Engineer promotes alternative energy at City College

Rob Morse believes thorium is the key to a green future.



Rob Morse lectures students about the use of thorium energy. Photo by Lacey Stefano

Lacey Stefano, Staff Writer

Rob Morse is a design and research engineer who lectured on the significance of using thorium as an alternate form of energy to natural gas and coal Tuesday at City College. 

Morse has worked on nuclear power for over 40 years and has spoken passionately about the benefits of thorium energy. Thorium is an element found in nature that has the capability of running a nuclear power plant without fear of a meltdown. 

With many leading climate experts believing the planet is in a state of emergency due to climate change, this alternative power source could be part of the solution, as it is both sustainable and found in abundance.

“You’ll never run out of power, and if we’re at all smart, we can do that very safely, more safely than we are now,” Morse said after his presentation.

With the world’s thorium supply being so plentiful, people that have otherwise been without access to power will be able to have everyday luxuries that most people take for granted, such as running water and using a washing machine.

“I hate the idea of people not having clean water,” Morse said, explaining that having access to power will allow for water filtration systems. “I adopted a boy from Romania, but he came with five diseases because he had dirty water.”

An article released by Stanford University explains that India has a significant amount of thorium at its disposal, yet the country accounts for 19% of the world’s population of people without access to clean water. 

A main critique to thorium energy that Morse disputes is the amount of radiation that will result from using a nuclear power source. He explained that, for every person who uses about a golfball-sized amount of thorium, only a grain of rice worth of waste is created. But that is the amount of thorium one person would use in their entire life, powering everything from the gas in their car to their coffee maker in the morning. 

Until the interest in thorium as an energy source is actively pursued, Morse urges people to monitor their daily habits to reduce waste. This can come in the form of simply picking up after yourself and making sure your trash does not end up in a lake somewhere, he said.

To learn more about thorium, you can access the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s website