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In this groundbreaking account of an energy revolution in the making, award-winning science writer Richard Martin introduces us to thorium, a radioactive element and alternative nuclear fuel that is far safer, cleaner, and more abundant than uranium. At the dawn of the Atomic Age, thorium and uranium seemed to be in close competition as the fuel of the future. Uranium, with its ability to undergo fission and produce explosive material for atomic weapons, won out over its more pacific sister element, relegating thorium to the dustbin of science. Now, as we grapple with the perils of nuclear energy and rogue atomic weapons, and mankind confronts the specter of global climate change, thorium is reemerging as the overlooked energy source that can wean us off our fossil-fuel addiction and avert the risk of nuclear meltdown. The Untold Story of Thorium: *Thorium-powered reactors produce zero nuclear waste and can produce electricity that's much cheaper and cleaner than burning coal. *Thorium can't be used in nuclear weapons. *Thorium power was developed in the U.S. during the Cold War, and we even ran a thorium-fueled reactor for five years. *France, Norway, Canada, Brazil, Russia, and, most importantly, India and China, are building thoriumbased reactors. India plans to produce the bulk of its power from thorium reactors by 2030, while China is attempting to build a domestic industry that will license thorium technology to other nations. *A small group of activists and outsiders is working, with the help of Silicon Valley investors, to build a thorium-power industry in the United States.
Richard Martin was the first to write about thorium in the mainstream press. His feature story in Wired catalyzed the thorium power movement. An award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in Time, Fortune, The Atlantic, and The Best Science Writing, Martin is the editorial director of Pike Research, a leading clean-energy firm. He lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and son.
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"Richard Martin tells a story that needs to be understood for our future energy supplies rely upon hard choices. Martin makes at least one of those difficult decisions ever so much easier by educating us on our troubled history and experience with nuclear energy, and even more importantly for the future development of this essential source of 21st century clean energy. This is the type of book that can make a difference!" --John Hofmeister, author of Why We Hate the Oil Companies
"Bringing back to light a long-lost technology that should never have been lost, this fascinating, important biography of thorium also brings us a commodity that’s rare in discussions of energy and climate change: hope. "-- Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired