By Jeff Smith, Science Editor
There have been recent discussions about thorium as a source of power or for use in weapons systems. I have some experience working with Thorium.
- Too costly to use, over 1 million dollars per kilogram to produce. It can only be artificially made like Plutonium and you cant make enough of it to keep up with demand if commercially used.
- Radiation safety issues. Too hot to use in standard glove boxes. More toxic.
- Used in fast breeder reactors only.
- If U-233 is mixed with U-232 it is unstable. Can go bang.
- Thorium reduces reactor thermal output by up to 30 % so it is to inefficient for commercial thermal power reactor use as compared with a standard uranium fed light water thermal reactor.
- Thorium breads too much U-232/233 causing a toxic waste problem.
- U-233 if is used in a reactor it can undergo a positive K fast neutron reaction so it can go bang like Chernobyl did. So you don’t want to use.
The moral of the story; if it worked better everybody would be using it.