Sunday, May 13, 2012

Climateer Line of the Day: Thorium Edition

Prompted by this headline at next big future:
China plans to have a 5 megawatt Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor in 2015
A bit of history via El Pollo Real:
...Natural transmutation was first discovered when Frederick Soddy, along with Ernest Rutherford, proved that radioactive thorium converted itself into radium in 1901. At the moment of realization, Soddy later recalled shouting out: "Rutherford, this is transmutation!" Rutherford snapped back,

"For Christ's sake, Soddy, don't call it transmutation. 
They'll have our heads off as alchemists."
We've been following the story for quite a while. From our 2010 post"UPDATED: Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: "Safe nuclear does exist, and China is leading the way with thorium":
...The promise of thorium has been a siren song for the last couple decades, back in 2008 I dropped this comment at the WSJ's Environmental Capital blog:
    • C’mon guys, get with it!
      Global warming is so last year.
      Everybody, from Al Gore to the blogs you link to are reinventing themselves and talking energy.
      Energy production
      Energy cost.
      Energy security.
      It’s all about framing and re-framing.
      Low impact man’s time has come and gone. The eco-soirée has moved on to erudite discussions of thorium between nibbles at the canapés.
      By this winter the only references to carbon among the salon crowd might be Carbonic acid (H2CO3).
      You watch.