The Benefits of a Type of Generation IV Nuclear Reactor, a Molten Salt Reactor (MSR)
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- With enough cheap energy we can dramatically improve both our environment and our standard of living.
- With regard to the environment, the rise in man-made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can be halted, water can be desalinated from the ocean to make our deserts bloom, and toxic chemicals can be removed from our water and soil.
- As a direct benefit to humanity, a cheap and plentiful source of energy can water our farmlands and thus make them more productive, and can feed, clothe and house our increasing population.
- Cheap energy will provide an increasing number of meaningful jobs. In the past 200 years the Industrial Revolution began this process and has already lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. It is important to continue; the use of MSRs will be a vital component of this effort to increase prosperity for all people on the planet.
- MSRs, and specifically Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, produce medical isotopes, specifically molybdenum-99, that we badly needed in America for nuclear medicine diagnostic studies, currently 320,000 per week in the U.S. We have no domestic source of this isotope and must obtain it overseas.
- In addition, as a byproduct of the fission of thorium, alpha emitting isotopes, Actinium-225 and Bismuth-213, are produced. Both of these isotopes, virtually unavailable now, hold potential for use against cancer. Properly directed, they are lethal to cancer cells.
- Finally, additional benefits of the use of MSRs include the possibility of building very small, light-weight reactors for manned space exploration and producing Pu-238, also virtually unobtainable now, for atomic batteries in deep space probes.
- So, summing up, whether it is for domestic energy consumption, use in reversing environmental damage, providing new isotopes with cancer treatment potential and for medical imaging, or for exploring the vastness of outer space, development and deployment of fourth-generation molten salt reactors is a vital piece of science and technology which much be advanced immediately.