Given the dramatic climatic changes due to the burning of fossil fuel, the quest for cheap and safe energy is unbroken. In an article with the eye-catching alliterated title Radical Reactors published in Nature Mitchell Waldrop sells old ideas for new. He mentions, among others, Kirk Sorensen promoting the Thorium molten-salt reactor while an American-Japanese collaboration is working on a fast reactor. Charles Forsberg of MIT said: Given the erratic output of both wind and solar generators if you're going to get off fossil fuel, you have to have a serious nuclear program. For such a revival of nuclear energy global security analyst Edwin Lyman states: Nuclear is hard, it's expensive, it's slow. Indeed, engineers and scientists must develop better radiation-resistant materials, more efficient heat exchangers, and improved safety systems.
|Here you see Kirk Sorensen (First row, second from the right) with a banner advertising Thorium as reactor fuel.|
|This is a sketch of the molten-salt reactor with its famous frozen plug. |
In case the cooling of the reactor is lost, the plug melts and opens.
The molten salt will flow out of the reactor vessel
and be caught safely in a container located below.
I prefer soft green to hard nuclear energy, although developments in the field of new energies are slow. Despite enormous funding of electric mobility, the efficient electric car is still wishful thinking. The storage of energy essential due to the erratic output of both wind and solar generators is not solved. My favored storage medium is hydrogen produced in electrolysis during times when the industrial and household surge on solar and wind generators is low. Hydrogen is quite a "noble" energy, although it may blow up your home when poorly handled. Well, there are things you want, and there are those you can do (Das eine was man will und das andere was man kann).