TED talk: Kirk Sorensen: Thorium, an alternative nuclear fuel

by nboydgibbins

TED talk: Kirk Sorensen: Thorium, an alternative nuclear fuel

The energy problem that humans face, how we can meet our energy needs in a sustainable way, can only be considered a political, or human issue, being that the solutions we need are even today ready and waiting. The way we currently produce the vast majority of our energy is harming the planet in ways hugely alarming to those who have taken the time to educate themselves on the delicate planetary systems that are being so emphatically abused or over-strained.

To the extent that I am familiar with the convictions of those considered the most informed on this topic (the planetary boundary scientists amongst others), it seems that the best solution for our energy production system would comprise a base-load provided by nuclear power, augmented with renewable solutions to cover varying demands above that.

Many of the myths surrounding nuclear power are put to rest in Mark Lynas’ excellent book The God Species that I reviewed in an earlier post (https://reasoninc.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/book-review-mark-lynas-the-god-species/). One statistic that stands out is that all the so-feared nuclear waste that France has produced in the last quarter of a century, lies under the floor in a single room, emitting no radiation to the outside world. When considering that the alternative, fossil fuel derived energy, may be driving  us to extinction, the ‘dangers’ of nuclear power are shown to be the surreptitious influences of powerful people, or simply uninformed hysteria. Those who have stood to lose out from the acceptance of nuclear energy, fossil fuel tycoons with political influence as hard to believe as their solipsism, have lobbied against it since its arrival. This has extended beyond the influence of media conjecture alone, to the falsification of scientific reports (hardly an extraordinary thing when you cast a discerning eye to the practices of the pharmaceutical industry, just to start).

In this very interesting TED talk Kirk Sorenson shines light on some of the recent advancements in nuclear power technology that further its attractiveness still. He also gives yet more tantalising insight into the innovative brilliance that seems to have littered every project NASA has devoted a department to.