On July 23, 2012, busy schedules aligned and I had the chance to talk with Richard Martin, the author of SuperFuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future and Kirk Sorensen, the co-founder and chief technology officer of Flibe Energy, a start-up company formed to “develop small modular reactors based on liquid-fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) technology.” Kirk is also the founder of Energy from Thorium.
Thought I did not think of phrasing it in this manner until I sat down to post the show, the initial question we discussed was “is thorium superior to uranium”? Even if Martin and Sorensen were able to win that argument, the more important question was determining whether the answer matters as much as the fact that both uranium and thorium (and their periodic table neighbor, plutonium) are atomic fission fuels that have serious advantages over combustion fuels in terms of energy density, total energy value and ability to produce power without pollution.
We talked quite a bit about my solidifying theory that a major part of the long running battle against using any of the three available nuclear fission fuels has derived from the fact that the current kings of the energy hill do not want either one to take their market share away. As is often the case, my discussion opponents initially labeled my theory as a crackpot conspiracy theory; I stubbornly continued explaining that pointing to a business strategy that includes efforts to “raise the barriers of entry” for formidable competitors should not be dismissed.
It is not a conspiracy theory to point out the enormous amount of capital that is invested in the global effort to locate, extract, transport, refine, distribute and market coal, natural gas and oil. It is not a conspiracy theory to point out that politicians and the advertiser supported media have numerous reasons to help their friends continue to capture trillions of dollars worth of revenue each year from suppling industrial society with the fuels that keep it running at prices that are far higher than they would be if there were amply supplies of nuclear fission based machines being allowed to operate on a remotely level playing field.
I hope you enjoy the discussion. Rick had another engagement, so he dropped out at the 45 minute point, but he suggested that we continue the conversation within the next six months as more developments occur. I think that is a capital idea. I’m looking forward to more discussions about the complicated but exceedingly important topic.