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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?

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  • Jul 11 2011: hmm... so I get the feeling you don't have a vested interest in this, but are, like myself, searching for the facts and trying to get your head around why this isn't a major direction that governments aren't supporting.. I guess it's because they just don't know enough about it... time to raise the bar methinks....
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      Jul 11 2011: Russia has a program that may be further than anyone knows.

      France has a largely theoretical program that maybe finally be getting engineering experience it needs from the Czech Republic making it more of true European effort.

      South Africa is throwing their hat in the ring with a serious startup effort

      China maybe putting some big bucks into a LFTR project,

      and there are the guys in Huntsville plan to have a working commercial prototype in 5 years.

      remains to be seen who will be first
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      Jul 11 2011: Never underestimate technological and industrial inertia. LFTR while it seems a no-brainer still takes some serious money and engineering talent as well as consistent effort. You could say up until recently there hasn't been the consistent effort since the ORNL program was killed as it was about to take the next step during the Nixon Administration.

      just saw this, a nice essay on exactly this topic
      title: Fukushima: Nuclear power's VHS relic?
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14060913

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