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SuperFuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future Hardcover – May 8 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (May 8 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230116477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230116474
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.4 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 440 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #176,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Besides briefly covering everything technical you need to know about the 90th element on the periodic table, SuperFuel provides engaging detail on the history and likely future of using thorium as a comparatively safe and substantially beneficial nuclear fuel . . . [Martin] makes a solid, convincing case for thorium as a superfuel, not simply to replace uranium, but to reduce the use of much dirtier fuels such as coal . . . With readable presentations like SuperFuel, the path to a better energy future just got a little easier.” ―The Washington Times

“Makes the case that thorium, an abundant, safe element that cannot easily be turned into a weapon, should be fuelling our reactors instead of uranium…Martin is at his best when describing the human struggles of the cold-war era that spelled their…convincing.” ―New Scientist

“Traces the history of nuclear power development. . . Recommended.” ―Choice

“Richard Martin has done an exemplary job of exploring a technically demanding subject in a gripping narrative form. The implications of this subject could not be more vital -- for oil prices, energy security, the chances of coping with climate change -- and 'Superfuel' clearly and fairly spells out the reasons for both optimism and for caution. If every technical book were written in this clear and engaging a style, we'd all be a lot better informed! I am very glad to have read this book.” ―James Fallows, The Atlantic, author of China Airborne

“Bringing back to light a long-lost technology that should never have been lost, this fascinating and 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

“Thorium is the younger sister to uranium, less volatile, slower to self-consume, and as many have contended without success, much better suited as a source of nuclear power than uranium. Superfuel by award-winning science writer Richard Martin tells the Cinderella story of thorium in a fast-paced, insider's account. This short, well-written book is a must read for those interested in understanding thorium's past and its potential to be a clean, renewable energy source for the future.” ―Cynthia Kelly, President Atomic Heritage Foundation

“Our future energy supplies rely upon hard choices. Richard Martin educates us on our troubled history with nuclear energy, and even more importantly, how to develop 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

“The story of the slightly radioactive element thorium, a much-touted alternative fuel for nuclear power plants. Abundant in the Earth's crust, thorium has been used in various industrial processes since its discovery in 1828. Advocates, writes Martin, an award-winning journalist and senior research analyst for Pike Research, a clean energy firm, say the silver-gray element has another possible use: as a cheap, safe energy source with the potential to solve our power crisis.…A lucid overview of a still-developing chapter in the story of nuclear power.” ―Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

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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Format: Hardcover
‘Super Fuel, Thorium, The Green Energy Source for the Future’, will leave you shaking your head at the nuclear industry. Okay, I can understand how momentum in any industry works. Things are moving along smoothly, with no serious problems occurring, when along comes something that ‘might’ be a better idea than the product currently being produced. This new ‘product’ is looked into, and sure enough, it does appear to be an improvement over the status quo, and there are even a few successful experiments seeming to verify that it is not only better, but safer as well.

It would appear in the nuclear industry’s case however, that momentum won out over common sense. I’ll let Richard Martin’s book tell the rest of the story, but be prepared as warned earlier, to be left shaking your head.

Fans (like me) of Admiral Hyman G Rickover will be more than a little surprised at his impact on this outcome, but only a little. Martin has compiled an interesting book, clearly well researched and brought forth in a way that even the layman will understand what happened, or rather – didn’t.

I’m still shaking my head and after reading this, you will be too.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I must point out that I have not yet finished the book SuperFuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future and the following comments must be judged in that light.
As a student of nuclear physics, I concentrated on information needed for my studies and research, neglecting much interesting information about the researchers themselves. There are countless interesting stories in this account which make it a very interesting read.
As to the use of thorium rather than uranium for reactor fuel, I am yet to be convinced that "Super Fuel" is an appropriate term, as many problems associated with nuclear power remain; but that said, thorium certainly does seem a better choice for the U.S. and the rest of the world.
The book makes the important point that Th-232 (naturally occurring) produces a much lower burden on our environment, especially since naturally occurring uranium must be highly enriched, making it also useful for nuclear weapon production. (The author notes an exception, the Canadian CANDU, which seems to "run on dirt", as a visiting colleague related to me). If a country needs power, and has no interest in nuclear weapons, certainly thorium is the way to go.
Richard Martin also raises one serious concern for us all: what will happen to nuclear medicine when the aging NRU reactor shuts down at the end of 2012? The Canadian government has washed its hands of this issue.
The author does a very credible job of explaining nuclear physics and nuclear engineering to the layman. However, in the cataloging of the numerous variations of thorium-fuelled reactors, it is somewhat unclear as to which variant is the preferred one in the author's opinion. Perhaps that will be clear when I finish the book. Meanwhile, I am enjoying it immensely.
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Format: Hardcover
Imagine absolutely NO fossil fuels being used for generating electricity. Super Fuel indeed! This book is about 'thorium' the periodic table element. And most importantly how 'TH90' was proven over 50 years ago as a source for generating power without CO2 emissions! Take comfort in knowing that thorium is abundant and during its history it has been used as an ingredient in toothpaste, and as component in mantles for gas lanterns. BUT most importantly, thorium is an energy source which is absolutely known to be the alternative for electrical power generation and on world-wide basis. This energy source is the GAME CHANGER. Read this book, talk to your friends, communicate with politicians, promote the use of TH90 so it becomes well known in your community. With enough visibility, and it is going to take much, much visibility, thorium will be at the center of 'eliminating' carbon dioxide build up in the atmosphere.

There are obstacles to overcome including the fact that thorium to generate electricity would ideally be used in a molten salt reactor. Yes this means a radioactive setting. But this is not uranium, nor plutonium, and does NOT need enriching so it is not a source for weapons. Thorium use will require a new PUBLIC perception of nuclear energy. A molten salt reactor using thorium can be made as safe as the pubic swimming pool in your neighborhood using chlorine to keep the water clean. READ this book and sponsor more conversation about what is already proven science. All that is needed is some political will and a small amount of money. Ok - $ 3 billion is a large amount for single a company, but it is minor for a nation and minuscule as a worldwide energy and environment friendly game changer.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
this book, superfuel... is very informative and offers a convincing argument as to why we should use thorium nuclear energy to replace fossil fuel. It also pinpoints the historical time of the early 60's when we chose the insane path championed by the military, rather than the peaceful one which would have promoted thorium nuclear energy. That fork in the road has produced the mess we're in today with climate change.
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