Thorium – Nuclear power without risk?

The Thorium Energy World Conference 29-31 October 2018, Brussels, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences wants to make the world happy with new nuclear reactors.

But: Thorium reactors can on the one hand generate electricity and yet they are as dangerous as the Hiroshima bomb. We are clearly opposed to this and do not want that further new nuclear reactor systems will be developed in the EU!
In the film „The far side of Nuclear“ announced in the program of the Thorium Conference 2018 in Brussels is the English version of the German public television and on arte several times shown film „Thorium – nuclear power without risk“. The film discusses, according to its own statement, „why nuclear power from thorium in 1945 was a technological stillbirth and why it was suddenly but the fuel of the future“. Only the risks of this technology are not mentioned in the film, even though the German title promises this. This highly controversial, partisan advertising film was made on behalf of the NDR with the support of arte 2016.

We want to counter this deficit and identify the risks:
Research and development on Molten salt reactors (MSR) are subject of the international Thorium Energy Conference. They are among the reactors of the coming 4th generation and are operated with molten thorium salts (around 700°C).
The danger of proliferation of nuclear weapons rises extremely
Thorium itself is not a fissile material, but it can be used to incubate nuclear weapons-grade material (uranium-233). The MSRs provide for an integrated reprocessing facility to remove interfering nuclides and fission products before the nuclear fuel returns to the fuel cycle together with the thorium. The possibility of „branching off“ weapons-grade uranium-233 in this process is given. The risk of proliferation is therefore very high. The development of small modular thorium reactors (SMR), which are to
be built in large quantities and sold worldwide, increases this danger. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supports the research and development of these reactors, whose operation and location can hardly be controlled. In particular, the IAEA focuses on the promotion of civil nuclear
energy use for emerging and developing countries with the help of this technology. However, many small systems increase the risk that radioactive material comes into the wrong hands. Consider the risk of an accident if thousands of mini reactors, with a running time of 3 to 5 years, are transported over roads and rivers, have to be disposed of worldwide by the manufacturer and replaced. The EU Commission also wants to promote the construction of further nuclear reactors. By 2030 at the latest, an SMR in Europe should be in use.

Research, development, construction and operation of new nuclear reactors makes no economic sense, and the new SMRs are not profitable either According to experts, the market for SMRs is too small to be viable. There are simply not enough remote communities as electricity customers with sufficient purchasing power to finance the production of SMRs by the thousands as a mass product! Atomic energy is not CO 2 -free and cannot save the climate The operation of uranium mines and uranium enrichment plants, the transport of nuclear waste and not least the construction and demolition of nuclear power plants and the disposal cause CO 2 emissions,
environmental damage and endanger the health of workers. The nuclear plants will not work profitably and rather have an adverse impact on climate protection as they displace renewable energy!

Nuclear power: an „economically and technically useless madness“,
this was expressed by former French Minister of the Environment Nicolas Hulot on his departure.

US nuclear might rests on civil reactors. The close link between the civilian nuclear industry and the military’s ability to maintain its nuclear weapon potential is set forth in a report by Pentagon experts:
„Tritum, an essential component of nuclear weapons, is produced in civilian military reactors, and civil reactors are needed for the production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for the construction of atomic bombs.“
In addition, a nuclear-trained workforce is needed for the operation and the construction of military reactors, which is to deliver the civil sector at low cost.
• 4th generation research in Karlsruhe and Mol (Belgium)
A number of institutes in the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and in particular the institutes of the Joint Research Center (JRC-Dir G) of the European Union, work on MSRs. The Belgian Nuclear Research Center (SCK-CEN) is working on the planning for the construction of a multifunctional
research facility MYRRHA in Mol, Belgium. MYRRHA is also used to develop materials and fuels for thorium reactors.
• Brown coal plus atom, a devastating signal
As early as January 2018, numerous initiatives and associations sharply criticized the results of the exploratory testimony of the grand coalition: „The topic of climate protection was outsourced to a commission, and nuclear power was completely excluded. There is neither a faster shutdown of the still running nuclear power plants nor an agreement on the long overdue closure of the uranium enrichment plant in Gronau and the fuel element factory in Lingen.“

Particularly disappointed are the associations and initiatives of NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) and former SPD leader Martin Schulz. Laschet had demanded several times last year for the fuel element exports from Lingen to the Belgian Tihange. There was no mention of this in the exploratory talks. Instead, Laschet offered before Christmas just dirty German brown coal as a substitute for the Belgian nuclear power plants. Schulz, on the other hand, pretends that the German-Belgian nuclear
problem does not exist. „This clearly defines the tasks of the“ coal commission „.
„The policy of the Federal Government serves the creation of full employment and equivalent living conditions throughout Germany,“ reads the first sentence of the document, in which the Commission, which Germany should point the way out of coal-fired power, defined their tasks.
There is no word about climate protection.

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