Introduction

Scientists say climate change is getting worse and there could be serious consequences for our planet in the next 20 years. Surface temperature. The planet is warmer than it was 100 years ago. Is this whole global warming problem going to be a lot easier to solve than anybody imagined? What the world needs now is nuclear energy.

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Theory

Nuclear energy may be the future, and thorium may be the fuel that revolutionizes that future. It could just be what we need to make a safe, minimal waste and carbon-neutral energy supply. Recently, there’s been a lot of excitement around thorium. So Let’s take a look at why Thorium is a better fuel, its downsides and how the Cold War ended a safer nuclear future with Thorium. Every time you turn on your laptop, click on your house lights or even charge you a new electric car. You are using electricity mostly created from burning fossil fuels. Over 80% of the global energy supplies created using greenhouse gas emitting, coal, oil and natural gas.

Thorium
Thorium

Renewables such as hydro, solar and wind face some economic and practical hurdles. It may be a while before the full global energy supply is fueled by renewables. In the meantime, it’s clear that we need something better than what we have today. And this is where nuclear energy comes in. When the word nuclear is mentioned, Hiroshima, Chernobyl, and Fukushima often spring some mind. Or maybe you remember the dangerous radioactive green sludge from The Simpsons that home worked with. Nuclear energy is clean but dangerous, but with the use of thorium, maybe nuclear can drop the dangerous tag and just be clean. Let’s take a look at how thorium could revolutionize the world.

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There are many positives to thorium, especially when compared with uranium. Let’s take a look at some. Thorium is named after the God of Fund, for it sits two doors down from uranium on the periodic table and is much like its concentrated, stable cousin. Uranium is commonly used for nuclear power plants, but there are many advantages when thorium is used instead. For one, thorium is much more highly concentrated or than uranium, meaning it takes less work to extract the same amount of energy generating potential during the mining process. There is also three times more thorium in the Earth’s crust than uranium.

In terms of energy production, one ton of thorium is approximately equal to 35 tons of uranium and 4,000,000 tons of coal. This is largely due to the improved efficiency and recycling properties of a thorium reactor. Through neutron bombardment, thorium is turned into uranium 2-3-3, which is then used for nuclear reactions. Unlike uranium 2-3-5, which is used in most nuclear power generation. The thorium derived uranium 2-3-3 is terrible as a nuclear weapon. Actually, that’s one of the reasons why thorium reactors were not further funded.

In 1960. While the US government was in the midst of the Cold War, there were ongoing research projects into both uranium and thorium as suitable nuclear fuels. The US decided to opt for uranium power plants partly because the byproducts could be used for nuclear weapons. They feared that the Soviets were doing the same. In these strange circumstances, uranium came out on top and over the next few decades uranium became the industry standard and a major reason why any new power plants were uranium and thorium reactors. Thorium is a weak radioactive metal, while uranium in its enriched form is difficult to contain. Uranium mining for yellow cake is also very dangerous to workers as the awe releases radon gas when mind.

Due to the nature of thorium power generating processes being in liquid form, it is both the fuel and the coolant in the reactor. This means that it can self regulate the temperature, slowing down the process if the temperature gets too high. Supposedly this makes thorium reactors incapable of having a meltdown. And that’s pretty interesting and probably the thing that sets story and reactors apart from their contemporary counterparts. Currently, this waste degrades over a half-life of 1000 years. For thorium, this is 300 years and in addition, it’s much less toxic in comparison.

According to some estimates, thorium may also produce 0.6% of the radioactive waste when compared to uranium-based nuclear power. So for all of these positives, there still are some negative Thorium due to the focus on uranium, thorium reactor designs have been neglected. Currently, thorium reactors are still in the research stage in many countries after a need interest. But while this is good, this still means that we are a while away from any projects being functional due to the lack of infrastructure.

The startup cost for this technology are very high figures for capital and operational expenditure at this stage is all speculative and no one really knows the associated cost that this will be in practice. Hence, the race between uranium and thorium may already be over as the startup costs may cancel out any of the long-term benefits of what might be a better, safer fuel. Thorium isn’t perfect, it’s still radioactive and still produces waste. This may pose another issue when it comes to handling and shielding the material.

Perhaps the biggest threat to the authority of nuclear energy is the fact that there haven’t been many experiences with it. In an industry where the stakes are higher both financially and in terms of safety, the philosophy is quite conservative. It’s unlikely that people would take risks and experiment. It’s unlikely that people would take risks and experiment. The progress of this technology is bound to be slow. During research stages, it’s often easy to protect the benefits. It’s only during testing that the real issues and hurdles become apparent.

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Conclusion

While the world is certainly interested in continuing to look at Thorium as a possibility and particularly a possibility for the future, the fact remains that we have an entire fuel cycle built up around uranium, and it would be a dramatic shift and a very costly shift to move on any sort of short time scale. Thorium got potential, a lot of it. Thorium reactors are in a good position to take over their carbon-neutral and compared to current nuclear processes, results in much less waste. They are also safer, has a more abundant fuel source as raw material, and their potential to be used as nuclear weapons is minimal.

Solar, Wind, Hydro, and other processes could be ideal for the environment. But we live in a world which demands electricity, and that demand, at least at the moment, can’t be met purely by renewables. Just yet, it is very possible that renewables will get to that stage. But in the meantime, there’s no harm in taking a deeper look at Thorium. One could feed our energy demand while decreasing the number of greenhouse gases being emitted into our atmosphere.

Where can we found Thorium in India?

Narayanasamy, the country’s thorium reserves were 11.93 million tonnes (monazite, having 9–10% ThO2found in the three eastern coastal states of Andhra Pradesh (3.72 Mt; 31%), Tamil Nadu (2.46 Mt; 21%) and Odisha (2.41 Mt; 20%).

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