Thorium – NOT a safe nuclear technology

the waste would have to be stored for around 300 years or so, compared to tens of thousands of years for current reactors.

Only in the world of nuclear technology could a requirement for 300 years of dangerous waste storage be seen as an advantage.

No one talks about safe nuclear power because it doesn’t exist, Canberra Times, Dr Sue Wareham 28 Apr, 2011 , The heading on Julian Cribb’s glowing recommendation of thorium reactor research (April 26, p11) poses the question ”Why is no one talking about safe nuclear power?” The answer is that it doesn’t exist.

Cribb states that thorium reactors do not produce weapons grade material. This is misleading.

To fuel a reactor, thorium-232 must first be converted to uranium-233, which can be used as nuclear bomb fuel. In 1955, the US detonated a weapon fuelled with U-233.

The waste issue is certainly reduced with thorium reactors compared to standard reactors, but that’s not very reassuring.

Cribb acknowledges that the waste would have to be stored for around 300 years or so, compared to tens of thousands of years for current reactors.

Only in the world of nuclear technology could a requirement for 300 years of dangerous waste storage be seen as an advantage.

India has been trying for decades to commercialise thorium reactors, unsuccessfully.

As with conventional reactors, the costs are just one of the problems.

The US tried for many years, but abandoned their efforts, and the stocks of U-233 were added to the radioactive mess the industry leaves there and elsewhere.

Thorium reactors are yet another diversion from renewable energies and energy efficiencies that create no waste problems, cannot be used to fuel weapons and don’t need lengthy research and development programs that have already been tried and failed.

Renewables are our future. Nuclear technologies have had their day.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/opinion/letters/general/no-one-talks-about-safe-nuclear-power-because-it-doesnt-exist/2147024.aspx

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