TED Conversations

TEDCRED 10+

This conversation is closed.

Most objections to it are quite irrelevant, since they assume the present solid fuel LWR type of reactor, which are not necessary at all.

We have all seen the Fukushima disaster on video, and are also aware of just how longlived the typical radioactive waste is. That should not even enter the discussion about nuclear energy, since there is an ALTERNATIVE type of plant which has NONE of these drawbacks, and burns the LWR waste as well. See the Thorium Liquid Fueled Reactor (LFTR). Youtube, Kirk Sorensen for a summary. LFTRs were designed at ORNL to power airplanes: developed, demonstrated for 4 years, and then forgotten for 50 years, just BECAUSE they did not produce bomb material. There are a great many technical reasons additionally why its a great idea. The fact that they use cheap and available Thorium, already plentiful as a low grade waste product, rather than expensive and scarcer Uranium , is only a handicap if you want bombs, as well as power. Because of scalability of LFTRs, they could be mass produced and exported to areas needing power, eliminating the great waste of power involved in transmission lines. The long lead times are merely a political artifact due to the extreme hazards of the existing type plants, which though "safe" are not "Failsafe", and require elaborate, expensive and redundant measures, as well as auxiliary power sources, to keep them "safe". LFTRS are not like that. Unfortunately, the LWR business model, which requires expensive solid fuel fabrication, would be made irrelevant by LFTRs; that is certainly a problem, but obselescence can be seen as a positive thing. It would be comforting for everyone to be honestly told that nuclear plants need not blow up, melt down, or release unmanageable amounts of radioactive waste sitting around for longer than our society has existed. Why don't the discussions of nuclear power reflect all this?

Share: