L. David Roper
2 July, 2016
Some propose that more nuclear power plants be built for generating electric power. This has been done on a large scale in France (about 75% of electric power in 2005), although the United States obtains more power from uranium than does France.
The electric power generated could be used to charge energy storage devices in vehicles for transportation.
The main fuel for nuclear reactors is uranium. I have done an analysis of depletion of uranium and concluded that there is not enough uranium to make a big difference in the amount of energy available to humans in the future.
Another possible fuel for nuclear reactors is thorium. Some claim that thorium will greatly increase the amount of nuclear energy available for human use, since thorium is three to five times more abundant in the Earth crust than is uranium. Bombarding thorium with slow neutrons converts it into uranium 233, which is fissionable similar to uranium 235.
Thorium nuclear reactors are more complicated than are uranium reactors. So, I would guess that the amount of energy available for use by humans from thorium fuel will never be as large as that available from uranium fuel.
The graph below shows the meager thorium extraction data for the World and a Verhulst function fit to the data in order to extrapolate into the future. The total amount to be eventually extracted used for the fit is 1500x103 tonnes (1 tonne = 1000 kg), which is slightly more than the amount already extracted plus the estimated reserves base (1400x103).
Thorium extraction rate for the World and Verhulst function fits to the data.
The graph below shows the extrapolation of the fits to year 2300.
Thorium extraction rate for the World and a Verhulst function fit to the data and its extrapolations into the future.
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L. David Roper interdisciplinary studies
L. David Roper, http://arts.bev.net/RoperLDavid/
2 July, 2016