Thorium-based nuclear power

One new idea (to me) is “accelerator-driven subcritical reactors” that generate energy by the fission of lighter elements such as thorium without requiring a critical mass. Such reactors would never lead to meltdowns such as Fukushima and Chernobyl.

Although not mentioned in the book being reviewed, I would like to take this opportunity to promote another technology involving thorium that has been in our possession since 1945 which holds the promise of solving the world’s energy problems for a thousand years. I won’t worry about what happens after that. This is the liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR).[i] The only reason this specific reactor technology was dropped is that it has no military applications. It can’t meltdown either. You can really see why the fossil-fuel-funded politicians object. Victor Stenger


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thorium-based nuclear power is nuclear reactor-based electrical power generation fueled, ultimately, by the element thorium. According to proponents, a thorium fuel cycle offers several potential advantages over a uranium fuel cycle—including much greater abundance on Earth, superior physical and nuclear fuel properties, and reduced nuclear waste production. However, it suffers from higher production and processing costs, and lacks significant weaponization potential. Since about 2008, nuclear energy experts have become more interested in thorium to supply nuclear fuel in place of uranium to generate nuclear power.

A nuclear reactor consumes certain specific fissile isotopes to make energy. The three most practical ones are:

Some believe thorium is key to developing a new generation of cleaner, safer nuclear power.[1][2] According to an opinion piece (not peer-reviewed) published in a major scientific journal, considering its overall potential, thorium-based power “can mean a 1000+ year solution or a quality low-carbon bridge to truly sustainable energy sources solving a huge portion of mankind’s negative environmental impact.”[3]

After studying the feasibility of using thorium, nuclear scientists Ralph W. Moir and Edward Teller suggested that thorium nuclear research should be restarted after a three-decade shutdown and that a small prototype plant should be built.[4][5] Research and development of thorium-based nuclear reactors, primarily the Liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR),MSR design, has been or is now being done in IndiaChinaNorwayU.S.Israel and Russia.


[i] Richard Martin, Superfuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012); see also Stenger, God and the Atom, pp. 179-83.


About basicrulesoflife

Year 1935. Interests: Contemporary society problems, quality of life, happiness, understanding and changing ourselves - everything based on scientific evidence. Artificial Intelligence Foundation Latvia, Editor.
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