Apparently it’s just too darned expensive — unless massively subsidised by the taxpayer. And I don’t notice many governments feeling flush lately.
“Without exception, [thorium reactors] have never been commercially viable, nor do any of the intended new designs even remotely seem to be viable. Like all nuclear power production they rely on extensive taxpayer subsidies; the only difference is that with thorium and other breeder reactors these are of an order of magnitude greater, which is why no government has ever continued their funding.”
China and India’s development “will persist until it experiences the ongoing major technical hurdles the rest of the nuclear club have discovered.”
In 2010 the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) report concluded the thorium fuel cycle “does not currently have a role to play in the UK context [and] is likely to have only a limited role internationally for some years ahead” and said, in short, the claims for thorium were ‘overstated’.
In terms of radioactive by-products, thorium reactors are “a way of multiplying the volume of radioactive waste humanity can create several times over.”
By-products include Uranium-232 (half life: 160,000 years), technetium-99 (half life: up to 300,000 years) and iodine-129 (half life: 15.7 million years).
Why, oh why, can’t the people who make money out of nuclear power find a way to make money out of renewable instead?
Full story here.