I just looked back and realized that I didn’t post a single time in the month of January. For that I apologize–I want you to know that the frequency of posting is not connected to the pace of development in the world of thorium. In fact, it may be just the opposite–the more that is going on the less time there seems to be to make good high-quality postings.
Nevertheless, in an attempt to recapitulate recent developments let me call a few out:
Baroness Worthington discussed thorium in the House of Lords on January 12th as part of a larger discussion on British national energy policy:
“I shall end on a discussion of whether the tried and failed technologies that we talk about a lot will deliver, and by that I mean the current generation of nuclear reactors. We often hear the promise that we are going to build eight or even 10 new reactors to replace the ones that are closing. My reading from those whom I speak to in the industry is that there is a great deal of cynicism about this. It is very unlikely that we will see the scale of build that the Government are anticipating because our current reactor designs are simply not attractive. As one executive who had looked at both designs put it to me, “They are both pretty awful and we do not like them”. I think that a nuclear renaissance is possible and indeed desirable, but it will have to be achieved by looking at the full range of new generation nuclear reactors. It will come as no surprise that I shall mention thorium molten-salt reactors, because of all the technologies that I have looked at in relation to climate change this one has huge potential. If we were able to match the amount of money that we are currently spending on nuclear fusion, there is no doubt that we would develop a technology that had massive potential for export. I would like to mention the Lords Science and Technology Select Committee report on nuclear research and development. It is an excellent report and I hope that the Government will respond to it, because we really do need to look again at our spending.”
I particularly like how she juxtaposed the large investments in nuclear fusion, which has never produced a single watt of electrical power with the non-existent investment in fluid-fueled thorium reactors.
While the noble Baroness was defending an advanced nuclear option in the House of Lords, one of our biggest media exposures of all time was taking place on the TED.com website:
George Monbiot is increasingly realizing that so-called “nuclear waste” might have a lot of value, if placed in machines suitably designed to use it:
But others worry about the glut of natural gas and its effects:
The DOE is announcing financial support for the licensing of small modular reactors:
While the Chinese keep visiting Oak Ridge to get more data on MSRs:
And finally, in Japan, the mighty nation is laid low yet again, as the shutdown of their nuclear power plants drives them into a trade deficit for the first time in decades.