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article imageNorway works on radioactive element thorium

By Tim Sandle     May 10, 2014 in Science
Oslo - Experiments in a Norwegian underground plant could lead to the radioactive element thorium being developed as a safer alternative in the production of nuclear power.
Thorium is a naturally occurring radioactive chemical element. Canada, China, Germany, India, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States have experimented with using thorium as a substitute nuclear fuel in nuclear reactors. However, some of the most pioneering work is taking place in Norway.
The Norway tests at the OECD’s nuclear trials facility in Halden are conducted in a Bond-style underground bunker.
A couple of charming Nordic homes perch on top of a hill at the edge of the town. Below them a garage door in a cliff face leads into a tunnel deep into the hill where the reactor hall lies. In theory the mountain protects the town from an accident. The thorium tests are being carried out by a private firm, Thor Energy (the element itself was discovered in Norway in 1828 and named after the Norse god of thunder).
Thor Energy has developed an advanced thorium based oxide fuel and has established a consortium that finances and ensures the implementation of a five year irradiation project with the objective to qualify thorium fuel for use in existing and future generations light water reactors.
The chief executive of Thor Energy Oystein Asphjell who runs the project at Halden, in Norway has told the BBC that so far the results of the work have been encouraging.
More about Norway, Thorium, Nuclear power
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