The Economist has a helpful overview of the coming technology in nuclear energy production:
The six most promising “generation IV” designs identified by the GIF from an original list of over 100 concepts depart markedly from the light-water moderated, once-through models that dominate the existing fleet. Even those reactors that draw upon aspects of current designs add some new twists.
Of the six, I like the one they wrote the least about – the Molten Salt Reactor, in particular the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) variant:
One form of MSR, the liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR), has garnered particular enthusiasm among those who regard thorium as an attractive replacement for uranium and plutonium in the fuel cycle. (Thorium is both cheaper and more abundant than uranium.) According to Kirk Sorensen, an engineer at NASA who also runs a blog on the merits of the thorium cycle, natural thorium provides at least 250 times more energy per unit than natural uranium.
Anyway, read the whole thing…
H/T/ Commenter Carl