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News Link • Energy

Norway works on radioactive element thorium

•, By Tim Sandle
Experiments in a Norwegian underground plant could lead to the radioactive element thorium being developed as a safer alternative in the production of nuclear power.
Thorium is a naturally occurring radioactive chemical element. Canada, China, Germany, India, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States have experimented with using thorium as a substitute nuclear fuel in nuclear reactors. However, some of the most pioneering work is taking place in Norway.
The Norway tests at the OECD’s nuclear trials facility in Halden are conducted in a Bond-style underground bunker.
A couple of charming Nordic homes perch on top of a hill at the edge of the town. Below them a garage door in a cliff face leads into a tunnel deep into the hill where the reactor hall lies. In theory the mountain protects the town from an accident. The thorium tests are being carried out by a private firm, Thor Energy (the element itself was discovered in Norway in 1828 and named after the Norse god of thunder).

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