If we are serious about global warming we should convert to Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs) as our dominant energy source to replace petroleum. This would reduce carbon emissions to almost zero, allow us to drive, heat and produce electricity several times cheaper, and insure energy adequacy for thorium’s thousand years of known U.S. reserves. It is good to speak out against the bad aspects of carbon, but even better that we promote a superior alternative — thorium.
Google Robert Hargraves and Kirt Sorenson thorium YouTube lectures will get you up to speed on the technology.
Regardless of how you feel about global warming, we only have about 20 years to get thorium up and running from an energy point of view — that’s about when the Fracked Shale Play will start into decline and we will enter a severe energy shortfall, forcing us to over frack and bring back all the carbon spewers on steroids. We can’t make the conversion to thorium once we are in that shortfall — energy will become inadequate for subsistence, let alone massive conversion to a new dominant energy source.
The prototype LFTR ran flawlessly for almost five years, but sat on a back shelf in Oak Ridge National Laboratory for about 50 years.
None of the entrenched energy stakeholders want thorium’s competition, and so far have been successful in preventing it. The son of a former premier of China headed a delegation to Oak Ridge to study the prototype LFTR. Upon returning to China he apparently made the comment that China might try to patent that. That son and that comment translate to it’s a very high priority for China.
A 50/50 U.S./China collaboration’s fine. But a Walmart-model, with them making and us buying, spells trouble. About the time China’s first shipment of LFTRs is ready to depart for the U.S., we will enter the energy shortfall and petroleum prices will skyrocket — that ship may never leave port. Instead, China will use their new LFTR making capacity to insure a thousand years of energy adequacy for their children. Because China has a monopoly on rare earth mineral production, and rare earths and thorium occur together, they even have all the fuel they need stockpiled. China’s also monopolizing Middle East oil reserves as they are loosened by fracked shale production. It will out last fracked shale production by a century and they are unlikely to share. China will also have strategic dominance over the best uranium reserves, in the “Stans” sandwiched between them and Russia.
By comparison, our children will have a much reduced future — forced to claw back to energy adequacy with inadequate energy to do it. We also will have squandered the greatest economic opportunity ever — supplying the world with stock 100 MW LFTRs built on American assembly lines.
John Sales lives in Barre.MORE IN Commentary
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