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  •  peak uranium....? nope. (1+ / 0-)
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    Losty

    In case anyone's wondering:

    The world's uranium supply isn't about to run out any time soon.  With reprocessing (think France), we can stretch it over a century.  Some estimates say as long as 400 years.  I'll be conservative and say maybe 150 years.

    However, there is another nuclear fuel to consider:  Thorium.

    Thorium-fueled reactors are known good technology: we built one in 1965 for proof of concept, but it didn't catch on because the uranium fuel cycle was already in place.  

    The thorium-fluoride fuel cycle can't be used to produce nuclear weapons, so it's safe to export to unstable regions (we should give it away to Iran, for starters).  

    Thorium is safe:  If your mom used Bon Ami scrubbing powder in the 1950s, she was handling thorium when she did the dishes, with no ill effects.  (If your dad used it back then, you had a very progressive family indeed!)  If you've ever gone camping and used a Coleman lantern, it was in the lantern mantles until recently, so you slept right next to it with no ill effects.  Millions of people slept next to those lanterns over the past 50 years, and there has never been even a hint of a health problem from it.  

    (That is not to say you should go snorting it or sprinkling it on your breakfast cereal, after all it does emit beta particles and some gamma rays.  Besides, it probably tastes awful.)

    Right now thorium is so plentiful that three people with shovels can dig up enough in three hours to power a city the size of Portland for a year.  

    The world supply of it is probably enough to last another 500 years, possibly longer with reprocessing.  

    So between now and fusion, we can build uranium-fueled reactors right now, and start building thorium reactors in a few years.

    Strictly speaking, we ought to conserve that uranium because it's a more concentrated fuel and it may be needed eventually for applications in space.  So I'd say let's start building those thorium reactors ASAP.  And all the better because they can be exported all over the globe, including to unstable regimes we wouldn't trust with uranium.    

    Yes, we could export something high-tech that will help solve both the energy and climate crises.  Made in USA with union labor.

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