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After Fukushima, Don’t Believe the Spin on Thorium Being a Greener Nuclear Option


Don’t believe the spin on thorium being a greener nuclear option Ecologist: thorium is merely a way of deflecting attention and criticism from the dangers of the uranium fuel cycle and excusing the pumping of more money into the industry. It produces less radioactive waste and more power but it remains unproven on a commercial scale. ‘Even if thorium technology does progress to the point where it might be commercially viable, it will face the same problems as conventional nuclear: it is not renewable or sustainable and cannot effectively connect to smart grids. The technology is not tried and tested, and none of the main players is interested. Thorium reactors are no more than a distraction.
Plasma Physicist Dr. Makhijani Explains Thorium & Fukushima with Helen Caldicott Interview from June 2012: Dr. Arjun Makhijani “plasma physicist” Join Helen Caldicott discussing the challenges of proposed thorium reactors and why solar power saves more money than nuclear while saving lives.
                      ***************************** Institute for Environment & Environmental Research
Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy
To listen to Dr. Caldicott’s earlier interviews with Dr. Makhijani, click HERE Best of 2008/2009: Dr. Arjun Makhijani on a clean-energy future without nuclear power, oil or coal
HERE: Dr. Arjun Makhijani on the stunning potential for solar, wind and other green energy to replace fossil fuels and nuclear power right now
and HERE. Why nuclear power is not the solution to global warming, and how renewables can power everything
Did you know every thorium reactor would require a reprocessing center? Also #Thorium Reactor would be enriching bomb grade material and present a bigger proliferation problem. Also problems getting heat sink from the intense heat that is generated and you have to worry about capturing all the deadly isotopes that are created. Have not worked out the kinks of sodium circuit boards frying.
Without exception, [thorium reactors] have never been commercially viable, nor do any of the intended new designs even remotely seem to be viable. Like all nuclear power production they rely on extensive taxpayer subsidies; the only difference is that with thorium and other breeder reactors these are of an order of magnitude greater, which is why no government has ever continued their funding.’
All other issues aside, thorium is still nuclear energy, say environmentalists, its reactors disgorging the same toxic byproducts and fissile waste with the same millennial half-lives. Oliver Tickell, author of Kyoto2, says the fission materials produced from thorium are of a different spectrum to those from uranium-235, but ‘include many dangerous-to-health alpha and beta emitters’.
Tickell says thorium reactors would not reduce the volume of waste from uranium reactors. ‘It will create a whole new volume of radioactive waste from previously radio-inert thorium, on top of the waste from uranium reactors. Looked at in these terms, it’s a way of multiplying the volume of radioactive waste humanity can create several times over.’
Thorium cannot in itself power a reactor; unlike natural uranium, it does not contain enough fissile material to initiate a nuclear chain reaction. As a result it must first be bombarded with neutrons to produce the highly radioactive isotope uranium-233 – ‘so these are really U-233 reactors,’ says Karamoskos.
This isotope is more hazardous than the U-235 used in conventional reactors, he adds, because it produces U-232 as a side effect (half life: 160,000 years), on top of familiar fission by-products such as technetium-99 (half life: up to 300,000 years) and iodine-129 (half life: 15.7 million years).Add in actinides such as protactinium-231 (half life: 33,000 years) and it soon becomes apparent that thorium’s superficial cleanliness will still depend on digging some pretty deep holes to bury the highly radioactive waste.
Check out Helen Caldicott Playlist is an Australian physician, author, and anti-nuclear advocate who has founded several associations dedicated to opposing the use of nuclear power, depleted uranium munitions, nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons proliferation, war, and…