My Father was an advocate for Thorium power plants. He had a patent for mass producing thorium for nuclear power plants. Can’t melt down, cheap nearly infinite supply of fuel and no radioactive waste. A thorium reactor can even burn waste from a uranium reactor.
He was shut down by the US government. They wanted the enriched plutonium from uranium reactors. They wanted the weapons, plain and simple.
We are all still paying the price for that decision.
Sorry to hear that, of course. At this point, though, I don't see why that dynamic should still be present. (I'm guessing
that was at least a decade ago; maybe more?) The U.S. has sufficient breeder reactors to maintain the cores for sufficient nuclear deterrence for the whole next century. But why not additionally
have the 4th-gen small (and as you note, safe and waste-eating) reactors, exclusively for power purposes? Breeder reactors for uranium and plutonium need to be extraordinarily well-secured (for obvious reasons!) and tend to be expensive one-off constructions. Even the latest designs are hard to maintain, hard to replace. The logical move, I think, is to keep those at places like Oak Ridge, put 'em behind lots of land buffers and soldiers, and treat energy output from them as an incidental benefit. The small, mass-produced Thorium (or whatever) reactors would be far more numerous, existing for a different mix of purposes: power generation, redundancy, local self-sufficiency, and maintenance/modularity.
But at this point I grant that I am...
(a.) talking way beyond my own technical literacy, and
(b.) concerned about hijacking the thread, which I didn't mean to do!
I only brought it up because (unless I've been totally misled) a few dozen cheap, mass-produced 4th gen reactors (such as I hope we'll have by 2050) could've, if we'd had them, sufficiently ramped-up production to make up for the issues Texas is currently having with supply from the wind farms and the frozen-over bits of natural gas infrastructure. So that would have been nice. And, as a plan for the future, it represents a lovely "don't put all your eggs in one basket" approach.
There. Hopefully that brings us back to Texas.