Thorium – the Answer to our Energy Needs…?

4 Feb

I’m out their with climate sceptics as to whether what is happening is the product of the population increase or a natural variation in the weather, like the ones we’ve seen throughout recorded history, but I’m also a realist and we can’t go on forever burning hydrocarbons but what if there was a safe alternative; that negates the CO2 hypothesis, should you choose to believe it, and the ever reducing supply of oil and gas. Well there is a perfectly safe way to produce energy in a nuclear reactor with none of the downsides to the reactors we currently rely on. Radioactive_Triangle

People tend to panic whenever ‘nuclear’ appears in a sentence but let’s not forget; the Sun is a giant nuclear reactor, nuclear reactions are responsible for every element in the periodic table which underpins our existence and there are 10 billion Neutrinos passing through your finger-nail every second and you don’t give them a second thought.  Radioactivity is everywhere, including the gas that comes from ‘Fracking’ in the form of Radon gas.

lean-03_1824459cI’m not going to explain the details of how one atom splits into two others, releasing energy but, crucially, 2 or more neutrons to sustain fission and keep the process going……

The Manhattan Project…..

We all know the story; the Yanks needed a nuclear fission bomb to bring about a swift end to the war.  Well, after gathering together the greatest minds on the planet (previous human rights misdemeanours forgiven), they were in the early days when most things at the atomic scale were still theoretical.  Rutherford had split the atom and that led to the Manhattan Project at a cost of $50 billion in our money.  MushRoom_Cloud_01When someone decided to use nuclear power for domestic purposes, there starting point was Uranium/Plutonium and the existing technology.  The trouble started because what the Americans wanted to do was eradicate a city.  This influenced the debate about obtaining maximum effect.  This bastardised technology is the bases of all reactors the world over; the practical offshoot is the product of weapons grade Plutonium.  Handy hey……

The Trouble with the Current Reactors……

Fukushima

Fukushima

The current style of reactor, worldwide, is basically the same.  They produce energy efficiently and run like clockwork until something goes wrong.  The designers new the dangers and consequently we have the classic looking dome shaped building, most of which is a double ‘safety’ measure.  The reactor takes up 1/10th of the building; the remainder to protect the outside world if/when things go wrong.  And, sooner or later, things do have a tendency to go wrong.

We have actually been surprisingly lucky thus far, in that most nuclear accidents have been caught in time and polluted a small area, if any.  But, as demonstrated by Fukushima, things go wrong and no matter how many layers of safety are in place, there is always going to be a situation that runs away and renders the safety measures redundant.  Then we are in the realms of ‘The China Syndrome’ and a complete reactor melt down in which heavy radioactive elements are released into the environment and spread around by natural processes……

The Solution……

The Thorium Based Molten Salt Reactor.  If I was to begin to explain how they work this article would turn into a 500 page thick Physics text book.  However, our saviour from boredom is at hand and has written a definitive guide in only six pages, which can be found at the end of the article.

My thanks to Alex Cannara for writing it……..

 

How does it Work……

It’s not actually that remarkable.  It has a simple layout and doesn’t require anywhere near the enormous multiple containment shields and constant pumping of water to remove heat.  It produces no nasty by-products and it’s a reality.  It produces no useful chemical elements that could be converted for use in weapons and shuts down automatically if it encounters a problem.  The technology has been tested and demonstrated but the power of the Nuclear Industry alongside the insatiable appetite for heavy elements with which to build bombs has left it unused……radioactive-waste-disposal

Some of the answers are already out there.  If governments argue about it, disregard it like the mental chewing gum they expect us to chew on, because they’ve already done the deal and another palm greased.  Do your own exploration of Thorium.  It’s a by product of the hunt for neodymium to make the shitty batteries we are all now using.  It’s a well known joke that the technology and components needed to make a Toyota Pius means as it is driven off the forecourt, it has done the equivalent of 200,000 miles, the average of a 10 year old car, partly down to the rare earth elements needed to make the batteries and motors……

Thorium Based Molten Salt Reactors…….

TR_Pg1TR_Pg2TR_Pg3TR_Pg4TR_Pg5TR_Pg6With thanks to Alex Cannara……

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