Nuclear Power Minus Most of the DownsidesI've been intrigued by thorium as a nuclear fuel for a while now. A thorium reactor (known as LFTR - liquid fluoride thorium reactor) uses liquid rather than solid fuel, produces very little radioactive waste, doesn't need to be pressurized (so the explosions that we saw at Fukushima couldn't happen), and it's passively safe (if you lose power or something bad happens, the liquid fuels automatically drains in a storage tank and the reactor shuts down). On top of that, thorium is abundant on Earth, and we know that the LFTR concept works because decades ago the US built one for R&D purposes. So why hasn't it been developed instead of high-pressure uranium reactors? Because you can't make bombs with a thorium reactor (another plus), and the world's governments were very interested in bombs during the cold war... Sad but true.
Above is a short TED talk of Kirk Sorensen, a former NASA scientist and thorium power advocate who maintains the site EnergyFromThorium.com, and below is a longer talk that he gave at Google a while ago. If you just want a quick overview of what thorium is, check out the 1st video, but if you want to dig deeper and really understand what makes this technology different and promising, check out the video below and Mr. Sorensen's website.