Like I mentioned in a previous post, nuclear energy research is still improving at a faster pace than the development in alternative energy. I totally agree with the statement from Ina in her previous post:” don’t eliminate but optimize”. Thorium is a new fuel source and possible replacement for uranium with a good set of benefits, but the fact is that the nuclear energy possibilities of thorium weren’t first discoverd. Also there will be invested more likely in optimizing the current nuclear plants than investing in research for another fuel cycle ( thorium ), It will take a while before the thorium fuel cycle will be commercialized. But this doesn’t mean it won’t be the future, it’s important that this cycle improves that it can replace the uranium cycle with the same efficiency if uranium is getting scarce on his resources.
But for now we have the intellect to equalize the benefits of Thorium:”Fourth generation nuclear plants”. These reactors are still at the concept stage but are planned to be operational between 2020 and 2030.
Main goals and achievement for the IV generation of nuclear plants:
• Produce 10% of the waste of the nuclear plants we use today (more storage room left for a longer time?)
• Increasing the efficiency to 99.8 % (uranium cycle)
• More cost-effective
• Proliferation and secure from terrorist attacks and weapons
GIF, Generation IV international forum, was founded in 2000 to become a joint venture led by USA, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Japan, Russia, South Korea, South Africa, Switzerland, and the UK. They have selected 6 concepts to develop till 2020 -2030 and Near-term advanced reactors for 2015.
You see Nuclear energy will not be wiped out of the list of alternative energy but will be more present in our society. Hopefully in a safe way!
You can find more information on the following site that is updated frequently about every aspect of nuclear energy!