Far-sighted economic super-power China has announced that it is going to address the looming global energy shortfall by building a safer, cleaner, and ultimately cheaper network of nuclear reactors based on thorium molten salt technology.
The extensive development and use of this ultra-safe alternative to uranium-based nuclear power was adopted as British National Party policy more than five years ago, following an energy policy review we conducted in connection with our grasp of the Peak Oil problem.
China’s much more recent decision was noted by well-informed Telegraph analyst Ambrose Evans-Pritchard on 20th March 2011. Explaining concisely how the well-established but hitherto unused technology works, the journalist commented that:
“It may mark the passage of strategic leadership in energy policy from an inert and status-quo West to a rising technological power willing to break the mould.
“If China’s dash for thorium power succeeds, it will vastly alter the global energy landscape and may avert a calamitous conflict over resources as Asia’s industrial revolutions clash head-on with the West’s entrenched consumption.”
Explaining the decision of China’s Academy of Sciences to use a thorium-based molten salt reactor system, Chinese scientists pointed out that hazardous waste will be a thousand times less than with uranium. The system is inherently less prone to disaster.
Thorium is a silvery metal named after the Norse god of thunder. According to Professor Robert Cywinski from Huddersfield University, thorium must be bombarded with neutrons to drive the fission process. “There is no chain reaction. Fission dies the moment you switch off the photon beam. There are not enough neutrons for it continue of its own accord,” he said, explaining why the technology is so inherently safe.
Dr Cywinski, who heads a UK-wide thorium team, said the residual heat left behind in a crisis would be “orders of magnitude less” than in a uranium reactor.
A further huge advantage of thorium is that, while an expansion of uranium-based nuclear power would rapidly exhaust the Earth’s limited supplies of uranium, thorium is as common as lead. America has buried tons as a waste product of rare earth metals mining. Norway has so much that thorium is already envisaged powering the country in the Post-Oil Age. Britain has seams in Wales and Cornwall. Almost all the mineral is usable as fuel, compared to only 0.7pc of uranium. There is enough to power civilization for thousands of years.
The UK team based at Huddersfield University has been developing an accelerator-driven sub-critical reactor for thorium. This world-leading cutting-edge project needs £300m of public money for the next phase, and £1.5bn of commercial investment to produce the first working plant. Thereafter, economies of scale kick in fast, with completely practical plans in place to build. The idea is to make pint-size 600MW reactors.
Yet while the ConDem Coalition can afford wars in Afghanistan and Libya, and a huge increase in the foreign aid budget, there is no money for this project.
So, as is so often the case, China will develop British technology and, in due course, sell it back to us – if bankrupt Britain has got any money left with which to buy it. Yet again, the visionary British National Party has been ahead of the game, only to be ignored by the criminally incompetent political elite. Yet again, they are wrong, and we are right.
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