What we learned from the Thorium Energy IDA Symposium in Copenhagen


On the 4th of February 2016 IDA Future Technology (IDA Fremtechnologi) held a symposium on thorium and molten salt reactors Thorium: Nuclear Power v.2.0.

20160204_145917This was the first in 2016 thorium energy public event in Denmark. The tickets have been sold out two weeks before the event, and with the waiting list full of people who wanted to participate. The event embraced a diverse mix of smaller and bigger, local Danish and international players. Among them, Kirk Sorensen, often referred to as a Godfather of the thorium movement, representatives of Copenhagen Atomics, the SAMOFAR (Safety Assessment of the Molten Salt Fast Reactor) project and participants from the Netherlands. One of them, Gijs Zwartsenberg, had officially announced the creation of the Thorium MSR Foundation (http://thmsr.nl) a few days earlier.

We had a sneak peek at the symposium participants feedback notes and came up with these three learning points:

1  The public is more positive about thorium than we think. There is more public support for the new types of nuclear technologies than we believe. Although we often say that the politicians and the public are not ready to take the debate, we witness positive interest in the topic from both expected and unexpected sources. Parliamentary hearings in December, 2015, the very quickly sold out symposium, a healthy discussion in professional media prove that.

2  It is time to move from words to action. The advantages of molten-salt thorium energy are starting to spread among the public. It is time to talk about costs and risks, organise more regular meetings and even create a network, spread information about the development of the technology both in Denmark and other countries. As Lucas Pool, Research Consultant of The Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG) put it: “It seems that there are many people who are supportive of the technology in Denmark, same as in many other places. But most may not know how to contribute. Channeling this energy may therefore be useful”.

3  Molten Salt Thorium Reactors are possible in Denmark. There is a safe and secure location in Denmark, which allows for testing of prototype of a molten-salt reactor. Any kind of nuclear activity requires a lot of paperwork and high standards making it very costly to get started. But Risø National Laboratory is being decommissioned at the moment and it look like an ideal place to test molten salt reactors in the future at much less startup costs.  

The presentations can be downloaded here  (see the section Filer at the bottom of the page).

Kirk SorensenFlibe Energy

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