Rational Conservatism from the Rocky Mountains
The Th-232 -> U-233 breeder reactor can burn 100% of its fuel (as opposed to the 2% or so we burn in our uranium based reactors). It doesn’t require typical isotopic seperation. We have thousands of tons of the stuff.
What energy crisis?
Plus thorium reactors are “hot” reactors and that makes them perfectly suited for some long-sought after technologies such as desalination of sea water.
There is at least ten times as much thorium available in the earth’s crust as there is uranium. It is generally easier to mine, in fact it is frequently a “nuisance mineral” when mining for other rare earth metals, meaning it is literally thrown away by the ton.
Thorium does not need to be refined like uranium.
The dirty little secret of the atomic energy industry is that uranium was picked as the fuel of choice for nuclear power stations because it produces “waste” plutonium which is useful for making bombs. Once the infrastructure for uranium plant building was in place, it was just easier to build more uranium plants than to ask the reactor builders to build entirely new reactors for thorium.
India is moving strongly towards a thorium reactor infrastructure.
One unintended consequence of the anti-nuclear hysteria in the USA which led to the moratorium on building new nuclear power plants is that the USA is actually in a good position to adopt a thorium infrastructure at very little cost compared to France or other European nations.
I’d love to see this pushed by someone, but nuclear energy is still a “third rail” in US politics…
Oh, one other thing, the USA has enough thorium to provide energy for the next hundred thousand years or so at current consumption levels.
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