Thorium Reactors

Thorium is an interesting potential replacement for Uranium. I can’t claim to know much about it but I am digging to know more.

In summary, thorium is highly abundant which makes it a more sustainable resource than uranium. It has very little waste and is far safer to work with than the nuclear energy being used today. This is particularly apparent if you look at events like the Fukushima disaster and the resulting radiation leaks. Not many countries are actively working on Thorium, which seems odd. Perhaps development is being throttled by the established energy providers?


Here’s what I have found thus far.

Thorium is a radioactive element similar to uranium. —

The fission products from thorium are very similar to the fission products from uranium. —

Thorium is a slightly radio active element that is relatively abundant on earth and in the universe. —

Thorium is more abundant in nature than uranium. —

Thorium is easily available when compared to uranium as thorium is taken from open pits. —

Thorium is abundant relative to uranium, and thorium does not have to undergo the enrichment process that uranium requires. —

Thorium is a much better thermal fuel because the conversion ratio is pretty much flat regardless of neutron energy. —

Thorium is named for Thor, the Scandinavian god of war. —

Energy from thorium is not just scientific theory. —

In fact, thorium can be a very useful component in light water reactors and in solid core graphite moderated reactors. —

Thorium is cheap to mine, cheap to convert to fuel and there is no need for reprocessing. —

In a thorium reactor almost all of the thorium is used up. —

All evidence to date clearly shows that Thorium, especially liquid thorium is far safer and cheaper to operate. —

India is one country that has an abundance of thorium as well as a huge demand for electricity production. —

India has worked hard in developing Thorium based fuel cycle. —

Currently India is working on the design of an advanced heavy water reactor, specially designed with thorium in mind. —

In fact, if pressed, India could probably begin full-scale deployment of thorium reactors in ten years. —

Last year, India completed the design for a thorium reactor, and will move forward on construction. —

China and Canada are working on a modified Canadian design that includes thorium along with recycled uranium fuel. —

Thorium Power Canada is now seeking investors to finance the demonstration thorium reactor. —

The chinese are building a reactor for Thorium. —

Thorium thermal breeders are easier and have never been properly tried. —

The concept of a Thorium Plasma battery is not new. —

Thorium has doubling times on the order of 20 years for creating new fissile material needed to power new reactors. —

Thorium Reactors will probably have a future for remote areas of the world and space travel. —

Thorium has the disadvantage of being readily available and has the added disadvantage of not being useful for making bombs. —

One of the biggest challenges in developing a thorium reactor, is finding a way to fabricate the solid fuel economically. —

Modular liquid fluoride thorium reactors are the only safe proven method thus far. —

There is just no way to avoid proliferation problems associated with thorium fuel cycles that involve reprocessing. —

Chemical processing of any type is very difficult with solid nuclear fuels, like uranium dioxide fuel or thorium dioxide fuel. —

In order to be used as reactor fueled, thorium must be mixed with a fissile isotope, such as Uranium-233, Uranium-235 or Plutonium-239. —

Natural radium is produced in the decay chain of uranium via thorium. —


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