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Old 02-26-2012, 09:23 AM   #1
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Arrow Thorium lasers: The thoroughly plausible idea for nuclear cars

Thorium lasers: The thoroughly plausible idea for nuclear cars

August 29th, 2011
By Steven Ashley
185 Comments

Some proposed technological innovations seem so far out that they are easy to reject out of hand. But sometimes, a new idea has a kernel of plausibility. Such is the case with a new project to develop a thorium laser power generation system that its creator says could provide electricity for the grid, stand-alone power applications and even cars.

Charles Stevens, an inventor and entrepreneur, recently revealed that his Massachusetts-based R&D firm, Laser Power Systems (LPS), is working on a turbine/electric generator system that is powered by ?an accelerator-driven thorium-based laser.? The thorium laser does not produce a beam of coherent light like conventional lasers, but instead merely heats up and gives off energy.

Thorium, a silvery-white metal, is a mildly radioactive element (with an atomic weight of 90) that is as abundant as lead. It is present in large quantities in India and is a much-touted stand in for uranium in nuclear reactors because its fission is not self-sustaining, a type of reaction called ?sub-critical.?

The idea has energized the small but active thorium community, which holds that it is the answer to our clean energy needs because it could, effectively, power a car forever. The new technology ?would be totally emissions-free,? Stevens said, ?with no need for recharging.? [Read More...]
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