Does Safer Nuclear Power Exist?

Photo: Stefan Kühn (CC)

Photo: Stefan Kühn (CC)

Can thorium be a safer alternative to uranium? China thinks so. The Telegraph reports:

This passed unnoticed –except by a small of band of thorium enthusiasts – but it may mark the passage of strategic leadership in energy policy from an inert and status-quo West to a rising technological power willing to break the mould.

Chinese scientists claim that hazardous waste will be a thousand times less than with uranium. The system is inherently less prone to disaster.

If China’s dash for thorium power succeeds, it will vastly alter the global energy landscape and may avert a calamitous conflict over resources as Asia’s industrial revolutions clash head-on with the West’s entrenched consumption.

China’s Academy of Sciences said it had chosen a “thorium-based molten salt reactor system”. The liquid fuel idea was pioneered by US physicists at Oak Ridge National Lab in the 1960s, but the US has long since dropped the ball. Further evidence of Barack `Obama’s “Sputnik moment”, you could say.

[Continues at The Telegraph]

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  • GoodDoktorBad

    “nuclear” is an ominous word. Considering the nature of nuclear fision, its vast and frightening energy potential has a bad rep for good reason. For instance, highly radioactive spent reactor fuel rods take up to fifty years to cool in a water bath that must be replenished constantly because of evaporation. If the rods are not cooled they will “melt down” reaching temperatures of thousands of degrees which if unchecked could lead to a nuclear explosion which would spread nuclear material not unlike a “dirty bomb”.

    This is just one example of the things that can and do go wrong. They may be able to improve the safety records of these plants, but they will never stop being a catastrophe waiting to happen. Eventually something always goes wrong, period. When the stakes are so high, sometimes its better not to play.

  • Anonymous

    “nuclear” is an ominous word. Considering the nature of nuclear fision, its vast and frightening energy potential has a bad rep for good reason. For instance, highly radioactive spent reactor fuel rods take up to fifty years to cool in a water bath that must be replenished constantly because of evaporation. If the rods are not cooled they will “melt down” reaching temperatures of thousands of degrees which if unchecked could lead to a nuclear explosion which would spread nuclear material not unlike a “dirty bomb”.

    This is just one example of the things that can and do go wrong. They may be able to improve the safety records of these plants, but they will never stop being a catastrophe waiting to happen. Eventually something always goes wrong, period. When the stakes are so high, sometimes its better not to play.

  • Butter Knife

    We already have “safer” nuclear, most problems arise not from technical issues or shortcomings, or even from incomplete or inadequate rules, but from human operational errors, lapses in judgement, or cutting corners in order to save time and money.

    Nuclear power, in many ways, is akin to Communism… on paper, it looks great, is extremely efficient, and solves every problem for everyone. In practice, it’s destined to be a cock up.

  • Butter Knife

    We already have “safer” nuclear, most problems arise not from technical issues or shortcomings, or even from incomplete or inadequate rules, but from human operational errors, lapses in judgement, or cutting corners in order to save time and money.

    Nuclear power, in many ways, is akin to Communism… on paper, it looks great, is extremely efficient, and solves every problem for everyone. In practice, it’s destined to be a cock up.

  • http://www.moldremoval.org Molds

    Great info. thanks for sharing

  • Alturn

    Nuclear fusion yes, nuclear fission no. It’s time to get fusion out of the closet where it was pushed by the corporate boys.

  • Alturn

    Nuclear fusion yes, nuclear fission no. It’s time to get fusion out of the closet where it was pushed by the corporate boys.

  • Jake Darwin

    see nukelies.com – section qerying nuclear power.  Thorium reactors may well simply be a cover for dumping toxic material.

  • Jake Darwin

    see nukelies.com – section qerying nuclear power.  Thorium reactors may well simply be a cover for dumping toxic material.