As the title suggests this is an update on my previous post, The Case For Nuclear Power. I realize that in the last post I didn’t talk much about the types of fuel that can be used and after more research I have learned some interesting facts regarding safe nuclear fuel.
Before I state the benefits of Thorium I will give a brief overview of what it is. Thorium is a radioactive element that is 4 times more abundant than uranium. Thorium has a slow decay rate with a half life of 14 billion years. During radioactive decay, thorium emits a low energy alpha particle1 which cannot penetrate skin.2 Thorium has many benefits such as the fact that it produces 1000 times less waste than uranium reactors, it does not decay to plutonium, it is safer than uranium and other fissile elements because it can a) operate at atmospheric pressure and b) not sustain a chain reaction on it’s own thus it is safer. Thorium is also more abundant than uranium and can be used to destroy plutonium and other radioactive waste.3 In light of these facts it is easy to see that nuclear power is the way to go because of it’s inherent safety and the ability to produce clean energy for our growing demands.
1: “Thorium – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 15
Apr. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium
2: “GCSE Nuclear Radiation: Alpha: more information.”Andy Darvill’s Science site: Home. N.p., n.d. Web
15 Apr. 2011. <http://www.darvill.clara.net/nucrad/morealpha.htm>
3: Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose. “Safe nuclear does exist, and China is leading the way with thorium –
Telegraph.”Telegraph.co.uk – Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph –
Telegraph. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2011. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/8393984/Safe-nuclear-does-exist-and-China-is-leading-the-way-with-thorium.html>.