Unlimited Energy from the Past…
– IMPACT REPORT –
Thorium: Fueling a Limitless Future
As we all continue to waste enormous amounts of precious time and energy on re-hashing the nuclear debate, while continuing to poison and destroy our natural (and even socio-political) environment with all the toxic byproducts of the pre-dominant methods of fossil-fueled based energy production, perhaps we could also consider some of the cleaner alternatives which ironically have been waiting in the wings since they were first discovered way back at the dawn of the Cold War Era.
To learn about the historical mistakes that caused Thorium Energy to be delayed until now…
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Just below, is quite possibly the very best, most condensed and comprehensive explanation of not only how nuclear energy is derived, but also how Thorium-based reactions are a superb alternative to Uranium based energy. This video also covers the tragic reasons why Thorium energy was buried by Uranium-based fission, and includes a complete explanation of how liquid fluoride Thorium reactors (LFTR) could in fact be the magical silver bullet that will enable a sustainable version of our highly industrialized Society! If you’re curious, then just continue reading about how and why ( a long suppressed) Thorium-nuclear based energy grid could be our best and possibly last chance for surviving the Fossil-Fuel age.
This material is dense, fast, and superbly comprehensive !
Are you ready to explore the Future?
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We should pause to briefly clarify the paths available for proceeding into a future where we leave the fossil-fuel age far behind us. Solar and Wind can definitely help us do this on smaller scales, however without radically limiting our current Consumption (not necessarily a bad thing), nobody with a realistic sense of economics and social behavior expects these marginal sources scale up sufficiently to meet our baseload requirements at any point in the near future. That’s not to say that new forms of PV or mechanical generation can’t be realized in the future (using solar and wind as sources), but rather that we need to be ever-mindful of the inescapable fact that we just don’t have the luxury of time to develop these marginal sources, while constantly burning through hydrocarbons to sustain us in the meantime.
Therefore the rhetorical debates around Pro/Anti-Nuclear energy can and should be put into their proper Future perspectives for at least two very good reasons:
Leading experts in the Green Movement have already started a Cultural shift away from the traditional fears of historical nuclear programs, by putting the ” dangerous waste and weapons” issues into a more realistic and long term view of their impacts, in relation to the immediate and ongoing damages from our current Energy sources and usage patterns.
– Former Greenpeace director Stephen Tindale says “atomic power is an important way forward in climate change battle”
– Greenpeace Co-Founder Patrick Moore says “Nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change!”
– Global warming scientists like James Hansen was among the first to sound the Global Warming alarm, and has since become a proponent of Thorium fueled energy.
Thorium is a form of fuel that could revolutionize the entire nuclear energy industry by completely changing the supply/enrichment, production methods, reactor fuel cycle and by-products, as well as the resulting waste and weaponization risks of nuclear energy. Although the use of Thorium was abandoned at the beginning of the nuclear age, due to the weaponization potential of Uranium (a pivotal tipping point in history), it is now poised to make a major re-surgence in it’s Future potential…and could in fact divert Humanity away from a course to ecological oblivion.
Here’s a quick overview of the (posibly supressed) long-held and promised benefits of Thorium:
These are benefits not only to the future of Energy production, but also in the resulting elimination of the factors that contribute to the weaponization potential within Uranium-based nuclear energy processes, and all their dangerous by-products.
Thorium is named for the Norse god of thunder, and it’s an Actinide that can produce a form of fission that is almost self sustaining produce more neutrons per collision than conventional fuel. The more neutrons per collision, the more energy generated, the less total fuel consumed, and the less radioactive nastiness left behind.
- It is plentiful in nature, and virtually inexhaustible. It is very abundant in the US (at least 175,000 tons) of the stuff, and doesn’t require costly processing or enrichment.
- It is safe. You could carry a lump of it in your pocket without harm!
- It dissolves in hot liquid fluoride salts, which enables a self-regulating form of fission that can never cascade out of control, or result in core “melt-down” scenarios. This is the principal behind the “Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) or “lifter” design.
- US reactor base could be converted to LFTRs and existing domestic thorium reserves would power the US for a thousand years.
- After it has been used as fuel for power plants, the element leaves behind minuscule amounts of waste. And that waste needs to be stored for only a few hundred years (short half-life), not a few hundred thousand like other nuclear byproducts.
- It’s also one of only a few fissionable substances that acts as a thermal breeder, in theory creating enough new fuel as it breaks down to sustain a high-temperature chain reaction indefinitely.
- It’s reaction process is very self-regulating, and can be stopped and started very quickly/efficiently, which makes it an ideal source of both highly adaptable ‘baseload’ as well as ‘balancing power’ in future electrical grids – Which are expected to fluctuate greatly with the increasing use of highly variable/fluctuating wind and solar energy availability.
- Based on the much higher reactor costs (compared to graphite moderated uranium piles), the inherent U232 contamination of Thorium reaction, the enormous costs and challenges of modifying the reaction cycles of Thorium to eliminate the U232 contamination, and finally the much greater challenges of handling such “hot” by-product, it would be virtually impossible for the byproducts of a thorium reactor to be used by terrorists or anyone else to make nuclear weapons. Essentially, LFTR is a complex reactor to design (and even more costly to modify) and would not be even remotely close to the reactor of choice for aspiring nuclear-weapons states.
- Thorium reactors can be used to consume spent Uranium fuel, and other by-products including the materials from de-commisioned weapons which are currently in storage.
- The use of Thorium as the primary fuel source in the future, would also eliminate the need to mine, process and enrich Uranium on such a large scale, and thus make it increasingly unavailable for any weapons projects.
- Thorium based nuclear energy would also relieve the strain and demand on current energy supplies, and thus greatly negate the possibility of Future wars being waged over conventional energy resources. In short, eliminating the need to wage wars for access to Oil and Gas!
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There is so much more to explore on this subject obviously…
In the meantime, you can enjoy this excellent presentation by Joe Bonometti, who gave a Google Tech talk on liquid fluoride thorium reactors: