Can thorium work? Let’s crowd source it

Two documentarians have crowd-sourced a project to figure out if thorium really can provide energy cheaply and efficiently.

The two Irish filmakers, Franke Fenton on the left and Des Kelleher, are hoping to raise £40,000 (US$60,684) on Kickstarter to complete the project. As of today, they have raised £3,983 (US$6,042). Their 30-day funding drive still has 26 days to go.

Thorium may have potential as a replacement fuel for uranium, with the advantage of cleaner waste and fewer ties to nuclear proliferation. (Find your brief on comparing uranium and thorium energy production click here.)

Norway and China are already have advanced thorium testing underway.

So if thorium has so much promise, the documentarians ask what’s the hold up to wider adoption?

We assumed nuclear fusion would be the solution but lost confidence after constant news of imminent breakthroughs that never seemed to come. We thought renewables like wind and solar power would be the solution but lost confidence after we learned that power grids are dependant on a baseload of power that renewables don’t seem capable of supplying in its entirety. We had come to the grim conclusion that uranium-based nuclear power would be the source of this baseload with gas-fired plants stepping in (and spewing carbon dioxide) when demand was high.

Against this sombre backdrop, it’s difficult to describe the excitement we felt when we learned of the potential of thorium for the first time. It’s an excitement we still feel today. We decided that instead of assuming that “someone” was doing something about the energy crisis, we should find a way to get more people talking about the promise of thorium reactors.

There are a range of pledges available. A starting contribution of £1 will bring get the donor mention in the contributors section of the website.

The maxium pledge of £5,000 will give the backer an executive producer title on the film, as well as attendance at worldwide screenings and dinner with the production team.

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