UPDATE (2012/05/02): Added IEER’s Some Characteristics of Uranium and Thorium
UPDATE (2012/04/29): Added the UK NNL report! Thanks DARyan!
There is a rash of misinformation on the net about the supposed merits of the ‘new’ nuclear energy source on the block, thorium. I am sure that in a perfect world where nobody lies, thorium would be the perfect answer to the world’s energy needs as is claimed. This is unfortunately not the case.
Apparently, every time there is a new nuclear catastrophe, the thorium ‘miracle’ is promoted again as the ‘savior’ for the world. The Fukushima nuclear radiation catastrophe was not unique and the thorium misinformation artists have come out in droves. It’s the nuclear industry’s defense mechanism – create a new ‘safety myth’ that regular people can latch onto.
In reality, the thorium nuclear fuel cycle has been under development since the very early days of the nuclear industry. India, for example, has spent decades trying to commercialize it, and has failed. The US, Russia, Germany, and many others tried and failed as well. At best, thorium based nuclear power generation may be commercialized in a few decades.
I doubt it.
Fortunately, there are a number of independent trustworthy and expert sources of information on the internet regarding thorium nuclear. Here they are:
UPDATE: I recommend anyone who is interested in this post to read this at Lenz Blog. There is a fantastic short video interview with the German parliamentarian in charge of energy and the environment on FITs and why they’re so successful. It’s highly related to this post!
The major media covering the Japanese feed-in-tariffs (FITs) are missing an angle which I believe is significant. The democratization of energy is going to be a huge change in Japan. Individuals will be taking a major share of the power generation market for the first time in Japan’s history.
Many pundits in the Japanese media are discussing the large business opportunities for companies afforded by the FITs system. Of course there will be massive entrepreneurial opportunities for new players, and legacy energy companies will also participate.
The nuclear industry loves to brag about its supposedly lovely safety record. The chances of that happening are one in a gazillion! The nuclear industry has a safety record of tens of thousands of reactor years of operations!! And many other extremely comforting statistics are common in nuclear propaganda.
The nuclear industry would prefer you not know this statistic:
Two of every hundred commercial nuclear reactors ever built have had meltdowns.
That’s right. Of the 582 commercial nuclear reactors ever built, 12 had meltdowns.
What?! That can’t be right. There have been only 3 major disasters! Right? Wrong.
According to many media sources today, the Japanese government is getting ready to finalize it’s renewable energy tariffs. According to Tokyo Shimbun, here is what they are going to be:
Pro-nuclear lobby misinformation is rampant. You can find it in the most trustworthy of news sources. For example, in today’s Los Angeles Times there is a blatantly false article that drove me to create this blog!
Here’s the article:
Just in case the article gets pulled down, here is how it appeared as I write.
Thankfully, another Tokyo resident who happens to be from Germany, Prof. Karl-Friedrich Lenz, picked up on the misinformation and wrote about it in his blog.
It’s written by a seemingly innocent looking enough fellow who is a ‘special correspondent’ for the LAT named Aaron Wiener, apparently based in Germany. According to his twitter profile, he’s a genuine Fulbright Scholar! Must be very trustworthy!
Apparently, even Fulbright Scholars have trouble digging up real facts. Mr. Wiener’s are very incorrect – and appear to be manufactured to fit his world view.