Thorium can’t deliver on its promises: report

A report by 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.

"Thorium has theoretical advantages regarding sustainability, reducing radiotoxicity and reducing proliferation risk," the report said.

"While there is some justification for these benefits, they are often overstated."

The report said while developing thorium research had only "limited relevance" to the UK there should still be a "low level of engagement" in the industry because of the international interest.

The paper also said there was a lack of technological readiness for a move into using thorium as an energy source.

"Thorium reprocessing and waste management are poorly understood," it said.

"The thorium fuel cycle cannot be considered to be mature in any area."

The report also said there were still major concerns about thorium's radiotoxicity and the concerns were roadblocks to significant research investment.

According to The Guardian some of the world's largest thorium reserves are found in Australia and the United States and China already have initiatives aimed at exploring its potential as an energy source.

Last year a group of Australian and Czech companies announced they had joined forces to develop a thorium fuelled reactor.

Image: Wikipedia

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