Friday, January 1, 2010

Thorium, the Next Uranium [Science]


Wired has a fairly epic look into a material that could make nuclear power both clean and safe called thorium—named after the Norse god of thunder. Of course, scientists recognized its promise back in the 1950s.

Whereas uranium is extremely rare, requires purification and creates waste that will be with us for hundreds of thousands of years, thorium is extremely common, burns more efficiently in reactors and leaves less, less radioactive waste (that can't be turned into a nuke).

In fact, if it weren't for the Soviet Union building uranium reactors in the 60s (and us responding in typical Cold War fashion), we'd probably be using thorium today.

But as Wired explains, thorium may be poised for a comeback. [Wired and Image]

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