Publicatie Laka-bibliotheek:
Thorium: Not ‘green’, not ‘viable’, and not likely

Datumjuni 2012
Classificatie (THORIUM CYCLUS)

Uit de publicatie:

Thorium: Not ‘green’, not ‘viable’, and not likely
Oliver Tickell - 
June 2012

1. Introduction
"With uranium-based nuclear power continuing its decades-long economic collapse, it's 
awfully late to be thinking of developing a whole new fuel cycle whose problems differ 
only in detail from current versions."
Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute, March 2009.
A number of commentators have argued that most of the problems associated with nuclear
power could be avoided by both:
 using thorium fuel in place of uranium or plutonium fuels
 using ‘molten salt reactors’ (MSRs) in place of conventional solid fuel reactor designs.
The combination of these two technologies is known as the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor 
or LFTR, because the fuel is in form of a molten fluoride salt of thorium and other elements.
In this Briefing, we examine the validity of the optimistic claims made for thorium fuel, 
MSRs and the LFTR in particular. We find that the claims do not stand up to critical 
scrutiny, and that these technologies have significant drawbacks including:
 the very high costs of technology development, construction and operation.
 marginal benefits for a thorium fuel cycle over the currently utilised uranium / 
plutonium fuel cycles
 serious nuclear weapons proliferation hazards
 the danger of both routine and accidental releases of radiation, mainly from 
continuous ‘live’ fuel reprocessing in MSRs
 the very long lead time for significant deployment of LFTRs of the order of half a 
century – rendering it irrelevant in terms of addressing current or medium term energy 
supply needs