Is Thorium Still the Silent Partner and Ignored Hope?

President Obama says he wants  clean energy and discussed the topic in his recent SOTU speech. He even set an ambitious clean energy goal somewhat reminiscent of JFK’s  pledge to get us to the moon in ten years – a pledge the nation met.

The transcript is here:


In fact, he sounded exactly like McCain/Palin in 2008

“Some folks want wind and solar.  Others want nuclear, clean coal and natural gas.  To meet this goal, we will need them all — and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.  ”

That is “All of the Above” If I ever heard it. He has never been an “all of the above” kind of guy and I doubt he is becoming one, but we can hope that the realities of the political landscape, and the desire of Americans for cheaper energy, have brought him around.

I find it very curious that he didn’t mention thorium or call for a quick passage of the Reid/Hatch bill. Thorium is probably the quickest route to energy independence and it is the only one with a proven track record and determined safety. It is clear by now that thorium can be used to generate energy, reduce the risk of proliferation, and eliminate the toxic wastes generated by our current methodology of using coal. Those advantages have been elucidated in previous posts. Failure to mention them in the SOTU is puzzling and leads me to suspect the administration and congress are unserious about solving our energy problems. They would rather give money to congenial special interests pushing inefficient or dead-end technologies such as wind-power rather than go with a safe, proven technology.

The folks at WattsUpWithThat think the administration may be listening to the wrong academics.

A quote:

“The world they envision would run largely on electricity. Their plan calls for using wind, water and solar energy to generate power, with wind and solar power contributing 90 percent of the needed energy.”

Solar power depends on solar panels, which take up space and wind energy is almost a legend for its inefficiency. The windmills are also a death sentence for birds and probably not so good for other wildlife. There have been efforts to redesign windmills to minimize the loss but up to 40% of the energy is lost.  Why spend so much effort on inefficient technologies when thorium is abundant? Presumably because the “green energy” lobby has the ear (wallet) of congress and can force us into paying taxes to support the ” greens. The dirty secrets of the “green” industry are legion and include CFL bulbs filled with mercury and the rare metals issue:

Check this comment from a reader at WattsUpWithThat:

“Before one gets to high up on the soap box… it might be wise to consider the base loading & efficiency problems with clean energy sources… esp wind & solar. As an engineer, having worked, hands-on in the utility industry for 30+ yrs., I appreciate the issue that conventional wind/solar conversion methods are at best, 20% efficient… so you will always need a backup power supply for base loading your electrical grid. Lets resolve that problem first before we get to carried away with grand ideas.”

I have nothing against solar power. I have nothing against wind power. But they aren’t the answer in large part because they are inefficient. Mr. Van Slooten cites a higher loss than I have heard. The point is that thorium is an incredibly powerful source of nuclear energy that is far cleaner than coal – safer, too. We should be spotlighting it. I firmly believe conservatives and the Republicans should get on board this train before we are forced onto another one.

This entry was posted in Barack Obama, Climate, Energy, Thorium. Bookmark the permalink.

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