Alvin Weinberg – Physicist Alvin Weinberg worked on the Manhattan Project and later co-invented the pressurized water nuclear reactor. As Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory he led development of liquid fuel reactors, including walk-away-safe liquid fluoride thorium reactors with inexhaustible fuel. (Hargraves 2014)
A comprehensive biography on the extraordinary life and works of Alvin Weinberg can be found here.
Carlo Rubbia – Carlo Rubbia, a former director of the CERN laboratory who shared the 1984 Nobel Prize in Physics, described thorium as having “absolute pre-eminence” over all other fuels including fossil fuels and uranium, the metallic element that has driven reactors since nuclear first started powering public grids in 1956.
“In order to be vigorously continued, nuclear power must be profoundly modified,” Rubbia said at the Thorium Energy Conference 2013.
Rubbia, a particle physicist, favors a method that would bombard thorium with neutrons freed from a source hit by protons from a particle accelerator. Advocates of that approach claim it is highly safe because the thorium would not sustain a chain reaction and operators could stop the reactions by simply switching off the accelerator. Operators could also vary a reactors’ energy output by modifying the particle beam. (Halper 2013)