Thorium Reactors – a practical step forward after decades of being thrwarted?

I listened to Kirk Sorenson’s TED talk on thorium-fueled molten salt reactors and was pretty intrigued, even impressed.

I prefer ingenious use of solar such as integrating electricity-generating solar cells into buildings, clothing, backpacks, furniture, and so on               (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Building-integrated_photovoltaics ) and wind  such as using lightweight kites flown at very high altitudes and piloted to catch the wind optimally ( known as Wind Laddermills http://lr.tudelft.nl/index.php?id=25827&L=1 ).  The nuclear lobby is so powerful, though, that I think it is going to prevail in the short term.

So, in the interests of safety and environmental preservation, it makes sense to ask what the best type of nuclear power plant is.  Are there safer kinds that can be used to produce electricity commercially than the ones currently being promoted?

It seems to me that if any nuclear reactors are to be built at all, it is the kind that Kirk Sorenson talked about that holds promise.  On September 8th, there was a big step taken towards realizing this; the news story about the Weinberg Foundation and its advocacy of Thorium reactors is here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/sep/09/thorium-weinberg-foundation

A wonderful video of an hour+ lecture featuring Kirk Sorenson explaining the history of how Uranium Reactors triumped over Thorium-fueled Molten Salt Reactors for all the wrong reasons (it’s really horrifying that this happened) is here:

and a more recent, shorter, really fun 10 minute TED talk here:

Something to think about.  I am heartened by this activism, even though my preferences lie in the appropriate uses of wind and solar such as those I linked to above.  At least this activism about going to a kind of reactor that is much safer, more environmentally friendly, and doesn’t have the problems with proliferation that current reactors do shows that there are people who are thinking, questioning, doing their research, and exhibiting the courage to challenge steamrollers of energy politics.

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