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Kirk Sorensen: An Update On The Thorium Story

China sprints while the West slumbers
Sunday, August 31, 2014, 11:54 AM

Two years ago, we interviewed Kirk Sorensen about the potential for thorium to offer humanity a safe, cheap and abundant source of energy.

Kirk returns this week to relay what has happened in the thorium space since our last conversation. The East, most notably China, is now fully-mobilized around getting its first reactor operational by as soon as 2020. If indeed thorium reactors are as successful as hoped, the US will find itself playing catch up against countries who suddenly hold a tremendous technology advantage: » Read more

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Fukushima's Legacy: Understanding the Difference Between Nuclear Radiation & Contamination

It's very important
Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 10:55 AM

Are fish from the Pacific safe to eat?  What about the elevated background radiation readings detected in Japan, and recently, in California? Are these harmful levels?

Should we be worried? And if so, what should be done about these potential health threats? What steps should we take to protect ourselves?

As many of you know, I'm a scientist by training. In this report, I'll lay out the facts and data that explain the actual risks. I'll start by pointing out that Fukushima-related fears have been overblown as well as heavily downplayed by parties on each side of the discussion » Read more

Podcast

Kirk Sorensen: A Detailed Exploration of Thorium's Potential as an Energy Source

Benefits worth considering
Saturday, August 4, 2012, 11:50 AM

Kirk Sorensen, NASA-trained engineer, is a man on a mission to open minds to the tremendous promise that thorium, a near-valueless element in today's marketplace, may offer in meeting future world energy demand.

Compared to Uranium-238-based nuclear reactors currently in use today, a liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LTFR) would be:

  • Much safer - No risk of environmental radiation contamination or plant explosion (e.g., Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three Mile Island)
  • Much more efficient at producing energy - Over 90% of the input fuel would be tapped for energy, vs. <1% in today's reactors
  • Less waste-generating - Most of the radioactive by-products would take days/weeks to degrade to safe levels, vs. decades/centuries
  • Much cheaper - Reactor footprints and infrastructure would be much smaller and could be constructed in modular fashion
  • More plentiful - LFTR reactors do not need to be located next to large water supplies, as current plants do
  • Less controversial - The byproducts of the thorium reaction are pretty useless for weaponization
  • Longer-lived - Thorium is much more plentiful than uranium and is treated as valueless today. There is virtually no danger of running out of it given LFTR plant efficiency 

Most of the know-how and technology to build and maintain LFTR reactors exists today. If made a priority, the U.S. could have its first fully-operational LFTR plant running at commercial scale in under a decade.

But no such LFTR plants are in development. In fact, the U.S. shut down its work on thorium-based energy production decades ago and has not invested materially in related research since then.

Staring at the looming energy cliff ahead, created by Peak Oil, LFTR begs the question why not? » Read more