MP pushes for the development of thorium industry in QLD

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen wants Queensland to develop a thorium industry to shift the states reliance on coal.

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen wants Queensland to develop a thorium industry to shift the states reliance on coal.

Christensen said that with both China and India building thorium based power stations, Queensland was well placed to take advantage of the demand, Daily Mercury reported.

"It is a resource that exists in abundance around north Queensland with pockets in Bowen Basin," Christensen said.

"It's another resource we could export to the rest of the world.

"If we position ourselves in the next few years to dig it out of the ground and export it, it could put us ahead of the game."

Thorium is a naturally occurring radioactive element which is most commonly used to power nuclear stations and produces 10,000 times less radioactive waste than uranium.

Christensen argued that developing a thorium sector in the Bowen Basin would help protect the region against the volatile coal market and save jobs.

"When we've got all our eggs in one basket in terms of the resource sector, like we have with coal… we suffer as a region," Christensen said.

"So (we need) more resources than just coal to look at and I think thorium is one of them."

However a report y the UK Government says the benefits of thorium as an alternative nuclear fuel have been "overstated".

According to the paper by the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change while thorium has "theoretical advantages" it still retains some problems similar to uranium.

There has been no widespread exploration of thorium in Australia however GeoScience Australia estimates Australia's total indicated and inferred in-situ resources of thorium amounted to about 532 000 tonnes.

Image: Wikipedia

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