[ExI] Could Thorium solve our energy problem?

Brent Neal brentn at freeshell.org
Sat Jul 10 01:59:35 UTC 2010

On 9 Jul, 2010, at 13:25, John Clark wrote:

> On Jul 9, 2010, at 12:26 PM, Adrian Tymes wrote:
>> 4.3 Mtons * 80 TJ/ton = 344 EJ < 498 EJ
> That 4.3 million figure is just plain nuts.

Undoubtedly. But I'm willing to bet, based on oil (the example Max gave earlier) and other mineral resources, that the actual number for energy-return-feasibly recoverable thorium is less than 10x that number.  I'm also skeptical, though I have no hard data (yet) to back this up that we're more accurate than average on thorium since the most fruitful thorium deposits tend to occur in conjunction with other rare earths, which are exceptionally valuable.

Let's get back to orbital mining via robots. There are lots of other elements that should be relatively abundant in the inner solar system, including phosphorus (as apatites), the aforementioned rare earths (neodymium!) and, of course, thorium. :)


Brent Neal, Ph.D.
<brentn at freeshell.org>

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