MotherBoard TV: The Thorium Dream
November 28, 2011 1:08 PM Subscribe
MotherBoard TV: The Thorium Dream If, like many of the world's leaders, you are eager for a dependable and cheap energy source that doesn't spew toxins and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere -- and that doesn't result in terrible, billion dollar accidents -- you can end your search now.
At least, that's the news from a tight-knit collective of energy blogs, dedicated to a common but relatively unknown metal called thorium.
In the right kind of nuclear reactor, they say, thorium could power the world forever -- and without the problems that come with the nuclear energy we use today, from Fukushima-like meltdowns to the difficult by-products of plutonium that leave behind radioactive waste and weapons material.
The idea certainly sounds like the stuff of fringe internet conspiracists, but it was actually born in the U.S. government's major atomic lab in the 1960s under the auspices of one of the country's most respected nuclear scientists, and the inventor of today's most common kind of nuclear technology, the light water reactor.
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- Thorium: World's Greatest Energy Breakthrough?previously on metafilter
alternate youtube link for The Thorium Dream
: Can Thorium end our energy crisis?
The Oil Drum: The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Paradigm
The Norwegian oil and energy corp Aker Solutions
bought Dr. Carlo Rubbia
's patent for this thorium fuel cycle
, and is working on his design for a proton accelerator.
India plans 'safer' nuclear plant powered by thorium
Safe nuclear does exist, and China is leading the way with Thorium
“If it begins to overheat, a little plug melts and the salts drain into a pan. There is no need for computers, or the sort of electrical pumps that were crippled by the tsunami. The reactor saves itself,” he said. They operate at atmospheric pressure so you don’t have the sort of hydrogen explosions we’ve seen in Japan. One of these reactors would have come through the tsunami just fine. There would have been no radiation release.”
Thorium-Based Molten Salt Reactors
: a pdf that sums up the history and the technology of Thorium reactors
When used in a reactor to breed 233U for fission, Thorium has so high an energy density that
12 grams (about 4 pennies) provides enough energy to supply a typical American’s needs for a decade.
That much Thorium can be found in about any cubic meter of rock on Earth, Moon or Mars. DoE has a 3200-ton
stockpile – enough for years of all US energy needs without mining. Mining of ‘rare earths’ typically
yields abundant Thorium as a byproduct"
perhaps this will lead to a new ATOMIC AGE