Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thorium and Climate Change

A friend of mine directed me to this TED talk. I have heard of the promise of thorium reactors and this talk by Kirk Sorensen is an excellent example of why we need to consider nuclear power for our future needs.

I do believe in AGW but I don't believe in props on sticks and shiny things facing the sky. These technologies have their place and will be important for our future energy needs but the current attempts to rely so much on these energy technologies is not only misguided it is a big mistake. We are planning to rely on environmentally contingent energy sources because we are convinced the environment is undergoing massive change. That does not make sense. We need energy sources that we have complete control over.

Because thorium is associated with nuclear people panic. It's that word thing again, too many people pay too much attention to words rather than meanings. Politicians use this to great effect the bastards. Thorium reactors, however, cannot melt down and the waste is very manageable. Recent designs in standard nuclear reactors has also led to the creation of meltdown proof reactors. The Chinese are the first nation to grid one of these new reactor designs.

Why thorium hasn't received more attention is beyond me. Except to say this: you cannot create fissile material with a thorium reactor. I don't think that is the major reason though, it is just typical of our species to fall into a mode of behavior and refuse to budge even when the evidence for change is overwhelming. Politicians use this to great effect the bastards.

We now cannot prevent climate change, it is already happening. We have to prepare for the future and if history is any guide the ability to harness and control energy is a key aspect of a civilisation's success. While I am an environmentalist I am also a realist. Human beings en masse will not change their behavior in time to prevent the ongoing environmental "degradation". ("Degradation" suggests some proper state for the earth. There isn't.) If we survive our civilisation will completely transform the ecology of this planet, and perhaps that last claim should be in the past tense. There is no balance, it is always changing, and as change agents we are Nature.

Listen to what Kirk Sorensen has to say. Because the whole climate change debate is largely driven by Green interests any type of nuclear power is off limits. Our future will demand nuclear power. If climate change is going to be as drastic as some of the alarmists claim then we're going to need huge amounts of manageable energy to address all the unexpected contingencies that will arise in the future. Controlled high energy sources, combined with automation, will enable us to transform the planet even further. We're going to do it because we've always done it and if you think you can stop it you are on the wrong planet.

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