The Epoch Times
Thorium energy experts at the Thorium Energy Alliance Conference told The Epoch Times what they believe has limited the use of the mildly radioactive element, long touted as a potential alternative or complement to plutonium and enriched uranium in nuclear reactors.
Unlike uranium-235, the isotope in enriched uranium that sustains a nuclear chain reaction, thorium is fertile, not fissile. It must be bombarded with neutrons to produce a fissile isotope, uranium-233.
“We don’t have a practical way in this country to use thorium profitably in reactors that exist,” Mark Nelson, managing director of the consultancy Radiant Energy Group, said in an Oct. 13 interview with The Epoch Times. “We are unlikely to have it in the next 10 years unless we find a way to start licensing and building heavy-water reactors in this country, like Canada’s CANDU [Canadian Deuterium Uranium].”