Thorium cycle patent holder on the future of energy

“The Science Table” provides an exclusive series led by Reichart Von Wolfsheild, former host of “Invention USA”
(History Channel). Roland Kupers (physicist and former Shell Oil executive) and Dr. Frank Shu (astrophysicist and Energy Advisor to Taiwan) have a candid debate about new energy technologies and their scalability in the near future. Shot in a 100-TON concrete cave, the episode candidly surveys the world of energy from oil to renewable nuclear fission.

77 Comments

  • Reply July 16, 2014

    Bill_Nigh_the_Science_Guy

    That wasn’t a “candid debate” – that was a 3-way prizefight!! Great Stuff!!

  • Reply July 16, 2014

    LuvScience

    Would love to have heard some discussion of Thorium though

  • Reply July 16, 2014

    Maxim Heiddeger

    Ya, I think the Thorium reference in the title was a tease; but smartly so as it will probably be the focus of the next candid debate

  • Reply July 16, 2014

    PretttyLovinIt

    Give me Thorium or give me death…actually, I suppose that would just be nuclear fission

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    ScienceNerd

    Ok, let’s get serious here and talk about what this debate was really about – that bifurcated moustache on Reichart Von Wolfsheild. Was that thing for real or was it just a movie prop moustache??

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    PerdySmart

    Serious – Reichart needs to get a patent on that “moustache” of his. It could simply be called the “Von Wolfsheild,” kinda like the “Van Dyke” beard

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    Mandy

    Moustache or “Two-stache”??

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    Jar Jar

    Is that “two-fer” thing really on purpose or is he one of those guys who just can’t grow a real moustache; you know, “patchy” in places? Lol

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    Peterson

    Look at that moustache – must be that “Movember” time of the year again

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    Jason X

    You mean “Two-vember”??

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    Jason X

    That thing rocks!! It’s the greatest facial hair invention since the Elvis Mutton Chops!

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    Ari

    It’s like he grew a pair of eyebrows on his upper lip!

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    Zaney

    Once I saw that “Two-stache” thing on Reichart’s upper lip I was transfixed, and couldn’t focus on any part of the discussion they were actually having

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    enrique

    Wow, less than 3 minutes into the video and there is already serious tension between those 3 guys. They look like they are all ready for a cage match…

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    cyberman

    I gotta be honest, that big video screen of Roland Kupers (angry) face in the background was kinda creepy…like he was just some kind of giant living head

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    tudorspace

    These 3 guys are definitely NOT going to be hangin’ at happy hour after this discussion

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    johnnywalker

    Is there an underpaid intern underneath the table who is shifting around the video screen of Roland Kupers so that he is facing the other two guys as he is talking to each of them?

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    bell1602

    One thing we learned from this debate is that…these guys do not like each other LOL

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    Jonah

    The sparks were really flying in that one!! Like a science nerd PPV fight!!

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    Michele

    That debate was better than the 3rd presidential debate between Obama and Romney!

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    sounder

    Was Reichart supposed to be the moderator? Or the instigator??

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    chemtrail

    so mostly what we learned was that most current forms of energy are either too expensive or difficult to produce, too finite, unsustainable or toxic…(queue up Thorium)

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    John ross

    After seeing Reichart Von Wolfsheild and that split moustache, I think he could be in the running to be the next “Most Interesting Man in the World”

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    thunder jack

    Why was this held in a 100-ton concrete cave? Were they expecting a nuclear explosion or something?

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    avonord

    Does Reichart live in that cave?? His secret, nuclear explosion-proof man cave…

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    mustard man

    So is Reichart Von Wolfsheild the actual Thorium cycle patent holder??

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    MR woodcock

    I really wouldn’t mind learning more about Thorium…instead of debating the merits of which current energy sources are the most expensive, toxic, accident-prone and likely to kill us all at some point

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    archer

    Reichart is definitely looking like the “Fourth Musketeer” in that get-up. Just give him a rapier

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    mash button

    so after watching this video 3 times, my 2 takeaways are this: 1) these 3 guys don’t like each other 2) that effin moustache

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    who me?

    That man-cave was created by reichart’s friend and inventor, scotty ziegler, consisting of over 100,000 kilos of hand poured concrete. Where in the world is this cave, though?

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    techhead

    Again, who is the thorium cycle patent holder? Reichart Von Wolfsheild? If so, he’s sitting on a billion dollar gold mine

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    daniel77

    India is set to build the first thorium reactor, by 2016. By 2050, they want 30% of India’s energy to come from thorium reactors. Of course, by 2050, the population of India will be about 20 billion

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    james hutton

    Good luck to India on that; the US has been trying to build thorium reactors for the past 50 years to no avail and spent untold billions doing so. According to one source, at least.

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    joffrey_is_not_dead

    Thorium was actually named after Thor. Yes, that Thor, the Norse god turned into comic book hero and now movie franchise

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    blazeking

    Can’t wait for “The Science Table” discussion on thorium so we can clear up the facts on it and get the latest (and most accurate) information on it. So many things about it need to be disambiguated

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    Palmitate

    SONGS (San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station) is being shut down permanently due to various issues. Why don’t they just convert this to a Thorium nuclear plant rather than scuttle the entire thing?

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    Perry Masonite

    SONGS is majority owned (about 78%) by Southern California Edison (SCE). So SCE was running that ship, which pretty much explains why it’s going down lol

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    Streamer of Media

    Check out this March 2014 article in Streaming Media about Raw Science, which also highlights this particular premiere episode of “The Science Table” debate about current and new energy technologies

    http://www.streamingmedia.com/Articles/Editorial/Featured-Articles/Raw-Science-Bringing-Science-Education-to-the-Streaming-World-95466.aspx

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    enquiring minds

    Excellent article in Streaming Media about Raw Science. Well framed by reporter Troy Dreier, he allows Raw Science’s Co-Founder and CEO Keri Kukral to cogently articulate the burgeoning consumer appetite for this type of material and to explain the origin, nature and goals of her media venture, where she provides enticing examples of content that is or has already been produced. A brilliant synopsis into what should undoubtedly be a knock out of the park as a business venture.

  • Reply July 17, 2014

    ways & means

    Overall, a very pithy 9 minutes of relevant debate which perhaps leaves us with more questions than answers, but in this case in a good way, as these questions, if addressed properly, will help us to get closer to implementing the most optimal energy solutions that we can.

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    dexter77

    The 2 don’t seem to agree on much; actually it seems the only thing they agree on is that coal kills more people than nuclear does. pretty ironic

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    ernest banner

    this is an interesting short debate/discussion, with reichart presumably acting as host/moderator. however, he’s much more involved in the discussion as a 3rd party debater than as a neutral moderator, and to his credit he does well at that, playing devil’s advocate

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    denver64

    This debate lasted less than 9 minutes – is this the abbreviated version or is there a longer version?

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    purge victory

    Frank Shu asserting the “certainty of the collapse of civilization if we keep burning fossil fuels the way we are” is very sobering. What sort of timeclock are we on in terms of our stores of fossil fuels before they are depleted?

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    sputnik

    Kupers brought up a very interesting point about the notion that we haven’t built enough nuclear reactors to bring down the cost curve on them.

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    josiah

    but then he also says we can’t build nuclear reactors in developed nations anymore because it’s too cost prohibitive and would also require some sort of regulatory licensing time of at least 10-15 years…so i guess that means no more nuke reactors going up in 1st world countries?

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    krazyman

    Kupers does assert though that it is feasible to put up nuke reactors in underdeveloped nations, like the plan China has to build 100 nuclear reactors; and inherent in that is also the assertion that that amount of reactors would bring the cost curve down

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    thomas fee

    it sounds like the answer is thorium reactors. when are we going to have that discussion

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    jenny66

    Supposedly the US govt has been fiddling around with thorium as a power source instead of uranium for 50 years or so, yet we dont have 1 thorium reactor nor have i heard of any coming on the horizon…

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    newer tech

    If thorium is so much more abundant than uranium, and cheaper and also safer and not capable of being weaponized, why in the hell don’t we have thorium reactors all over the place??

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    OG Theo

    We have yet to see the discussion on thorium. Can’t wait for that…

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    apianist16

    Kupers says that the cheapest form of power is wind and solar, but Shu counterpoints him by saying that’s because he isn’t figuring load factor into it; ie, wind is used 30% of the time and solar 20%, whereas nuclear reactors are used 90% of the time so in fact that they cheaper than wind and solar

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    john rose

    but then Kupers laughs him off and says that that “load factor” argument isn’t true, but I don’t recall Kupers saying *why* it isn’t true?

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    homer simpson

    he never did explain, because reichart stepped in and asked the question of ‘how do we calculate the actual cost?’ then kupers talks about how wind or solar is 50% cheaper per kilowatt than nuclear and Shu laughs him off…so it’s a laugh-off…who’s telling the truth?

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    homer simpson

    also, after laughing off Kupers, Shu then says that nations like France and Sweden that switch to nuclear or hydro when the wind and solar are shut off have lower costs, and that is a fact…apparently

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    jamie p

    the safety issue of nuclear is a very good point; very paradoxical, as nuclear is much safer than coal yet we are afraid to death of nuclear

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    cryptic

    yes, that is the point (the only point i believe) where shu and kupers agree – that coal kills more people than nuclear

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    homie13

    that’s why i don’t get why we haven’t implemented thorium yet, instead of uranium?

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    gears of war

    perhaps this may explain why we haven’t used thorium: “Thorium: the wonder fuel that wasn’t”

    http://thebulletin.org/thorium-wonder-fuel-wasnt7156

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    hightech

    I still wanna know where that 100,000 kilo concrete man-cave is located!! It’s like the secret bat cave or something…

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    isisgoddess

    or Dick Cheney’s bunker!! He sold it to buy another Jarvik!

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    Julius

    How many years of fossil reserves do we have before we are depleted?

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    ontario

    How long will the keystone pipeline supply us with crude oil?

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    Grande Rio

    somehow need to harness geothermal power like Iceland is going to do; they project to be fossil fuel free within a few years

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    cyclone

    regardless of which way we go we need energy independence from the gulf states

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    keyman

    we need energy independence from everyone, not just the gulf states. western europe needs energy independence from the gulf and especially russia

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    jodel

    now that putin’s grabbed crimea, and then eventually the rest of ukraine, he controls the fuel to the europe and has them by the b*lls. they are the ones that really need energy independence

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    moxie14

    yep, they need to tap into Iceland’s geothermal power

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    peterfied

    between the geothermal, hydro, wind and solar, you’d think western europe would be able to go fossil free and thus putin free

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    mikey fixx

    In WW2 Hitler went out of his way to control the caucasus and balkans regions, namely ukraine, so he could control all those vast oil reserves. Welcome to putin 2014. What are you going to do western europe?

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    colonel freedom

    I guess it all comes back to thorium. Or does it? Waiting for that episode of The Science Table

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    ollie northam

    Looks like India is at the forefront of the thorium race. We should help fund them with this to completion so that we can replicate it here

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    joe nameth78

    India has about 25% of the world’s thorium reserves; let’s hope they are on the verge of a breakthrough with their thorium reactor progress

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    cyberthune

    You’d think we’d be able to utilize solar in CA, but then again look what happened to Solyndra.

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    maximus

    for the time being, we need to open that keystone pipeline, till we find the best fossil alternative. good old fashioned oil

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    thunder buck

    How far off are we from effectively harnessing thorium? And what if it turns out it wasnt what we expected it would be?

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    brian williams11

    I’ll believe thorium when I see it happen

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