When I first looked at the synopsis for Thorium Remix 2011, I was thoroughly turned off. Two hours of lecture footage from some guy named Kirk Sorensen and other experts about something called “thorium” and nuclear energy. Sounds exquisitely boring, doesn’t it? Anticipating this reaction, filmmaker Gordon McDowell leads off the piece with a five minute summation of the information to come. If the first five minutes doesn’t capture your interest, it’s likely the rest won’t. If it does hook you, like it did me, then you’re in for a very intelligent and informative lecture-documentary hybrid that both educates and entertains.
To the film’s credit, it is dense with information, and Kirk Sorensen is a very gifted speaker (and thank you for that; can’t imagine a monotone voice trying to relay this information for two hours). Those smarter than I could easily watch this and get more than the basics out of it, and there’s enough research and scientists name-checked for one to go about their own research, should one be so inclined.
Additionally, I appreciated that I was seeing a film that wasn’t about doomsday gloom and nuclear energy, and was instead offering up an alternate solution. It’s so easy to focus on the negative aspects of any argument, and I’ve seen more than my fair share of documentaries that give you the fear and sadness well beyond any offerings of salvation, and at least this film says, “hey, man, we’ve got options… and they’re actually better.” For once, hope beyond a wind turbine and a solar panel!
That said, around the 20 minute mark, the details and lecturing begin in earnest and… that’s when the film can get a little difficult and made me feel really, really stupid. What I got out of it all, though, is this: when it comes to nuclear power and fission, there are other options out there than the way we’ve traditionally gone about doing things and this Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) is arguably the best of all options on the table. So much so that China has taken the initiative, and the majority of the United States’ own research on the matter, and gone forward with their own LFTR projects. And as the film points out, it may not be a matter of whether the U.S. adapts a LFTR power solution, but when it’ll happen, and whether the U.S. will wind up buying the technology from China instead.
Thorium Remix 2011 is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike license, and all the images and footage that make up the film can be found at, or linked from, the Thorium Remix 2011 website. In other words, if you want to make your own cut of the film, and even sell it yourself, then the option is yours.
One of the other cool aspects of this license is that the film is available online for you to view, and I embedded it below. Watch the whole thing, or even just watch the first five minutes to see if you’re on board. If nothing else, when someone starts up a debate on nuclear energy, you can hit ’em with some knowledge about thorium.
This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.