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Energy From Thorium


Thorium as a nuclear fuel is becoming increasingly important to meet the world’s energy demands. Thorium is three to four times more abundant than uranium in the earth’s crust, and there is almost certainly enough thorium to meet the world’s energy needs for several tens of thousands of years.

One ton of thorium will produce nearly 1GW of electricity for a year in an efficient thorium cycle reactor. Additionally, the thorium fuel cycle has excellent non-proliferation credentials.

China, Russia, India, several European countries, Turkey and Japan are including energy from thorium and the Molten Salt Reactor, into their energy landscape of tomorrow, as the MSR total resource consumption – steel, concrete, glass, alloys, ceramics, plastics/ composites, fuel etc. – is extremely low, making it one of the world's most sustainable sources of energy.

With a growing realisation that nuclear energy is necessary to achieve decarbonisation in the electric generation utility industry, and, in major process heat applications, the 2020s decade looks like one where action, based on this concept, could see significant developments for nuclear energy.


Designers of advanced nuclear reactors who are moving beyond the conceptual phase and are now deeply invested in hardware design are seeking to bridge the gap between design concept and working prototypes.

Advanced Reactors – Molten Salt and Liquid-Fluoride Thorium Reactors – and other isotopic applications are now possible with technology and enhanced computing capabilities that were unimaginable a few decades ago. At Ainira, we are innovating in nuclear to meet growing electricity needs, mitigate climate change and to improve the lives of people.

With the small design, our reactors fit more uses, spaces and budgets, yet it is big enough to meet expanding needs. Our goal is to create smarter, safer, cleaner and affordable energy that spans the globe and powers all humankind.


In the molten salt reactor, the thorium dioxide pellet fuel (showed below) is mixed into a molten fluoride salt which also acts as the coolant. This provides significant safety benefits – if the fuel salt should ever come into contact with the atmosphere, it will simply cool down and turn into solid rock, containing all the radioactive material within itself.

The reactor will operate at near-atmospheric pressures and cannot overheat – and, therefore, produce any kind of damage due to melt down – thanks to a frozen salt plug that melts and drains the core to cooled tanks before damage can occur.


The MSR is more than a power plant, and it can make an important contribution to the transition towards a prosperous and emission-free society. However, there are design and operation challenges to be overcome at both the reactor and plant level.

A common issue is the vat and piping materials that have to withstand salt corrosion and high temperatures for 20+ years with no maintenance – a very important consideration that will help speed the regulatory process and win public acceptance.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME, recently added Alloy 617 into its Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code. The new addition is the sixth material cleared for use in high-temperature reactors and could allow new designs to operate at even higher temperatures.

Alloy 617 is a combination of nickel, chromium, cobalt and molybdenum. It was first developed for use in high-temperature gas reactors, but can also be applied to molten salt and liquid metal reactor designs. The new metal offers significant improvements over previously approved alloys in the code and can withstand operating temperatures of around 950°C – over 200°C hotter than the next-best material.

The expanded operating range gives advanced reactor developers more flexibility when choosing materials to build their high-temperature systems. The new designs could also open up new market opportunities for the nuclear industry by using its thermal heat to directly heat communities, drive industrial processes, produce clean hydrogen, and purify and desalinate water without emitting carbon.

Our power plant, which encompasses the reactor and the balance-of-plant, is premised on well-established nuclear technology principles with a focus on integration of components, simplification or elimination of systems, and use of passive safety features.

This results in a highly reliable operation underpinned by an extremely strong safety case and unparalleled asset protection, making it suitable to be sited at locations closer to where electricity or process heat are needed – like communities, industrial sites and transportation hubs – providing the added benefit of being resilient during storms and outages.

MSR technology is thus uniquely positioned to deliver clean, abundant and low-cost energy, addressing climate change, reducing energy poverty and spurring economic development. It will make the difference between the world missing crucial climate targets or achieving them.

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