Monday, July 28, 2014

Nuclear power 2.0: Thorium - hmmm

The Economist has an article describing the virtues of Thorium reactors, which appear to be cheaper and safer than regular nuclear power. I have an old knee-jerk reaction against nuclear energy, but compared to frying the planet using coal this sounds worth exploring. 

A few quotes from the article: 

"One of the cleverest things about LFTRs is that they work at atmospheric pressure. This changes the economics of nuclear power. In a light-water reactor, the type most commonly deployed at the moment, the cooling water is under extremely high pressure. As a consequence, light-water reactors need to be sheathed in steel pressure vessels and housed in fortress-like containment buildings in case their cooling systems fail and radioactive steam is released. An LFTR needs none of these."

"Even the waste products of LFTRs are less hazardous than those of a light-water reactor. There is less than a hundredth of the quantity and its radioactivity falls to safe levels within centuries, instead of the tens of millennia for light-water waste."

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