Thorium's kind of like Whole Wheat…
We keep a fairly large supply of whole wheat on hand for emergencies–it’s stored in big, five-gallon buckets. The whole wheat isn’t very edible until you grind it to flour. My wife wanted to make some bread tomorrow, so she told me to get out the bucket and grind some wheat.
While I was grinding the wheat, I realized that there was an analogy here between the wheat and the use of thorium for fuel.
The whole wheat is like the thorium.
The energy is there, but it’s not in a readily accessible form. But it stores for a long time, is inert, and can be converted to energy.
It converts the wheat into flour, which is edible. Just like the uranium-233 is generated from the thorium in the reactor by thorium absorbing neutrons.
The flour comes from the wheat, and is in a form that you can bake with and eat and get useful energy from. The uranium-233 comes from the thorium and is in a form that will fission and release energy.