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Guest: Dr. Ajay Kothari; Topics: Thorium energy and reactors, details, advantages and some of the politics involved in using thorium to solve our energy problems.
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We welcomed back to the show Dr. Ajay Kothari to make his case for the use of thorium reactors to solve our energy and environmental problems. Ajay has posted multiple comments to the blog for this show with supplemental information, much of which was mentioned on today's program. I suggest you become familiar with his blog posts, diagrams and the Sweet 16 advantages which he went through one by one on air. In addition, his recent Space Review article, "Thor the Lifesaver" was one of the initial posts made by Ajay to the blog. Please be sure to read this article.
During the first part of the program, Ajay introduced us to thorium, explained that Pres. Nixon cancelled thorium work and research speculating that he did this due to their wanting plutonium at the time. In addition, he talked about the difficulties with thorium reactors and NRC approval. In fact, Ajay did comment on the NRC challenges more than a few times during this program. We received multiple emails and some phone calls for Ajay but perhaps the best way to summarize the program is to once again just repeat the tags/key words as they do a great job in summarizing our discussion.
Tags/key words: "Dr. Ajay Kothari, Astrox, Inc, thorium, The Space Review, Thor: The Lifesaver, China, thorium advantages, President Nixon, weaponizing thorium, molten salt reactor, NRC, Sweet 16 advantages on our blog, thorium 232, fission, thorium 233, bomb grade materials, CO2, SSP and thorium, Chinese thorium reactor, Flibe Energy, direct energy conversion, thorium and the Moon, thorium and Mars, thorium reserves, thorium reactors, politics and thorium, hypersonic vehicles, scramjets and ITAR, fusion energy, thorium as a green fuel, solving terrestrial energy problems with thorium, LWR (low water reactors)."
Note that Ajay posted his Sweet 16 thorium advantages on the blog but he also went through each and everyone one of them during our discussion. At times he fielded listener questions about a particular advantage so do listen to his commentary. In addition, early in the program Ajay was challenged when he commented that thorium could not be weaponized. The fact is it can be turned into a bomb and in 1966 that was done with 233. It was not the best weapon nor was the process economic or easy but it is wrong to say that thorium could not be turned into a weapon. More than likely, thorium could be used for a dirty bomb as you will hear. Furthermore, when Ajay was pressed to tell us why the NRC did not want to approve thorium projects he said it had to do with proliferation. That said, later in the program a listener asked Ajay about specific thorium companies work the problem and their status. Ajay mentioned several, including Flibe Energy in Alabama. As part of this discussion, Ajay spent time describing the molten salt reactor and why that would be useful in space and on the Moon and Mars. Listen to what he said about the molten salt part of the reactor, super cooling and related topic. Also LWR (low water reactors).
Ajay mentioned the small thorium reactor now operational in China. Note the size of the reactor he described. Later in the discussion Ajay was asked if the Chinese thorium reactor could serve as the role model for demonstrating thorium energy and reactors though the US was not pursuing it. He said yes. Ajay was asked about the TRL for thorium usage in the US and he said it was probably around 3-4. That said, he qualified his answer suggesting we are probably read for a demo thorium reactor in the U.S. at this time.
With a few minutes remaining in the program. I asked Ajay questions about hypersonic flight. He made a few comments about it but would not talk scramjets. When I pushed him as to why he would not talk scramjets, he said it was an ITAR issue so he needed to stay away from the topic. After talking a few minutes about hypersonics, we talked fusion with a listener question.
What do you think about thorium as a source of energy in the U.S. and around the world? Should we be pursuing it? Why or why not? Please post your thoughts on this and any questions or comments you might have for Dr. Kothari on our blog. You can reach Dr. Kothari through me or his Astrox Corporation website.