[ExI] Could Thorium solve our energy problem?

Max More max at maxmore.com
Fri Jul 9 04:17:21 UTC 2010

Brent: Am I missing something in what you say? It seems that you are 
taking the *current* world thorium reserves and then figuring out how 
long they would last. Even then, you get almost a thousand years of 
supply. But obviously the current reserves would be replenished and 
added to once there was actually a demand for thorium. It make no 
sense to take the current relatively stock -- which is only a tiny 
fraction of what we could extract -- and then say it won't last long, 
while ignoring new supplies. Yet that's what you *seem* to be saying. 
Please correct this impression if I'm wrong.


>Actually, less than a thousand.
>I base this on a calculation I did for a presentation on sustainable 
>energy for the layperson that I recently gave.
>The relevant data are:
>4.3 Mton world thorium reserves (source: OECD)
>Energy density: 80TJ / ton thorium (estimate based on conversion to 
>U233 via slow neutrons) World energy consumption (2006): 498 EJ 
>(source: EIA, IAEA, OECD) World energy annual growth rate (computed 
>from 1980-2006): 1.8%
>The calculation of when the cumulative energy usage exceeds the 
>energy available in the world's reserves of thorium is left as an 
>exercise to the reader. Please note that you have to include the 
>efficiency of a Carnot engine in the calculation for full marks. :)

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