George Monbiot in his new role as an apologist for the twice-bailed-out-of-insolvency British Nuclear Power industry, has now taken the Thorium bait, quite probably the most well-funded piece of astroturfing propaganda in existence :-
“This ‘greenest government ever’ is the greatest threat yet to our environment : The coalition is preparing to bin Britain’s climate change targets. After all, ministers have corporate sponsors to take care of : George Monbiot, guardian.co.uk, Monday 9 May 2011”
“…we should start considering other options for decarbonising the electricity supply: especially new nuclear technologies such as thorium, integral fast reactors or travelling wave reactors…”
“New”, George, “new” ? The only thing that’s “new” is the desperate rush to try Thorium power out, now that there are doubts about “classic” nuclear reactor design. Here’s what James Birkin has to say over at the Claverton forum, where they have real energy experts discussing Thorium reactors :-
https://groups.google.com/group/energy-discussion-group/browse_thread/thread/f0276e258b119a2c/47ac145d221a16fe?hl=en&lnk=gst&q=thorium# (Expand all)
From: James Birkin
Date: Sun, 8 May 2011
Subject: RE: FW: Thorium – the idea is growing!
…the technology is sufficiently advanced that one was built forty years ago.
People are embarking on building one (or have announced a target of 2015) in the last few days…
And as for whether Thorium nuclear power reactors are worth pursuing, well, take a look at a proper study, also mentioned in the Claverton Energy Research Group thread :-
From: Dave Elliott, Open University
Date: Sun, 08 May 2011
Subject: Re: Thorium – the idea is growing!
I’ve been following this debate and still find it odd that, while it’s said that we really need to hear from the experts, the evidence provided by the leading experts in the UK, the National Nuclear Labs, was treated as somehow suspect – presumably because they didn’t back Thorium.
It is sadly easy to become convinced that something is the answer and then to see all counter views as evidence that the answer is not being treated seriously. I hope that’s not this is not the case in this instance.
Personally I found their analysis quite convincing, but then I’m not a nuclear enthusiast, a position reinforced by my belief that there are so many renewable energy alternatives, all of which seem to be easier and less risky to explore, with many of them being marginalised by the continued, and it seems to me, increasingly desperate, focus on nuclear. If China want to try it, fine. But I suspect they will find that it’s a dodgy long shot. As with fusion, I think we should focus our limited UK resources on more immediately productive ideas [instead].
George Monbiot, why not start talking to people besides Mark Lynas and his set; people with engineering expertise, to inform your opinion on nuclear power ?