“The world will note that the first atomic bomb was droppedon Hiroshima, a military base.” announces the 33rd US President,Harry S. Truman, for the nuclear bombardment of the Japanese city of Hiroshima.Soon after that, Nagasaki met the same fate. These were the events that emanatedfrom the works of American Physicist, Julius Robert Oppenheimer who was thedirector of the Manhattan Project. He was later known as “Father of the AtomicBomb.
“Nuclear threat has been a nightmarish prospect for many peopledue to its macabre nature that shows lack of human compassion. The cause forconcern has resurfaced over recent years as tension rises between superpowers like the United States of Americaand North Korea along with shaky foundations of the Iranian nuclear deal.Leaving the socio-political aspects aside, this issue begs for some scientificinnovation from a different perspective that could contribute to resolving nuclear terrorism before historyrepeats itself.There are hundreds of nuclear reactors in the world that usea particular isotope of uranium (uranium-238) as their fuel. Aside fromreleasing tremendous amounts of energy, when this isotope undergoes fission, itlargely decays into plutonium which has the ability to sustain nuclear chainreactions, ergo the ammunition for nuclear weapons. Nuclear energy, through theuse of uranium, has helped humanity progress immensely but at the same time, it bears risks that might not be worthtaking. The isotope of the plutonium produced has been constructed into weaponsof mass destruction and are also sold illegally worldwide.
To combat this problem, most people jump to a conclusion that solar and windenergy – in massive scales – is the perfect replacement and while that might betrue I think, in conjunction to that, there is another alternative that can harnessnuclear power without its overbearing risks – thorium reactors.Thorium reactors function by the fission of a differentisotope of uranium transmuted by a more naturally abundant and fertile element,thorium. There have already been some researchers that have posed thorium as aviable alternative from as early as the cold war. According to Alvin Radkowsky,a nuclear physicist and then chief scientist at the U.S. Navy nuclearpropulsion division, thorium reactors produce 98% less plutonium than standardreactors and even then, the composition of the plutonium isotope produced wouldmake it very difficult to manufacture them into nuclear devices.
This could bea solution for a problem that has been haunting innocent civilians sinceprogressing to the atomic age.