As Australia is grappling with the notion of introducing nuclear power into the country, it seems imperative the general public understand the intricacies of these technologies so they can make informed decisions. Thorium reactors are amongst those being suggested at this time. The U.S. tried for 50 years to create thorium reactors, without success. Four commercial thorium reactors were constructed, all of which failed. And because of the complexity of problems listed below, thorium reactors are far more expensive than uranium fueled reactors. The longstanding effort to produce these reactors cost the U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars, while billions more dollars are still required to dispose of the highly toxic waste emanating from these failed trials. The truth is, thorium is not a naturally fissionable material. It is, therefore, necessary to mix thorium with either enriched uranium-235 (up to 20 per cent enrichment) or with plutonium – both of which are innately fissionable – to get the process going.
Beyond Nuclear 3rd Nov 2019 read more »