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A World With Thorium: Limitless Nuclear Power

1361 words - 6 pages

Imagine a silvery-white metal, filled with so much energy that it is named after the Greek god of thunder, and has the power to fuel the world. Dated forms of energy like fossil fuels are damaging our planet on a monumental scale; however the nuclear option is free of greenhouse waste products and available in large supply. What makes Thorium even more amazing is how efficient and clean it is; when producing the same amount of energy Nuclear reactors produce 0.02% of the CO2 made by a coal reactor (World Nuclear Association). In addition, Alexis Madrigal, a senior editor at the Atlantic Newspaper says Thorium reactors are “A brilliant solution to our energy dilemma: They would be impervious to meltdowns, could be built faster and smaller than traditional nuclear plants, and cannot be used to produce radioactive material for nuclear weapons” (Nelson). Moreover, as global struggles for energy continue, Thorium becomes a viable option that must be developed and implemented commercially.
Thorium is in a wide abundance all around the world and is extremely powerful and efficient. “Thorium is a highly sustainable fuel; reserves are currently assessed to be 3-5 times more abundant than uranium.” (Ashley). The Scientific American estimates that there is nearly 15.5 million metric tons of Uranium that is usable, it continues to say that new technology such as better detection and extraction should double that estimate. The nations with the highest estimated deposits of Thorium are Norway, India, Venezuela, Turkey, USA, and Australia (Thorium has a distinct signature and is easy to find by satellite). In fact the United States has a reserve already mined that could power the country for three years, and that is only one stockpile. In addition, Thorium is produced through a process called rare-earth production so nearly all of it can be used in a reactor unlike Uranium. Thorium is not only abundant it is also extremely efficient and produces large amounts of power. “1 tonne of mined thorium is equivalent to 200 tonnes of mined uranium, which is equivalent to 3.5 million tonnes of mined coal.” (Ashley). One reactor concept for Thorium known as the Radkowsky plant replaces the Thorium in the reactor every ten years or so, while the seed element (the catalyst of the reaction) would be replaced every 18 months. The efficiency of Thorium makes it an excellent long term fuel. And it should be cheaper to use in the long run since less of the substance is required to gain the same results as other fuels. It is obvious to see why Thorium makes such a useful fuel since it is so amazingly efficient and abundant.
The use of a Thorium reactor also reduces pollution and is extremely safe. “Nuclear power offers a reliable low environmental impact source of power” (Ashley). According to the World Nuclear Association, nuclear power plants produce 1.7% of the CO2 made by a coal power plant. The number also includes the CO2 produced from developing plants, transportation, and...

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