Today, we face many issues in the world when it comes to energy efficiency, climate change, and the environment. Each of these things are interconnected; our sources of energy, such as fossil fuels and coal, directly affect the climate with regards to global warming, carbon emissions, and ocean acidification. This model we have implemented in the United States simply is not sustainable. With a rapidly growing population, and a climate that is in total decline, we need to make a change. Our sources of renewable energy, do provide quality energy to us. The problem is, the energy it provides comes at a major price. Wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal sources of energy, all have major effects on the environment; effects that can lead to many devastating disasters. It is no coincidence that there has been a string of devastating hurricanes in the past month. These are a direct result of our negligence of the environment and the world’s climate. I am proposing that we need to find a more efficient energy supply; one that protects the environment, reduces emissions, allows for mass supply, and works efficiently. Under this framework, through research, I believe I have scratched the surface, of what could be a great solution for the problem. Using, nuclear molten salt reactors, as one of our primary energy sources. They can be powered by liquid thorium, and emissions are mitigated exponentially. It is an efficient method that would allow for clean energy, that fulfills the other requirements stated above. In this proposal, I will outline what these reactors are, and how they could be the future. It is definitely not the only answer, but based on the most important factors when choosing a source of energy, it clearly fulfills those the best. Here is a good video, that briefly explains what nuclear energy is and how it works:
Now, I would like to examine thorium fuel cycles, the primary source energy for these molten salt reactors. Thorium is abundant in nature, it is much more abundant than uranium. It can be found inside minerals, and in the earth’s crust. Thorium is not fissile, in its normal state, meaning it cannot be used as nuclear energy in its current form. That’s why you would need a molten salt reactor. Researchers in the Netherlands are conducting experiments, in which they have built several small scale reactors, in order to test nuclear energy production on a small scale. They have reported that it is most definitely possible to scale this operation, and use this method for mass energy production. The end goal of this experiment is to prove that liquid thorium combined with sodium fluoride, will create a reaction that produces nuclear energy, that is safe, and leaves no toxic waste. Uranium in nuclear reactors produces tons of toxic waste, but thorium does not. The researches also believe that this method would become self regulating, meaning it could work without human control. Scientists, who developed a version of this model during the cold war, calculated that if we harvested most of the thorium from the earth’s crust, we could power the world for billions of years. Below, i will share a video, in which physicist, James Pedersen, goes through in great detail how this process works, and the effects it will have. He truly brings to light a framework for how this can work. Powering the world isn’t as far away as we think.
Now that the technology has been explained, and it is clear that this method would provide a great source of almost limitless energy, its time to look at the overall benefits it would have. Ity would eliminate green house emissions, carbon emissions, inefficient fossil fuels, as well as a few others. Overall, this would help the climate trmendously. Global warming and ocean acidification would be drastically reduced, all because of more efficinet energy. It would lower the risk of future wars due to energy stability and resource distriubtion. overall happiness would certainly boost economic relations among countries. Finally, it would allow third world countries with incredible potential to actually develop and grow their economy.
It is asinine to think that countries don’t even have stable energy sources in the 21st century. Here, i believe I have outlined a solution that can most certainly be applied to modern society. Not just the UNited States but everywhere in the world. Sourcing energy is more important than just modernizing it. We are past the point of return. The energy industry needs drastic disruption, this model provides that. Revolutionizing the nuclear sector in this manner would provide long term, sustainable energy, that reduces emissions, and improves the climate and environment. Throughout this project, I hope to identify how to improve this system, provide updates on modern research, and figuring out a strategy to implement it.