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Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:49 AM

Proliferation Warnings On Nuclear 'Wonder-Fuel', Thorium

There's been a lot of anti-science hype about Thorium as a nuclear fuel.

Nature recently ran an article debunking some of the hype regarding it's proliferation risks.

Here are two news stories about it, the second one has some good comments by Thierry Dujardin, deputy director for science and development of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Developmentís Nuclear Energy Agency.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205132246.htm

Proliferation Warnings On Nuclear 'Wonder-Fuel', Thorium

Dec. 5, 2012 ó Thorium is being touted as an ideal fuel for a new generation of nuclear power plants, but in a piece in this week's Nature, researchers suggest it may not be as benign as portrayed.

The element thorium, which many regard as a potential nuclear "wonder-fuel," could be a greater proliferation threat than previously thought, scientists have warned.

Writing in a Comment piece in the new issue of the journal, Nature, nuclear energy specialists from four British universities suggest that, although thorium has been promoted as a superior fuel for future nuclear energy generation, it should not be regarded as inherently proliferation resistant. The piece highlights ways in which small quantities of uranium-233, a material useable in nuclear weapons, could be produced covertly from thorium, by chemically separating another isotope, protactinium-233, during its formation.

The chemical processes that are needed for protactinium separation could possibly be undertaken using standard lab equipment, potentially allowing it to happen in secret, and beyond the oversight of organisations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the paper says.

<snip>


http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/nuclear/is-the-superfuel-thorium-risker-than-we-thought-14821644

Is the "Superfuel" Thorium Risker Than We Thought?

A new study in Nature says that using thorium as a nuclear fuel has a higher risk for proliferation into weapons than scientists had believed.

By Phil McKenna

December 5, 2012 2:05 PM

Imagine a cheap, plentiful source of energy that could provide safe, emissions-free power for hundreds of years without refueling and without any risk of nuclear proliferation. The fuel is thorium, and it has been trumpeted by proponents as a "superfuel" that eludes many of the pitfalls of todayís nuclear energy. But now, as a number of countries including China, India, and the United States explore the potential use of thorium for nuclear power, researchers say one of the biggest claims made about the fuelóits proliferation resistanceódoesnít add up.

<snip>

Thierry Dujardin, deputy director for science and development of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Developmentís Nuclear Energy Agency takes a middle of the road approach to concerns over proliferation with thorium. "Itís probably as wrong to claim there is no proliferation concern as to say itís worse than other fuels," Dujardin says.

<snip>

However, Dujardin says, a number of advanced reactor designs, including molten salt reactors, provide similar benefits and can use existing uranium-based fuel. And for cost reasons alone, Dujardin says it may be better to continue developing next-generation reactor designs using existing uranium fuel technology.

"When a technology is in some difficulty, and nuclear technology has been shocked by the Fukushima accident in Japan, people search for a magic solution, but there is no silver bullet," he says. "The difference in the state of development of thorium versus other sources of fuel is so vast and the cost of developing the technology is so high, itís really questionable today whether itís worthwhile to spend a lot of money on the development of thorium."

<snip>


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Reply Proliferation Warnings On Nuclear 'Wonder-Fuel', Thorium (Original post)
bananas Dec 2012 OP
Vincardog Dec 2012 #1
Yo_Mama Dec 2012 #2
Vincardog Dec 2012 #3

Response to bananas (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 04:07 PM

1. Imagine a cheap, plentiful source of energy that could provide safe,

emissions-free power for hundreds of years without refueling and without any risk of nuclear proliferation.

You just imagined Wind, Solar, Geo-thermal and or Tidal.

There is not future for Nukes.

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 02:36 PM

2. "Cheap" is missing from the list right now n/t

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:48 PM

3. How many Billions does it cost to go nuclear? How many Billions in TAX benefit

do Oil Gas and Coal get every year in addition to the use of Roads, bridges, pipelines, and waterways provided by US? Cheap is relative.

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