What will a Thorium Era look like. In the beginning the road will be a little rocky. Resistance will be inevitable. But as more and more natural disasters start to happen and as the nations who fear nuclear start to regret abandoning nuclear because their quality of living declines there will be a gradual acceptance.
Chances are the first Thorium reactors will be used for heat process applications. The need for high temperature industrial reactors will be of the molten salt variety. There’s no guaranty that Thorium will be the fuel of choice. Uranium also works quite well in a Molten Salt Reactor. (MSR)
Eventually however the abundance of Thorium will win over once the reactors become more popular.
Heat applications that can make a big difference to the well being are things like solving water shortages by purifying and desalinating water. Also replacing steam can have large benefits when water is inconvenient. MSRs don’t need water to run.
After the reactors prove their capability the commercial reactors will follow.
It will be the hybrid reactors of the future. They will be multi-purpose reactors and very likely will be designed so that process heat is easy to access for industrial purposes. Design consistency will be the way to keep their costs down. The assembly production lines will start creating a whole new era of productivity and improved quality of life.
We have no idea how many projects cannot evolve because of the cost of an infrastructure. In fact, the so-called smart grid will not be needed if we learn to mass produce MSRs. Why build huge transmission lines if you can just add MSRs where they are needed.
Apart from practical reasons of helping any country’s industry grow and prosper there are the health and survival issues that MSRs can solve.
Energy created from MSRs is dense and uncontroversial. It is much more efficient at creating energy without nearly as much waste as conventional nuclear reactors. The opportunity is there for medical isotopes that will assist in saving lives.
And for those who want to stop coal plants from burning coal, the dirty energy source, MSRs are the answer. The pollution is getting so out of control now that even China is looking to nuclear plants as a solution fixing the mess. This is an understatement.
Places like England and Japan which have dense populations and are surrounded by water will need to replace the current energy sources with more reliable and easy to expand small footprint reactors. MSRs are also SMRs? What kind of anagram is that? Small Modular Reactors are becoming the reactor of highest praise in the US. MSRs will be modular and that will give them their flexibility and at the same time allow them to be cost effective.
We are seeing the signs of the new era with at least 5 countries starting their own research into making a Thorium Era happen.
So cutting down on pollution and CO2 is not the only reason for supporting the idea of a Thorium era.