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SuperFuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  159 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
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
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 20th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published May 8th 2012)
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Sep 19, 2014 Sjoerd rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
First off: this is not a bad book. The writing is decent and it's written with a purpose: to tell the story of the development (insofar as there was any) of thorium reactors. But if you want to know more about how thorium reactors work, this isn't the book to read. In fact, whenever things seem to be leading to technological aspects of thorium reactors, Martin becomes vague and changes the subject, which leads me to believe he doesn't know or understand anything about the technology.
This is a bo
Sep 19, 2012 Arminius rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, nook-book
Is there a solution to America’s energy problems? If you read this book you will surely believe so with the use of Thorium as the fuel to accomplish this. There is enough Thorium around to replace coal, oil, natural gas and uranium nuclear reactors. So, Thorium can produce enough electricity to power the United States for at least a century.

Currently, all U.S. Nuclear plants are fueled by Uranium. The way a Nuclear Reactor works is by firing neutrons into a Uranium isotope (U-235) nucleus; the n
Oct 05, 2012 Lindsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a fan of history of science books, so this was at least a 3 before I opened it. Super Fuel fits into the Science Studies niche of explaining how social/political/personal interactions affected the direction of nuclear energy R&D in the U.S.

Martin (a writer for Wired magazine) begins the book by acknowledging that almost every article in Wired seems like a "this one thing will change the world!" article, but that really, he thinks thorium is a big deal. I was a bit nervous that he laid it
Apr 22, 2013 Alvin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
DNF. I have some background in reactor physics from college, and I wanted to learn more about how molten salt liquid fluoride reactors operate, what their pro's/cons are etc. Unfortunately this isn't the book for it. I didn't find his explanations of how the design works to be well introduced or clear. Much of the narrative focuses on the history of research in thorium which is mildly interesting, but not compelling. Finally he concludes with the further development of this technology in emergin ...more
Leland Beaumont
Sep 25, 2013 Leland Beaumont rated it it was amazing
What would we do if we could find a fuel that was abundant, clean, and safe? Unfortunately it seems we would shun its use for decades, largely so we could build nuclear submarines and increase our stockpile of nuclear weapons. The silvery-white metal thorium is number 90 on the periodic table of elements, two positions from its more famous cousin uranium. Of all the known energy sources on Earth, thorium is the most abundant, most readily available, cleanest, and safest element. Richard Martin t ...more
Stephen Beecroft
- Historical review. The most valuable thing about this book is the good historical overview that places thorium fission in context of the larger uranium fission development. That alone makes it worthwhile to read the book (though barely).
- Bombastic. Richard Martin leaves you in no doubt where he stands on the issues he raises.
- Accessible. Little specialized jargon, and he introduces and explains all important technical terms.

- Even-handed. Martin
Jan 23, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Richard Martin provides a rich, convoluted, yet clear history of the development of the American nuclear program, from its start in the Manhattan Project to today. An element unfamiliar to most audiences, thorium takes its place two pegs down from uranium on the periodic table, and is the focus of the book. Should its promise hold true, it has the potential to take a much more important place in world energy supplies and use.

This is not a technical book, though Martin does take the time to expl
Dec 17, 2012 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of science, politicians, concerned citizens.
Shelves: science
If you read only one book this year about thorium-powered nuclear energy ... well ... you'll have read as many as I have.

I'm certainly no expert when it comes to nuclear energy. But I do love science, and I found Richard Martin's "Superfuel" to be a fascinating read, one which I highly recommend.

As the US population increases, so too will our consumption of energy. Where will this energy come from? We'll need to utilize several sources, and Richard Martin hopes that thorium will be a major play
I was very tempted to give this an extra star for focusing many of its pages on Kirk Sorensen, who is from northern Utah and thus whom I am very likely (distantly) related to. This is the first book I've read on Thorium power generation, and it seems like a good introduction although it's aimed for someone a little less nuclear-technology-aware than myself. It's a bit of a cheerleading exercise to motivate the public to feel much better about Thorium and pressure our lawmakers to fall in line wi ...more
Joseph Boquiren
Aug 02, 2016 Joseph Boquiren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Molten salt reactors, specifically Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs) are the answer to our future energy needs, global warming, and the problem of nuclear waste disposal. Thorium is a far safer alternative to uranium-based light water reactors, and is a much more efficient way to generate power from nuclear fission. Richard Martin documents the journey of how thorium held so much promise as the pre-eminent source of nuclear power at the start of the Atomic Age and how we got so badly off- ...more
Superfuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future explores the history of the 90th element on the periodic table. The author provides a powerful case for using thorium as a superfuel. It was amazing to read about how many times this resource has been overlooked by scientists and others seeking sources of fuel. Although at times I felt the explanations were oversimplified, the author does a nice job explore the past, present, and potential future of thorium as a green energy source.
Lee Dale
Dec 28, 2016 Lee Dale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinated by nuclear physics and how clean, safe nuclear power can fuel our energy demands into the future. This book cover a broad range of technical, political and financial issues that affect the use of Thorium as a power source and delves into the history of the nuclear reactors in the 20th century. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it from cover to cover.
Christopher Diggs
I like the lack of infrastructure in the USA argument and how other countries are posing to use, what is described as, a safer nuclear and carbon-free source of power (and possibly water.). Excellent play on the historical figures and the path the USA took emerging from WW2 as a military-industrial complex, too.
Sep 17, 2012 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unabashedly pro-thorium, pro-LFTR propaganda by a former Wired writer who jokes that at the magazine every article had to have the word revolutionary in it, and then calls thorium "revolutionary." Still, if you like reading about science and technology, it's fun, and it's a quick, light, well-explained introduction to the subject.
Gary Gordon
Was a bit disappointed not sure why!
Think it would have been better written by a scientist.
The decay of the elements could have been written out rather than described or a red page would have been helpful
Jun 27, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not terribly impressed by the writing style -- seemed to jump around a great deal, especially in discussing historical timelines and interactions. Well worth reading, however, as it is a very important topic and broader awareness needs to be raised.
Mar 30, 2013 Wayne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely worth a read. Fascinating history about Thorium based nuclear energy and why it never took hold around the world. The book provides a potential answer to the energy crisis and climate crisis our world faces. If only our governments had the will to make this happen.
Oct 31, 2013 Lucas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
With nonrenewable sources of energy both harming the planet and running out, this book addresses a possible alternative of Thorium and its history.

I won this book through Goodreads Giveaways.
David Fleming
Nov 24, 2015 David Fleming rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Feb 06, 2015 Bridget rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fic
A little dense and seemed padded in some areas; fluffed over some of the science in other areas. But overall, thought-provoking and interesting.
Alex Villepique
Subject is very interesting, but unfortunately I really did not liked the style. Book is written by journalist in style more appropriate to magazines not books. Pity.
Brendan  McAuliffe
I'll only do it if everyone at the plant wears the little helmet with wings on it ~
Matt rated it really liked it
Apr 08, 2013
Stephen Fleming
Stephen Fleming rated it it was amazing
Sep 29, 2014
Lauren Pointer
Lauren Pointer rated it it was amazing
Jan 20, 2017
Elliot Mawhinney
Elliot Mawhinney rated it really liked it
Aug 03, 2016
Chris Mcintosh
Chris Mcintosh rated it liked it
Feb 09, 2013
Gareth rated it liked it
Aug 28, 2015
Nick rated it really liked it
Jan 19, 2014
Tony Phewklieng
Tony Phewklieng rated it it was amazing
Jul 08, 2015
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