Sunday, September 03, 2006

Can Bush Google?

Evidently not. Because the answer to the Iran problem is right under our noses.
The idea of a thorium-based nuclear reactor is anything but new -- the idea has been around since the dawn of the Atomic Age. But recent engineering innovations and better mining equipment and techniques make this alternative to a plutonium and uranium reactor cost-effective. Looking more closely, it's also a little accounting legerdemain factored in: the half-life of thorium is only 500 years (compared to 10,000 for some nuclear waste), and it is much less radioactive than uranium waste to begin with, so a significant savings comes when disposal costs are factored in. Plus, where is all this thorium? Turns out that most of it seems to be found in Australia, India, Norway, Canada, and right here at home.

So here we have a safer nuclear technology built on US (and Indian) patents and reliant on raw materials we and our allies produce. Why not offer this to Iran? They can't build missiles out of thorium, they won't have any excuse to stockpile uranium, and they'll have reliable nuclear power of a form that makes economic and environmental sense. Plus, the spent material from a thorium reactor is unsuitable for building nuclear weapons. Ta-da. Apocalypse averted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can breed uranium & plutonium in any reactor with little modification. What they'd need is a reactor type known as an integral fast reactor. It consumes much of its fusion products again.