The Revolutionary Thorium Reactors Explained

Labels: , , , ,

A short video of Kirk Sorensen taking us through the benifits of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, a revolutionary liquid reactor that runs not on uranium, but thorium. These work and have been built before. Search for either LFTRs or Molten Salt Reactors (MSR).

The main downsides/negatives to this technology, politics, corrosion and being scared of nuclear radiation. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors were created 50 years ago by an American chap named Alvin Weinberg, but the American Government realised you can't weaponise the by-products and so they weren't interested.

Another point, yes it WAS corrosive, but these tests of this reactor were 50 years ago, our technology has definately improved since then so a leap to create this reactor shouldn't be too hard.

And nuclear fear is extremely common in the average person, rather irrational though it may be. More people have died from fossil fuels and even hydroelectric power than nuclear power.
I added this video for a project regarding Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, watch and enjoy.

No, it would not collapse the economy... just like the use of uranium reactors didn't... neither did coal... This is because you wouldn't have an instant transition from coal... oil... everything else to thorium. We could not do that. Simply due to the engineering. Give it 50 years we might be using thorium instead of coal/oil (too late in terms of global warming, but thats another debate completely), but we certainly won't destroy the earths economy. Duh.

And yes he said we'd never run out. Not strictly true... bloody skeptics ... LFTRs can harness 3.5 million Kwh per Kg of thorium! 70 times greater than uranium, 10,000 greater than oil... and there is over 2.6million tonnes of it on earth... Anyone with a calculator, or a brain, will understand that is a lot of energy!!

Future Energy, Thorium and the LFTR reactor
The science, technology and economics of using Thorium in a power generating nuclear reactor and the future of energy over the next 20 to 50 years

Kirk Sorensen at MRU on LFTR - Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors

When arriving in Calgary to present at TEDxYYC, Kirk Sorensen was immediately raced from his late arrival flight to MRU, where Brett McCollum had helped organize a lecture.

Kirk gave a brief overview of Molten Salt Reactors (MSR) and specifically Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR). Half of the time was spent fielding questions from the Calgary students.

Stuff They Don't Want You to Know - The Thorium

Nuclear energy has been around for a long time. All the back to Einstein's formula E = mc^2, the potential in harnessing the energy by a small change in mass has been known. Apart from being the foundation of nuclear bombs, as well as massive environmental disasters such as Chernobyl and the Fukushima Daiichi in Japan last year, nuclear power has provided people and industries with stable energy.

While we are waiting for nuclear fusion, other ways to harness nuclear energy are moving forward. thorium is the name of a silvery metal named after the Norse god of thunder, Thor. It is said to be a clean, green and abundant nuclear fuel that offers a whole new level of safety compared to uranium.Thorium is energy dense. This much thorium would supply the energy required to run your entire life.


A nuclear power plant that derives its power from thorium has certain advantages when it comes to safety.

The first one being that there is not a chain reaction itself. While a conventional nuclear plant that uses uranium can potentially get out of hand because fission of uranium releases its own neutrons, thorium requires a continues bombardment of neutrons for fission to take place.

It dramatically reduces the amount of waste that comes out of the reactor and does not produce any materials that can be usable for weapons. Thorium is also supposedly about one thousand times less radioactive than uranium.

The thorium energy is harnessed with a molten-salt reactor, a liquid fuel idea that that can be sourced back to US physicists in the 60's, promising a system much less prone to disaster.

These reactors do not require the massive amounts of pressure that a water-based uranium reactor would. This also adds to the safety profile.

However, thorium does indeed have its own problems we need to solve.


Thorium reactors require a whole new fuel technology, which has problems in developing the way you split the fuel from the waste in the reactor and how to actually store the fuel.

Then there's the whole political/economical side of it. When one is developing a new energy technology, usually incentives and political backing is absolutely necessary. Thorium is getting an increased amount of publicity lately, but not nearly as much as it deserves.

Thorium is three times more abundant than uranium. The reserves could provide us with stable energy for many years into the future. Nuclear energy fueled by thorium is under testing in Russia, China and India. It will be interesting to follow this technology in the next coming years.

The Thorium-Powered Car Concept: Drive 100 Years on a Few Grams of Fuel!