Despite having not built a plant in more than three decades, the technology for nuclear power has come a long way in the United States. One of the most intriguing developments is the ability to use the chemical element thorium to power reactors. Thorium power has unique advantages that address two of the primary concerns for those skeptical of nuclear power.
- The first is that it is a proliferation-resistant fuel cycle — no production of nuclear weapons-usable materials in spent fuel.
- The second is the significantly reduced volume, weight and long-term radio-toxicity of spent fuel.
Thorium isn’t quite new; in fact, it has been researched and developed for 30 years in six countries and been tested in several reactors. Two of India’s commercial reactors use a combination of thorium and uranium but use six times more thorium than uranium. While the technology is not fully developed, the future of thorium reactors looks promising.
Assorted international nuclear notes:
- The tide is turning for nuclear in Germany.
- Dr. R. Chidambaram, principal scientific adviser to the Indian government, calls nuclear energy an inevitable option.
- Expanding nuclear power has some serious benefits for the people in Canada.
- G8 leaders voice the need for nuclear energy, calling it an essential instrument.