In its pure form, thorium is a silver-black colored metal. Named after Thor, the hammer-wielding Norse god of thunder, it is the 90th element on the periodic table.
For those who consider nuclear energy as a strategy to combat climate change, thorium-based nuclear technology is likely an effective weapon that can deliver immediate results.
In the proof-of-concept experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1960s, scientists successfully built and operated the first-ever nuclear reactor that runs on the thorium fuel cycle.
Compared to uranium, using thorium for reactor fuel have many advantages: it emits weaker radiation and is safer to handle; its presence is more abundant than uranium; it can start and sustain chain reactions more efficiently; when incorporated into molten salt reactors, thorium fuel has zero chance of core meltdown.
That's not to say thorium reactors are perfect. But as more privately and publicly-funded R&Ds are being devoted to the technology, maybe we will soon see a future where thorium reactors quench our thirst for carbon-free energy.
Source: PBS Space Time via Youtube