Nuclear the US government discontinued the program for

Nuclear
power has long been one of the solutions in our quest to reduce our reliance on
fossil fuels, as well as meeting the world’s increasing energy demands. In
nearly 500 nuclear reactors all around the world, the fission of uranium or plutonium
is taking place, allowing us to generate vast amounts of energy with little to
no carbon emissions. However nuclear power has its disadvantages,
which include highly radioactive waste products as well as the risk of nuclear
meltdown. 12

 

The
idea of using Thorium as a fuel in nuclear reactors has been around since the
very beginning, and may just be the long-term solution that we need. There are
many experts that believe that a thorium fuel cycle would offer considerable
advantages over its uranium counterpart, and “can
mean a 1000+ year solution or a quality low-carbon bridge to truly sustainable
energy sources solving a huge portion of mankind’s negative environmental
impact.”3

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Research
into thorium based nuclear power was carried out in the 1960s and 1970s in the
United States. In 1964, a molten salt reactor (MRSE) was built at the Oak Ridge
National Laboratory, which used U-233 as its fuel (produced by bombarding thorium
with neutrons). 4 The reactor was in operation very successfully for
several years, from 1965 to 1969 with minimal problems, and demonstrated that a
thorium based nuclear reactor was possible. 5 However in the
1970s, the US government discontinued the program for various reasons. It was
argued that uranium based reactors were already established and proven. The
1970s were also the height of the cold war, meaning nuclear weapons were a
major factor. Unlike uranium, the thorium fuel cycle produced almost no weapons
grade plutonium, leading the US to prioritising uranium reactors.