I was digging thru some stacks of magazines and papers searching for something I never found and what I came across was really interesting. No, I mean REALLY interesting. I’ve been a subscriber of Wired magazine for eons. It’s a magazine that closely aligns with my sense of design and my desire for information that feels relevant and untainted, sometimes controversial, and often enlightening.
This article in particular was enlightening because my education in the sciences was minimal. I always leaned toward the liberal arts and away from anything that required too much memorization of intangible concepts and “things.” Thorium can be found on the periodic table along with other actinides like uranium and plutonium that are currently used in 100% of the world’s nuclear reactors. Interesting that I found this article right when Japan is having a serious problems with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. I don’t believe “authorities” to tell you the truth when it comes to the risk involved in the radiation that’s leaching from the plant and how it will affect the planet at large when that radiation gets spread about the planet by our weather system.
Enter thorium… a once upon a time contender for the energy that would feed nuclear power plants. It lost out to uranium, not because it’s not clean burning, not because it’s less bi-product producing, and not because it’s mostly harmless (you can carry it in your pocket), and not because it’s hyper abundant. It lost to uranium because uranium’s by-product, plutonium is what war mongers like to use most in bombs. Isn’t that lovely? We have the radioactive by-products of nuclear calamities like Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and now the Japan crisis poisoning our plaent, and they could have been averted if we had chosen to not make bombs.
Take the time to read this article in the 2010 issue of Wired. It’s well worth the read: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/12/ff_new_nukes/