Re: Thorium rocks
No, thorium doesn't rock. It's just a way of changing the subject by the pro nukes.
Thorium is an element, when bombarded by neutrons, is converted into fissile fuel. Something has to provide the neutrons, such as a small conventional nuclear reactor or a particle accelerator.
Thorium requires fuel reprocessing to be practical. The fissile materials produced by the neutron bombardment need to be separated out from other elements that absorb too many neutrons making the reaction inefficient, just like with regular uranium fuel. They are then used in a reactor.
The thorium nuts are gaga about Liquid (molten salt) Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR), which have only been built on a pilot scale so far. It would take considerable research and very expensive materials to build reactors that can hold up to extremely hot, corrosive, radioactive salt without failures on a commercial scale.
So again, thorium is yet another way of producing nuclear fuel. It hardly matters that it is more abundant and thus less expensive because the cost of the fuel is not the reason why nuclear power is so expensive. The costs come from the huge infrastructure needed to both contain the radiation and produce power from the generated heat, the decommisioning costs, and the largely unfunded but very significant risks. There are no companies in Europe or the US reprocessing any fuel because it is so inherently dangerous to deal with hugely reactive chemicals needed to reprocess such even more dangerously reactive dirty fuel. The processes requireed are so expensive and dangerous nobody wants to do it. Its cheaper to use new fuel.
It's very difficult to design machinery that hold up to the extreme stresses on materials that have to handle heavy radiation and extremely reactive chemicals, such as fluorine, and concentrated acids, bases, oxidizing / reducing agents used to chemically separate the good stuff from the radioactive waste. It is also really hard to design and operate the equipment to avoid the inconvienient and dangerous problems of having various hot nucleotides to find a place to collect in a corner or a pipe somewhere and get really hot (both radioactively and quite warm too) and then start some very inconvenient and sometimes catastrophic reactions. This is how small amounts of nasty things like plutonium or other radionucleotides end up contaminating things when these messes are cleaned up.
So, as I said, it doesn't matter that thorium is more abundant. The cost of the fuel is not why nuclear power is so expensive.
Thorium doesn't produce the same set of waste nucleotides as Uranium fission, but it still produces nuclear waste that has to be dealt with in the same way. So this still sounds like a technology with more problems than advantages.