Did you read about thorium reactors? Virtually no safety issues at all. Those are molten salt reactors, so things like China Syndrome / Chernobyl don’t apply, same with waste - basically none. The reason we have uranium based is purely due to war machine, as thorium doesn’t produce military grade byproducts (plutonium).
Germany killed (or is killing what is left) all nuclear plants, and replaced energy deficits mostly with lignite based power plants. The most polluting power plants ever.
well, the waste volume is lower but still highly unwanted thingies come out of those reactors (if someone ever manages to make one make them viable)
Thorium cannot in itself power a reactor; unlike natural uranium, it does not contain enough fissile material to initiate a nuclear chain reaction. As a result it must first be bombarded with neutrons to produce the highly radioactive isotope uranium-233 – ‘so these are really U-233 reactors,’ says Karamoskos.
This isotope is more hazardous than the U-235 used in conventional reactors, he adds, because it produces U-232 as a side effect (half life: 160,000 years), on top of familiar fission by-products such as technetium-99 (half life: up to 300,000 years) and iodine-129 (half life: 15.7 million years).Add in actinides such as protactinium-231 (half life: 33,000 years) and it soon becomes apparent that thorium’s superficial cleanliness will still depend on digging some pretty deep holes to bury the highly radioactive waste.
bit of an old article, but still
Agree that thorium has potential that needs to bee researched better, but it’s no magic bullet imo
If you want to understand more about thorium, why would you start with an article written by a guy that specializes in topics like “Apple Music?” We all have our preferences, but using an article without basically any citations is rather pointless (at least for me). If you want to balance your view, take a look at the rebuttal article (yes, could be biased, but at least gives some links, better explains issues).
Reading few paragraphs, all that this guy is doing is just spreading FUD (as I see it).
His fifth paragraph (“They also produce less waste, …”) is just a complete BS. That is FUD used in the best way one can do it, and clearly shows that the guy is outside of his environment.
For instance, instead of a long paragraph about the amount of thorium vs. uranium needed, he could just say that thorium burns about 98-99% of fuel, and uranium about 5-10%. Is that remining stuff a waste? Not exactly (and definitely not like Homer Simpson sees it - a green slime), but close. Thorium doesn’t have plutonium in its cycle, what further increases those percentages of what are harmful parts in that not processed part. If you also check potential byproducts of thorium, most of those isotopes have only about 30 days half-lives, and yes, there are also some with million/billion years there, but those ones produce way less radiation (per day, per gram). There are estimates that thorium produces from 100 to 1,000 less active waste. I think that it can be also appreciated that thorium reactor can be used to process (basically destroy) uranium nuclear waste, if that matters. From ecology point of view, you need to excavate about 200-500x less thorium than uranium, so mines have less impact on environment. Also, thorium is 3x more abundant than uranium, so more countries can depend on it (e.g., India, that I think doesn’t have much, if any uranium).
His paragraphs about technology being “unproven” or just a couple of reactors built so far is just untrue.
I also don’t understand why there are so many articles about how dangerous nuclear power plants are, where actually coal based power plants are killing people en masse. And those are just “black” coal, not lignite that Germany started to use recently. (No, Germany is not the only country that uses those power plants, but the first that replaced nuclear plants with those polluters) I have read too many articles by early anti-nuclear activists, that at the end concluded that they were just mislead, and supported by coal industry. Take a look at this article.
No, I am not saying that I am a thorium expert. Far from that. Although, I would start reading about it on Wikipedia, and eventually follow links that they included there. Lastly, those article are supported by WikiProject Element, so I doubt they have any extreme views, or notion of being written by any lobbying party.
Here are three articles that are really good starting reads:
I will get back to this properly when I have some time to do so, it’s been quite a while since I last looked into it.
I will say sorry for quoting an article by an apple specialist
I just quickly wanted to point out that Thorium reactors are not wholly without issues.
I am neither for or against Thorium but the problem is that whenever I read articles by proponents they read “to good to be true” and when I read articles by opposers they read “hidden agenda”.
The truth most likely will be somewhere in the middle. (this unfortunately is true for many of the great issues we all face, and a very sorry state of debate to find ourselves in)
In any case burning lignite (or any fossil fuel) is not a good idea at all.
But rather than any sort of nuclear fissure power, I would much rather see development in the area of Solar, Wind and Geo-Thermal energy. Most importantly some very promising battery technologies are suffering from the same major obstacle as Thorium does, money.
A typical family home can fit enough solar panels to provide all their electricity needs and a ground heat-exchange pump can supply you with all the heating you need. missing element here is viable energy storage and/or decentralized energy grid.
hmm I could talk about this for a long time but I have to get up early to go to your country (at least I assume you are from Germany?) to arrange some more cargo to fly with massive fuel burning planes to the other side of the world to deliver mostly luxury consumer goods…that’s my job at the moment.
Anyway very interesting topic and would love to discuss more but rather busy at the moment so can’t really give it the time it deserves. Will get back to this later to learn some more about thorium.
100% agree with that. It was not my intention to peddle thorium as the holly grail.
My point was just to say that context is also important. If not those activists that were killing nuclear, US would be more like France (nuclear is 70% of total electricity) or Sweden (about 50%/50% split between hydro and nuclear), where US is just at 19% and people are still raging to kill it all. That difference (not just for US, but extended to other countries as well) would gave us few more years to fight climate crisis.
I live in California, and since they started to kill nuclear plants (after Fukushima), we have the highest electricity cost in US (I think), and we are being asked every day to conserve, where every other week they pull the plug for few hours.
Kind of unknown fact is that in US, when a power plant is being built, a 1,000 year geological survey is requested (earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, …). For that Fukushima plant, they used only a 100 year survey, as they knew that this is an earthquake prone terrain, and otherwise maybe would not be able to build it, or would cost them more to properly protect it.
That is the most visible when comparing flat-earthers to physicists. You don’t want to read proponents or opponents, but rather raw data, and make your own decisions. Therefore, I mentioned all those links.
In US, the main opponents of solar are grid operators and coal industry (giving an equal platform to BS peddlers). The same with pot - the main opponents are private prisons and all alcohol industry.
Another thing related to US. When US started to give subsidies to ethanol farms, that caused a huge spike in corn prices in Mexico, that apparently imports a lot of corn from US. That hit the poorest part of that country really hard. There are talks right now to give same incentives to farmers to switch to solar, thus removing even more arable fields.
I am not against solar (rather strongly pro), just more for a balanced approach - consider what is on the table, and try to use what the data says is the best for a given spot.
hmmm , not sure what to say on this if we don’t look at carbon footprints (wind/solar/geo have supersized ones if you take into account the full line from mining till manfucaturing and placing) not a single one seems to be as neutral as nuclear (whatver method).
Regarding batteries, well yea that’s again an issue … now it costs a a lot of money to add eg a Tesla battery to your solar powered house … and I still don’t know if I will even make profit or not, nice to not having to pay elec except the winter months but lifetime/maintenance nobody really talks about it.
However today in a newspaper overhere, it seems that maintenance on electric cars is 3.2x more expensive than on non electrical cars … electric bikes … lifetime of batteries is to short so also an excessive cost to replace a battery…
Ok nothing to see with powering your house or industry but this shows that so called ‘green’ ain’t so ‘green’ at all …
Now the EU , several countries are proposing that the EU will buy united gas/elec/etc to avoid prices like now happening … wondering how those elec/gas providers as corps will react to that, having to buy kinda from the EU or just having 1 buyer (EU for the corps that extract/drill/generate etc)…
Well, it is better to call it energy storage. Once you consider that, there are two kind of obvious things to note. First is that unless you are off the grid, this is not (or should not be) a residential solution, as its cost effectiveness go up with scale. The second point, that storage doesn’t have to be in batteries, but could be in hydro (pumping water to a higher elevation to store it as potential energy, and run it down through generators when needed), or as simple as kind of elevators (you pull your heavy platform up, and then let it run alternators when you let it slowly go down).
So, if you are on grid, and need to consider batteries, it just points back to your grid operators influencing your legislators to keep the status quo (i.e., profits over climate).
By the way, you could apply the same logic to panels, although the difference is that due to low energy density, those panels take a lot of potentially arable land. Therefore, one can/should make an argument that all roofs are just wasted land, so why not to use it.
That is the “lignite” argument. Take a look at this article. Scroll down to “Nuclear power by country in 2020” table and sort it by “Share of total electricity use” and pay attention to the last column (Notes).
[Deleted this section, as I didn’t notice that the main article had data from 2020, where Sweden one was still at 2019, just before they killed few nuclear plants, although the “Historical …” chart shows the drop properly. Also, you can also notice on that chart, that they could easily keep the nuclear, and kill off all fossil/biomass, thus be 100% clean.]
Also, this article from IAEA is worth to check (it is the source for that table in Wikipedia).
Here is an excellent video about nuclear fusion. It shows that even if having all the data, we still need to watch for bias, even the one that is used to just bring potential grants, thus embellishing data.