With the U.S. Congress working out the “energy bill,” if one could label that thing as having much to do with assuring low cost, planet friendly and economically beneficial energy for everyone, there was some months back a flurry of thorium reactor information on the net from blogs and sites. One of the most useful for extrapolating into the future was Michael Anissimov’s piece here:


It’s a little disjointed and hard to follow but Michael opens with a quote from Egil Lillestol, professor of physics at the University of Bergen in an announcement about starting work to build a thorium reactor. The quote is a link on Michael’s posting. The first paragraphs go on to show where the thorium research effort could go and where it was first considered.

Michael then goes on to discuss the state of the current high performance Gen III reactors as for sale now. Most interesting is the cost issues that Michael reviews using the history of Commonwealth Edison’s experience. The vast increases come primarily from regulatory requirements and the stunning impact is illustrated quickly with so many installations done by one company in comparatively close proximity.

With that discussion done Michael dives into the thorium future. The highlights are a dramatic reduction in regulatory costs, as thorium doesn’t offer the potential danger that uranium poses. These aspects also would dramatically reduce the construction costs. Then he covers the fuel cost issue.

The posting offers an interesting view of the implementation benefits and a strong link list. In the face of no proven on track fusion device, perhaps our tax dollars would be better spent researching, developing and proving up something with the attributes of thorium reactors than signing up for $50 billion dollars of losses when either fusion or thorium reactors can come on line. At least these thorium reactors could be expected to provide a payout over a long period of time and with the list of potential sizes offer an alternative that would be worthwhile for a very long time.

Once one gets a feel for Michael’s writing style there is a lot to think about here. Recommended!


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