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Thorium: The Best Alternative Energy Essay

1124 words - 4 pages

The world is slowly running out of fossil fuels, and the transition to cleaner natural sources of energy is on the forefront of everyone’s mind. Over the last couple of decades the price of oil has almost quadrupled, and the reserves are disappearing almost as fast as it can be produced. As well as, natural gas has become increasingly more expensive to produce and manufacture. On the other hand, wind and solar power energy can produce enough energy but the infrastructures cannot support this type of energy conversion. However, the answer to this foreseeable energy crisis could be Thorium. In fact, some scientists believe that Thorium could be the abundant energy solution that the world has been looking for, and quite possibly provide the entire world with enough energy indefinitely.
History of Thorium
“Thorium was discovered in 1828 by a Norwegian mineralogist named Morten Thrane Esmarkon on the Lovoya Island in Norway and identified by the chemist Jons Jakob Beezeliuson.” (Wikipedia, Para. 2, 2014) It wasn’t until seventy years later in 1898 when Thorium was observed to have radioactive properties. Up until that point in history Thorium was commonly used as a bonding material for TIG welding steel and iron. Since that discovery at the end of the 19th century, Thorium has undergone a large transitional and developmental phase that has resulted in the possible answer for the next generation’s source of nuclear fuel.
It was during this development stage that Thorium would became radioactive when a neutron passed by its molecular structure. When this happens the “Thorium captures the neutron and it undergoes a series of nuclear reactions until it eventually emerges as Thorium-233, a fissile nuclide which will readily fission and release energy the next time it absorbs a neutron. Therefore, it is possible to build a self-sustaining chain reaction and thus a power-producing nuclear plant using thorium as the fuel.” (What is Nuclear, Para. 1 2013)
The Abundance of Thorium
In the 21st century the world has become over dependent on fossil fuels for energy, and as the demand increases for these fuels the supply of oil and natural gas is having an inverse reaction. To go along with these shortages there is also a growing concern about the effects of the production of fossil fuels and the carbon emissions on our environment. Therefore, in an effort to solve these problems the world has prompted interest in the increased use of nuclear power. In fact, many scientists now believe that Thorium could provide that answer as an ultra-safe and ultra-cheap source of nuclear power. These scientists say that, “Thorium is the anti-dote to the world’s most pressing energy and environmental challenges.” (Forbes, Para.3, 2011)
One of the reasons that Thorium could be considered ultra-cheap is because “Thorium is more abundant than uranium in the Earth’s crust. The world has an estimated 4.4 million tons of total known and estimated Thorium resources, according...

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