NOV 06, 2018 12:43 PM PST

The Rise of Thorium Nuclear Reactors

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

In the 1960s, an experimental reactor was built at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The scientists who worked on this project had one ingenious idea: to create a melt-down free power generating device that uses naturally abundant, hard-to-proliferate fuel materials and puts out less radioactive waste. This was the world's first thorium molten salt reactor (TMSR).

But the project was discontinued despite its successful operation. The thorium reactor could not efficiently produce weapons-grade bomb fuel like its uranium-based counterpart. Therefore, it was considered a less ideal option for the US government at the peak of the Cold War. 

More than half a century later, with the threat of greenhouse gas and global climate change, the idea of building thorium-based nuclear reactors is back in sight. With the construction of two new TMSR reactors in the Netherland and China, many are hopeful that the safe, carbon-free nuclear technology would prevail and eventually reduce our reliance on carbon-based power generation. 

Source: Seeker via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
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