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Powering Up Our World

Robert Hargraves's picture
Chief Marketing Officer, ThorCon US

AB Dartmouth College mathematics; PhD Brown University high energy physics. Co-founder ThorCon International. Author "THORIUM: energy cheaper than coal". Chief Information Officer Boston...

  • Member since 2018
  • 225 items added with 60,924 views
  • Jul 12, 2016

Bjorn Lomborg recently wrote a WSJ article that  documented how little relative effect on global warming would result from the UN IPCC recommendations and the US proposed clean energy plan. He focuses on the importance of solving energy poverty in the developing world in these Gates Notes videos. The two nicely illustrate the futility of current efforts to limit CO2 emissions, and the importance of alleviating energy poverty in the developing world.

We at ThorCon are working to solve both problems, using advanced nuclear power, cheaper than coal. Developing nations need inexpensive, reliable electric power to improve their prosperity; look at the growth potential.


One kWh of electricity is associated with $4-5 of GDP; a single 1 GW power plant can enable $32 billion of GDP increase in a developing nation.


Over 1400 GW of new coal-fired power plants are planned, however 3 million annual premature deaths are linked to fuel combustion reports IEA. To provide clean, reliable, abundant electricity we have designed ThorCon, a hybrid thorium-uranium liquid-fuel nuclear power plant to deliver electric power at capital and operational costs less than from coal-fired plants.


ThorCon has low-cost potential because the liquid fuel format allows it to operate at low pressure, with passive safety features derived from intrinsic physics, not engineered supplemental safety systems. No new technology is required; ThorCon is based on molten salt reactors built at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the last century, then sidelined. We have adapted the design for low-cost mass production using the advanced steel-working technologies of world-class shipyards, able to produce 100 1-GW power plants a year. This is the scale necessary to impact global economy and environment. ThorCon, the Do-able Molten Salt Reactor has more information.

Experiences from Kyoto to COP 21 in Paris illustrate that governments are unable to solve the global climate/energy/development conflict. Our approach enlists the capitalist economic system to provide the world with clean, safe, ample, reliable energy. We are raising private capital from ambitious investors. We do not need government subsidies, however we do need government permission. We can not obtain permission in the US for less than $1 billion in fees and a decade of time; see this US GAO audit report. We are working with Indonesia to locate the demonstration plant there.

Joe Lassiter of Harvard Business School writes, “Rich nations can do what they want; poor nations do what they must”. The West has its head in the sand about radiation safety; no one was harmed by radiation from the Fukushima accidents. Developing nations are already building 50 new nuclear power plants, with 150 more planned. Choosing more economical nuclear instead of coal will let developing nations afford even more electric power to drive prosperity. The environmental benefits come almost for free.

Replace coal mining, excavation, and burning.
Cut CO2 emissions from coal, natural gas plants.
End deaths from atmospheric particulates.
Stop deforestation from burning wood.
Cut flooding of fertile land by hydroelectric dams.

John Oneill's picture
John Oneill on Mar 16, 2017

The graph of population versus per capita electricity use doesn’t show Russia and the former Soviet Union countries.

Robert Hargraves's picture
Thank Robert for the Post!
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