Canada Needs Thorium-Nuclear Power – National Security and Cheap Energy

Written By Neil McKenzie-Sutter, Posted on August 31, 2020

Nuclear power has to be done safely, and just being real here, there are a lot of drawbacks for nuclear power when it comes to safety, relating directly also to national security. 

However, nuclear power doesn’t have to be as unsafe as it is; we could be doing nuclear power a lot more safely and securely by using Thorium

In fact, Thorium has been considered a nuclear fuel already: during the 1950s – 60s, an industry war was fought between Thorium and Uranium to decide which fuel source for almost all of the nuclear power production contracts for the future U.S. government projects would be. 

Uranium won the competition for a variety of reasons and since the early 1970s, Uranium has been the nuclear fuel of choice in the West from then on, however looking back on this decision, it’s becoming clear we may have chosen the wrong path all those years ago, and there are several, legitimately incredible reasons why we as a society seriously need to consider reinvesting in Thorium tech, which includes: 

#1: Thorium Nuclear Waste Half-Life is Vastly Less than Uranium Waste 

Something to consider when comparing Thorium and Uranium as energy sources is that Uranium-233 (the main, dangerous byproduct of Thorium energy generation) has a half-life of only 300 years, which is admittedly quite a long time, but is nothing when you compare it to the several 10,000 – 20,00 years needed for Uranium-based nuclear waste to decay. 

Reason #2: Thorium Nuclear Waste isn’t as Dangerous as Uranium Waste.

So not only does it not last as long, but Thorium nuclear waste itself isn’t as easily weaponized as Uranium nuclear waste. 

Of course, Thorium nuclear waste isn’t totally safe, so we shouldn’t kid ourselves by thinking it is, but as explained in this Popular Mechanics article

Creating weapons-grade uranium in this way would require someone to have access to a nuclear reactor during the irradiation of thorium fuel, so it’s not likely a terrorist group would be able to carry out the conversion. The bigger threat is that a country pursuing nuclear energy and nuclear weapons (say, Iran) could make both from thorium. “This technology could have a dual civilian and military use,” Ashley says.

So for any hostile organization looking to get their hands on the potentially dangerous Uranium-233 would need to have an inside man on the nuclear program, and how likely is that to happen? Not likely at all in Canada, one should hope. 


Perhaps a rogue nation such as Iran could get their hands on this substance, which we don’t want either; but even as the article doesn’t paint a rosy picture for Thorium, it does point out that the dangerous nuclear waste produced from Uranium nuclear fusion is easier to access and far more weaponizable:

Laurence O’Hagan is the CEO of the Weinberg Foundation, a non-profit organization promoting the development of thorium fuel…  O’Hagan says proliferation concerns [over Thorium] are overstated. “There are proliferation issues with anything nuclear,” he says. “But if you are out to make a bomb, you go after plutonium rather than thorium and uranium-233. It’s too difficult to handle.”

It seems pretty clear that out of the two, Thorium nuclear waste is the better to have laying around an underground storage facility.

Reason #3: Thorium Power Plants are Amazingly Safe 

On a national security/stability level, where Thorium really breaks away from Uranium is the safety of the power plants themselves. 

The simple fact is a nuclear disaster like what happened with Chernobyl and Fukushima wouldn’t have been possible if these plants were Thorium powered. 

The reason for high level of safety is actually not complicated, so I’ll try and explain it here: 

One major reason contemporary, Uranium-based power plants are at risk of a meltdown is due to the cooling process, which uses water that ends up becoming boiled and turning to steam as part of the process to keep the core temperature stable. 

So when these nuclear disasters occur, they’re often related to the water-based temperature control system getting damaged and then blasting apart due to steam pressure; and damaging other areas of the facility, including automatic shutdown procedures. This water-based cooling aspect has been determined to have played a role in the destruction at Fukushima, and probably assisted in the Chernobyl disaster.

Thorium based nuclear power doesn’t have this problem because the ‘breeding’ process requires the solid Thorium to be transformed into liquid Fluoride Thorium. 

Because it’s a liquid, the LFTR’s (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (pronounced ‘Lifters)) can use liquid salt to cool the reactor chambers, which removes the issue of power plants ever receiving damage due to high-pressure steam – simply, because there is no water involved in the cooling process.

So if there is an emergency at the plant, the liquid fuel is simply drained out into an emergency drain tank, along with the molten salt, and is cooled passively (no mechanical process that could go wrong involved) in this tank, which isn’t possible with the solid fuel rods used in Uranium power generation.

It really can’t be understated how stable and security LFTR’s are in this area, even in comparison to natural gas power plants, which always carry explosion risks.

Oil & gas are still great power sources and we shouldn’t for a second consider divesting from them for a second, but it’s important we don’t deny science and the fact is that Thorium if we are looking at alternative fuel sources, is an attractive alternative fuel from a national security view. 


One question people who are unfamiliar with ask is, ‘if it’s such a great energy source, why isn’t everyone using it?’

That’s partially answered in the discussion earlier about the 1950s – 60s industrial competition between Thorium and Uranium.

But the fact is that, soon enough Thorium power will expand and there is nothing that can stop this. 

China and India have become world leaders in developing Thorium tech, and Canada hasn’t been a slouch: with a modest, an interesting project currently underway in New Brunswick is probably going to be met with success.  

The fact is the world is slowly waking up to the potential Thorium presents us with. Thorium definitely deserves a hard, second look.

Neil McKenzie-Sutter

One response to “Canada Needs Thorium-Nuclear Power – National Security and Cheap Energy”

  1. Jacob Hiller says:

    Ive beeb watching this for years. We need this option on the table!