I got a question this week, very general, sort of, so, what's up with thorium, do you have any tips? And also if there is anything going on with thorium in Norway.
So I decided this Friday's ten Facts had to be about thorium, so here goes:
- Thorium is element number 90 - which means it has 90 protons in its nucleus :)
- The kind of thorium you find in nature has 142 neutrons; so that "natural" thorium is called thorium-232 (90+142=232)
- In a nuclear reactor, thorium is changed (or transformed) into uranium-233 (a different kind, or version, of the more "normal" uranium-235) - and that's the reason why I'm studying that type of uranium even though I say I'm sort of working on the thorium fuel cycle :P
- Thor Energy is a Norwegian company that is developing fuel pellets (nuclear fuel) made from a mixture of thorium and plutonium :D
- The halflife of thorium-232 is around 14 billion years - it's the naturally occuring radioactive element with the longest halflife (if the halflife was infinite it would just be a normal, stable element ;) )
- If you use thorium as a fuel in a reactor, you will produce small amounts of uranium-232, and that's kind of an issue since it makes the used thorium fuel extremely "hot" - meaning that it's very radioactive, and if you handled it the same way you handle used uranium fuel, you would get a lethal dose of radiation in a very short time
- The other major issue with thorium based fuels is that you have to mix it with something that will give you neutrons, since thorium needs neutrons to be changed into uranium-233, before it can fission (which is how you get any energy from the fuel in a nuclear power plant)
- Many people are very positive towards using thorium as a fuel in Molten Salt Reactors, but thorium can actually be used in any kind of reactor
- If you want to read something serious about thorium, and its use as fuel in nuclear power plants, you should read for example THIS from World Nuclear Association, or THIS from IAEA (The International Atomic Energy Agency) <3<3<3
- Thorium was discovered by a Swede, in Norway, and it was named after Thor - the Norse god of thunder :)
Yesterday I celebrated Kathirne Aspaas' new book - Rosa er den nye pønken - where I was invited to talk about pink science. It was a short, Norwegian version of Why science should be more pink, that you can watch HERE ;) I was quite nervous, but I really got a lot of positive feedback after my little talk, so I guess it went much better than I was fearing...
I was of course wearing my red and pink rose dress - sort of "the Dress" (yes, capital D) for me; I always feel great when i put that on. It was something I just bought on sale from Ellos around two years ago, and now I regret I didn't get three of it, because it really is my favourite dress <3
TGIF - great weekend to everyone <3