George Stanford

George Stanford, Ph.D., is a nuclear reactor physicist, part of the team that developed the Integral Fast Reactor. He is now retired from Argonne National Laboratory after a career of experimental work pertaining to power-reactor safety. He is the co-author of Nuclear Shadowboxing: Contemporary Threats from Cold War Weaponry.

George S. Stanford, Per F. Peterson and Dan Meneley

G. Stanford wrote (11-29-10):

We'll see what others on this list have to say, but in my opinion, Carlsen's enthusiasm for thorium is premature, to say the least.  The ONLY significant advantage a thorium cycle would have over fast reactors with metallic fuel (IFR/PRISM) is its lower requirement for start up fissile.  That advantage is offset by the fact that the thorium reactor is at a stage of development roughly equivalent to where the IFR was in 1975 -- a promising idea with a lot of R&D needed to before it's ready for a commercial demonstration -- which puts its deployment about 20 years behind what could be the IFR's schedule.  The thorium community has not yet even agreed on what will be the optimum thorium technology to pursue.

George S. Stanfordframe

On October 7 we received the sad news of the passing of Dr. George Stanford, one of the original members of SCGI. George was the first of the IFR scientists I contacted when I began my research that resulted, years later, in the publication of Prescription for the Planet. After acting as my original IFR mentor, he soon introduced me to Charles Till and Yoon Chang. Thus began a constant years-long four-person email chain as the three of them tutored me—with endless patience—so that I might introduce a wider audience to the amazing technology that they had developed with their team at Argonne West.

That mentorship has continued to this day. Their tutelage not only changed my life but the lives of many others around the world who have come to understand the profound nature of IFR technology, that it can literally transform the planet if we are wise enough to deploy it.

Despite his failing health, George's mind was clear and his intellect razor-sharp right up to the end. He was always willing to contribute his insights and expertise whenever called upon to do so, which happened frequently. He was always generous with his time and never patronizing no matter how unschooled his questioner.

After several years of friendship, his wife Janet once told me that George loved being again immersed in the IFR culture, doing his best to finally see the commercial deployment of the system. Alas, the delay was too long. It will be with regret, but with profound gratitude, that we toast George Stanford when the ribbon is cut on the first PRISM reactor, an event that will hopefully happen soon enough so that the rest of his colleagues will still be here to see it.

Tom Blees

Comments on TerraPower’s Travelling Wave Reactor (printable PDF version here)

By Dr George S. Stanford. George is is a nuclear reactor physicist, part of the team that developed the Integral Fast Reactor. He is now retired from Argonne National Laboratory after a career of experimental work pertaining to power-reactor safety. He is the co-author of Nuclear Shadowboxing: Contemporary Threats from Cold War Weaponry.

We hear from time to time about the Traveling Wave Reactor (TWR) that is being developed by TerraPower, an organization sponsored by Bill Gates. The developers are keeping many of the technical details to themselves. However, from the available info about the TWR, one can make some ball-park calculations. Some assumptions are necessary, because better numbers have not, to my knowledge, been revealed. If anyone has better info, please come forward.

Fact 1: In generating 1 GWe-yr of energy, any nuclear reactor necessarily fissions about 1 tonne of heavy metal, creating 1 tonne of fission products.

There are good reasons to forge ahead with IFRs.  Here are some:

1.  Eighty years of waste from 1000 (1-GWe) reactors would leave enough used fuel for 10 or 20 Yucca Mountains.

George S. Stanford, Gerald E. Marsh, and William Hannum

BULLETIN OF ATOMIC SCIENTISTS, 31 August 2009


Article Highlights

  • Advancements in nuclear power should help the world move beyond fossil fuels.
  • In particular, spent fuel recycling with fast reactors would solve some of the most vexing problems facing conventional nuclear power.
  • Other benefits include reducing weapons proliferation risks and excess plutonium and uranium stockpiles.

Read more...

Gerald E. Marsh and George S. Stanford

FORUM ON PHYSICS & SOCIETY of The American Physical Society Newsletter
April 2006, Vol. 35, No. 2


A recent, ill-conceived call to action from the Union of Concerned Scientists says this:

“In his State of the Union address, President Bush called for investment in ‘clean, safe nuclear energy.’ This seemingly harmless phrase, however,

From an interview with George Stanford in National Policy Analysis, Dec. 2001

What is the IFR?

You mean, "What was the IFR?"

O.K., what was the IFR?

IFR stands for Integral Fast Reactor. It was a power-reactor-development program, built around a revolutionary concept for generating nuclear power - not only a new type of reactor, but an entire new nuclear fuel cycle. The reactor part of that fuel cycle was called the ALMR - Advanced Liquid Metal Reactor. In what many see as an ill-conceived move, proof-of-concept research on the IFR/ALMR was discontinued by the U.S. government in 1994, only three years before completion.

You might soon see references to the AFR, which stands for "Advanced Fast Reactor." It's a concept very similar to the IFR, with some improvements thrown in.

Fast-neutron reactors could extract much more energy from recycled nuclear fuel, minimize the risks of weapons proliferation and markedly reduce the time nuclear waste must be isolated.
By William H. Hannum, Gerald E. Marsh and George S. Stanford

Read more...