Elon Musk was born in South Africa in 1971. At age 17, in 1989, he moved to Canada to attend Queen's University, but he left in 1992 (after 3 years) to study business and physics at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated with an undergraduate degree in economics and stayed for a second bachelor's degree in physics. In 1999, Musk and some others founded X.com, an online payments company. An X.com acquisition the following year led to the creation of PayPal as it is known today, and in October 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBay and Musk got $165 Million from the deal. He founded SpaceX and then Tesla Motors followed by Tesla Energy. He also worked on Solar City which Tesla Energy's just now purchased.
The Airforce wanted to build a nuclear powered bomber, a really dumb idea. The only way to make it work, it had to operate at low pressure and high temprature Alvin Weinberg's Molten Salt Reactor Experiment at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1960s was the radical answer. The men who worked on it are all in their 80s now, those that are still alive report that they often did heroic actions with long handled mechanical tools to manipulate the reactor. These days, we wouldn't expose anybody to that kind of radiation, everything would be done remotely using robotics. Syd Ball started in 1957 and then got onto the MSRE as instrumentation and controls and dynamic analysis says it was an inherently safe reactor, uncommon because of the molten salt but the reactor would just adjust itself without human (or computer) intervention.
Normal reactors are unstable and people have to constantly watch to keep it from getting away -- things break, power goes up and up and up until it becomes unmanageable. The MSRE was self-controlling. All the designs are stable. if they get too hot, it gets less dense and therefore, becomes less reactive until it cools and becomes more reactive again. It controls itself.
Thorium has a half-life of 300 years. After a couple thousand, it's almost innert. Contrast this with U-238 in water reactors, whose waste products need to be kept safe for hundreds of thousands of years.
Thorium reaction fissions to make more of itself. U-233 can be used to catalyze the burning of THorium indefinitely.
"The MSRE operated from 1965 to 1969, when it was shut down under the orders of Milton Shaw of the Atomic Energy Commission so as to free up additional funding for the liquid-metal fast breeder reactor (LMFBR) program. The molten-salt program continued for another three years at Oak Ridge until it was cancelled in 1972 under Shaw's orders."
In 1972, Milton Shaw of the AEC said, "Stop that MSRE and send back the money so we can give it to the liquid metal fast breader reactor project at Argonne National Laboratory. The Integral Fast Reactor was killed by Congress in 1994. All the politicians wanted jobs in California and they didn't want to allocate resources anywhere else. The books were largly burned and the samples and experimental equipment sold for scrap. 10 years worth of valuable data was lost.
Two of the reasons cited for closure of the MSRE was the requirement for capturing and sequestering Tritium, (but nobody on the project thought that would be a problem. Nobody was ever asked about it at the time) and corrosion, likewise, not really an issue. That's just an excuse they added to the paperwork trail to justify their decision after the fact.
You can get a PHd in Nuclear Engineering specializing in the history of Nuclear Energy Research and have STILL never heard of this, as one recent Purdue Graduate admitted to Kirk Sorensen.
Don't take off your radiator cap while the engine is hot because that water is under pressure. Same thing with a light water reactor. The water is under enormous pressure so it has to be circulated with giant pipes and -just in case it escapes - everything has to be built inside a giant containment vessel.
1000 to 1 ratio between steam and liquid water.
Molten Salt won't even boil until 400 or 1000 or even 1500 degrees, exactly the temp you already need it at in order to power a turbine.
So adding the Thorium and U-233 to the molten salt completely removes the enormous expense of fabricating solid nuclear fuels.Uranium Enrchment is a pretty expensive thing to accomplish.
GE and Westinghouse don't build nuclear reactors anymore. All their money comes from selling the solid fuel to the reactors around the world.
These days, coming up with something both New and Novel as well as Nuclear takes an insane amount of regulatory hassle, time and NRC approval. Litterally Decades, before you can make even an experimental reactor, let alnoe one designed to produce energy.
The AEC (Atomic Energy Commission) became the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 1974. The agency's mission is to license and regulate the Nation's civilian use of radioactive materials to protect public health and safety, promote the common defense and security, and protect the environment.
Molten Salt Reactors are being studied heavily right now in Japan, Russia, France and China. China will have LFTRs long before the United States.