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German court reinstates nuclear reactor in green energy competition

Posting in Design

Glitz, green and nuclear. Presenters at the gala GreenTec Awards, where a court has reinstated a nuclear reactor as a finalist, include German TV personality Stefan Godde, pictured on GreenTec's home page.

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A Berlin court has ordered a German green group to reinstate a novel nuclear reactor into the final round of a prestigious awards competition aimed at honoring the best new ideas in environmentally and economically sound energy technologies.

As SmartPlanet reported last month, judges in the GreenTec Awards had disqualified a liquid reactor known as the Dual Fluid Reactor after the public in an ostensibly anti-nuclear country had surprisingly voted it as one of three finalists for consideration at a gala awards ceremony scheduled for Aug. 30 in Berlin.

The disqualification alarmed many people, including the reactors' designer, Berlin's Institute for Solid-State Nuclear Physics, which appealed.

Earlier this month, an appeals court ruled in favor of the DFR's backers. As German blogger Rainer Klute reported:

"The DFR’s expulsion from the GreenTec Awards was unlawful and must be undone, the Berlin Court of Appeal decided now (case 25 W 22/13)...Greentec Communications GmbH must accept the results of the online voting, treat the DFR according to the original contest rules and allow it for the finals. Consequently, the jury must repeat its vote for the overall winner, taking into account the Dual-Fluid Reactor as a regular candidate."

The DFR is one of several designs around the world for a "molten salt reactor", which has safety, cost and operation advantages over today's conventional solid fuel reactors. Bill Gates' nuclear company, TerraPower, has begun investigating liquid reactors.

Whether the judges will actually select the DFR as the ultimate winner is another question. But the technology's reinstatement in the competition is a clear victory showing that nuclear technologies - especially nuclear that departs from tradition - deserve a place in the movement toward low carbon energy technologies that can help reverse manmade climate change.

Photo is a screen grab from the GreenTec Awards website.

There's more than one way to harness atoms, on SmartPlanet:

Click here for an archive of stories about alternative nuclear technologies including thorium fuel, liquid reactors, etc.

— By on August 18, 2013, 9:55 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure