Why Thorium Rocks

The Future of Nuclear Energy World Wide.


File:Electron shell 090 Thorium - no label.svg by commons:User:Pumbaa (original work by commons:User:Greg Robson) is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/uk/deed.en?ref=openverse.

“File:Electron shell 090 Thorium – no label.svg” by commons:User:Pumbaa (original work by commons:User:Greg Robson) is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/uk/deed.en?ref=openverse.

By: Reece von Elling, Journalist

When the first nuclear bomb was used, an equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT was released in an instant. The explosion leveled the city of Hiroshima and changed the course of human history.  The bomb was only working at an efficiency rate of 1.4%. Three days later, a second nuclear bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, This bomb was 4o% more efficient than the first, and released 21,000 tons of TNT. 16 years later, on October 30, 1961, the Soviet Union dropped largest thermonuclear weapon in human history, the Tsar Bomba. The Tsar Bomba dropped an equivalent of 50 megatons on an island in the arctic sea, a force 3,800 times greater than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. Just How Powerful Was The Biggest Bomb Ever Dropped? | OilPrice.comNuclear fission is the most powerful source of energy at human disposal, but it only makes up 2% of the energy used in our modern world. Why? A single teaspoon of uranium can power the entire island of Manhattan for a day, yet there are only 92 nuclear power plants sprinkled throughout the United States. That may seem like a lot, but it pales in comparison to the 3,200 fossil fuel burning power plant throughout the U.S. Why are we passing up a source of clean, abundant energy? Well, a few reasons.

For one; nuclear reactors are expensive to build, with the average cost of building a reactor in the U.S totaling 9 billion dollars. It also takes a long time to build them, with the average build time of a reactor being 5-7 years. After you spend 9 billion dollars and take 5 years, it’s time to make some energy, for that you need Uranium. Uranium is a radioactive element that is expensive and difficult to mine, and when it is done producing energy, turns into a toxic sludge that needs to be buried underground, which runs up the cost even more. Uranium is also very unstable, and needs to be controlled using Graphite, and when things go wrong in the reaction room, situations like Chernobyl and Fukushima happen.

Chernobyl: Facts about the world's worst nuclear disaster | Live Science

Chernobyl. (Image)

See the problem? Nuclear energy is expensive, slow, and dangerous, but luckily, there is a solution. Thorium.

Thorium is uranium’s periodic neighbor, being two spaces away from it. They are a lot a like, except that Thorium is a lot more calm than Uranium.

Energi fra thorium?

Thorium Ore

Uranium: what the explosion in prices means for the nuclear industry

Uranium Ore

When Uranium is mined, it releases toxic, cancer-inducing radon gas. Because of this, expensive ventilation systems are installed in Uranium mines to keep the workers safe, Thorium doesn’t have this problem, and can be mined for relatively cheap and at no additional harm to the workers. Another difference between the two is that Thorium ore has a higher concentration than Uranium ore, and doesn’t have undergo the process of enrichment that Uranium does. There is also much more Thorium in the earths crust than there is Uranium, around three times more. That’s enough energy to provide for the needs of everybody on earth for the next thousand years. However, the biggest difference between the two is how they make energy. Uranium is Fissile, which means that it can start producing energy all by itself. Thorium is Fertile, which means that it needs another element, Plutonium, to help it make energy. This makes Thorium a lot safer than Uranium, as when something goes wrong in the reaction process, the Plutonium can be removed, and the reaction stopped. Uranium’s nuclear reaction can’t be stopped, and makes meltdowns more likely. Thorium also produces more energy than Uranium, with 1 ton of Thorium producing an equivalent energy output to 100 tons of Uranium. Thorium also produces 100 times less nuclear waste than Uranium, making it better all around. Thorium is the future, powerful, clean, reliable, and most importantly, safe.