NEA report indicates thorium's potential as nuclear energy source

A report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) on Tuesday said research into potential utilization of thorium should be considered,

The NEA said current technology would not be able to process the element, and research would first need to explore development of thorium-specific technologies. That said, the NEA said using the element might improve the medium-term flexibility of nuclear energy and its long-term sustainability.

Using research on the physio-chemical characteristics of thorium dioxide, researchers predict that fuels based in thorium can offer performance benefits. They point out several ways in which a thorium fuel cycle might outmatch a similar one produced by uranium. They said it is more widely available and is said to have stronger properties that would benefit energy production. Moreover, they said thorium would not be easily weaponized.

Currently, there are some nations that are funding thorium technology research, including China, the U.S., Canada, Norway and Israel.

“However, given their cost and the lack of clear economic incentives for nuclear power plant operators to pursue this route, industrial development activities for thorium remain somewhat limited at present,” the report said.

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Nuclear Energy Agency

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