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When I first read about thorium I thought it was “too good to be true” and my leg was being pulled.
Now I am more convinced thorium is something of a “magic bullet.” There seems to be widespread agreement that it produces far less waste than uranium nuclear plants, that the waste is less dangerous and that it cannot produce weapons grade emissions. If the Denninger piece I linked to a few days ago is accurate then the plants themselves cannot “Chernobyl” or “Three Mile Island” on us. In point of fact nuclear energy is safe, even before upgrading to thorium. The French reportedly get up to 70% of their electricity from nuclear plants. Because they are state-of-the-art there have been no reported problems. Thorium can only improve this.
Here is a truly interesting quote from the article:
Like some other early reactors, Shippingport ran uneventfully for a few years on thorium-based fuel. But in civilian reactors, thorium was soon eclipsed by uranium. The United States and the Soviet Union, along with a few other countries, had already built vast infrastructures to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons, which provided full-blown uranium-based industrial complexes. Also, Cold War powers believed they could muddy the waters of intent by enriching uranium for military purposes and for civilian nuclear energy in the same buildings.
In other words, thorim has already been used successfully and safely as a fuel. It fell victim to geopolitics and is ready for reappraisal.
Thoirum also seems to have a great number of other plusses. I am sure the old saw about “things too good to be true” applies here and there is undoubtedly some downside. But I haven’t seen any truly bad downside yet. Of course I now ask what downsides trumps the ability to destroy the 78,000 tons of dangerous nuclear waste existing? Talk about taking potential weapons away from terrorists!!! Some years ago there was an attempt at using high temperature incinerators to burn off toxic junk and it did not work well. Thorium seems to be a key to destroying the very worst junk safely.
I will post more when I have it….
the whole article is here: