Awareness of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors and the resulting energy abundance
If you haven't heard about this by now, you haven't been following Reddit very closely. The basic idea is that a class of nuclear reactors exists based on the element thorium. The thorium is dissolved in a fluoride salt and ran inside of a nuclear reactor in liquid form. This is known as a molten salt reactor (MSR), or alternatively as a liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR). Inside the reactor, thorium-232 is used to breed uranium-233, which is a fissile material. Fission of U-233 produces heat, which can then be used to produce power, desalinate water, generate hydrogen, and do many other useful things. Doing nuclear reactors this way has a huge number of advantages, which are discussed below.
Almost every nerd in the world is aware of the benefits of fusion reactors, but these are constantly 20 years away. Thorium reactors exist and have for a long time. The US built a test reactor called the molten salt reactor experiment (MSRE) in the 60s and it worked great. The only reason it didn't take off was because there was already a massive investment in light water reactors for various reasons and then Three Mile Island happened which created irrational fear over anything with the word "nuclear" in it.
The LFTR approach is better than current nuclear reactors in every way. It can't be easily used to make weapons because the breeding also generates U-232 (see links below for explanation), so we don't need to fear other countries using this. It produces thousands of times less in waste. The tiny amount of waste it does produce only stays radioactive for a couple hundred years. The technology is scalable from very small reactors (a few MW) to very large (10 GW). The world has four times more thorium than uranium and it doesn't require enrichment or fuel rod fabrication like uranium. It cannot have meltdowns (because the fuel is already melted) and has passive safety features that make it very safe (including the "freeze plug" design that automatically drains the reactor into a non-critical storage container if something goes wrong). The reactor can also be used to burn up old long lived nuclear waste and turn it into short lived waste.Give the world the best Christmas present of all: Awareness of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors and the resulting energy abundance. : politics