THORIUM VS URANIUM 238 AS NUCLEAR FUEL

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THORIUM VS URANIUM 238 AS NUCLEAR FUEL

Postby doogles on March 2nd, 2019, 6:22 pm 

I chose politics as a forum for this subject because politics, rather than science, appears to be controlling the decision-makers.

A few days ago, I had a long and interesting conversation with a scientist who helped develop the 'black boxes' used in aircraft. I rarely get such an opportunity. We covered a wide range of subjects and I was enlightened about a few of my own misconceptions on some matters.

One of these subjects concerned nuclear energy.

He was of the opinion that nuclear power was more efficient than most other available energy options, and that maybe the use of thorium, rather than uranium 238, as a fuel source would make it even more efficient and much safer. Not only that, but thorium is more widely available.

He maintained that the main reason it has not displaced uranium 238 is that because it does not have the same potential for producing plutonium as uranium 238, and that plutonium provides a better potential for nuclear weapons.

It crossed my mind of course that if that is the case, one would expect that those countries claiming to be developing nuclear technology for 'energy' purposes, should be developing thorium rather than uranium 238 as a fuel.

This excellent Wikipedia article supports everything he said, as well as reporting the 'political' reasons for why the idea has been dormant in the western world since the 1950s -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium-b ... lear_power .

If the statements therein about India's development of thorium-based nuclear power are correct, then India will not only have the cheapest energy source in the world, but my country, Australia, will gradually lose one of its biggest markets for coal.

I think some countries may have to start waking up.
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