Thorium nuclear reactor

  • This is the future of nuclear reactors. Found this in wikipedia:


    Thorium-based nuclear power is nuclear reactor-based electrical power generation fueled primarily by the nuclear fission of the isotope uranium-233 produced from the fertile element thorium. According to proponents, a thorium fuel cycle offers several potential advantages over a uranium fuel cycle—including much greater abundance on Earth, superior physical and nuclear fuel properties, and reduced nuclear waste production. However, development of thorium power has significant start-up costs. Proponents also cite the lack of weaponization potential as an advantage of thorium, while critics say that development of breeder reactors in general (including thorium reactors that are breeders by nature) increase proliferation concerns. Since about 2008, nuclear energy experts have become more interested in thorium to supply nuclear fuel in place of uranium to generate nuclear power. This renewed interest has been highlighted in a number of scientific conferences, the latest of which, ThEC13 [1] was held at CERN by iThEC and attracted over 200 scientists from 32 countries.

    A nuclear reactor consumes certain specific fissile isotopes to produce energy. The three most practical types of nuclear reactor fuel are:

    • Uranium-235, purified (i.e. "enriched") by reducing the amount of uranium-238 in natural mined uranium. Most nuclear power has been generated using low-enriched uranium (LEU), whereas high-enriched uranium (HEU) is necessary for weapons.
    • Plutonium-239, transmuted from uranium-238 obtained from natural mined uranium. Plutonium is also used for weapons.
    • Uranium-233, transmuted from thorium-232, derived from natural mined thorium. This is the subject of this article.

    Some believe thorium is key to developing a new generation of cleaner, safer nuclear power.[2] According to an opinion piece by a group of scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, considering its overall potential, thorium-based power "can mean a 1000+ year solution or a quality low-carbon bridge to truly sustainable energy sources solving a huge portion of mankind’s negative environmental impact."[3]
    After studying the feasibility of using thorium, nuclear scientists Ralph W. Moir and Edward Teller suggested that thorium nuclear research should be restarted after a three-decade shutdown and that a small prototype plant should be built.[4][5][6] Research and development of thorium-based nuclear reactors, primarily the liquid fluoride thorium reactor, (LFTR), MSR design, has been or is now being done in India, China, Norway, U.S., Israel and Russia.
    So what do you guys think of the idea?