Two Irish lads are making a documentary about Thorium reactors. Frankie Fenton and Des Kelleher from Dublin, Ireland went on Kickstarter to raise £40,000′ Their 30-day Fundraising period just ended successfully on June 21st, with 756 backers pledging £46,800. Congratulations, Boys! Now the real work begins!
Note: With the pledge period over, this blog post is NOT a plea for money. They got what they needed.
The promo is here.
The trailer is here.
The blurb from the Kickstarter page:
The Good Reactor
Up until the mid 1970s, research into thorium – a silvery-white metal – as an energy source in Molten Salt Reactors, was carried out by the US government. The initiative was shelved however, in favour of uranium due in part to the politics of the Cold War and uranium’s potential for weaponization. Today, there is a growing body of scientists and environmentalists seeking to resurrect this technology, believing that it is the solution that the world has been waiting for – a way to generate clean, safe, green energy.
For the last two years we have poured every penny we have into travelling around Europe and North America to speak to the people involved in this project, and their opponents, to try to uncover the truth about thorium: whether it is, as many believe, the solution to the energy crisis.
“A golf ball sized ball of Thorium contains all the energy you will use in your entire lifetime.” — Kirk Sorensen, leading advocate of Thorium LFTR reactors and the man who brought Thorium rectors to the world’s attention after they had been all but forgotten.
This is the nuclear power they promised us way back in the 1950s. But Richard Nixon killed the project in the early 1970s, after the first reactor had run successfully for over 2,000 hours.
Where did it come from?
Alvin Weinberg, the Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratories, and also who invented the light-water reactors such as are the most common reactors in nuclear plants today, invented the Thorium liquid-fueled reactor in the same period, the 1950s. Though he strongly advocated Thorium reactors at that time, the light-water reactors had a running start and won out. That story is told elsewhere. Google or YouTube search “thorium reactor”.
I am very high on this development. It comes at an amazingly opportune time for humanity. Thorium has so many positives it is hard to list them all.
- Energy extraction over 100 times as efficient as existing nuclear plants: Where we are able to extract 00.7% of the energy available from Uranium, we can extract over 99% of the energy from Thorium.
- Nuclear waste: Thorium reactors can – and will – cycle already existing nuclear waste in their normal running cycle, meaning we now have a means of ridding the world of nuclear waste stocks.
- Nuclear waste again: Most of the <1% byproducts from a LFTR are usable, salable materials. There will be much less than 1/100th as much waste as with existing reactors.
- Nuclear proliferation: This will become a thing of the past. Thorium reactors are incapable of producing Plutonium or weapons grade Uranium.
- Safety: Liquid Fueled Thorium Reactors cannot explode like Fukushima or melt down like Three Mile Island or Chernobyl.
- Safety again: LFTRs do not run at high pressures.
- Safety again: If the LFTR core heats up too much, the nuclear material expands, which cools it down.
- Scalable: LFTRs can be made much smaller than existing nuclear plants – to some extent as small as needed. They were originally funded as part of a nuclear bomber program, so they can be small enough to fit on a large airplane. Or sized for industrial plants or small communities.
- Ore availability: China already has enough Thorium (which has always been a waste byproduct of mining for other metals) to last them a thousand years or more. The USA has more in storage than China. Ore deposits are all over the world. It is one of the most plentiful elements on Earth.
- Ease of processing: Currently U-238 has to be processed to make U-235, and this is a VERY costly process, one which uses a very small percentage of what ore is mined. Thorium can be used almost as it comes out of the ground.
- Fuel Costs: One pound of Thorium makes as much energy as 3,500,000 tons of coal. It is the only fuel that is as cheap or cheaper than coal.
- Cost of Thorium nuclear plant: A light-water plant coasts upwards of $10 billion. A Thorium plant of the same megawatts will cost 1/10th of that amount.
- Carbon footprint: Like other nuclear power, Thorium will produce ZERO carbon emissions.
Thorium is the fuel of the future. This fuel will power the world for the next ten thousand years.