4.2 Thorium – nuclear fuel of the future?
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:
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!