TED Conversations

Peter Gooley

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

THORIUM. Is it really that safe and great alternative to Nuclear? Is it the Other Miracle that Bill Gates is looking for?

I've been against Nuclear all my thinking life.. so from about age 20 and am now 54. Japan has not helped me become a lover of Nuclear. One thing that I heard briefly in a news report, was the word Thorium. It is apparently a rare earth mineral that is found with Uranium and dug at the same time.
I read the following.. and are yet to check the facts...
* It is a very efficient source of power generating material.
* It has already been dug up and is sitting in piles
* If there is a problem, you just simply turn it off like a light
* The waste can not be used to make a bomb
* Current Nuclear plants can be converted to use it
* It's actually cheaper than Uranium
* It doesn't require those big exclusion zones

Personally, I don't know enough about it, but from what I've read in an article titled "A report on Thorium: The newest of the technology metals . by Jack Lifton" which certainly seemed comprehensive and informed, I'm starting to wonder why this conversation hasn't been had before.

Interestingly, I don't see any reference to Thorium on the Terrapower website even though Stewart Brand referenced it in his Debate FOR Nuclear Power at about the 7 minute mark in the debate. I do note that a search for Thorium on the Terrapower website gives no hits at all.. Refer 13:20 into the Bill Gates speech as well. Not sure why.

What do YOU think?

+4
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Apr 19 2011: Peter I understand where you are coming from. I feel the same way. But I have been looking and I haven't found any negative information about LFTR's. So I have been wondering why they weren't built 40 years ago and why there still isn't a serious program in the USA to build a working commercialized prototype.

    Even if they did not produce any power if they can burn up and transmute existing nuclear waste into material that is safe in 300 years that would be worth it. But they also have the potential of producing power for less cost than coal. But I still have some unanswered questions.

    Are they a solution for the disposal of existing waste?

    What is the worst possible disaster that could happen at one of these reactors?

    Can they blow up?

    Can they be blown up?

    How safe would it be to live near one?

    They don't operate under pressure but they do produce significant quantities of poisonous radio-toxic gases. What kind of danger do these gases represent.
    • Apr 20 2011: As I understand it, LFTR was not pursued primarily because its waste products were poorly suited for the production of nuclear weapons, and the reason that they still aren't being built commercially in the US is because the established nuclear industry makes all of its money on uranium fuel production.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.