Generally I don’t post updates concerning the thorium documentary “Th” here, as it is still a work in progress and my updates are so incremental they’re really only worthy of short tweets.
But I think a couple of the chapters have reached a quality level that I should try direct people to them.
Thorium Documentary “Th” Chapter 8: Greens vs Nuclear (& Thorium)
Of course not all environmentalists dismiss nuclear. Baroness Bryony Worthington has strong environmentalist/activist credentials. She drove with us towards Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and so her perspective is captured in the greatest detail. Many other environmentalists quoted in this chapter to help explain why they’ve rethought their anti-nuclear positions.
Thorium Documentary “Th” Chapter 9: Alvin Weinberg’s Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment
And here we reach our destination: Oak Ridge National Lab. We tour the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment (that’s an extremely rare tour!) The MSRE is discussed with researchers who took part.
The Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment demonstrated that nuclear fuel could be dissolved in molten salts… that solid fuel rods and water coolant were not the only game in town when designing a nuclear reactor.
There are a great many advantages to dissolving nuclear fuel and keeping it in a molten state during normal operation. Only a few are touched on here.
But if you’re opposed to nuclear power, I do think these two videos are worth your time.
Anyone who’s opposed to nuclear ought to be opposed for specific reasons… not just fission itself. That’s like being opposed to gravity, thermodynamics or our planet having a molten core. Fission happens. It’s happened naturally on the surface of the Earth. It happens (along with fusion) every day in the sun.
Concerns about nuclear safety, nuclear waste disposal and weapons proliferation deserve serious consideration. Careful researching today’s water-cooled reactors, tomorrow’s water-cooled reactors and molten-salt reactors might lead someone opposed to nuclear power to decide some reactor designs are acceptable, and some are not.
But to dismiss nuclear out-of-hand as dangerous is a mistake. I came to this with no opinion (or interest) in nuclear power, except for my own larger concerns about global warming.
As I learn more and more about nuclear fission, and about the challenges of renewable energy alternatives (such as solar, wind and geothermal), I’ve come to the conclusion that many environmentalists are simply as incurious as I once was about nuclear fission.