Since Russia invaded Ukraine, most of Europe has faced the huge problem of how to make up for Russian natural gas that more than likely will not be flowing in to western Europe this winter. This article about how they manage to wean themselves off Russian Gas really got my attention. (And we Americans don’t really appreciate how big a problem this is for Europe – we are too busy bitching about gasoline prices to even consider what enduring a winter without enough heat might be like.)
One part of the article stood out and gave me pause; Germany might well have to scale back their plans to completely retire all nuclear power plants, And THAT made me wonder: Why is no one – other than those of us who watch Ted and TedX talks on YouTube – talking seriously about scaling up and pushing forward on Liquid Fluoride Thorium powered molten salt reactors?
It’s not new or unusual technology. Here in the U.S. we had operating reactors at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as early as 1954. And others have already jumped way out ahead of us in developing this energy source. Take a look at an experimental reactor that is up and running right now. Notice how simple and compact it is compared to the massive, shielded buildings that house Uranium reactors. Notice also the flag hanging on the far wall; that’s also important.
Thorium is plentiful, cheap, easy to use, and isn’t anywhere near as radioactive as a waste product as Uranium or Plutonium. Reactor designs are already available and proven to be at least as reliable – and safe – as what we currently have in use. But beyond these Ted talks – which are fascinating – we don’t hear much about it. (By the way; you don’t have to be limited to just a few like these; Google “Thorium Nuclear Reactor” and you will get hundreds of links to watch and listen to.)
So why isn’t this a topic brought up in ANY discussion of energy needs and finally weaning ourselves away from the fossil fuels that are going to kill us all if we continue burning coal, gas, oil, and the like without a second thought?
Unless maybe these guys have a little bit to do with it?