CANDU nuclear reactors, based on a heavy water moderation of unenriched uranium cycle can run thorium cycle with very little modification. Unfortunately, the CANDU technology has always been though reliable and inherently safe, expensive. The production side of the business has been sold from the Canadian government to a commercial company. That could drive down the price.
On the wind side, the economics of the actual generation of electricity is very good when all the actual costs of other fuel sources is considered. Sure dirty coal is cheaper, but when you look at clean coal solutions, then they are close to parity.
The issue with wind and all renewable is storage or the lack thereof. Cheap storage would be the game changer.
That said, thorium cycle nuclear is definitely something that needs a lot more interest.
I do not object to working together with India and China on the LTFR projects - having us not end up in war-like competition over energy would significantly help long term prospects for peace.
I just would like to move toward geting it going here ASAP. Google "liquid fluoride thorium reactor china" and liquid fluoride thorium reactor India" to see what efforts they are pushing. There is significant activity going on. It would just be a shame to be left behind when we were so far ahead on this technology.
@iniewski, yes but they take the long term view for narrow national interest, and not necessarily for the globe's interest. What I want is a truly international long term view, void of commercial interest. It's the only true solution in my opinion - we share this planet and our faith is common, whether we like it or not.
They take long view (20-30 years ahead) and put goverment money into technologiesw that might not produce any short term profits but have long term significance...look what happened with solar panels, they killed everyone else and are the only providers of paneslf ro the entire world
The US had a working LTFR reactor - got shutdown because it did not generate plutonium. Safety wise, they used to just pull the power on Fridays, the freeze plugs would allow the liquid core to drain into a non-critical configuration (too spread out). Monday morning they would kick on the heaters to liquify the salt again, pump it back in and continue! Designed to safely dump if the cooling was lost!
To my reading, several are in the process of getting clearance to move forward.
I wish one candidate or the other would embrace an energy TVA - cheap reliable energy would be a good draw to help bring manufacturing back on shore, and not sending out $700B/year would help a lot. Combine an efficient route to H2 production and our supply of coal, liquid fuels could be a great portable energy source while we are figuring out better batteries. It would be nice to be a net energy exporter!
All reactor design requires government approval. Several companies are working toward LTFR, as are China and India, among others. We had a working model in the 60's. Main obstruction is likely lobbying - the fuel for a 1GW plant is approximately $10k instead of $10M - at least that is my guess. India is looking at a sub-critical design using an accelerator as a neutron sourceinstead of a critical mass.
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.