Thorium is an abundant material currently disposed of as waste. It is found in coal ash piles and mine tailings. A single Rare Earths mine could produce enough Thorium byproduct to power the entire planet.
To do so requires a very different nuclear reactor than the kinds we use today. Not one that uses solid fuel rods, but a reactor in which the fuel is kept in a liquid state. Not one that uses pressurized water as a coolant, but a reactor that uses extremely stable molten salts.
The full description of this reactor is: 2-Fluid, Thermal-Spectrum, Molten-Salt Breeder Reactor equipped with a chemical fuel salt treatment module. Such a reactor was conceived of decades ago, as documented in the book "Fluid Fuel Reactors" .
Or, simply "LFTR" (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor) as proposed by Flibe Energy's Kirk Sorensen... a modern redesign of the 2-Fluid MSBR concept.http://Flibe-Energy.com/
Since 2011 (the year Flibe Energy was founded), legislators asking questions about Thorium have had their queries answered as if such a reactor design did not exist.
NNL [UK] and OECD [NEA] reports on the Thorium Fuel Cycle did not explore the implications of this reactor, and dismiss thorium based on challenges and mediocre performance found in other reactor designs.
For example, other options include a "Fast-Spectrum Molten-Salt Reactor". Worth pursuing, certainly, but has significant material challenges solved by LFTR. It requires more fissile inventory than LFTR... approximately 5x as much. And assuming the challenges of a fast-spectrum MSR can be met... both natural Uranium and natural Thorium can both be fully consumed as fuel in a fast-spectrum reactor. That is where Thorium is dismissed as only "4x as common as Uranium" (fast-spectrum usage) rather than "400x as common as U-235" (thermal-spectrum usage).
Thorium's advantages: both thermal-spectrum breeding and unique chemical properties, are taken full advantage of only by LFTR style reactors.
When evaluated in any other reactor, depending on that reactor, Uranium can be as attractive, more attractive, or Uranium can be the only viable option.
For example: Shippingport. Cited as an example of a "Thorium Reactor" by Dr. Lyons, it was NEVER intended to be economical, and features no advantages of LFTR. It was a solid-fuel reactor, and so operated at low-temperature, had no on-line chemical reprocessing, used high-pressure water coolant, used fuel as inefficiently as every other solid-fuel reactor, and had to be shut down every time it was refueled. 2 of its 3 fuel loads were Enriched Uranium. It was -a- Reactor capable of consuming Thorium and demonstrated only that it was possible... it was not -THE- Thorium Reactor.
If you'd like to watch a mini-series length (6.5h) documentary on this topic, please check out "Thorium." https://youtu.be/2oK6Rs6yFsM
...it goes into some technical detail on Thorium and Molten Salt Reactors, as well as nuclear power itself.
This video exists thanks to support pledged via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/tho...
Other videos I've edited on Thorium & Molten Salt Reactors can be found here: http://ThoriumRemix.com/
Music (at 28:29) created by Kilowatts: http://kilowattsmusic.com/
00:00 LWR: 0.05% of Uranium's Energy Potential
00:54 LWR: Chemical Instability
01:38 LWR: High Pressure
02:48 Alvin Weinberg
03:05 High Temperature not High Pressure
03:40 MSRE Achievement
04:08 Move Heat No Pressure
04:45 Salt: Ionic Bonds
05:33 Fluoride vs Fluorine
06:16 Cesium & Iodine
06:33 Drain Tank
07:53 Disperse Heat
08:36 Solid Fuel: Candles
09:24 Online Chemical Reprocessing
10:15 Legislators ask about Thorium
10:46 OECD NEA Thorium Report
11:23 Fast-Spectrum Dodge
12:08 Spent Fuel
14:10 Rare Earth Elements
15:41 China's Academy of Science
16:34 CO2 Raw Material
18:52 NASA, Recycling & Energy
20:57 Molten Salt Research Halted
21:28 World Set Free
22:28 CD-ROMs and Internet
23:15 Obama Administration
24:33 Regulations vs Liquid Fuel
25:12 Stymied in USA
26:08 Flibe Energy
26:41 MSRE Researchers
27:14 Export of MSR Expertise
27:41 China vs Global Warming
28:29 1969-2017 Timeline
33:08 Thousands of years of Slavery
33:32 Energy Density of Thorium
Other Video Sources
Found MSRE Doc