on July 27, 2012
I found this when researching into the topic of energy from Thorium and this video is pretty much the 'go to' source for information on LFTR. As the other reviewers have said it does move at a very fast pace and is quite detailed in places so can result in a bit of information overload, but I remember watching this for the first time and walking away with just the words 'WHY ARE WE NOT DOING THIS?!' stuck in my head. Even a year later I am still holding to these words. If you want a hard copy of the information to give to friends, send to a representative or just for posterity I'd recommend this. If you just want to absorb the information then there are copies of this on YouTube which you are welcome to watch, edit and remix!
on February 11, 2014
The producers of this film are science and technology historians, yet also futurists, when it comes to the topic of nuclear energy and more efficient fuel cycles. The heavy duty work on thorium, an element close to uranium on the periodic table but far more abundant, was done in the 1960s and 1970s. It was believed at the time that coal and uranium would become exhausted over several decades. Those scientists are still right, but now we have the climate and sea level to worry about as well.
This film, albeit an independent film, covers a range of academia, Google talks, and the views of regular everyday people on the topic. It is an invitation to learn more about nuclear energy, and in particular the breeding approach, which takes a "fertile" element like thorium-232 or uranium-238 and, through the thermal and fast neutrons that are emitted from radioactive elements, converts them into "fissile" elements, namely U-233 or U-239 respectively, which can be "burned" in a reactor to produce steam and electricity.
To go further on this topic, one can turn to a book by Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner, "Symmetries and Reflections," in which the second part covers nuclear energy and its prospects. Or one can look to Prof. Freeman Dyson, a long-time member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. One of his colleagues, Theodore ("Ted") B. Taylor is described by Prof. Dyson: "Very few people have Ted's imagination. ... I think he is perhaps the greatest man that I ever knew well. And he is completely unknown." (reference: author John McPhee and Wikipedia). Significantly, Dr. Taylor was a supporter of the inherently safe reactor design of the LFTR, and of new research into "thermal breeder reactors" (which are distinct from fast breeder reactors, as were built in France, etc.). For more details on Dr. Taylor's research, he provides a summary in his book, "The Restoration of the Earth." Amazon comments there provide quotations about his strong support for R&D into a LFTR-type thermal breeder reactor.
For more contemporary opinion about the need for breeder reactor R&D, and its potential for both uranium and thorium resources, one may look at "Powering the Future" by Nobel Laureate Prof. Robert Laughlin. There is a consensus among past and current top scientists the vast potential of nuclear energy; but have even one percent (1%) of US senators or representatives read summaries of these Nobel Laureates' books or articles? If not, the US may be at a great disadvantage to China, whose politburo or equivalent leadership is composed largely of credentialed engineers, according an article in The Economist.