“Thorium Energy Security Act” released

Today our hopes for a thorium-powered future took a huge step forward as Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama and Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas introduced the “Thorium Energy Security Act” in the United States Senate.

S.4242 – A bill to provide for the preservation and storage of uranium-233 to foster development of thorium molten-salt reactors

Text of the bill. PDF

Press Release: Tuberville, Marshall Introduce Bill to Save Clean, Safe Nuclear Power

This bill states

it is in the best economic and national security interests of the United States to resume development of thorium molten-salt reactors that can minimize long-lived waste production…to resume such development, it is necessary to relocate as much of the uranium-233 remaining at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as possible to new secure storage.

I’m sure I speak for just about everyone in the thorium development community when I say that this is something that we have wanted to hear stated by the US Congress for many, many years now.

On the second day of this blog, I wrote about the importance of saving uranium-233:

Don’t throw away U233!

and I’ve written about this theme many times since then. I’ve met with many congressional and executive branch leaders, and to their credit, many have tried to save the U-233. Some have even contacted the Department of Energy, only to have brutally rebuffed by arguments that in every case turned out to be groundless.

On December 19, 2019, just a few months before the COVID pandemic shut down such meetings, we met with Energy Undersecretary Mark Menezes and made our appeal for the preservation of uranium-233. Secretary Menezes was sympathetic to our argument, saying that the DOE should not be in the business of throwing away material that is useful to industry. But in all of the social and political changes of the next 12 months all such things were swept away.

One of the consistent messages that emerged from the DOE was that they were destroying U-233 “because Congress told them to.” I always viewed this statement with the greatest of skepticism, since it is the DOE that tells the Congress whether or not a material has future value to the US, and the DOE had been the ones that had told Congress that U-233 was not needed in their future plans. Nevertheless, we focused all of our energies on Congress in an effort to save this material.

Last fall we were fortunate to meet with Senators Tuberville, Rosen, McConnell, Cotton, Thune, and Barrasso, all of whom expressed varying degrees of sympathy to our efforts. We also met with the staffers for many more senators, all of whom except one would listen carefully to the arguments we made for the preservation of this precious material. But the culmination of all these efforts was today when Senators Tuberville and Marshall introduced this bill, which is so important for our energy future.

I strongly encourage all Americans who want to see energy from thorium in their future to reach out to their senators and ask them to support this bill. You can find out who your senators are from this page:

Members of Congress

I can tell you from experience that those phone calls, emails, and letters work and you would be really surprised how many of them personally reach the representative or senator. I know for a fact that Senator Tuberville reads all of his messages about U-233. Please let your leaders know that this is an important issue for you. And consider calling Senator Tuberville’s office (202-224-4124) and/or Senator Marshall’s office (202-224-4774) and expressing your appreciation that they are working on this issue and showing such leadership.

Past articles and videos on U-233 preservation:

2011-02-14: Doing Our Part to Reduce the Deficit
2011-01-13: Save the Uranium-233, Explore Space, Save Lives
2009-08-12: Why Should We Save the Uranium-233?
2009-08-08: Save the Uranium-233!
2006-12-19: Continuing Saga of ORNL U-233
2006-09-27: $48M for Remediation? (milking the job)
2006-06-05: Latest Developments on the U-233 Saga
2006-04-23: Don’t throw away U233!

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