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Bill Gates Is Beginning To Dream the Thorium Dream

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the bill-just-wants-a-vat-of-molten-salt dept.

Power 327

Daniel_Stuckey writes "TerraPower, the Gates-chaired nuclear power company, has garnered the most attention for pursuing traveling wave reactor tech, which runs entirely on spent uranium and would rarely need to be refueled. But Terrapower just quietly announced that it's going to start seriously exploring thorium power, too."

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Finally! (5, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#44373571)

Wow, I finally have a reason to like/admire Bill Gates....

Re:Finally! (4, Funny)

networkBoy (774728) | about a year ago | (#44373621)

oblig: as long as the cores don't have a BSOD...
That would be bad.

But in all honesty, I do like that his efforts are being spent on something like this, where the benefit to humanity is great.

Re:Finally! (4, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#44374393)

"I Came, I Thorium, I Barium".

Re:Finally! (4, Funny)

Kazymyr (190114) | about a year ago | (#44373637)

I agree, it's time we take thorium seriously. And if Bill Gates is the one who makes it happen, more power to him! (pun not intended)

Re:Finally! (3, Informative)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year ago | (#44373907)

I saw an announcement recently about thorium fuel elements [world-nuclear-news.org] being loaded into a reactor for long-term engineering research to see how they perform physically. There's not a great demand for thorium fuel cycle operations at the moment though when uranium is so cheap [uxc.com] and plentiful.

Re:Finally! (1)

polar red (215081) | about a year ago | (#44374107)

I don't think thorium/uranium is not that important to the final price of the electricity. the construction and decomissioning cost(although this cost is being carried by the government) of the reactors *is*.

Re:Finally! (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44374315)

There have been at least 2 thorium reactors that have already been built and successfully run. One was a research reactor in the U.S., which was in operation (on and off) for years. I have forgotten where the other was.

India is currently in the process of building a thorium-based electricity generating plant.

Seriously, if the U.S. doesn't jump on this soon, we'll be left in the dust when it comes to clean energy. I have no idea why we haven't yet, unless it has been due to lobbying by the energy companies who want to expand their current cash-cow plants.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374471)

Because it's worthless for making nuclear weapons.

Re:Finally! (1)

dimeglio (456244) | about a year ago | (#44373911)

I just hope we don't have to change all our plugs and all our electrical equipment to fit the new power service from Gates.

Re:Finally! (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#44373979)

Bill Gates style would have him force socket makers to only sell his brand of electricity. Steve Jobs and Sony are the 'this is the new connector that obsoletes all your old ones, isnt it great?!

Re:Finally! (5, Funny)

almitydave (2452422) | about a year ago | (#44373983)

Rumor has it the new thorium reactors will put out 640 kW, which oughta be enough for everybody.

Re:Finally! (1)

dietdew7 (1171613) | about a year ago | (#44374075)

Did Gates or Microsoft have anything to do with the 640 k limit? I thought that was an IBM limitation.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374537)

Yes it was due to the design of the original PC, which used 640k for RAM and the rest for video & BIOS. The Gates connection is an idiotic myth.

Re:Finally! (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about a year ago | (#44373933)

And if Bill Gates is the one who makes it happen, more power to him! (pun not intended)

If not intended, at least appreciated.

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | about a year ago | (#44373683)

What about all the stuff his foundation does about malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV? Or the stuff he's doing for sanitation and disaster relief? Heck, even if you're looking for something closer to home, then what about try to fund a better condom so that people will be faced with less of a choice between pleasure and safety?

I may not like the man and bear a huge grudge for some his more destructive effects on the computer industry, but all of that kind of seems piddling compared to the effect his actions will have on billions of the world's poorest people. I have been forced to grudgingly admire him for quite some time now over his philanthropy and the transparency and effectiveness of his charity compared to some of its "rivals."

Re:Finally! (4, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#44373793)

Don't forget the widespread parasite infection rate due to his work on cheap sanitation infrastructure. The last "generation" of excessively wealthy philanthropists did wonderful things, like build universities, parks, and feed the homeless. This "generation" seems intent on fixing the world, which, while neocolonialist, is really promising in the amount of progress.

Re:Finally! (4, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#44373965)

The missing phrase in my post here is decrease in, it was not an oblique reference to Windows virus infection rates.

Re:Finally! (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44374029)

Don't forget the widespread parasite infection rate due to his work on cheap sanitation infrastructure.

What, Gates built a cheap sanitation infrastructure, leading to widespread parasite infection? You probably meant the opposite, but I find the phrasing confusing.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374563)

Why can't third worlders look after themselves?

Re:Finally! (1, Informative)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year ago | (#44373953)

but all of that kind of seems piddling compared to the effect his actions will have on billions of the world's poorest people. I have been forced to grudgingly admire him for quite some time now over his philanthropy and the transparency and effectiveness of his charity compared to some of its "rivals."

Well then you haven't been paying attention.

The Gates Foundation has an endowment of $30 Billion making it the largest philanthropic organization in the world. But one third of that money is invested in companies whose practices run counter to the foundation’s supposed charitable goals and social mission. For example, in Africa, The Foundation has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp, and Chevron. These firms have been responsible for much of the pollution causing respiratory problems and other afflictions among the local population.

The Gates Foundation also has investments in 69 of the worst polluting companies in the US and Canada, including Dow Chemical. It holds investments in pharmaceutical companies whose drugs cost far beyond what most patients around the world can afford and The Foundation often lobbies on behalf of those companies for "Intellectual Property" protections that make obtaining low cost medicines more difficult.

Other companies in the Foundation’s portfolio have been accused of transgressions including forcing thousands of people to lose their homes, supporting child labor and defrauding and neglecting patients in need of medical care.

In the mean time, Bill Gates' net worth has increased by $20 Billion since 2007.

Re:Finally! (3, Insightful)

RajivSLK (398494) | about a year ago | (#44374149)

Good! Take profits from the worst companies and use it for good. Nothing wrong with that- else-wise someone else will just take those profits.

The arm of the foundation charged with investing and growing the fund should simply chase the best investments without any restriction or influence from the charitable arm. It would be stupid not to.

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44374169)

The group who do the investing of the Foundation's money is entirely separate from those who are doing the actual Foundation work. As with pretty much every fund manager they're going for the largest return on investment, and they're not going to put the money into some feel-good company distributing handmade baskets with a 1.2% return when Monsanto and Shell return 7%. That's their job, to grow the Foundation's funding. It's up to the rest of the staff to figure out what to do with that money.

Re:Finally! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374175)

If only there was some way for the Gates foundation to use those investments in those companies to influence their behavior. Like, if invested money could be used to vote on company policy/directions, or if investments of so much could get them a seat on the board... one can only dream...

Re:Finally! (5, Interesting)

Kwyj1b0 (2757125) | about a year ago | (#44374183)

For example, in Africa, The Foundation has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp, and Chevron.

The Gates Foundation also has investments in 69 of the worst polluting companies in the US and Canada, including Dow Chemical. It holds investments in pharmaceutical companies whose drugs cost far beyond what most patients around the world can afford and The Foundation often lobbies on behalf of those companies for "Intellectual Property" protections that make obtaining low cost medicines more difficult.

Other companies in the Foundation’s portfolio have been accused of transgressions including forcing thousands of people to lose their homes, supporting child labor and defrauding and neglecting patients in need of medical care.

In the mean time, Bill Gates' net worth has increased by $20 Billion since 2007.

Ideally, that shouldn't happen. However, if you look at the worlds most profitable companies, I would assume you would find most of the 69 companies in that list. If Gates puts back a significant portion of the gains back into philanthropic work, it would be a net gain.

Shell and Exxon do not need Gates money. I doubt Gates is on their board of directors. His organization must have bought the shares on the open market as an investment. They should be using the proceeds of that for further philanthropic works. In a way, his organization might end up using the profits of Exxon to undo the damage of Exxon.

I know the idealistic notion is to say "we don't need blood-money to achieve our goals". And Bill Gates certainly has enough of money to throw at problems. But I'd rather he grow his money and spend the profits on philanthropy than not give to important causes at all.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374277)

The Gates Foundation has an endowment ... making it the largest ... in the world.

giggity

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374511)

Damn that Bill Gates! Why can't he just make more money without doing some good to the world, like any sensible person??

Re:Finally! (1)

Zalbik (308903) | about a year ago | (#44374585)

The Gates Foundation also has investments in....[list of evil companies that do evil things]

Yes, they own stocks in those companies. Now please explain how this is relevant?

You do realize that companies do not get any direct benefit from the sales of shares, don't you?

Re:Finally! (0)

CODiNE (27417) | about a year ago | (#44374587)

The really creepy stuff is his eugenics ties and claims that his foundation is actively working to decrease population in Africa and South America. Stuff about "accidentally" putting sterilizing agents in vaccines that people didn't even need. It's just bizarre and I have no way of verifying those claims. He is public about his opinions of ideal population size however.

Re:Finally! (0)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44373991)

Heck, even if you're looking for something closer to home, then what about try to fund a better condom so that people will be faced with less of a choice between pleasure and safety?

Unless they're Catholics or Africans (or both), in which case they're forced to choose between religion or safety.

Re:Finally! (1)

OutOnARock (935713) | about a year ago | (#44374383)

Hey now, remember.....that....

Every sperm is sacred....every sperm is great....

If a sperm gets wasted.....God is quite irate....

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374485)

I thought those were Protestants, not Catholics?

Re:Finally! (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44374575)

Hey, the unmarried Catholics already have to choose between religion and sex, and religion doesn't seem to slow them down too much.

Atonement (0)

Livius (318358) | about a year ago | (#44374137)

Considering how he obtained his wealth in the first place, it actually is the least he can do.

Re:Finally! (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#44374275)

but all of that kind of seems piddling compared to the effect his actions will have on billions of the world's poorest people.

Yep. Especially when teamed up with Monsanto*. The actions will have quite an impact.

[*] http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2010/sep/29/gates-foundation-gm-monsanto [guardian.co.uk]

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374467)

used to shake down UNICEF to pay more money to monsanto and Glaxo-Kline-Smith, of which he is a fairly large stock holder.

As for the above, what has Gates done to make these people self-sufficient in these goals. Anything? Or has he left them dependant on others goodwill. Goodwill that can be yanked, and has people bound politically?

Given that freedom of information is what will enable the world to make rational decisions, and again, let people build their own machines, and manufacture their own medicine, in the long run, people like Bill Gates have done more harm than good.

effectiveness and and transparency? prffff

Or mabey your assuming the third world is littered with people just living in huts without internet, wallowing in their own misery just waiting for rich Americans to come by on photo ops.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374475)

How will this affect his participation in reducing population as stated on TED by himself.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44373709)

True, because his millions upon millions of dollars going to charities and to cure diseases of the world isn't enough.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44373805)

But what has he done for ME lately?

Re:Finally! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44373961)

ME has been unsupported since 2006.

Re:Finally! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44373895)

You know what? No, it isn't enough. His decisions to put other companies out of business and to eliminate competition took millions if not billions of dollars out of our economy and hurt countless other possible investments and real people. If he hadn't made evil decisions, we might have solved things decades ago that he has just recently began helping fight.

Opportunity costs always exist but when you take them away from other people in what are bluntly evil ways, you can never ever actually make up for it.

But this, this particular scientific focus, this is important and exciting to people who have long since realized that many problems are going to outlast all the attempts to fix them.

You can never make up for something evil in your past until you can travel back in time. The best you can do is try to do some good now. I'm glad he has decided to try to do some good now. I'm glad he is putting his money into something I personally care about. So pardon those of us who actually feel a little excited for a change.

Re:Finally! (1)

avandesande (143899) | about a year ago | (#44373745)

I knew there was a reason to put up with Windows mediocrity all these years ;-)

Re:Finally! (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#44373859)

Well much of windows Mediocrity is based on keeping backwards compatibility to the old 16bit DOS systems.

MS DOS - Microsoft Big hit. It started the PC Compatible Computer. There was a lot of software written for DOS
Windows 1 - ME, Well it still needed to Run DOS apps.
Windows NT-8 It needs to run the Windows 32bit (Win 3.1+ (Windows 3.1 while a 16bit shell to DOS, supported 32bit extensions))

The standard PC of the MS-DOS days would cringe from a system like Linux/Unix as it was more towards the mainframe systems. Once the hardware got to a point (the 386) Microsoft had too much backward compatibility to deal with to really make the OS stable.

It isn't as much Gates or Balmer or the developers, but the fact if MS lost its backwards compatibility, it would get eaten alive by its competition. Think Windows RT, Windows CE, NT for Alpha, NT for the Power PC.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44373759)

I hope he does well here. The only concern I have with this is his relation to Intellectual Ventures.

Re:Finally! (3, Funny)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about a year ago | (#44373771)

Bill Gates as a person, separate from Microsoft does a lot of good in the world through his foundation and personal charitable contributions. When he stepped down as the CEO of MS, he got to hand the asshole mantle to Balmer who is now wearing that motherfucker like no one else can.

Re:Finally! (1)

Lord Apathy (584315) | about a year ago | (#44373807)

Now all we have to do is wait for the anti nuclear hippies to show up and piss in the cereal bowl.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44373967)

the nuclear people piss in their own soup http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-07/fukushima-137-billion-cost-has-tepco-seeking-more-aid.html

Re:Finally! (3, Insightful)

Lord Apathy (584315) | about a year ago | (#44374379)

The only reason that happened, and most nuclear accidents, is because the anti nuke freaks started wining about it in the '60. A bunch of clueless hippies sitting around smoking weed and carrying on protests about anything that had anything to do with nuclear anything. Because of this all research on nuclear fission was stopped in the '70s.

If the hippie bunch would have help research the problem instead of being apart of the problem we would have safe nuclear reactors using modern technology today. Crap like Fukushima would never have happened.

So thank you very much flower children.

Re:Finally! (2)

bhcompy (1877290) | about a year ago | (#44373817)

Yea, he's only the most generous philanthropist in the world. Fuck helping people, I want cheap power

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44373903)

cheap power

not with nuclear then.

Re:Finally! (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | about a year ago | (#44373843)

Wow, I finally have a reason to like/admire Bill Gates....

I know. I'm sure he won't ask for any government grants for the research either.

Sorry, but Bill is still Bill with better publicists.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374177)

Wasn't it said somewhere there's enough thorium on Earth to power us for 100,000 years, even after taking expansion into consideration?

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374367)

If its done in usual bill gates fashion, his involvement will have a catch, such as technology being available and under the control of a few.

Or he'll do something nefarious like patent the tech, not develop it, and force people to pay him for the right to use tech they re-discover on their own 5-10 years later.

Given what he did with food and medicine in Africa, or computers in India, one could only imagine there is always a nasty catch to whatever this man does.

Me too!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374577)

the way he's vaccinating all of Africa, making the entire continent his lab rat test bed! That's fucking awesome!

money = future (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44373577)

Those with the money control the future, good or bad.

Re: money = future (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about a year ago | (#44373663)

Specially at the individual level that's exactly what money is: bottled time.

Re:money = future -- I think I read this somewhere (5, Insightful)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#44373719)

Those with the money control the future, good or bad.

Yes, I remember now. It was from a book at my local Carnegie Free Library, funded by wealthy philanthropist Andrew Carnegie:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnegie_library [wikipedia.org]

Or it could have been at Stanford, which was funded by railroad tycoon Leland Stanford:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_University [wikipedia.org]

For some reason people believe governments make wiser decisions than wealthy individuals, but most of the long term projects happening in the world these days, the kind of things that matter to human survival as a species, and not just "the right party" winning the next short term election, are all being funded by wealthy individuals.

Or to put it another way: focus is no substitute for vision. Government bureaucrats rare have vision.

Re:money = future -- I think I read this somewhere (2)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about a year ago | (#44373801)

That's the kind of good things you can do when you don't have to worry about some dick bag congressman defunding your agency because he doesn't like you.

Re:money = future -- I think I read this somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44373883)

Um... I think you might be forgetting [wikipedia.org] some [youtube.com] things [wikipedia.org] here.

Re:money = future -- I think I read this somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374153)

Um... I think you might be forgetting [wikipedia.org]

Yeah, military projects can do big things. There was an important vision there: the vision of the ability to move ICBMs rapidly and easily.

some [youtube.com]

Government is also good at doing flashy but unsustainable.

things [wikipedia.org] here.

Okay, I'll give you that one. However, it's worth pointing out that Ducks Unliminted preserves about 1/8th as much land as the National Park System, and much of it is less spectacular but more important for habitat preservation, and similar private coalitions protect lots of other land as well.

Re:money = future -- I think I read this somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44373919)

Or to put it another way: focus is no substitute for vision. Government bureaucrats rare have vision.

Of course they don't! Just look at the morons who elect them!

Re:money = future -- I think I read this somewhere (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year ago | (#44373921)

This is more or less the basic case for monarchy. As it was put to me once: there were good leaders, and there were bad leaders, in dynastic Europe, and there were an awful lot of wars. But none of them systematically raped own their countries in order to enrich themselves (as has happened in much of the post-colonial third world), nor did their martial ambitions wreak one tiny fraction of the havoc that was released upon their countries once war was in the hands of the people.

Re:money = future -- I think I read this somewhere (1)

polar red (215081) | about a year ago | (#44374035)

But none of them systematically raped own their countries in order to enrich themselves

maybe you should do a little research, I think you might be wrong.

once war was in the hands of the people.

and when was that, can you give me an example ?

Re:money = future -- I think I read this somewhere (5, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#44374067)

Uh... no. Not at all.

The entirety of the culture of serfdom was the rape of your own country for the profit of the nobility.

Feudalism had no 'market' (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374303)

Uh... no. Not at all.

You do not know what feudalism was all about. You are looking at it through the lens of someone who has never live outside of a monetary economy.

The nobility did not care one bit about profit. The 'currency' of the feudalism era was political power. People gave resources to those that had political power. Today we give political power to those that have resources. There was no 'raping of your own country for profit'. This was a time of might makes right. It probably still is, but more abstracted.

The question a lowly serf had to answer was this: Should I give some of my resources to the local lord that may or may not care about me in return for protection or should I risk having no protection at all and possibly lose everything to foreign lords that I know do not care about me?

Re:money = future -- I think I read this somewhere (1)

swillden (191260) | about a year ago | (#44374233)

Interesting point. I suppose the difference arises because with a monarch someone is responsible in a fairly undeniable way. The king may be an ass, but only a true sociopath is willing to be solely responsible for the deaths of tens of millions. In more democratic structures there are ways to spread the blame, and especially to pin it on ideology and the "good of the people" (not including those killed, presumably).

Re:money = future -- I think I read this somewhere (5, Insightful)

bryonak (836632) | about a year ago | (#44373943)

While Carnegie and Standford are admirable individuals, I think you're somewhat in denial here. The vast majority of long term projects happening in the world these days are funded by governments (whether they matter to the actual survival of the human species is another question, as humanity would survive just fine without any privately funded and without most government sponsored endeavours).
But take health care for example: all charities in the whole world combined only achieve a fraction of the medical support solely the US health care system provides for, let alone the European ones.
Private charity makes for very good PR, but simply lacks the mass to come anywhere close to the amount public services require.

As for vision, both individuals in interaction with government (= active involvement with their own society) and those know-it-better separatist privates can have visions equally. Personally I would take Neil deGrasse Tyson's campaigning over Bill Gates' profit oriented private funding, but luckily we can have both!

Re:money = future -- I think I read this somewhere (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | about a year ago | (#44374345)

And the US health care system provides for that medical support by taking taxes from those who work in the US. It does not come out of nowhere. If the US health care system did not exist, citizens would be spending that same money on a private health care system. This might, arguably, be better. (Consider, for example, how Lasik eye-surgery keeps getting cheaper and better over the years, much like computer parts do, in opposition to the rest of the health care system which seems to get more expensive and prohibitive as the years go by. What's the difference between the two?)

Re:money = future -- I think I read this somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374061)

if bill gates really wanted to make the world more powerful he'd be helping the cd3wd project get all the knowledge of modern civilization into the hands of people who need it to tell them how to build modern everything...

Re:money = future -- I think I read this somewhere (5, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | about a year ago | (#44374209)

For some reason people believe governments make wiser decisions than wealthy individuals, but most of the long term projects happening in the world these days, the kind of things that matter to human survival as a species, and not just "the right party" winning the next short term election, are all being funded by wealthy individuals.

No, many of the long term projects that get a lot of media attention are funded by wealthy individuals. Taxpayer dollars go to many long-term projects that will benefit humanity as well.

The LHC, Super Kamiokande, and almost all the big physics projects are taxpayer funded. Almost all the big brain mapping initiatives going on today are publicly funded -- particularly through the NIH. Most climate monitoring is done by national governments and universities. Government funding is about the only thing keeping new antibiotics research alive since it's unprofitable.

Personally, I'd rather vote for people to put the money into projects that won't deliver short-term profits in hopes of greater long-term profits than cross my fingers and hope that if we let some people amass enough concentrated money that they'll spend it on something other than their own, narrow interests. For every Carnegie or Gates there are a dozen Koch brothers, Trumps, and second-generation rich twits like Paris Hilton.

Re:money = future -- I think I read this somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374297)

More specifically, elected leaders have no vision beyond the next set of elections and what resolves issues in the immediate here and now they can hang their hat on for votes.

Re:money = future -- I think I read this somewhere (1)

deadweight (681827) | about a year ago | (#44374405)

Government bureaucrats rare have vision - Well we might, but our bosses don't really expect "visioning" all that much :(

Politicians vs Businesspeople (1)

Dan East (318230) | about a year ago | (#44374527)

For some reason people believe governments make wiser decisions than wealthy individuals, but most of the long term projects happening in the world these days, the kind of things that matter to human survival as a species, and not just "the right party" winning the next short term election, are all being funded by wealthy individuals.

There's a good reason for this. Many (although not all) very wealthy people did a lot of things right to get that way. They managed their businesses well and made good financial decisions. Thus they will naturally apply those same skills to their philanthropy as well.

Now let's look at politicians. While a small percentage were also successful in business, the majority are most skilled at.... being politicians. Which of course infers no actual business or financial skills whatsoever, and certainly no actual experience.

Worse, Kryptonians named themselves after the Kr. (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44373613)

I don't know why Thor feels so second-rate. Superman doesn't have a day of the week and an element named after him.

Re:Worse, Kryptonians named themselves after the K (1)

g5g5g5 (414184) | about a year ago | (#44373647)

And no one stops to remember grabthar's hammer...

Re:Worse, Kryptonians named themselves after the K (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44373973)

But they do remember Maxwell's Silver Hammer!

Bang Bang Maxwell's Silver hammer can down upon his head! (come on let's sing!) ....

Re:Worse, Kryptonians named themselves after the K (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374037)

i nearly snorted coffee onto my keyboard.

BSOD (0)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44373737)

will take on a larger meaning.

BUT..... (0)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year ago | (#44373741)

Will it run on windows with the metro interface?

Re:BUT..... (1)

3TimeLoser (853209) | about a year ago | (#44373841)

Yes, but you'll have to constantly switch between AC and DC to get anything done.

Re:BUT..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374095)

Yes, but you'll have to constantly switch between AC and DC to get anything done.

Talk about a Highway to Hell...

Finally some promise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44373747)

According to that Wikipedia link, "traveling wave" reactors could work without fuel reprocessing.

This is awesome, because I can't believe for a second that reprocessing molten salt fuel is going to be safe or environmentally friendly int the long run. Molten salt reactor fuel is literally a highly radioactive molten soup of materials that needs to be removed/filtered/processed from time to time in order to keep the reactor working.

Re:Finally some promise (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44374407)

According to that Wikipedia link, "traveling wave" reactors could work without fuel reprocessing.

This is awesome, because I can't believe for a second that reprocessing molten salt fuel is going to be safe or environmentally friendly int the long run. Molten salt reactor fuel is literally a highly radioactive molten soup of materials that needs to be removed/filtered/processed from time to time in order to keep the reactor working.

I dunno whether or not you're right, but this approach has its problems too. From the Wikipedia article cited in the summary:

Papers and presentations on the TerraPower TWR describe a pool-type reactor cooled by liquid sodium.

I have trouble believing any reactor that uses metallic sodium is safe or reliable. Even though there are very few sodium cooled reactors, there have already been problems: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monju_Nuclear_Power_Plant [wikipedia.org]

Good! Now go read up before laughing this off! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44373749)

You'll need to start at the beginning of the entire nuclear reactor concept. If you can find it, and it will take a little digging, you'll stumble upon a paper and subsequent decision from 1947-49. In it, the reactor lead engineer who also worked on some of the first nukes, stated we now have 'an endless supply of cheap energy' from a Thorium reactor design.

Now why wasn't it implemented? It did not produce enough byproduct plutonium for nuclear bombs.

Hopefully, they'll pull all of the detractors of Thorium kicking and screaming into the future, because this tech. needs to be fully explored and ultimately implemented.

I'd cite, but I'm on a phone. Sorry...

yeah, right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44373779)

First those guys do a funky animation of a "travelling wave reactor", which looks like a cigarette burning down, and nothing like any reactor geometry would ever do.

Then after getting plenty of criticism about that, they change their tune and say they have a different TWR design in mind. Not a peep about how or why they fooled us all with the hoked-up animation.

Now they're thinking about Thorium. Like there isn't already 65 years of research on that.

Norwegians are already on it (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44373875)

Thor Energy [thorenergy.no] started a trial [extremetech.com] earlier this month.

Turns out that Norway has one of the world's largest thorium deposits, which is part of the motivation. I guess having huge oil deposits, hydro-energy resources, and wind-energy resources wasn't enough...

Re: Norwegians are already on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374053)

Wow, even the name is a match.

Re:Norwegians are already on it (1)

gravious (19912) | about a year ago | (#44374139)

Lucky resourceful Norwegians :)

Off-topic: Why did you link to that book in your sig?

Re:Norwegians are already on it (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44374501)

Off-topic: Why did you link to that book in your sig?

Just think it's an interesting book, and might be interesting to some folks here. It's an analysis of a particularly simple Commodore-era maze generator, like the kind that got pushed much further by later work in procedural level/terrain/etc. generation, and especially in demoscene stuff. Here's what the code looks like when run [youtube.com] . The book's a bit "academic" at times (it's an MIT Press book after all), but I think quite interesting. Two of the co-authors also wrote a book on the Atari 2600 [mit.edu] .

Re:Norwegians are already on it (3, Interesting)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year ago | (#44374423)

Good grief, what an utterly crap article! So many things they got wrong... Lessee, the thorium experiment involves eight (8) pellets of mixed-oxide thorium/plutonium fuel in a single fuel rod loaded into a low-powered heavy-water research reactor fuelled mostly with enriched uranium (the reactor is designed to accept other fuel elements like the thorium MOX rod for testing purposes which is why the test is being carried out in Norway). Thorium needs a neutron flux to breed Th232 up into fissile U233 and produce energy hence the mixed-oxide formulation of the pellets mentioned. Assuming the MOX pellets get commoditised they'll need an ongoing future supply of Pu to continue making them and that can come only from either reprocessing fuel rods from regular uranium reactors of the type running today or breeder reactors also burning uranium although the track record of breeders hasn't been too good up till now, lots of engineering problems with molten sodium leaking and consequential fires. Note that the travelling-wave reactor design mentioned in the original article is basically a breeder using guess what? as a coolant. Oops.

Sheesh... (1)

seven of five (578993) | about a year ago | (#44373993)

Thorium has already been "seriously explored." How about a turnkey reactor design?

Panic.... (1, Funny)

TimO_Florida (2894381) | about a year ago | (#44374005)

"Why is everyone running?" "The reactor blue-screened and we found out it's running on VISTA!!"

Blue Screen of death? (0)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year ago | (#44374229)

Thinking about the blue glow given off as prompt neutrons slow down gives a whole new meaning to "Blue Screen of Death".

Can we make sure Bill does a better job testing his new product this time.... Please?

Terrapower Troll? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374245)

Isn't TerraPower a spinoff from Intellectual Ventures, the notorious patent troll?

I am all for thorium, but making those guys richer irks me.

The Future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374295)

"Oh no! The power's out! WTF?"

(cartman voice)
"Get Bill Gates in here!"

Time Frame: 50+ Years? (1)

dcollins (135727) | about a year ago | (#44374435)

The thing about the Thorium-power dream is that the time frame puts it sometime after flying cars, strong AI, and colonies on the moon. For example: India has had a concerted 3-stage nuclear power program to make use of its abundant thorium. That project started in the 1950's. (Likewise, experiments with thorium have occurred throughout the world since the 1960's). India just recently entered "stage 2" where fast breeder reactors can start producing uranium-233 which is the seed for later thorium reactors. Commencement of "stage 3" and actual use of the thorium is projected to be sometime after the year 2050 if all goes well.

"According to replies given in Q&A in the Indian Parliament on two separate occasions, 19 August 2010 and 21 March 2012, large scale thorium deployment is only to be expected “3 – 4 decades after the commercial operation of fast breeder reactors with short doubling time”.[66][31] Full exploitation of India’s domestic thorium reserves will likely not occur until after the year 2050."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India%27s_three-stage_nuclear_power_programme#Stage_III_.E2.80.93_thorium_based_reactors [wikipedia.org]

Even TFA's link to the Weinberg Foundation site asserts that traveling wave reactors might be possible by the 2020's, but thorium reactors are by comparison "futuristic" and couldn't be implemented until some unknown time after that. And this from a paid booster for the idea.

India leads on thorium based power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374483)

US know this and that's why the Nuclear deal with India didn't materialize - US wanted India to abandon all Thorium based efforts so tha i can sell its existing and legacy technologies to India.

Re:India leads on thorium based power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374499)

*...that it can sell its existing and legacy technologies to India.

Spent uranium (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year ago | (#44374495)

Has always been the future. Sure, efficiency is not as high as in the full blown nuclear plant with 'new' rods, but if you can run your car/house/cell phone on waste. its a win/win.. 'cheap' universal power and delayed waste.

Power is the key to everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44374549)

Our whole society is heavily dependent on power, and we like, we need lots of it and its key to all this other stuff we want or want to do. We also don't to pollute to get it, and we want it cheap. We don't need to try and pick a single solution, but we need a way to support and encourage a lot of ideas that might help provide cheap clean power someday. In some cases that will be government sponsored research, and others maybe tax breaks to encourage the private attempts.

Side note, Bill Gates should be congratulated for helping fight AIDS and other diseases, but if any of these power initiatives he supports pan out, that will also be be worthy of praise. It is not an either or situation on this.

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