The presence of uranium-232 and its gamma-emitting daughters makes the assembly of a U-233 weapon fatally hazardous without remote handling equipment. Stockpiling of U-233 also has similar limitations for the same reason. U-233 can also be detected fairly easily thanks to such gamma signatures. While this does not make it completely resistant to proliferation, it certainly makes it proliferation hardened and unattractive for diversion.
U-235 is the only fissile isotope found in nature. To use in a conventional reactor, however, it must first be "enriched" from its natural composition of 0.7% to between 3-5%. Some new reactor designs under development are looking for 20% enriched fuel. The U.S. currently has no civilian enrichment capacity and restarting enrichment here or encouraging it abroad represents a proliferation threat since the same technology can be used for producing weapons material. Thorium cycle requires no enrichment.
In a reactor fueled with thorium and U-233, no plutonium is created and the waste form consists only of fission products. This reduces the lifetime of the waste to a few hundred years and eliminates the proliferation concern from plutonium breeding. The result is the cleanest form of energy yet.
Molten-salt reactors (MSR) offer unparalleled passive safety that can make a well-designed reactor walk-away safe! Along with the efficiency of chemical processing enabled by MSRs, they make the perfect machines to harness the power locked within thorium.
THE THOUSAND-YEAR ENERGY SOLUTION
Thorium cycle reactors offer a truly sustainable power source that is both reliable and scalable. With nearly half the global population in a chronic state of energy poverty, the world is yearning for a new energy revolution. Thorium reactors hold the key to a new era in which the U.S. becomes a major exporter of nuclear energy and, in doing so, lifts billions out of poverty and helps restore balance to the environment. At Curio Solutions, we consider this transformation to be a necessary step in the progress of our civilization. The second nuclear era awaits!