skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: The Use of Thorium within the Nuclear Power Industry - 13472

Abstract

Thorium is 3 to 4 times more abundant than uranium and is widely distributed in nature as an easily exploitable resource in many countries. Unlike natural uranium, which contains ∼0.7% fissile {sup 235}U isotope, natural thorium does not contain any fissile material and is made up of the fertile {sup 232}Th isotope only. Therefore thorium and thorium-based fuel as metal, oxide or carbide, has been utilized in combination with fissile {sup 235}U or {sup 239}Pu in nuclear research and power reactors for conversion to fissile {sup 233}U, thereby enlarging fissile material resources. During the pioneering years of nuclear energy, from the mid 1950's to mid 1970's, there was considerable interest worldwide to develop thorium fuels and fuel cycles in order to supplement uranium reserves. Thorium fuels and fuel cycles are particularly relevant to countries having large thorium deposits but very limited uranium reserves for their long term nuclear power programme. The feasibility of thorium utilization in high temperature gas cooled reactors (HTGR), light water reactors (LWR), pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs), liquid metal cooled fast breeder reactors (LMFBR) and molten salt breeder reactors (MSBR) were demonstrated. The initial enthusiasm for thorium fuels and fuel cycles was not sustained among themore » developing countries later, due to new discovery of uranium deposits and their improved availability. However, in recent times, the need for proliferation-resistance, longer fuel cycles, higher burnup, and improved waste form characteristics, reduction of plutonium inventories and in situ use of bred-in fissile material has led to renewed interest in thorium-based fuels and fuel cycles. (authors)« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. The UK's National Nuclear Laboratory, Chadwick House, Birchwood Park, Warrington WA3 6AE (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
WM Symposia, 1628 E. Southern Avenue, Suite 9-332, Tempe, AZ 85282 (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
22221435
Report Number(s):
INIS-US-13-WM-13472
TRN: US14V0632042390
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Waste Management 2013 - WM2013 Conference: International collaboration and continuous improvement, Phoenix, AZ (United States), 24-28 Feb 2013; Other Information: Country of input: France; 5 refs.
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; FISSILE MATERIALS; FUEL CYCLE; HTGR TYPE REACTORS; LIQUID METALS; LMFBR TYPE REACTORS; MOLTEN SALTS; NATURAL URANIUM; PHWR TYPE REACTORS; PLUTONIUM; PLUTONIUM 239; THORIUM; THORIUM 232; THORIUM DEPOSITS; URANIUM 233; URANIUM 235; URANIUM DEPOSITS; URANIUM RESERVES; WATER COOLED REACTORS; WATER MODERATED REACTORS

Citation Formats

Miller, Keith. The Use of Thorium within the Nuclear Power Industry - 13472. United States: N. p., 2013. Web.
Miller, Keith. The Use of Thorium within the Nuclear Power Industry - 13472. United States.
Miller, Keith. Mon . "The Use of Thorium within the Nuclear Power Industry - 13472". United States.
@article{osti_22221435,
title = {The Use of Thorium within the Nuclear Power Industry - 13472},
author = {Miller, Keith},
abstractNote = {Thorium is 3 to 4 times more abundant than uranium and is widely distributed in nature as an easily exploitable resource in many countries. Unlike natural uranium, which contains ∼0.7% fissile {sup 235}U isotope, natural thorium does not contain any fissile material and is made up of the fertile {sup 232}Th isotope only. Therefore thorium and thorium-based fuel as metal, oxide or carbide, has been utilized in combination with fissile {sup 235}U or {sup 239}Pu in nuclear research and power reactors for conversion to fissile {sup 233}U, thereby enlarging fissile material resources. During the pioneering years of nuclear energy, from the mid 1950's to mid 1970's, there was considerable interest worldwide to develop thorium fuels and fuel cycles in order to supplement uranium reserves. Thorium fuels and fuel cycles are particularly relevant to countries having large thorium deposits but very limited uranium reserves for their long term nuclear power programme. The feasibility of thorium utilization in high temperature gas cooled reactors (HTGR), light water reactors (LWR), pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs), liquid metal cooled fast breeder reactors (LMFBR) and molten salt breeder reactors (MSBR) were demonstrated. The initial enthusiasm for thorium fuels and fuel cycles was not sustained among the developing countries later, due to new discovery of uranium deposits and their improved availability. However, in recent times, the need for proliferation-resistance, longer fuel cycles, higher burnup, and improved waste form characteristics, reduction of plutonium inventories and in situ use of bred-in fissile material has led to renewed interest in thorium-based fuels and fuel cycles. (authors)},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2013},
month = {7}
}

Conference:
Other availability
Please see Document Availability for additional information on obtaining the full-text document. Library patrons may search WorldCat to identify libraries that hold this conference proceeding.

Save / Share: