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Thorium fuel has risks

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Published

  • Stephen Ashley
  • Geoff Parks
  • Bill Nuttall
  • Colin Boxall
  • Robin Grimes
Journal publication date5/12/2012
JournalNature
Journal number7427
Volume492
Number of pages3
Pages31-33
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Thorium is being touted as a potential wonder fuel. Proponents believe that this element could be used in a new generation of nuclear-power plants to produce relatively safe, low-carbon energy with more resistance against potential nuclear-weapons proliferation than uranium. Although thorium offers some benefits, we contend that the public debate is too one-sided: small-scale chemical reprocessing of irradiated thorium can create an isotope of uranium that could be used in nuclear weap-ons, raising proliferation concerns.