Q. What’s thorium, and how can it create clean energy?
Thorium is a radioactive element that is a far safer and cleaner source of nuclear power than uranium. In a liquid fluoride thorium reactor, or LFTR, reactions occur in a fluid, so a meltdown is physically impossible. Thorium also has a high burn-up rate, meaning that you can use a greater percentage of the energy that’s inherent in the fuel – as much as 50 per cent compared with the 3 to 5 per cent you get with uranium. And LFTRs can be used to process the waste from existing conventional reactors so that it can be recycled to start new thorium reactors. Thorium is four times as abundant as uranium, and it’s no good for building bombs. – As told to Alison Brower