Kirk Sorensen – Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors Energy of the Future
Imagine a form of nuclear energy with greater power and practically no safety issues.
This is what liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTRs) promise, and we have had several interviews in the past with thorium expert Kirk Sorensen to discuss their potential:
- Much safer – No risk of environmental radiation contamination or plant explosion (e.g. Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three Mile Island)
- Much more efficient in generating energy – Over 90% of the fuel used would be used for energy, compared to <1% in today's reactors
- Generating less waste – Most radioactive by-products would take days / weeks to degrade to safe levels compared to decades / centuries
- Much cheaper – The layout and infrastructure of the reactor would be much smaller and could be built up modularly
- More plentiful – Unlike current systems, LFTR reactors do not have to be installed next to large water supplies
- Less controversial – The by-products of the thorium reaction are rather useless for weaponization
- More durable – Thorium is much more abundant than uranium and is now treated as worthless. With the efficiency of the LFTR system, there is practically no risk of it going out
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Kirk is returning to the podcast this week to update us on the current state of thorium power. The bad news is that it still remains a theoretical concept; A ready-to-operate reactor has not yet been used – not even as a prototype. But, as Kirk points out, we have a good “line of sight” to science to build one – so the limiting factor right now is mostly funding. In a world of privately funded space travel, such a gate barrier shouldn’t last long.
This is one of the “bright spots” in the tech universe that holds a real promise to address many of the challenges posed by our global addiction to dwindling, polluting fossil fuels.
Of course, it may not be best for humanity to have access to an abundant source of cheap, high-yielding energy – as it will allow us to extract and consume the rest of the world’s depleted resources (key minerals, water supplies), arable Country etc.) much faster …
Click the play button below to listen to Chris’ interview with Kirk Sorensen (47 min 15 sec).