@ StephenGloor, it is my belief that when people know their ass is on the line, they will do what ever is necessary to save it. As far as energy is concerned out ass is on the line, only people don't know it. When the situation becomes truely desperate, the chances of people waiking up increases. At that point the remarkable will become possiblle.
Stephen you miscounted the number of reactors that the Manhatten Project delivered. Infact the Manhatten project delivered four prototypes of three distinct types of reactors. One in graphite reactor in Chicago, one production prototype graphite reactor in Oak Ridge, One prototype heavy water reactor at Chalk River, and one prototype homogenious reactor at LAs ALAMOS. In addition three production reactors were built at Hanford. The first of three WWII Hanford reactor was went into operation less than two years after the Chicago prototype was first tested. The Handford reactors was over 250 times more powerful than the Chicago prototype. The first nuclear weapon based on plutonium from Handford reactors was tested, 2 1/2 years after the first test of the Chicago pile, and the first waretime militaty use of a plutonium bomb came less than a month later.
Stephen I have repeatedly looked at energy storage, and have concluded that the most viable energy storage system involves the use of Molten Salts. Unfortunately this storage system only works one renewable generating system. , conccentrated solar power, which ene EIA a mature technology, that is more twice as expensive than conventional nuclear power. http://nucleargreen.blogspot.com/2010/01/eia-2016-nuclear-costs-will-be-...
Some time ago, I discussed Mark Z. Jaconson's paper on the Car to Grid storage system.
I noted, "Jacobson would have us believe that only 3% of the current American car fleet or 4.5 million cars could provide backup for the entire wind powered grid. This would mean that Jacobson believes the entire grid can be backed up with 45 billion Watt hours of electricity from back up batteries, assuming the batteries were on a 24 hour a cycle. A single nuclear plant could produce 24 billion watt hours of electricity in a day, or over half the electricity that Jacobson claims will back up a wind penetrated grid. To appreciate the magnitude of the backup problem it should be pointed out that on February 28, 2008, Texas wind electrical production dropped from 1,700 megawatts to about 300 megawatt in a 10 minute period. 1100 MW of backup capacity were brought on line during the wind outage. This outage would require the battery storage of 110,000 Texas cars if the wind outage continued for an hour. Clearly Jacobson has failed to conduct a serious analysis of the V2G idea, and this failure is consistent with Jacobson's generally shoddy standards of analysis."
Thus clearly the case for car to grid storage systems in no where near a slam dunk, and requires a great deal more attention.
As for a business as usual approach to MSR development, commercial MSRs can be built using only MSRE tested technology. The MSRE ran successfully and almost continuoulsly for three years without a problem. A commercial MSR could be developed using that tested technology. Dr. Kazio Furukawa, a Japanese reactor scientist, has stated that utalizing MSRE technology and a business as usual approach, he can have a commmercial mini-reactor prototype ready in 6 years, and a larger reactor ready in 12 years. http://nucleargreen.blogspot.com/2010/10/dr-furukawas-vision.html
The primary reason for a Manhatten project type approach would be to develop a factory production system that would be capable of deplying thousands of MSRs before 2050, and to develop a sustainable MSR, the LFTR.