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THORIUM: energy cheaper than coal Paperback – July 25, 2012
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Reese Palley, Author THE ANSWER: Why Only Inherently Safe Mini Nuclear Power Plants Can Save The World.
This book is in part a compilation of lots of material which is available online about these subjects. The author methodically builds the case for rapid development of MSRs, and especially thorium-powered MSRs, to replace coal-fired power generation. I thought the basic science tutorial at the beginning of the book was not really necessary or could have been summarized. The book contains many typos, and the illustrations have a cut-and-paste quality--it is almost like a website with links to disparate sources with a variety of video resolutions. This gives me the impression that the book was thrown together quickly from existing sources. However it is logically organized and easy to read.
For someone who is not knowledgeable about these subjects, this book is a great resource. The argument for LFTRs is compelling, and the online references are convenient for those interested in learning more.
The answer has been around for a long time but a quirk of history turned us down other directions. "Thorium Energy Cheaper than Coal" is a book that shows us quite well how much safer, and less costly, abundant energy can be generated from Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactors (called LFTR and Yes, Virginia, this is a nuclear reactor.) A LFTR is unlike any nuclear reactor you may think. Different from other reactors, this is not a high pressure plant constantly in need of a challenging containment vessel and potential water cooling in case of emergencies. The LFTR is sometimes called "walk away" safe. LFTRs hold the promise of providing the energy mankind requires for centuries without the air pollution of many other dense energy sources and at a far lower cost than the weak alternate energy sources. If that seems too good to be true, you will be surprised to learn there are even more benefits to developing our energy future around the plentiful element thorium.
Dr. Robert Hargraves does a great service in writing a book that is easily understandable by the general public and adequately introduces the concepts to economists, physicists and engineers at the same time.Read more ›
A thorium fueled molten salt reactor was demonstrated in the 1960's at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, but uranium based reactors were developed instead, because they provided plutonium by-products for Cold War weapons. India and China have started development projects to pick up where we left off, partly because thorium is so much more available to them.
There are solutions for climate change, but time is running out while we cook the planet with fossil fuels.
Coal was the fuel that brought the industrial revolution and made Western nations prosperous. Now that Western nations are prosperous, we are beginning to turn away from coal, at least to some extent. However, many developing nations are following the Western path to prosperity: "We'll start with coal." If the wealthy countries wag their fingers at the developing world about coal, they quite rightly get fingers wagged back at them: "When our people are even half as prosperous as your people, we will enjoy a conversation with you about optimum energy sources. Until then, you rich guys, don't be such a bunch of hypocrites."
With the section on overcoming poverty, THORIUM sets the LFTR in context. He also explains LFTR technology. The information in this book includes charts and illustrations, description of the different varieties of LFTR, information about the technical challenges that LFTRs have overcome, and about many of the technical challenges remaining. I don't know anywhere else you could obtain this information so clearly and concisely. The information is out there, no doubt, in thorium forums and papers (and Hargraves references these). But if you want a quick-course on LFTRs, not a personal-research-project on LFTRs, this is the book for you.
In either case, this book is a major achievement, and should be on the bookshelf of people interested in energy in general, renewable energy, nuclear energy, and advanced reactors. In other words, it will be helpful to pretty much everybody.
Note: This review is a shorter version of a post on my blog: A Book I Loved
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The thorium / molten salt reactor technology developed at Oak Ridge is something everyone needs to know about. It is inherently nonpolluting. Read morePublished 1 month ago by B. Kirkpatrick
This is most interesting. However the first part of the book is very slow with his development of much of the theory and physics. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Gerald Davis
Wonderful book, written in text book style. Hargraves really gives a clear picture of where we are at in terms of energy technology. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Dot Dock
Very informational book on the history of thorium, very well written. Would have given 5 stars but it was so damn depressing that it made me not want to read about thorium energy... Read morePublished 6 months ago by kruse
Needs to be more broadly read so that the topic becomes part of the discussion on solutions to global warming,Published 9 months ago by Tom Brown
Interesting subject, and very comprehensively researched. The ideas contained in thsi book are quite important. Read morePublished 10 months ago by DJD
This is a great first read for someone interested in what energy sources are available and how they compare.Published 11 months ago by kralspaces