The Thorium option

We are going to see a huge expansion in the application of nuclear power over the next few decades. It is simply too convenient and too repeatable to not fully deploy. The projected expansion actually puts current known supplies into question as to sufficiency, particularly since breeder reactor technology has yet to be developed. In other words, there are glitches.

This has tentatively opened the door to the exploitation of the Uranium alternative, Thorium. Thorium is superior inasmuch as there are less trans-uranics produced like Plutonium. It actually was the first choice for commercial applications at the beginnings of the nuclear age and has the additional advantage in that it can replace uranium in certain reactors.

The easy and perhaps accidental availability of Uranium has given that metal the lead, but thorium is still a viable option.

What we do know is that Thorium is four times more common than Uranium in the crust. On the other hand, mother nature has done a magnificent job of concentrating Uranium. It is not clear that the same ever happened with Thorium, or at least I am not aware of encouraging information and it is clear that almost no one has been looking for high grade Thorium.

This leads me to an observation that I became aware off thirty years ago when we were evaluating Airborne radiometric highs in Saskatchewan. It was that Thorium was much more common than Uranium. This may mean that low grade thorium is very common and recoverable.

It is just that no one has been given a reason to look.

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