there that our "leaders" are clueless about.</span>

Sev
01-21-2011, 06:03 PM
There are plenty of solutions out there. However they wont be implemented because it makes people independent and the object of the government is dependency.

Just think of all the money an individual would save a year on fuel related expenses if a cheap source of alternative energy were brought online.

Environmentalists would be the first to block its use via ignorance and scare tactics.

Sev
01-26-2011, 09:06 PM
Bump for Phil.

LWW
01-27-2011, 03:41 AM
The America of 100 yrs ago would have jumped all over something like this.

LWW

Sev
01-27-2011, 07:45 AM
Here is more from Cosmos.

The first Thorium reactor was built in the 1970's. They should have jumped on it then.

http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/features/print/348/new-age-nuclear?page=0%2C3

<span style="color: #006600">
THIS IS WHERE THORIUM steps in. Thorium itself is a metal in the actinide series, which is a run of 15 heavy radioactive elements that occupy their own period in the periodic table between actinium and lawrencium. Thorium sits on the periodic table two spots to the left (making it lighter) of the only other naturally occurring actinide, uranium (which is two spots to the left of synthetic plutonium). This means thorium and uranium share several characteristics.

According to Reza Hashemi-Nezhad, a nuclear physicist at the University of Sydney who has been studying the thorium fuel cycle, the most important point is that they both can absorb neutrons and transmute into fissile elements. "From the neutron-absorption point of view, U-238 is very similar to Th-232", he said.

It's these similarities that make thorium a potential alternative fuel for nuclear reactors. But it's the unique differences between thorium and uranium that make it a potentially superior fuel. First of all, unlike U-235 and Pu-239, thorium is not fissile, so no matter how much thorium you pack together, it will not start splitting atoms and blow up. This is because it cannot undergo nuclear fission by itself and it cannot sustain a nuclear chain reaction once one starts. It's a wannabe atom splitter incapable of taking the grand title.

What makes thorium suitable as a nuclear fuel is that it is fertile, much like U-238.

Natural thorium (Th-232) absorbs a neutron and quickly transmutes into unstable Th-233 and then into protactinium Pa-233, before quickly decaying into U-233, says Hashemi- Nezhad. The beauty of this complicated process is that the U-233 that's produced at the end of this breeding process is similar to U-235 and is fissile, making it suitable as a nuclear fuel. In this way, it talks like uranium and walks like uranium, but it ain't your common-or-garden variety uranium.

And this is where it gets interesting: thorium has a very different fuel cycle to uranium. The most significant benefit of thorium's journey comes from the fact that it is a lighter element than uranium. While it's fertile, it doesn't produce as many heavy and as many highly radioactive by-products. The absence of U-238 in the process also means that no plutonium is bred in the reactor.

As a result, the waste produced from burning thorium in a reactor is dramatically less radioactive than conventional nuclear waste. Where a uranium-fuelled reactor like many of those operating today might generate a tonne of high-level waste that stays toxic for tens of thousands of years, a reactor fuelled only by thorium will generate a fraction of this amount. And it would stay radioactive for only 500 years - after which it would be as manageable as coal ash.

So not only would there be less waste, the waste generated would need to be locked up for only five per cent of the time compared to most nuclear waste. Not surprisingly, the technical challenges in storing a smaller amount for 500 years are much lower than engineering something to be solid, secure and discreet for 10,000 years.

But wait, there's more: thorium has another remarkable property. Add plutonium to the mix - or any other radioactive actinide - and the thorium fuel process will actually incinerate these elements. That's right: it will chew up old nuclear waste as part of the power-generation process. It could not only generate power, but also act as a waste disposal plant for some of humanity's most heinous toxic waste.

This is especially significant when it comes to plutonium, which has proven very hard to dispose of using conventional means.

Current programs used for the disposal of plutonium reactor by-products and weapons-grade material using the MOX process are both expensive and complex. Furthermore, thorium proponents say that in conventional reactors, MOX fuel doesn't use plutonium as efficiently nor in the same volumes as thorium fuel would at lower cost.

So thorium might just be able to kill two birds with one stone. Not only does a thorium-fuelled reactor produce significantly less high-level waste, but it can also dispose of the decommissioned nuclear weapons and highly radioactive waste from nuclear reactors using more conventional fuels. Oh yes, it can also generate electricity.

SO WHY ISN'T EVERYONE using thorium reactors? The main drawback to thorium is that it's not vigorously fissile, and it needs a source of neutrons to kick off the reaction.

Unlike enriched uranium, which can be left to its own devices to start producing power, thorium needs a bit of coaxing.

Thorium also cannot maintain criticality on its own; that is, it can't sustain a nuclear reaction once it has been started. This means the U-233 produced at the end of the thorium fuel cycle doesn't pump out enough neutrons when it splits to keep the reaction self-sustaining: eventually the reaction fizzles out. It's why a reactor using thorium fuel is often called a 'sub-critical' reactor.

The main stumbling block until now has been how to provide thorium fuel with enough neutrons to keep the reaction going, and do so in an efficient and economical way.

In recent years two new technologies have been developed to do just this.

One company that has already begun developing thorium-fuelled nuclear power is the aptly named Thorium Power, based just outside Washington DC. The way Thorium Power gets around the sub-criticality of thorium is to create mixed fuels using a combination of enriched uranium, plutonium and thorium.

At the centre of the fuel rod is the 'seed' for the reaction, which contains plutonium.

Wrapped around the core is the 'blanket', which is made from a mixture of uranium and thorium. The seed then provides the necessary neutrons to the blanket to kick-start the thorium fuel cycle. Meanwhile, the plutonium and uranium are also undergoing fission.

The primary benefit of Thorium Power's system is that it can be used in existing nuclear plants with slight modification, such as Russian VVER-1000 reactors. Seth Grae, president and chief executive of Thorium Power, and his team are actively working with the Russians to develop a commercial product by the end of this decade. They already have thorium fuel running in the IR-8 research reactor at the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow.

"In the first quarter of 2008, we expect to have lead test assemblies in a full-size commercial nuclear power plant in Russia," said Grae.

He believes mixed thorium fuels can not only dispose of weapons-grade plutonium, but also be developed into a fuel for many conventional reactors to prevent production of any further plutonium as a by-product.

Thorium Power believes there is a market for about four thorium-powered reactors each in Russia and United States just for plutonium disposal. It's also aiming for reactors dealing with commercial plutonium by-products in Europe, Japan, Russia and the USA.

Grae is also enthusiastic about the benefits thorium fuels offer the environment. "All nuclear compares well to coal, in terms of no emissions into the atmosphere, including no carbon dioxide," he said. The environmental credentials of his company are also boosted by the presence of environmental lawyer and former member of the Centre for International Environmental Law, David MacGraw, he added. Grae muses that Thorium Power may be the "only nuclear company in the world with an environmentalist on the board".
AN ALTERNATIVE DESIGN does away with the requirements for uranium or plutonium altogether, and relies on thorium as its primary fuel source. This design, which was originally dubbed an Energy Amplifier but has more recently been named an Accelerator Driven System (ADS), was proposed by Italian Nobel physics laureate Carlos Rubbia, a former director of one of the world's leading nuclear physics labs, CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research.

An ADS reactor is sub-critical, which means it needs help to get the thorium to react. To do this, a particle accelerator fires protons at a lead target. When struck by high-energy protons the lead, called a spallation target, releases neutrons that collide with nuclei in the thorium fuel, which begins the fuel cycle that ends in the fission of U-233.

A nuclear reactor that requires a particle beam to keep it running might seem a bit strange. But on the contrary, this is one of the ADS design's most attractive features. If the particle beam is switched off, it is impossible for the fuel to enter a chain reaction and cause a meltdown. Instead, the rate of fission will immediately begin to slow and the fuel will eventually cool down and die out. According to Sydney's Hashemi-Nezhad, a sub-critical reactor such as this has clear safety benefits over uranium reactors. "It has zero chance of a Chernobyl-type accident," he said.

Another major advantage of this design is that it only requires thorium as fuel.

Hashemi-Nezhad also says thorium is a highly abundant resource "550 times more abundant in nature than uranium-235".

It's also an element in which Australia is well blessed - we have the largest known thorium reserves in the world. Thorium mining is also less complex than uranium mining; and the ore doesn't even require enrichment before use in an ADS reactor.

In a non-proliferation sense, there are also good reasons to prefer a sub-critical thorium reactor, as it is impossible to make weapons-grade materials from thorium.

Even traces of unburnt U-233 in thorium reactor waste products are more difficult to convert into a usable nuclear weapon than U-235 or Pu-239. Imagine the West offering thorium-fuelled ADS reactors to countries such as Iran or North Korea: this would satisfy their demands for cheap nuclear power, but entirely avert the risk of the civil nuclear program leading to the development of nuclear weapons.

The other key advantage of the ADS design is that it can be used to dispose of dangerous weapons-grade material and commercial reactor by-products in a similar way to mixed thorium fuel.

While the ADS design has promise, it presents challenges. First, there's the design itself: while lab tests have proven the concept of using a particle beam to start the thorium fuel cycle, the physics of scaling it up to the size of a commercial reactor are unproven and could be more complex. Then there's the way the particle beam interacts with the spallation target and the fuel in order to operate efficiently. Also, while there are plenty of existing conventional nuclear reactors that can be fairly inexpensively converted to mixed thorium fuel, an ADS reactor would have to be designed, built and paid for from scratch.


Retrofitting old reactors is not an option.

Does this make a large-scale ADS reactor viable? CERN thinks so. It recently released a detailed report covering the financial viability of the ADS design for power generation, and found it to be at least three times cheaper than coal and 4.8 times cheaper than natural gas. Any nuclear reactor will have a high establishment cost, but CERN stresses that a long-life reactor will be highly competitive compared to fossil and renewable energy fuels.

Hashemi-Nezhad has been working on the ADS reactor concept with colleagues in Germany, Russia, India and Eastern Europe, and is enthusiastic about it. "The future of nuclear reactors is in ADS because it operates in a sub-critical condition. Only under this condition it is possible to transmute waste isotopes while gaining energy and producing fuel at low cost. And it's safe," he said.

He also thinks Australia could play a leading role in the development and promotion of thorium-fuelled reactors. "It is up to the Australian government to make an investment in this research. Huge thorium resources in Australia can provide green energy at low cost for several centuries." An enticing prospect, to say the least.

CAN ATOMIC POWER be green? Physics suggests it can. And our consumption of energy is accelerating at the same time the climate is being affected by power generation.

Unless we start seriously exploring energy alternatives to burning fossil fuels, erratic and destructive weather conditions could be with us for generations to come. Renewable energy such as wind and solar have bright futures, and will play a large role in any future energy program - but they can never hope to satisfy baseload requirements of a city.

Hydroelectric power is an option - but most of the economical sites have been exploited, and biodiversity suffers when valleys are flooded to create dams. So, unless some groundbreaking discovery in nuclear fusion is made, making it not only possible but efficient and economical - then nuclear fission will remain on the agenda for promising baseload energy alternatives.

Despite its drawbacks, conventional uranium-fuelled nuclear power is a realistic option that is likely to be continued worldwide.

But it is thorium reactors that present a real quantum leap forward. Humble thorium could potentially alleviate three of the most pressing issues facing modern civilisation in the 21st century: the hunger for energy, thespectre of climate change and the need to eliminate nuclear wea</span>pons

Soflasnapper
01-27-2011, 11:15 PM
Considering this had a proof of concept, what, 40 years ago?, one must question several things.

One, is it commercially viable or not? If it IS commercially viable, why haven't venture capitalists jumped on it already, as LWW claims they would have back 100 years ago? Is the capitalist of today less a capitalist than back then?

Why would it be OBAMA'S call to get it done, if industry won't do it?

Or is it only commercially viable IF given a big R&D push by THE GOVERNMENT? Or heavy subsidies, some other kind of governmental push?

If this latter is what is being claimed, then this is a tacit admission that the market doesn't fully work without big government intervention. Sorta the opposite of the positions commonly heard around these parts, wouldn't you agree?

Fact is, even in this country, even before there were anything resembling liberals in power, we always fostered industrial development with governmental power. The intercontinental railroad system was boosted by free land giveaways, and likewise, the interstate highway system got built as a national governmental action under Ike. And the nuclear power generation we have could not have been commercially feasible except for the Price-Anderson Act, which limited liability for the companies from what would be many billions, to about $100 MILLION or so.

LWW
01-28-2011, 06:31 AM
Capitalism 100 years ago did not have the foot of the state on it's throat.

Do you really believe the transcontinental railway could be built today? Or the Hoover Dam?

We agonized for a decade over executing Tim McVeigh. We can't even build a gasoline refinery.

LWW

Sev
01-28-2011, 07:13 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Soflasnapper</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Considering this had a proof of concept, what, 40 years ago?, one must question several things.

One, is it commercially viable or not? If it IS commercially viable, why haven't venture capitalists jumped on it already, as LWW claims they would have back 100 years ago? Is the capitalist of today less a capitalist than back then?

Why would it be OBAMA'S call to get it done, if industry won't do it?

Or is it only commercially viable IF given a big R&D push by THE GOVERNMENT? Or heavy subsidies, some other kind of governmental push?

If this latter is what is being claimed, then this is a tacit admission that the market doesn't fully work without big government intervention. Sorta the opposite of the positions commonly heard around these parts, wouldn't you agree?

Fact is, even in this country, even before there were anything resembling liberals in power, we always fostered industrial development with governmental power. The intercontinental railroad system was boosted by free land giveaways, and likewise, the interstate highway system got built as a national governmental action under Ike. And the nuclear power generation we have could not have been commercially feasible except for the Price-Anderson Act, which limited liability for the companies from what would be many billions, to about $100 MILLION or so.


</div></div>

They are quietly ignoring it at the moment.
Cheap energy is a threat. However the concept is out there and cant be squashed.
You'll likely see somebody build a miniature reactor in their basement soon.

Consider this.
I suggested this before.

Reactors can already be miniaturized to shed size. They have a life span of 20 years and can power 20,000 households. They are relatively inexpensive. There is no reason what they can not be buried along our highways and and cities and used as energy stations for both autos and cities. Surely for small towns.
The reactors could be placed in a rack system where one uses up its fuel it could automatically be replaced by another through a simple mechanical exchange.
Not only that these reactors could be linked in series or parallel to combine output as needed.

Another thing to consider. Further miniaturization could lead to a possibility of use for use in trains and other forms of large transport. Especially with the laser activated units.

Sev
01-28-2011, 07:24 AM
Dont expect much commentary or discussion on anything scientific around here. Anything other than politics is generally ignored. With the possible exception of global warming. But then again that is more a political debate anyway. Or evolution vs creationism as well.

Could be a lack of scientific knowledge and background. Many find it boring as well. Nothing more stimulating then a good he said she said on multidimensional theory to get the blood pumping.

Sev
01-28-2011, 07:49 AM
Here ya go.
http://video.foxnews.com/v/3917495/future-of-energy

Sev
01-28-2011, 07:55 AM
http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com/product.html

Check it out.
Conceptual pictures.
http://i162.photobucket.com/albums/t278/Sevelli/General%20Pictures%201/img1.jpg

Sev
01-28-2011, 08:09 AM
<span style="color: #006600">Industry & Community Benefits
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An HPM-based power plant can supply enough power for:
20,000+ American-style homes, or a …
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HPM power plants can also be “teamed” in groups of two or more to provide additional power. By teaming multiple units, a medium to large-size power plant can be constructed years faster than a plant constructed on site in the traditional manner.

Reactor Power 70MW thermal
Electrical Output 25MW electric
Lifetime 8 – 10 years
Size (meters) 1.5w x 2.5h
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System will handle any accident through a combination of inherent and engineered features
Inherent negative feedback keeps the reactor stable and operating at a constant temperature
Sited underground, out of sight
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4. Operational Simplicity
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Produces power for 8 to 10 years depending on use
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The Hyperion Power Module will be licensed by national and international regulatory authori</span>ties.

Chopstick
01-28-2011, 12:23 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Soflasnapper</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Considering this had a proof of concept, what, 40 years ago?, one must question several things.

One, is it commercially viable or not? If it IS commercially viable, why haven't venture capitalists jumped on it already, as LWW claims they would have back 100 years ago? Is the capitalist of today less a capitalist than back then?

<span style="color: #000099">They have. As referenced in my link above a company called Aker Solutions has bought the Cern guys patent and is building them now.</span>

Why would it be OBAMA'S call to get it done, if industry won't do it?

<span style="color: #000099">Industry is doing it. I give this example because with the amount of money the democrats have blown on nothing they could have accomplished this 20 times over.</span>

Or is it only commercially viable IF given a big R&D push by THE GOVERNMENT? Or heavy subsidies, some other kind of governmental push?

<span style="color: #000099">Russia and India both have large scale projects in cooperation with industry to convert existing light water reactors over to thorium.</span>

If this latter is what is being claimed, then this is a tacit admission that the market doesn't fully work without big government intervention. Sorta the opposite of the positions commonly heard around these parts, wouldn't you agree?

<span style="color: #000099">Big government intervention is the reason that we do not have this technology today. Big government wanted the bomb. You can't make bombs out of thorium. The original planners of the nuclear power industry wanted thorium. Government wanted bombs so they funded and developed uranium/ plutonium technology. Now that industry is entrenched with many billions invested, they do not have an easy way to convert.</span>

And the nuclear power generation we have could not have been commercially feasible except for the Price-Anderson Act, which limited liability for the companies from what would be many billions, to about $100 MILLION or so.

<span style="color: #000099">With thorium reactors that act is not necessary. Thorium reactors do not blow up or meltdown. If the government was interested in solving problems they could have done this easily. The Department of Energy was created to end our dependence on foreign oil. Why are we paying them?

Big government doesn't solve problems. It just creates them. Take a look at Spain's green project. The model for Obama's Cap and Trade economy. It is a disaster, they are throwing in the towel.</span>
</div></div>

Soflasnapper
01-28-2011, 01:14 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: LWW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Capitalism 100 years ago did not have the foot of the state on it's throat.

Do you really believe the transcontinental railway could be built today? Or the Hoover Dam?

We agonized for a decade over executing Tim McVeigh. We can't even build a gasoline refinery.

LWW </div></div>

Probably not, because the right would scream 'socialism!!!' over the required governmental aid.

We probably would not have the internet we do now except for ARPANET (from the defense department, linking research universities for sharing their research amongst themselves and the DOD) and then the '80s seed-funding Gore pushed and got to build the expensive infrastructure of the fiber optic backbone to the network (to allow the high speeds necessary). In fact, the Mosaic Explorer, the first graphical user interface browser that became the Netscape Navigator, was created under the funding Gore pushed through the government.

McVeigh was execute a month or two past 6 years from his deed. There was no dithering as to his being executed, which the government prosecutors called for almost immediately upon indictment. There was a slight delay for an appeal, and that appeal was denied a certiori by the SCOTUS so they didn't even hear the case for appeal.

Gayle in MD
01-28-2011, 02:18 PM
Suddenly Quiet. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wink.gif

Sev
01-28-2011, 03:57 PM
Notice Gayle is incapable from discussing the technology.