Jesse, In the 1940's Eugene Wigner recognized that America need clean and cheap energy, and pointed to fluid fuel reactors using the thorium cycle. Ed Bettis invented the Molten Salt Reactor and Raymond C. Bryant and Alvin Weinberg understood that it was the perfect instrument to fulfill Wigner's dream. My father and Warren Grimes worked out the chemistry of a liquid salt fuel. Two reactors were tested, and a full scale power reactor was under design. Then the AEC, responding to Pentagon control, shut the project down because it did not produce plutonium. In deed as my father demonstrated it could be used to burn plutonium, making the MSR a perfect anti-proliferation tool.
Under Alvin Weinberg ORNL built 2 successful prototypes. The was a deep and well thought out research program at ORNL, and steady progress was made toward the development of the MSBR. Much of the documentation of that research can be accessed on line. Scientists in France, Russia, and Japan are convinced that the ORNL project was sound, and has great potential. Edward Teller endorsed the MSR as the route to the future shortly before his death.
Kirk Sorensen and I have been talking about it for some time. We have argued that it is practical, that a type of MSR we call the LFTR can be built quickly, in large numbers and at low price. We have argued that he LFTR is safe, that it largely solves the problem of nuclear waste, and that indeed it can be used to dispose of the waste from Light Water Reactors. We have argued that there is enough Thorium already exist above ground in the United States to provide the country all of its energy for thousands of years. An AEC document published in 1969, reported that in 1968 the AEC told President Johnson that there was enough recoverable thorium in the United States to power the country for over two million years.
No one has demonstrated that Kirk Sorensen and I are wrong, and indeed a growing group of people agree with us. The people who developed the original MSR/LFTR technology were far from crackpots, and Kirk and I are not fools. We need research to verify what we claim. It would take less money than the United States on imported oil in a month, to develop LFTR technology to the point it can be commercialized.
Jesse,While you talk about the need for a clean and cheap energy source, you ought to give some attention to our contention that such a source is already known.