Thorium fuel not viable

28 Jan 2014 / 18:24 H.

    I REFER to "Use thorium to cut power cost" (Press Digest, Jan 27). There was no mention of the fact that to use thorium as a fuel to generate electricity requires a nuclear reactor.
    Thorium does not undergo fission like uranium or plutonium, but would have to be used in combination with fissionable materials such as uranium and plutonium to produce a fissionable form of uranium that could then be used as a fuel.
    Although thorium is abundant in the earth, the technology for using thorium to produce nuclear fuel has not been developed because it is not economically viable.
    In addition, the nuclear waste generated would also have to be disposed, just like all nuclear waste should be, but countries like the United States have been putting off disposal since the beginning of nuclear power generation and now have thousands of tons of highly radioactive waste sitting at each reactor site.
    Nuclear power has never been cost effective and would not exist anywhere without huge government subsidies.
    Prof Glen Lawrence

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