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SuperFuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future [Hardcover]

Richard Martin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 8 2012 0230116477 978-0230116474

 A riveting look at how an alternative source of energy is revoluntionising nuclear power, promising a safe and clean future for millions, and why thorium was sidelined at the height of the Cold War
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 re-emerging as the overlooked energy source as a small group of activists and outsiders is working, with the help of Silicon Valley investors, to build a thorium-power industry.
In the first book mainstream book to tackle these issues, Superfuel is a story of rediscovery of a long lost technology that has the power to transform the world's future, and the story of the pacifists, who were sidelined in favour of atomic weapon hawks, but who can wean us off our fossil-fuel addiction and avert the risk of nuclear meltdown for ever.

Frequently Bought Together

SuperFuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future + Thorium: Energy Cheaper Than Coal + Plentiful Energy: The Story of the Integral Fast Reactor: The Complex History of a Simple Reactor Technology, with Emphasis on Its Scien
Price For All Three: CDN$ 66.77

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“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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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
‘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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5.0 out of 5 stars A 'powerful' solution to our woes! Oct. 25 2013
By judy
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'd like to learn more about this amazing resource. I have recommended it to local politicians and have NOT had feedback. What does that mean, I wonder? Vested interests? I'd like to read a review by a scientist....
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5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring Sept. 22 2013
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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