Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Thorium Nuclear Reactors: A safer alternative?


No More Chernobyls

To be precise, thorium itself cannot be used to fuel a nuclear reaction. It must first be converted to uranium-233 by the addition of neurons. However, that process adds a significant safety feature: thorium cannot sustain a chain nuclear reaction like the ones at Chernobyl and Fukushima. Once the process of adding neutrons is cut off, nothing -- good or bad -- can happen.