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Thorium is found in small amounts in most rocks and soils; it is three times more abundant than tin in the Earth's crust and is about as common as lead.

[and later]

Present knowledge of the distribution of thorium resources is poor because of the relatively low-key exploration efforts arising out of insignificant demand.

Something may be "common" and still uneconomical to mine.  There's a whole bunch of gold in sea water and even at today's prices nobody has been foolish enough to try and extract it.

Further, I note the extensive use of the Future Tense in the Los Alamos Gee-Whiz page on Thorium Reactors as well as some out-right falsehoods [emphasis added:]

Because of no risk of proliferation or meltdown, thorium reactors can be made of almost any size.

NO risk?  

The thorium fuel cycle creates 233U, which, if separated from the reactor's fuel, can be used for making nuclear weapons.

[from the Wikipedia link]

And, once again, we see the nuke-power people are in half-truth/lying mode.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Dec 7th, 2011 at 01:06:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Found a bit on the status of development:

Generation IV reactor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Generation IV reactors (Gen IV) are a set of theoretical nuclear reactor designs currently being researched. Most of these designs are generally not expected to be available for commercial construction before 2030. Current reactors in operation around the world are generally considered second- or third-generation systems, with most of the first-generation systems having been retired some time ago. Research into these reactor types was officially started by the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) based on eight technology goals, including to improve nuclear safety, improve proliferation resistance, minimize waste and natural resource utilization, and decrease the cost to build and run such plants.

So it is still 20 years off (cue xkcd reference).

While on this topic, I would like to point out something else that often crops up among those entusiastic for this technology (I was one once):
Generation IV reactor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

100-300 times more energy yield from the same amount of nuclear fuel [4]

While true it is also misleading if the reader thinks "Woo-hoo, lots and lots of energy!" as this is not related to EROI.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Dec 7th, 2011 at 02:59:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Methinks this discussion deserves a diary, as i said earlier. Though i wouldn't call wind and solar baseload, at least in the sense the industry understands it.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Dec 7th, 2011 at 03:22:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
M'kay.

European Tribune - The future promise of Energy amplifiers/ Thorium reactors/ 4th gen nuclear


Cyrille linked a Monbiot article in the Salon which caused some discussion, a lot on other things. In an attempt to refocus the discussion, here comes a diary.


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Dec 7th, 2011 at 04:37:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn, i meant it deserved a diary, not that you should put one up. Now we'll have to actually work some more. ;-)

Danke.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Dec 7th, 2011 at 06:23:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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