Not a blog about the science or practice of travel through books, but perhaps rather about science, practice and travel through books.

First Look on Thorium

I’ve been very sceptic to the idea of nuclear fuel as a solution to the worlds energy problem. However, there’s a new fuel in town. Carlo Rubbia has suggested the use of thorium in a new kind of reactor, called an “energy amplifier”. Some advantages of using thorium instead of uranium are:

  1. Weapons-grade fissionable material (uranium233) is harder to retrieve safely and clandestinely from the thorium reactor than plutonium is from the uranium breeder reactor.
  2. Thorium produces 10 to 10,000 times less long-lived radioactive waste than uranium or plutonium reactors.
  3. Thorium comes out of the ground as a 100% pure, usable isotope, which does not require enrichment, whereas natural uranium contains only 0.7% fissionable U235.
  4. Because thorium does not sustain chain reaction, fission stops by default if we stop priming it, and a runaway chain reaction accident is improbable.

So there are clearly some advantages. There has also been some talk about burning waste from old uranium-reactors… and some speculation on eliminating the waste completely by using multiple burn cycles.

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