Nuclear power, essentially steam turbines driven by the fission of Uranium [isotope U-235], is powerful, doesn’t emit carbon-dioxide, and is reliable. On the other hand, nuclear disasters, such as Chernobyl in 1989, and Fukushima in 2011, point out the possibly deadly consequences of its use. In spite of the danger and rarity of Uranium, U-235 has been used a a nuclear fuel for decades, mostly without incident.
Thorium, another radioactive material, is much more abundant, and has been under development on and off since the 1970s as a possible replacement for U-235.
Aside from being a more abundant element, thorium fission is expected to be safer to extract, refine, and fission, supposedly insusceptible to catastrophic meltdown.
After thorium fuel has been used up, the resulting waste isn’t dangerous enough to weaponize, as it lacks plutonium, which is a by-product of U-235 fission.
Holding company, Thor Corporation, is now entering one of the final test stages of the new fuel prototype, called Thorium MOX [ThMOX]. .
ThMOX, a blend of thorium and plutonium, will be put into the Halden Nuclear Reactor in Norway. The test reactor will run a five-year test of the ThMOX fuel, funded by a joint venture between the Norwegian government and US Nuclear producer Westinghouse.