Reader Q&A: thorium reactors

Put your questions to our panel of experts on the use of thorium as a potentially safer to uranium in nuclear reactors.

Thorium is the new buzzword in discussions about energy. Though the technology for generating electricity with thorium-powered nuclear reactors dates back to the 1960s, in the last year in particular the radioactive element has started to regain favour as a potential solution to our power needs.

To its proponents, thorium is a safer, more abundant fuel than traditional uranium that doesn’t have the same association and potential use in nuclear weapons. But the original R&D on thorium reactors was abandoned during the Cold War and the technology would require huge amounts of investment and development before it could be used in commercial power plants.

For our latest reader Q&A, we’ve asked a group of experts to answer your questions on the potential advantages and engineering challenges of thorium reactors. Among the panel will be:

Julian Kelly, chief technology officer for Thor Energy, a Norwegian company developing and testing thorium-plutonium (Th-MOX) fuels for use in commercial light water reactors (LWRs).

Fiona Rayment, director of fuel cycle solutions at the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL).

A spokesperson from the Weinberg Foundation, a not-for-profit Thorium reactor lobby group

Comments have now closed. Thank you for your questions. We’ll publish the answers on the website and in our digital magazine next month.