Recent Thorium Announcement?

Several people have pointed me to this recent piece of news:

Northamerican Energy Group to Launch Thorium Power Generating Research Development Division

Unfortunately, I’ve never heard of this company (Northamerican Energy Group) before. Their website seems to indicate that they are involved in oil and gas development. As far as their plans to use thorium, the article states:

As part of this agreement Bayport has also identified, and has options on, two potential sites for constructing new Thorium generating plants in Idaho, and Utah, and according to Bayport has received favorable Senatorial support in those efforts.

In addition, it is estimated that 225 of the 444 commercial nuclear power plants in operation worldwide are suitable candidates for conversion to Thorium/uranium fuel and those possibilities to build new, or convert existing, power plants in foreign countries such as Africa, South America, China and other Asian countries will also be explored as part of potential business opportunities.

This statement leads me to think that they have a goal in mind similar to that of Thorium Power, Inc., which itself was started by Alvin Radkowsky, who helped build the thorium core conversion for the Shippingport reactor. In 1978, Shippingport was operated as a “light-water breeder reactor” using thorium and uranium-233. Unfortunately, as WASH-1097 has pointed out, the benefits for using thorium in light-water reactors are not nearly as pronounced as the benefits of using thorium in liquid-fluoride reactors.

Nevertheless, I wish these folks the best.

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