Later Oak Ridge scientists pointed out the potential of Molten Salt Reactors to destroy nuclear weapons materials, the very real safety potential molten salt reactors and the potential to use closed cycle gas turbines rather than steam turbines to enhance energy conversion efficiency. Lars Jorgensen, following the lead of researchers in several countries has proposed that a type of molten Salt Reactor the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor can destroy nuclear waste while producing vast amounts of energy    The Chinese and the South Africans plan to build large numbers of small, low cost Pebbled Bed Reactors in factories and to set up clusters of small reactors to duplicate the power output of large nuclear plants.  Kirk Sorensen and I have pointed out that the model of factory built small reactors clusters as a flexible low cost alternative to large and expensive Light Water Reactors works even better with LFTRs than with PBRs.  Kirk Sorensen has proposed underwater siting for LFTRs, while Ralph Moir and Edward Teller have proposed under ground siting.

During the last year I have worked on a conceptual level to explore the LFTR paradigm and its limitations on a conceptual level.  That is I have attempted to explore the Paradigm as it presently stands.  My findings are that the LFTR paradigm answers all of the traditional objections to nuclear power.  It is very safe, it is proliferation resistant and the paradigm works best if the LFTR is used to destroy nuclear waste as well as nuclear weapons material.   Because the LFTR is safe, unconventional siting approaches are possible.   I have pointed out the environmental advantages of the LFRR.  It would occupy a very small foot print.  The LFTR would produce little tp no nuclear waste.  It could be used to destroy transuranium reactor products rather than produce them.  Fission products have uses in the economy, and in an era of increasing resource scarcity, LFTRs will become an important source of rare and valuable materials.   Design concepts for the LFTR conforms to the standards of Green Engineering, and its input output matrix is consistent with the goals of Green Chemistry.  
The LFTR is capable of providing base power at a very attractive price, but because of its potential for load following and rapid power output buildup from a standby condition, and its potential for low cost manufacture, the LFTR holds potential use as a peak power generating source.  
There is enough Thorium in the United States that is above ground in the form of mine tailings to provide the United States with all of its energy needs for thousands of years.  AEC sponsored research, during the 1960's showed that the total recoverable thorium reserve in the United States was large enough to provide all of the United States' energy needs for millions of years.    
Research conducted in Oak Ridge from 1948 onwards solved many of the technological problems Molten Salt Reactors.   Other researchers have solved other potential problems of the LFT"Rs indirectly.  If a crash LFTR development program that would be similar in scope to the World War iI Manhattan Project were to be undertaken by 2012, large scale factory production of L:FTRs could be undertaken by 2020.
Given a crash program of LFTR development in the next decade, and the potential for rapid deployment through factory production, most American electrical production could be coming from post carbon sources by 2030, and at a lower cost than from either conventional nuclear or renewable energy sources.
The LFTR paradigm offers a comprehensive low cost solution to the problem of switching the generation of electricity to post carbon sources.  Because of its potential for rapid expansion, LFTR technology could also provide the generating capacity to support the electrification of ground transportation.  Mini-LFTRs could be used to power ships.  Stand alone small and mini LFTRs could provide electrical energy and heat to isolated communities.   LFTRs can be cooled by either water or air.  Waste heat from sea side LFTRs can be used to desalinate sea water.
The LFTR paradigm then suggests that the technology for a low cost transformation of American electrical generation already exists, and is capable of rDuring 2008, I analyzed the implications of what I saw apid development and deployment in little more than a decade provided Manhattan project type resource commitments are made to realizing the paradigm.  Like all new paradigms, the LFTR paradigm is poorly understood, and its potential is only seen by a limited number of people.  However the LFTR paradigm is being discussed on the internet, and knowledge of the paradigm could spread rapidly.   Skeptics might argue that there is no such thing as a silver bullet to solve the energy problem, yet the paradigm suggests that there is a liquid thorium bullet.    
NoteThis posts summarizes numerous posts on Energy from Thorium and Nuclear Green.  Since it is impossible to develop the complex historical discussions, and the analysis that lie behind the statements set out here, i would suggest that my readers seek out the more elaborate treatments of individual topics on those blogs.   Reading my posts on Daily Kos as well as David Walters' posts on LFTR technology would serve as a good beginning.