New Parliamentary Group Formed to Consider Thorium

Last year, I travelled to London to participate in the kickoff of the Weinberg Foundation, an advocacy group for thorium energy. I am pleased to announce with them the formation of an “All-Party Parliamentary Group” or APPG that contains members of both the House of Commons and House of Lords, to consider the potential of thorium as an energy source. This is a press release from the Weinberg Foundation that was issued today. Press contact details are included below.

Safer, cleaner nuclear alternative tops the agenda for new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Thorium Energy

World’s first coalition of cross-party legislators formed to examine thorium-fuelled nuclear power

Westminster, London – 01 March 2012 – The Weinberg Foundation, a not-for-profit advocacy group for thorium energy, announces the formation of a new All-Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Thorium Energy, which held a lively inaugural meeting in parliament yesterday.

Attracting cross-party support from MPs and Peers, the forum will generate critical debate on the potential of thorium as a viable new energy source and examine reactor technology and new fuel designs in planning for the adoption of a viable cleaner, safer and abundant global energy solution. As 10,000 times the energy density of coal, thorium is a convincing nuclear fuel option to tackle fossil-fuel reliance.

Labour Peer Baroness Worthington, who is the patron of the Weinberg Foundation and Chair of the APPG, comments:

“Whilst public opinion is moving towards the acceptance of nuclear power to combat environmentally damaging fossil-fuelled energy sources, Fukushima clearly demonstrated the dangers of traditional solid-fuel uranium reactor designs. If there is a safer ‘green nuclear’ alternative, which also effectively tackles waste, proliferation and energy security, we have a responsibility to future generations to examine it.”

Vice-Chair of the group Dr Julian Huppert MP said:

“As a scientist I am delighted to help establish this platform for evidence based discussion and debate on this most important issue. Nuclear power has always had great potential and the UK was once a world leader in nuclear science research. We intend to explore whether energy from thorium can make a significant contribution to delivering a low carbon economy and help to reinstate the UK’s leadership position.”

The Department for Energy and Climate Change in its recent response to a highly critical House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report into nuclear R&D recently announced its intention to consult on a long term strategy for nuclear power in the UK.

Many of the APPG members have backgrounds in science, climate policy and the energy industry and are well placed to examine the need for the UK to take a considered position on Thorium. Energy-hungry nations like China, Japan, India and others currently look to be leading the march on exploiting the benefits offered by Thorium-fuelled reactors.

The Weinberg Foundation is providing the secretariat to support the APPG.

Notes to the Editor
The list of founding members of the APPG is as follows:

Chair: Baroness Worthington (Lab)
Vice-Chair: Dr Julian Huppert MP (Lib Dem)
Treasurer: Lord Lucas of Crudwell (Con)

Lord Clark of Windermere
Mike Crockart MP, Lib Dem
Tony Cunningham MP, Labour
Lord Deben, Conservative
Barry Gardiner MP, Labour
Lord Grantchester, Labour
Viscount Stephen Hanworth, Labour
John Hemming, Lib Dem
Lord Jay, Cross bench
The Rt Reverend Bishop of Hereford, Antony Priddis
Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan, Labour
Lord Oxburgh, Cross bench
Lord Stoddart, Independent Labour
Lord Taverne, Lib Dem
Lord Teverson, Lib Dem
James Wharton MP, Conservative
Heather Wheeler MP, Conservative
Lord Whitty, Labour
Simon Wright MP, Lib Dem
Tim Yeo MP, Conservative

For further information contact:
Sophia Henri
Communications, Weinberg Foundation
Secretariat to the APPG on Thorium Energy
Tel: +44 (0) 7793 555403
Email: Sophia.henri@the-weinberg-foundation.org

David Martin
APPG co-ordinator
Tel: 07903 434399

Yesterday the oldest nuclear power plant in the UK (Oldbury) permanently closed. Perhaps today the door is opening on a bright new thorium-powered future!

11 thoughts on “New Parliamentary Group Formed to Consider Thorium

  1. UK is emulating the US plan in spending money to dispose off the valuable fissile material. In case of UK, they are considering setting up Prism reactors for a once through use of RG plutonium. As they do not want breeder, they may be advised to convert their plutonium into CERMET pellets with thorium metal to get high burn up fuel for their AGR's.

  2. It is exciting to see the UK is waking up and getting serious about thorium power. I hope this can encourage other countries, such as the US and Canada, to make progress in the legislative branch in regards to LFTR and similar New Nuclear technologies.

  3. There is no indication at all in this report that they are aware of the LFTR. The government is re-starting conventional nuclear reactor building and support including burial of waste material. They do have provision for R&D but mention GenIII and GenIV, stating that they should keep abreast of international developments.

    This new Advisory Board will screen information available to the government and as such it is critical that a knowledgeable and enthusiastic supporter of LFTR technology gets included in this board. If no one on this board is willing to promote LFTR research then the LFTR will be dead in Britain. Hopefully the APPG will be able to get someone on this Advisory Board.

  4. While it is good to discover that the Baroness supports the Thorium cycle one has to wonder how any intelligent person could support the imposition of carbon taxes as advocated by her Sandbag organization.

  5. Last night, I was looking at a Next Big Future post ( I think that's where I saw it) and I noticed a commenter had mentioned tritium production. I wish I could find this again, but time does not permit. Does anyone know if tritium production in a LFTR is a potential problem, and if not a problem, how is it handled?

  6. At last the government is waking up to the benefits of Thorium Power. This technology alone could avert serious climate change, without adversely affecting our economic competitiveness.

  7. Christopher, I know Baroness Worthington is a great advocate of the LFTR, but she is chairman of APPG, there needs to be representation on the Advisory Board headed by Sir John Beddington.

  8. Hi Kirk,

    I have been writing independently about thorium for quite a while now and the formation of this committee is an excellent step in the right direction. Congratulations to all involved in pushing this through.

    I haven't noticed any significant increase in mainstream media following the thorium story – do you know which outlets broadcast or published anything following this particular release?



  9. Having looked at the qualifications of about half the committee I found one with a science degree, in biological chemistry, and two who I would not trust to babysit, Lord Deben and Tim Yeo MP. Several 'environmentalists' who are also activists in their pet subjects. It is a disgrace that this bunch will have no knowledge nor interest in LFTR.

    It is obvious that the British Government have no intention of useing this safe cheaper power source. If the UK builds new nuclear it will be PWR.

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