According to a news release this past week Professor Egil Lillestol has been trying to convince Norway that a nuclear reactor based on thorium would be a viable solution to the worlds growing energy demands without the environmental impact of coal, or the hazards of traditional nuclear energy. Is he onto something? Read on to see the gory details.
From the article:
- There is no danger of a melt-down like the Chernobyl reactor
- It produces minimal radioactive waste
- It can burn Plutonium waste from traditional nuclear reactors with additional energy output
- It is not suitable for the production of weapon grade materials
- The energy contained in one kilogram of Thorium equals that of four thousand tons of coal
- The global Thorium reserves could cover the world’s energy needs for thousands of years
That sounds pretty fucking sweet. And maybe a little bit too good to be true. What’s the catch? Well, I suppose that it’s still nuclear power, so the dangers inherent in that are still a factor, but we’ve gotten a bit better at managing it recently. We haven’t had a Chernobyl or a 3-Mile Island in, what, two decades? That’s pretty good… I guess.
But how realistic is this plan? And who stands to gain/lose from it?