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A new solution to our global energy crisis may lie in a simple element few know

superfuel book coverAt the dawn of the atomic age, uranium and thorium were equally important as the element of choice in researching nuclear energy. Either one could have powered the world’s reactors. But it was uranium that won out, and thorium, which is far cleaner, safer, and more abundant than uranium, was relegated to the dustbin of science. With it went the possibility of creating a low risk nuclear energy source to power our planet.  What might have happened had our scientists, our government, and the nuclear power industry invested the resources to develop this little known yet abundant element? Would we face a global energy crisis and the prospect of catastrophic climate change today? Why are countries around the world, including rising economic superpowers India and China, rushing to develop electricity from thorium while the United States, which studied thorium reactors extensively in the 1960s, plays catch-up?

Now, as the world searches for cheap, non-carbon-emitting energy sources, thorium is reemerging as an overlooked solution that could provide hundreds of years of clean, safe power. As one of the first energy experts to promote the development of thorium, award-winning science writer Richard Martin combines science, new historical research, and a gripping business narrative to tell the untold story of thorium power – and show how we can wean ourselves off our fossil-fuel addiction, deliver a safe energy source for a millennia, and avert the risk of catastrophic climate change.

At once a big think book and a science manifesto, SuperFuel challenges us to look back at what could have been different in history and forward to an energy revolution in the making. The most important science and technology book of the year, SuperFuel will change the discussion of our energy future.

Praise for SuperFuel

Richard Martin has done an exemplary job of exploring a technically demanding subject in a gripping narrative form. The implications of this subject could not be more vital -- for oil prices, energy security, the chances of coping with climate change -- and 'Superfuel' clearly and fairly spells out the reasons for both optimism and for caution. If every technical book were written in this clear and engaging a style, we'd all be a lot better informed! I am very glad to have read this book.

-James Fallows, National Correspondent, The Atlantic, author of 'China Airborne.' "

Thorium is the younger sister to uranium, less volatile, slower to self-consume, and as many have contended without success, much better suited as a source of nuclear power than uranium.  SuperFuel, by award-winning science writer Richard Martin, tells the Cinderella story of thorium in a fast-paced, insider's account.  This short, well-written book is a must read for those interested in understanding thorium's past and its potential to be a clean, renewable energy source for the future.

-Cynthia Kelly, President, Atomic Heritage Foundation

Bringing back to light a long-lost technology that should never have been lost, this fascinating, important biography of thorium also brings us a commodity that’s rare in discussions of energy and climate change: hope.

-Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired, author of The Long Tail and Free

"Richard Martin tells a story that needs to be understood, for our future energy supplies rely upon hard choices.  Martin makes at least one of those difficult decisions ever so much easier by educating us on our troubled history and experience with nuclear energy, and even more importantly for the future development of this essential source of 21st century clean energy.  This is the type of book that can make a difference!"

-John Hofmeister, former president, Shell Oil, author of Why We Hate the Oil Companies