[ExI] cure for global warming

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Mon Dec 27 18:56:44 UTC 2010

On Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 09:39:36AM -0800, Samantha Atkins wrote:

> Not so.  Build Thorium molten salt reactors as fast as you can crank 
> them out.  

There have been thorium reactors (one molten salt, and several
others, e.g. ball pile) in operation. All of them have been strictly
experimental, and none of them a resounding success. Molten salt
cores have interesting advantages, in theory. In practice, when
rolling out reactors you build certified, commercial products.

If one would want to start developing a molten salt thorium
reactor, it would take somewhere in 15-20 year time scale to
roll out first ones, and about as much (assuming the project
is a success) to make a difference. We cannot wait half a

> Streamline the process where you can.  

To be able to streamline requires a working process.

> This gives electricity cheaper than anything we can produce today.  

This is not at all obvious, and we're talking about electricity
half a century from now. A little bird tells me thin-film PV
will blow away everything.

> We have thousands of years of thorium. It produces extremely 

We have tens of billions of solar fusion.

> little radioactive waste.  And it is nearly impossible to 

Solar produces zero radioactive waste.

> weaponize the tech (which is why it was shelved in the 60s).  There is time.  Just.  

Any preparative neutron source can be used
to breed plutonium. Thorium molten-salt is definitely
not proliferation-resistent.
> >> So on to the next solution for now.
> > 
> > There is no single solution. Particularly when it comes
> > to renewable synfuels and chemical feedstock, we're up
> > fecal creek sans paddle. 
> Nope.  This one we can solve effectively.  

The last (nonrenewable Fischer-Tropsch) synfuel plants were 
shut down in early 1980s. What we need is developing a mild
CO2+H2 (electro)synthesis process and scaling it up to gigaton
range overnight. 

Given that nobody is even working on it our chances to switch
over to renewable gases and liquids are not good.

> The huge economic mess on the other hand, I have no 
> idea how to fix and am pretty sure it is now beyond 
> hope of avoiding a full meltdown.

It does of course make above far more difficult. As do
other negative factors.

Notice that the voters are completely oblivious to this
extremely basic issues, so of course their representatives
(about as much oblivous and/or ignorant) see no need to
address them proactively. The result is quite predictable.
Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820 http://www.ativel.com http://postbiota.org
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