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Thorium Nuclear Reactors (short)

August 27, 2011

A great idea has to be explained in one breath.

I’m an advocate for nuclear power, and for the liquid fueled Thorium reactor in particular.

Why would anyone want Thorium reactors?

They produce safe, clean and cheap power.

 Are Thorium reactors something new?

We ran a Thorium reactor in the 1960s, but then we stopped.

 Why can’t we make them now?

Regulations changed since the 1960s, and development takes money.  No investor will bet a billion dollars on a politician’s promise to let us license this new type of reactor.

But don’t reactors need safety regulations?  Can’t reactors explode?

  • Thorium reactors operate at low pressure, about the same pressure as your car tire.
  • They can’t have a steam explosion because they don’t need water to stay cool.
  • They are passively safe, which means they will safely shut down all by themselves if you walk away from them.
  • And Thorium is the wrong fuel to make an atomic bomb, so we don’t have to worry about terrorists stealing it.

That sounds good, but doesn’t this reactor make nuclear waste?

That is the great thing about them!  Liquid fueled Thorium reactors make almost no nuclear waste, and their used fuel decays in 300 years, not the 30,000 years that is typical for a conventional reactor.

Is that the only difference between Thorium and other nuclear plants?

  • Thorium reactors are so efficient that the plants don’t need to sit next to a river or ocean for cooling.
  • It is so safe it doesn’t need a massive building to contain a steam explosion.
  • Since the plant is small, it can be built on an assembly line like an airplane or ship, not built on site like a huge building.
  • These small power plants could be installed where they are needed in weeks, not years.

Well, they must need some kind of fuel.

Sure they do.  Thorium is found all over the world. We’ve already found a thousand years supply of it right here in the US.

So you must need government assistance to develop these reactors, right?

We need what every business needs.  We need a stable and fair regulatory and investment environment.

Then you’re stuck until things change in the US!

Not quite.  The US military can license reactors for its own use.  That’s what we’re looking at now, but the Chinese are pursuing these reactors too.

Great, we’ll wait until we have to buy these reactors from China! 

No.  Until we can build them here, I talk to people like you.

There must be a catch.

 Find out for yourself.  Visit EnergyFromThorium.Com


With words and music- – YouTube video
The longer exposition is here  “The Advantages of Thorium Reactors”

Costs and Regulation- “Disruptive Thinkers and Thorium Reactors”

Thorium Reactors for Chemistry Students

The Humanitarian Motivation of Thorium Power (video)

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 9, 2011 5:46 am

    Why not sell Thorium reactors the same way the original glow-in-the-dark variety got sold in the 50’s – 60’s? Get a gutsy admiral on board and put them on a ship. Is that viable? You mention that thorium reactors are smaller than ‘Uranium burners’ is the power output that much smaller too? Actually what I’m getting at is will there be a space and weight saving if you replace the current reactor on a nuclear sub with a thorium reactor. A large saving would be a huge selling point to the Navy, once you get a CinC that actually understands the military and their needs.


  2. Buck permalink
    September 16, 2011 2:48 pm

    Whats the catch ? there must be some reason this was kept from going forward . how does it compare to solar and wind , or for that matter biofuels ?


    • September 18, 2011 5:16 pm

      I don’t think there is a catch. You can find out for yourself by reading at
      The early Thorium reactors failed the political/licensing competition once Uranium reactors were adopted.
      Thorium should have a much lower carbon footprint than the power sources you’ve named. AFTER it is licensed, Thorium should have lower cost across its life-cycle. (The life cycle consist of permit/license, purchase, install, test, train, commission, operate and finally decommission and disposal.



  1. Disruptive Thinkers and Thorium Power « SlowFacts

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