A new report claims that the positives of thorium have been overestimated and that the element does not have the same potential as was claimed. In fact, the new report stated that the UK should continue to look at thorium but remain focused on other alternatives that can be used as well.
Thorium has been called one of the best alternative fuels that can be used in the place of nuclear fuel. The benefit of using this type of fuel is that it is more abundant than uranium and is considered to be much safer. However, the government reports that these benefits may have been ‘overstate.’
The report also stated that one of the other benefits of the thorium is the fact that it cannot be used to build a bomb. In addition, it will also leave behind less waste than reactors that utilize uranium and it runs in a more efficient manner.
The report was originally issued by the Department for Energy and Climate Change by the National Nuclear laboratory (NNL) and stated that there are some theoretical benefits to the use of the thorium but they have not yet been proven. The benefits pertain to the reduction of radiotoxicity, sustainability, and a lowered risk of proliferation but they are often times overstated.
Some of the hesitance of the NNL to issue a more positive recommendation stems from the fact that most UK utility companies are not willing to invest more money into development and research in order to definitively state that thorium is beneficial. In addition, the report does outline that the advantages of thorium could better be realised in certain reactor use when compared to the more standard water-cooled, solid fuel reactors that are used in most modern nuclear electricity stations.