Uranium 233, Nuclear Power, Uranium 235, Thorium, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Liquid Fuel Reactors


Nuclear power offers more energy in less physical space than solar and wind and yields more energy per pound than fossil fuels. However different nuclear fuels yield different waste profiles and create different beneficial products. Uranium 233 (U233) resists use in nuclear weapons, yields beneficial daughter products, and produces dramatically less of the most problematic waste products than Uranium 235 (U235). U233 results from reactions with Thorium, a plentiful, ubiquitous element currently considered waste from rare earth mines. Additionally, U233 functions well in a liquid fuel reactor resulting in safer, more efficient reactors than current solid fuel U235 or Plutonium reactors. To capitalize on the benefits of U233 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) should clarify its definition of reprocessing to exclude the extraction phase of liquid fuel reactors. The NRC should also resume rulemaking to allow consolidation of nuclear waste, particularly for reactors transforming that waste into liquid fuel. The Department of Energy should support U233 reactors with its grant programs.