China Initiates Thorium MSR ProjectJanuary 31, 2011 0 Comments
China has initiated research and development for a thorium molten-salt reactor. They also intend to obtain the intellectual property rights for its use. An MSR (molten salt reactor) is an extremely powerful and flexible type of fission nuclear reactor where the main coolant isn't water but a mixture of molten salt.
One of the many benefits of an MSR is its great reduction in size. The salt being much more efficient at removing heat from a fission core, there exists less need for piping and pumping other coolants. The small size also makes these reactors safer.
Finally, Thorium is 3 to 4 times more abundant than Uranium and packs roughly 200 times the amount of power.
Thorium reactors were first conceived roughly 40 years ago. However, Uranium fission produces Plutonium (a crucial element in building nuclear weapons) as a byproduct. And so, research into Thorium fell by the wayside for decades.
There's been grass-roots efforts to refocus the U.S. government on Thorium MSR research for the production of clean energy, but have so far remained unsuccessful.