Uranium Is So Last Century -- Enter Thorium, the New Green Nuke

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Wed, 30 Dec 2009 23:38:37 GMT  <== Science/Technology ==> 

Richard Martin at Wired - apparently Thorium is a much better radioactive material for power generation than Uranium. Becomes harmless in 100 years, not 100,000. Plentiful. Cheap. Not subject to meltdown. The only difficulty is building containment materials that won't corrode over long exposure to the molten salt with which you control it.

Even better, Weinberg realized that you could use thorium in an entirely new kind of reactor, one that would have zero risk of meltdown. The design is based on the lab's finding that thorium dissolves in hot liquid fluoride salts. This fission soup is poured into tubes in the core of the reactor, where the nuclear chain reaction -- the billiard balls colliding -- happens. The system makes the reactor self-regulating: When the soup gets too hot it expands and flows out of the tubes -- slowing fission and eliminating the possibility of another Chernobyl. Any actinide can work in this method, but thorium is particularly well suited because it is so efficient at the high temperatures at which fission occurs in the soup.

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