PowerPedia:Thorium Reactors

Lasted edited by Andrew Munsey, updated on June 14, 2016 at 9:03 pm.

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: See also Directory:Thorium Reactors


Thorium is a naturally-occurring, slightly radioactive metal discovered in 1828 by the Swedish chemist Jons Jakob Berzelius, who named it after Thor, the Norse god of thunder. It is found in small amounts in most rocks and soils, where it is about three times more abundant than uranium. Soil commonly contains an average of around 6 parts per million (ppm) of thorium. World Nuclear Association

Thorium is used to make ceramics, gas lantern mantles, and metals used in the aerospace industry and in nuclear reactions. Thorium can also be used as a fuel for generating nuclear energy. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

Thorium itself is a metal in the actinide series, which is a run of 15 heavy radioactive elements that occupy their own period in the periodic table between actinium and lawrencium. Thorium sits on the periodic table two spots to the left (making it lighter) of the only other naturally occurring actinide, uranium (which is two spots to the left of synthetic plutonium).

It can't sustain a nuclear reaction once it has been started. This means the U-233 produced at the end of the thorium fuel cycle doesn't pump out enough neutrons when it splits to keep the reaction self-sustaining: eventually the reaction fizzles out. It's why a reactor using thorium fuel is often called a 'sub-critical' reactor. Cosmos



Thorium occurs in several minerals, the most common being the rare earth-thorium-phosphate mineral, monazite, which contains up to about 12% thorium oxide, but average 6-7%. There are substantial deposits in several countries (see table). Thorium-232 decays very slowly (its half-life is about three times the age of the earth) but other thorium isotopes occur in its and in uranium's decay chains. Most of these are short-lived and hence much more radioactive than Th-232, though on a mass basis they are negligible.

A thorium reactor, which operates at relatively low temperatures ( Directory:Thorium Reactors > Directory:White Whale Productions, LLC:Thorium Power Pack' - Bob Dratch of White Whale Productions, LLC proposes using Thorium as a clean, non-polluting, non-nuclear-weapons-creation source and replacement for Uranium in power reactors. (PESWiki'') (Thanks Congress:Member:Sepp Hasslberger)


Thorium - Wikipedia

Thorium – World Nuclear Association

Thorium – Los Alamos National Labs

Thorium – WebElements Periodic Table

European Nuclear Society – Natural Decay chain of Thorium

Thorium Chemistry – Chemlin Virtual Chemistry Library

Green Atoms – Bob Dratch's website

A Nuclear Reactor in Every Home – Michael Annisimov's Blog

Left Manifesto for Nuclear Energy

Energy from Thorium

Thorium Energy Blog

Thorium Discussion Forum

Thorium Power - Thorium Power is a nuclear energy pioneer and the leading developer of proliferation-resistant nuclear fuels.