The link above will take you to the Daily Telegraph, U.K. story about thorium.
Neil Reynolds writing in the Globe and Mail this morning updated the story with the news from China that its first thorium-fuelled reactors would come on line in 2015.
According to these two reporters, Canada followed the American lead and continued to use uranium rather than thorium because it produces plutonium and therefore bombs!
So for years we have been paying higher and higher energy costs, with more and more pollution from coal-fired plants when a cheap, relatively harmless form of nuclear energy was readily available. Thorium-fuelled Candu reactors won’t explode(no hydrogen), don’t produce dangerous side-products(plutonium), and are cheaper to run because the world is abundantly supplied with the stuff. Oh and it can feed on plutonium waste.
Are there problems?
Not so many as far as I could find out. The group Physicians for Social Responsibility published a “fact sheet” that seemed to be more opinion than fact. In any event we will all know fairly soon with China and India leading the way.
I want to know why no one at the political level is talking about this.
Precious medical isotopes could be shipped overseas – The Globe and Mail.
The people who are charged with fixing the reactors are working 24/7 to get them up an running to ensure that the global supply of isotopes returns to normal. I presume they know they are not working long hours and double shifts for the citizens of Canada, but for their company, which will then send off the products to the global market. Quite a deal the government or AECL or both made this time.
In 2008, on the Harper watch, funding was cut off to the scientists working to get the two Maple reactors on line. I am told that it is possible to fix whatever is the problem with “a few lines of code”, but the work has to be funded.
Why are they patching up the old, and why did they mothball the new technology? The article tells us that the Minister in charge of the file, Christian Paradis, referred question to the AECL management. Of course he did. Why take ownership of a problem that might bring backlash from citizens – patients – waiting for tests of their cancers, or heart disease, or renal failure, who may have to wait until the global market, and Canada with it, has an adequate amount of isotope? The global market didn’t supply the millions to fix the reactor, Canada did.
Publishing is on my mind again, as Write Words Inc. is planning to bring Murderous Roots out in a print on domand edition. Details to follow as they come to me.