by Rod D. Martin
June 1, 2015
1 out of every 7 people on Earth live without electricity. That means no sanitation, no lights, no computers, shorter lifespans, poor medicine, grinding poverty.
Energy is as essential as clean water, abundant food, and a good education. Without energy, many people will never have those other three things.
50 years ago America was serious about solving this problem. In the era of Apollo, it launched the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment. MSRE involved not only a completely new kind of nuclear reactor, but a completely different fuel: thorium. The results were, and are, astonishing.
Thorium reactors are a modern miracle. They cannot melt down (cannot!). They produce just 1% of the radioactive waste current reactors do, and they can even burn up all of the radioactive waste already produced. A thorium reactors costs just 1/5 the price of current reactors. And thorium cannot (yes, cannot) be used to make a bomb.
It is insane that we aren’t pursuing this amazing technology, which we pioneered. But it won’t shock you to learn that just a few years after MSRE’s inception, no less of a “visionary” leader than James Earl Carter, Jr. shut the whole thing down.
Others aren’t so blind. China and India are putting huge resources behind a new generation of safe thorium reactors. Bill Gates and other private investors and companies here at home are too.
Abundant, cheap, safe, clean energy, just as was promised fifty and sixty years ago. Innovation has made it possible. In point of fact, innovation could have made it a reality decades ago.
Read about this remarkable half-century old experiment and the men who made it possible. It is an inspiration, and at the same time, a cautionary tale. Today’s America needs a lot of both.
It also needs thorium.