Thursday, October 06, 2005

Australia Nuclear Update

An Australian-based think tank is urging that nation to consider using thorium to power a new generation of nuclear reactors:

Australia should consider using its abundant reserves of the radioactive metal thorium to provide the nation with a vital alternative source of energy, a strategic thinktank says.

Australia's centre for strategic analysis, Future Directions International, made the recommendation in a new study on the country's future energy options released.

The study, Australia's Energy Options, says new safer and cleaner nuclear energy technologies could replace the country's reliance on oil, gas and coal for electricity.

It suggested Australia could use thorium instead of uranium to generate a new source of electricity.

"Australia holds the world's largest reserves of thorium, which could possibly fuel low-risk/low waste reactors which did not generate weapons-grade fissionable material, and which also could substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Future Directions said.

The study said Australia has much to gain from looking at the nuclear issue and urged the government to carry out a review of new nuclear technologies.
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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

IIRC, Thorium is a fertile element rather than a fissionable one. Thorium 232 absorbs a neutron and transmutes to U-233 which is fissionable. I've seen reports that claim U-233 is a better bombmaking material than U-235. According to the following link the US has tested nuclear bombs using U-233:

http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Nwfaq/Nfaq4-1.html#Nfaq4.1.7.1

So much for the assertion that Thorium is not a proliferation threat. (This is no reason not to use it, let's just avoid easily refuted claims of non-proliferation.)

Kirk Sorensen said...

Can U-233 bombs be built? Yes. So could a curium-245 bomb...is it practical or advantageous? No. The gamma emissions from the U-232 contaminant make U-233 bombs a really stupid idea, even for terrorists or third-world countries.

Thorium IS the fuel of the future, and has been waiting for the reactor to use it. In my opinion, that reactor is the liquid-fluoride reactor, the safest reactor ever conceived. Learn more at:

http://thoriumenergy.blogspot.com/