The whole world will be watching Norway tomorrow to get a glimpse of what could very well be the holy grail energy source of the future. A three-way joint partnership between the Government of Norway, the American corporation Westinghouse™, and Norway-based Thor Energy™ are pressing the giant start button an power plant prototype powered by perhaps the single most exciting new frontier in energy — thorium.
Norway is one of the world’s biggest oil producers, so at first glance it might seem strange that their government would want to trip on their own feet by kickstarting a new industry that could rival that of oil. But Norway is in a hugely advantageous position because they have gargantuan reserves of thorium scattered all over the country. And Norway is by no means the only country trying to get their piece of the thorium frontier — China, India, and several other countries are trying to unleash the power of thorium as well. Bill Gates is also a huge champion of thorium’s potential (learn more about Bill’s cutting-edge energy company TerraPower™ which is at the forefront of revolutionizing the world’s energy sources).
So why exactly is thorium such a huge deal? 1) Experts estimate it to be 3-4 times more abundant around the world than uranium; 2) The amount of energy that can be produced from thorium makes uranium look like child’s play; 3) Thorium can be re-purposed as nuclear fuel, thereby producing less waste; and 4) thorium plants do not meltdown like their nuclear counterparts (i.e. Fukushima and Chernobyl would never have happened). Worth noting is that the prototype Norway is testing tomorrow is using existing infrastructure and will only elicit a fraction of the energy thorium is capable of producing (i.e. they are using a heavy-water nuclear reactor; experts in the field are convinced that salt or pebble bed reactors are the true maximizer’s of thorium’s potential).
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. In nature, virtually all thorium is found as Thorium-232, which undergoes alpha decay with a half-life of about 14.05 billion years. Chris Hemsworth, who portrays the character of Thor in the eponymous film, as well as in the Avengers blockbuster franchise, is 29-years-old. The average life expectancy for an Australian male is 79.7 years.