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In late December, uranium producer Cameco resumed work to try to reclaim the flooded Cigar Lake mine in Saskatchewan. For the company, the Oct. 23 flood was a huge blow, delaying the opening of the mine by at least a year. But it was also a blow to the world's uranium supply — the Cigar Lake deposit contains reserves of more than 100,000 tonnes of uranium with a gross market value of $16.7 billion. Even before the Cigar Lake flood, uranium prices had been skyrocketing. Already up more than 800 per cent this decade, they jumped another seven dollars to over $70 US a pound following an auction in December. As these prices rise, nuclear energy providers have begun to search for innovative ways to power reactors without relying on uranium.
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Oct October 6, 2010 | 7 Comments Brian Wang at NextBigFuture found the news of a press conference at the Japanese organization Keidanren, an industry group with big name members such as Toyota, Toshiba and Hitachi. The company IThEMS unveiled their plans to build the world’s first commercial Thorium Molten-Salt Reactor (Th-MSR) power generator. IThEMS is being started by Keishiro Fukushima, a former Senator and Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan and Guest Professor of Waseda University. Fukushima is joining with Dr.
Thorium pushed as uranium alternative 07 Nov, 2011 03:00 AM A SCIENTIFIC movement to promote thorium as a nuclear fuel, due to its abundance and improved safety, is developing around the world and Australia could lead the way. The Sydney scientist Reza Hashemi-Nezhad has argued for more than a decade for the benefits of thorium when used in an accelerator-driven nuclear reactor that operates at subcritical conditions. ''You cannot have an accident similar to Chernobyl,'' Dr Hashemi-Nezhad, the director of the Institute of Nuclear Science at the University of Sydney, said. ''It does not produce weapon-grade materials.
(Updated August 2012) Thorium is more abundant in nature than uranium. It is fertile rather than fissile, and can be used in conjunction with fissile material as nuclear fuel.
Credit: Justin Randall What if we could build a nuclear reactor that offered no possibility of a meltdown, generated its power inexpensively, created no weapons-grade by-products, and burnt up existing high-level waste as well as old nuclear weapon stockpiles? And what if the waste produced by such a reactor was radioactive for a mere few hundred years rather than tens of thousands? It may sound too good to be true, but such a reactor is indeed possible, and a number of teams around the world are now working to make it a reality.
Thorium is a naturally occurring radioactive chemical element with the symbol Th and atomic number 90. It was discovered in 1828 by the Norwegian mineralogist Morten Thrane Esmark and identified by the Swedish chemist Jöns Jakob Berzelius and named after Thor , the Norse god of thunder. Thorium produces a radioactive gas, radon -220, as one of its decay products .