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Wednesday 21 June 2017

Thorium nuclear update.

I have written about Thorium before (see What the Heck is Thorium?) as a potential savior in our clean energy jihad. It has been quietly percolating as one of the potential energy solutions in our energy starved planet.

Thorium nuclear power is not an 'embryonic' technology having had extensive research in the 60s and early seventies before being abandoned in favor of the Uranium based Light Water Breeder reactors that are widely used for nuclear energy today. 

Thorium however is a much better alternative as summarized in recent Peak Prosperity 
Kirk Sorensen: The Future Of Energy? thorium presents the following advantages over conventional nuclear power;
  • "Much safer - No risk of environmental radiation contamination or plant explosion (e.g., Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three Mile Island)
  • Much more efficient at producing energy - Over 90% of the input fuel would be tapped for energy, vs. <1% in today's reactors
  • Less waste-generating - Most of the radioactive by-products would take days/weeks to degrade to safe levels, vs. decades/centuries
  • Much cheaper - Reactor footprints and infrastructure would be much smaller and could be constructed in modular fashion
  • More plentiful - LFTR reactors do not need to be located next to large water supplies, as current plants do
  • Less controversial - The byproducts of the thorium reaction are pretty useless for weaponization
  • Longer-lived - Thorium is much more plentiful than uranium and is treated as valueless today. There is virtually no danger of running out of it given LFTR plant efficiency"
So where is Thorium technology today? Why not catch up on the technology in the podcast with Chris Martensen interviewing Kirk Sorensen one the most passionate advocates of the technology.

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