There is considerable debate about whether the twin global crises of energy shortage and climate change can be mitigated by nuclear power. Indeed, there is continuing concern about the safety of uranium and plutonium fuelled nuclear reactors, the management of nuclear waste and the issue of proliferation. But what if we had a nuclear fuel that was low risk, low waste and sustainable? Surprisingly such a fuel does exist: it is thorium.
In this lecture I will discuss the need for nuclear power as an essential part of a balanced energy economy, and suggest novel ways in which thorium could be used to fuel an alternative, and a safer, nuclear future whilst also helping to burn legacy waste from existing reactors.