Can We Change the World Energy Map with Thorium? Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) European Nuclear Research Center (CERN) Scientific Committee Member Prof. Dr. Saleh Sultansoy stated that thorium, which is called "green nuclear energy", is among the most important resources that can solve the world's energy problem and said, "When we start using thorium in energy, we can be among the leading countries of the world." 11 percent of the world's thorium reserves are in Turkey.
Sultansoy, who is also a faculty member at TOBB University of Economics and Technology, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the two most important reasons for Turkey's current account deficit are energy resources and imports of advanced technology products.
Sultansoy stated that in order to reach the level of developed countries in 2030, an additional power of at least 100 gigawatts should be established. Stating that 50 gigawatts of energy can be produced with 50 tons of thorium per year, Sultansoy stated that this amount is less than one in ten thousand of Turkey's thorium reserve.
Defending that the world's energy map will change with thorium in the next 20 years, Sultansoy said: “Developed countries get most of their energy from nuclear power plants. While France receives 85% of its energy from nuclear power plants, we have been debating whether to establish these power plants for years. According to current scientific data, Turkey ranks second in the world in thorium reserves. If we want Turkey to develop, we must establish power plants that produce energy from thorium. For 1 gigawatt of energy, 3,5 million tons of coal or 200 tons of uranium are required. In fact, this energy can be obtained from 1 ton of thorium. Thorium-fired reactors are expected to be commercialized in the 2020s. In the 2030s, we can produce 50 percent of our electrical energy from our domestic source, thorium. Turkey can be an energy giant, as long as we own this technology and participate in international collaborations.”
"The reason why the world is turning to uranium instead of thorium is the nuclear arms race"
Stating that India is the country that has made the greatest progress in power plants working with thorium, Sultansoy said that countries such as the USA, Norway, Canada, Japan and China have developed projects to use thorium in power plants. Pointing out that Turkey needs to triple its current capacity in order to increase its electrical energy production to the OECD average, Sultansoy emphasized that the thorium reserves in the country have the capacity to meet the energy needs for millennia.
Sultansoy stated that thorium is found in nature about three times more than the uranium used in current nuclear power plants, and argued that the only reason why the world is turning to uranium instead of thorium is the nuclear arms race.
“It is not in the interest of some power groups that Turkey is profitable from this business”
Stating that three countries lead the world in terms of thorium reserves, Sultansoy continued as follows:
“In terms of known amount of thorium, India ranks first. Turkey and Brazil come right after that. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and OECD data, 880 percent of the world's thorium reserves, with 11 thousand tons, are in Turkey. Other independent sources, on the other hand, estimate that the reserves in the country are 3-4 times higher than this, and that the value of thorium in Turkey's soil may be 120 trillion dollars. In the Çanaklı Mine in Isparta, there are 20 thousand tons of reserves in the form of easily processed torite mineral, and only this reserve can meet our electricity energy for 100 years. With thorium, an energy that cannot be made an atomic bomb will be produced. More importantly, accelerator-driven thorium-fueled systems will allow to solve the nuclear waste problem. The fact that Turkey, which has a high amount of thorium reserves, is profitable from this business does not suit some power groups. When we start using thorium in energy, we can be among the leading countries of the world.”
Sultansoy pointed out that in order to create a permanent strategic value in the near future, Turkey should determine the national roadmap for thorium and establish a nuclear technology university and laboratories in order to train the necessary human resources.
Reminding that he organized a thorium workshop in Eskişehir in 2003 with the participation of about 100 scientists, Sultansoy added that a long-term program was prepared but the process was not continuing.
Source : nationality