This thread is a bit of a rant against Thorium. The ratio of how much it's mentioned: economic viability as an energy source is ~1B:0. I think there's a group of people that honestly believe Thorium or Hemp are literally the best solutions to every problem we've ever had, have or will have.... The bottom line is that Thorium like thermal coal, all existing nuclear power and concentrating solar is thermal meaning it heats something up then that heat is used to make electricity. 1) Thermal Generation is terribly inefficient Even bending the laws of physics 100% efficiency is <50%. Most nuclear and coal plants are closer to ~33%. Sure, you can tinker around the edges with 'super-critical' fluids and all sorts of other exotic stuff but none of that is used commercially. And even then you're not going to squeeze much more out. This also isn't like solar which is technically ~20% 'efficient'; with solar you're not paying for the 80% you're not converting into useful energy... you're just not harvesting all that's available. The coal mine doesn't give you a refund on the ~70% of coal you're using to heat the air instead of make electricity. 2) Thermal Generation is terribly expensive Take a look at all that goes into turning steam into electricity. And it's not like this is something you can just make an assembly line for like a gas turbine. These components are build, shipped then assembled in the plant on site. Then there's the maintenance. Just the thermal plant alone runs >$2/w vs ~$1/w for solar or wind. 3) Thermal Generation is 'delicate' Trained operators and computers can help prevent damage but that still limits their use. Most steam plants need >24 hours from 'cold iron' before they can generate electricity. Then you can't just turn them off. I read an article a few days ago about how the bulk of R&D in coal is going toward making them more flexible... more like a gas turbine. Seems like the best solution would be to replace them with a gas turbine... 4) Thermal Generation requires a lot of cooling Climate change is making this even more of a challenge. There's a coal plant near Lubbock that's closing ~20 years early because they're running out of water. A 1GW generator needs to dispose of 2GW of heat. The most cost effective way to do that is evaporative cooling. ~15 gallons of water are used per kWh generated. Think about that.... the solar panels on your roof could be saving more water than not watering your lawn... Those water tanks that you see in old westerns next to train tracks, that's not water for the people, that's water for the train. They couldn't condense their steam so they just exhaust it so they went through A TON of water. I think a good analog is marine propulsion. There was a time when almost all ships were steam powered. Today it's submarines, aircraft carriers and Russian Ice Breakers. That's pretty much it and that's only because nuclear carries specific advantages for those niche applications. If steam plants don't make any sense where they make the most sense why are we still using them where they make the least sense?