Europe has advised Belgium to keep his nuclear plants open and even invest in building a new one. With my previous post in mind, where I pleaded for safer plants instead of a total shut down, I found an interesting site that suggests thorium as a safer alternative for uranium.
Thorium plants hold several advantages over uranium plants:
- Thorium powered nuclear reactors are more efficient and produce less than 1% of the waste of today’s uranium nuclear reactors.
- Thorium reactors are safer, less expensive, smaller and can be configured to eliminate the possibility of melt downs or accidents.
- Thorium does not produce plutonium and thus, could effectively eliminate further weapons production in volatile regions and reduce proliferation on a global scale, thus ending stalemate arguments over dubious nuclear programs such as exist in Iran and North Korea.
- Proprietary thorium technology, capable of safely and efficiently dismantling nuclear stockpiles and eliminating spent uranium, now exists.
Thorium (called the green nuke)plants are cooled with molten fluoride salt and don’t come with that big side order of carbon.Thorium(232) itself is not fissile but with the absorption op neutrons it is converted in uranium (233). Using this cycle to produce nuclear raw material is preferred because there of the smaller chance that plutonium is produced.
Thorium is considered as a nuclear fuel because it is more abundant than uranium. Theoretically 40% more energy can be produced out of thorium .
So why is almost no one using this source? It’s basically humans lack of interest and initiative that caused this. In the day they chose to optimize uranium plants instead of investing the use of thorium. There is enough uranium to provide energy for several years so why research another source that will basically give the same result and forces the industries to rebuild their reactors.
But with the Fukushima disaster in mind the use of thorium plants should be taken in consideration.
More technical information about the thorium fuel cycle can be found on the sites below: