The development of small nuclear units (conventional and thorium) is subject to reams of environmentalist paperwork that is designed to slow down development and hinder advance because the Green lobby is heavily anti-nuclear (as well as anti-fossil fuels) which raises some interesting questions. Even if a thorium reactor or a plasma based energy unit proved to be workable how long would it take to reach production on a grand scale? It would take a new kind of politician, one willing to free energy from the hands of beaurocracy carefully devised and developed by conniving and firmly embedded spoilers from the Green political spectrum, and that would be very unlikely. It is too much trouble. Better to pretend it isn't happening. What politico is going to say, 'I have had enough of all this stifling behaviour …' and throw a wobbly. Even if one did so his efforts would be crushed by the dead hand of the beaurocratic way of doing things. Once emplaced they aren't for shifting. They are like barnacles stuck to a rock.
As such it is interesting the way biofuels are progressing as they are not subject to all the trip wires that beset nuclear. They are given a fairly clear run to the finish line, unimpeded by strategically placed obstacles. At www.chemicals-technology.com/projects/joule-sunsprings-biofuel-plant-new… … we have a group of people jostling to make lots of money from making energy – via synthetic fuels that could replace fossil fuels at some point in the future. Esso is even involved. They intend to use sunlight as the source of energy to reassemble the hydro carbon molecules from water and air.
At http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/ideas/2013/12/scientists-turn-algae-into… … the process is described in detail. It has the immediate advantage of being called 'clean energy' – a favourite word bandied about by the politicos. It's got the people that matter on its side to start with – and nuclear, even clean thorium nuclear, is demonised by the Green lobby.
Algae does not need the scale of land use that ordinary biofuels (from corn) use. Algae even feeds on co2 from the atmosphere – which will surely ring some politico bells in the belfry. Algae can even be encouraged to grow in waste water environments – and so on. What's the betting this energy source will pull ahead of the pack in coming months – and years. It sounds too good to be true. What are the unexpected consequences we might wonder?