[ExI] Silence in the sky-but why?

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Tue Sep 24 17:40:41 UTC 2013

On Mon, Sep 23, 2013  Tomasz Rola <rtomek at ceti.pl> wrote:

>>  environmentalists refuse to even consider renewable energy sources like
>> thorium reactors.
> > Is it so?

Yes that is so.

> I have just checked a little. I am not convinced thorium can be deployed
> wide scale in the coming five years.

So what? We don't need to deploy it in the coming five years.

> I am not going to bet on ten years either.

So what? We don't need to deploy it in the coming ten years either.

> The closest date for some results seems to be somewhere around 2030:

17 years is more than good enough.

> > From what I understood, thorium _is not_ a drop-in replacement to be
> used in current plants.


> Moreover, there are quite a few problems not yet fully researched or
> solved:

Sure there are still technological problems to be solved, but they are
trivial compared with the problems of making wind power abundant and
economical, and super trivial compared with making even an experimental
fusion reactor that just produces a little more energy that it needs for
operation. And yet over the last 30 years tens of billions of dollars have
been spent on fusion research but virtually nothing on Thorium research.

  > For me, thorium is just a possibility. It is not something I'd bet all
> my eggs on.

But wind power and solar power and, god help us, bio-fuel, is something to
bet all your eggs on?

> BTW, thorium abundance is problematic to me, too. I have read it is only
> 3-4 times more abundant than uranium.

Uranium is not a particularly rare element and Thorium is much more common
than Uranium, in fact it's almost twice as common as Tin. And Thorium is
easier to extract from its ore than Uranium. At best a (non-breeder)
Uranium reactor only uses .7% of its fuel (and usually less than that)
because it can only get energy from the rare U235 isotope; but natural
Thorium has only one isotope and a Thorium reactor can use 100% of it.

It would only take 2000 tons of Thorium to equal the energy in 6 billion
tons of coal that the world uses each year. There is 120 TRILLION tons of
Thorium in the earth's crust and if the world needs 10 times as much energy
as we get from just coal then we will run out of Thorium in the crust of
this planet in 6 billion years.

  John K Clark
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20130924/8e0eac75/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list