May i please open this question by asking that if you intended to answer this please could you provide links based on your answer. I have read ( and posted one ) on thorium and a lot of the answers are contradictory to what i have read with no scientific papers of links to back up what is being said. I am sure some of you are extremely intelligent but i do not know you. I am very interested in this topic and just want to learn more.
why am i asking this
I am very curious as to why ( and this not being the question, is somewhat political in nature ) the governments has not given more research time or scale development to using thorium as an alternative to are current energy crisis, not so much in that we do not have enough energy but how energy production is having a very negative effect on the environment. So this question is just to understand one side of the larger question, not meant for this board.
Traditional nuclear power radioactivity
Neptunium-237 Plutonium-239 (tried to provide links but i do not have enough point yet)
Those 2 elements being the largest factors in organic destruction
The amount of HLW worldwide is currently increasing by about 12,000 metric tons every year, which is the equivalent to about 100 double-decker buses or a two-story structure with a footprint the size of a basketball court. marathonresources.com.au/nuclearwaste.asp
A 1000-MW nuclear power plant produces about 27 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel (unreprocessed) every year. world-nuclear.org/info/inf04.html
I don't think i need to outline the physics of why this is a very serious problem. Yeah maybe not for us, in our life time (besides the event of meltdown , in the case of Japan having +22 nuclear plants in a region of the earth that has 3 highly active tectonic plates), but for humanity this is really grim. If anyone is interested in a very good documentary on the matter please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Into_Eternity_%28film%29 note:This is not your run of the mill documentaries.
I don't want to get into the whole nuclear weapon debate, what i am asking has nothing to do this that. This is primarily the radioactive waste produced by these two different forms of electrical generation and the physics with the long term effect on nature.
Can we be certain that with traditional means we are not creating a pandora's box for future generations to come. One that could alter life on this planet to the point of complete destruction?
http://imgur.com/a8TDT <-- poster outline of Thorium
"Thorium produces 10 to 10,000 times less long-lived radioactive waste;" wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium#Benefits_and_challenges
yet in the same post it states
"potential problems in recycling thorium due to highly radioactive " ( under thorium energy fuel cycle ) due to Th-228
So yes there is still radioactivity in its production but the radioactivity ratio between the two technologies, from what i have read , makes thorium a cleaner waste disposal process with less harmful effect in every area of concern from production, meltdown and disposal.
With Thorium harmful decay is gone in 10 years for 83% of materials and 300 years for 17% compared to 10 000 years with conventional nuclear energy. With what little research has been done, it can also prevent a complete core meltdown. I cannot even imagine how amazing this technology can become with more funding and research into production development and disposal.
Am i missing something in the research that i have done that does not make thorium an cleaner alternative to nuclear energy by a factor of a lot? And if i have not missed anything, why is this single difference not driving the research and development into this energy system ( Please i do not want to get political in this answer, if it is political please keep the answer very short, although i am interested i do not want to side line the main topic of this question )