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The science of nuclear energy
The science of nuclear energy

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4.2 Thorium – nuclear fuel of the future?

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So far, the course has considered only uranium and plutonium as nuclear fuels.

However, thorium has been suggested as an alternative fuel because it is more abundant than uranium and has some advantages regarding safety.

The transformation of thorium-232 into a fissile isotope follows two β-decays:

Th 90232 postfix plus n 01 right arrow Th 90233 times right arrow minus minus beta times times decay Pa 91233 right arrow minus minus beta times times decay cap u .92233

Many research groups are actively pursuing thorium as a fuel. It is of particular interest to countries such as Norway and India which have large natural reserves of thorium.

The next sections consider a more radical change in nuclear fuel!