The thorium nuclear reactor pipedream – theme for February 2013
The nuclear lobby has been casting around desperately for something to wave at the public as a sign of hope – a sign that the industry has a future.
Thorium nuclear reactors! Salvation?
Not really – because of these 6 reasons (see sidebar for more detail on these.)
1. TIME – delay of even 50 years to get them happening.
2. ECONOMICS. They’re touted as small reactors, and therefore cheaper. Trouble is, they’re only cheaper if mass produced . Thorium is also not more economical to run.
3. WEAPONS PROLIFERATION Thorium can be used to make Uranium-233, which in turn can be used to make bombs. Even plutonium could be made in a Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR)
4. WASTES While the mix of fission products is somewhat different than with uranium fuel, the same range of fission products is created.
The waste might be smaller in volume compared to that of uranium reactor, but it is more radioactive due to the higher volume of radioactive fission products. The reactor itself, at the end of its lifetime, will constitute high level waste. http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo43.pdf
5. SAFETY and SECURITY Dangerous plutonium and enriched uranium are needed to start the process and keep it going. Such dangers make high security necessary. Any bomb dropped on a thorium reactor will result in a catastrophic accident.
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