In this video from Gordon McDowell’s youtube channel, 3 advocates for Thorium as a nuclear fuel detail the clear and present danger from depending on China for practically all of our rare-earth needs. This might be the foot in the door for Uncle Sam to take Molten Salt Reactor technology seriously.
Tag Archives | Thorium
In a Sept 2014 talk at the Economic Club of Canada, Hugh MacDiarmid coolly lays out the groundwork of a new energy future, without the pie-in-the-sky wishes of fusion, the intermittent inadequacy of solar and wind, or the non-renewable carbon emissions of coal, oil, and gas.
Canadian company Terrestrial Energy is on track to make the first commercially viable molten salt nuclear reactor by early next decade, at first supplementing coal but ultimately supplanting it for electricity production. The molten salt reactor (MSR) is a type of Generation 4 reactor with roots in the 1950s at Oak Ridge National Lab and has manifold advantages over existing reactors. The MSR uses a liquid salt loop to contain its fissile material such as uranium, thorium, or plutonium oxides. Since the reaction occurs in liquid fuel, it is literally impossible to melt down, and since it reacts at atmospheric pressure there is no need for a massive reinforced containment vessel.… Read the rest
Almost everybody today agrees that it would be really smart (if not vitally essential) that we reduce the amount of fossil carbon we release from giant, tupperware-geological structures deep inside the earth. But how would we accomplish freeing ourselves from coal, petroleum, and gas while maintaining a dependable flow of electricity?
Mainstream environmentalists currently advocate for generating energy from wind turbines and solar arrays, whose energy comes more-or-less directly from the sun. With solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, and wind turbines we can produce electricity without generating any carbon dioxide (once these devices have been manufactured and placed on a field or ocean somewhere). Unfortunately, one issue with these technologies is that the energy is intermittent. With the wind dying down and the Sun being obscured by clouds or the night, these devices only actually generate electricity a small minority of the time, let’s say generously 30% of the time.… Read the rest
You may have read my last piece about thorium nuclear energy. If so you know the insanely real capability existing thorium technology has to overhaul energy production not just in the US but worldwide.
But just to give you a little background anyway, The Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) is a technology developed in the early 60s, originally to build a nuclear-powered bomber for the Air Force. As it turns out, the technology has far wider applications. Thorium fuel is cheap and abundant and far exceeds uranium-water reactors for efficiency and safety without the high-volume waste production. LFTRs remain an untapped technology in the US, while China is currently acting on plans to build their own reactors. More power to them! If you want a GREAT informational video on the history and benefits of the technology, check this out.
How ‘Thor’ May Save the World:
Unbeknownst to most climatologists that decry nuclear energy for its environmental liability (in the form of radioactive waste and potential Chernobyl/Fukushima meltdown), there is a friendly and feasible cousin to the Uranium reactor that uses Thorium (yes named after the Norse god of thunder).
Thorium is an element much more abundant than Uranium in the Earth’s crust (comparable in abundance to Lead), and is already produced industrially as a byproduct of rare-earth-metals mining. Thorium reactor designs (using liquid Fluoride as coolant) consume atomic fuel far more efficiently than Uranium reactors using pressurized water as a coolant. Furthermore, these reactors are ‘incapable of meltdown’ and produce hazardous radioactive materials lasting only 300 years as opposed to 10,000 years for Uranium, in relative quantities of 1 ton instead of 35 tons, respectively. Unlike Uranium reactors, Thorium does not pose a proliferation risk because none of the products or reactants present viable materials for creating an atomic bomb.… Read the rest
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.
… Read the rest
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.