Powering the 21st century

Three years ago, I posted a short piece on Thorium. At the time, I’d come across an article in Wired magazine that suggested this radioactive chemical element could replace uranium as a cleaner, safer fuel in nuclear power generation.

[Thorium] is abundant — the US has at least 175,000 tons of the stuff — and doesn’t require costly processing. It is also extraordinarily efficient as a nuclear fuel… You could use [it] in an entirely new kind of reactor, one that would have zero risk of meltdown.

Amazing, right? I thought so.

And yet, the silence surrounding the element persisted. Even after the horrific chain of events in Fukushima, Japan—the hideous side of uranium-based nuclear power laid bare once more—the only response to the status quo was to abandon nuclear power altogether.

Three years on, Erika Eichelberger writes in Mother Jones there may yet be hope for Thorium to breathe new life into the faltering nuclear industry. And who do we have to thank? The Chinese, of course.

As has been already been observed by others, the 21st century may well belong to China. So, too, may it belong to Thorium.


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