[ExI] Could Thorium solve our energy problem?

Ryan Rawson ryanobjc at gmail.com
Sun Jul 11 20:47:32 UTC 2010

2010/7/10 John Clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net>:
> On Jul 10, 2010, at 5:23 PM, samantha wrote:
> So, are there any current commercial molten salt thorium reactor projects in
> the US?
> Not now, there were some small ones in the 1960's made by Alvin Weinberg but
> they were no help in developing weapons because they produced no Plutonium
> so they were shut down. Ironically Weinberg is the man who invented the
> pressurized light water reactor we use today and encouraged Admiral Rickover
> to put them in submarines, but when they just scaled up the submarine design
> for huge power plants he thought that was a dangerous move and believed his
> new idea, liquid Thorium salts, was a much better way to go. He was told
> that if he had doubts about his original invention it was time for him to
> get out of the nuclear business and he was fired.
> Today the amount of money spent on molten salt thorium reactors is zero. I
> think a larger number might be appropriate.
>  John K Clark

Wired had an article about Thorium reactors, most if it has been
already stated here, but there is one interesting snippet:


"Locked in a struggle with a nuclear- armed Soviet Union, the US
government in the ’60s chose to build uranium-fueled reactors — in
part because they produce plutonium that can be refined into
weapons-grade material. The course of the nuclear industry was set for
the next four decades, and thorium power became one of the great
what-if technologies of the 20th century."

Given the context of the cold war '60s this policy move (now
regrettable) does make some amount of sense.


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