Thorium committee submits report:
Neither dismisses nor embraces thorium fuel
The report of the Norwegian Thorium Committee, submitted on 15 February, does not give grounds for either rejecting or embracing thorium as an energy source in nuclear power plants. The committee recommends that Norway should seek to keep pace with the development work being carried out in this area in the rest of Europe.
Norway has the world's third to sixth largest deposits of thorium. The growing need for energy has led to greater interest in learning how these deposits can be utilised. A committee appointed by the Research Council in 2007 and chaired by Professor Mikko Kara, Executive Vice President for the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, recently submitted its report to Norway's Minister for Petroleum and Energy, Åslaug Haga. The committee's mandate was to establish a solid knowledge base concerning the opportunities and risks related to the use of thorium for long-term energy production.
In connection with the report's submission, the Minister for Petroleum and Energy declared that the Government's policy is fixed and that no plans exist to permit construction of nuclear power plants in Norway. "The Government will prioritise the development of renewable energy sources such as bioenergy, wind and wave power," said Ms Haga.
RCN to discuss recommendations
The Thorium report has been circulated to relevant institutions and agencies for review, with a reply deadline of 31 May. "The Research Council will discuss the committee's recommendations," said Arvid Hallén, Director General of the Research Council. "Now that the problems caused by CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-based energy sources have become so clearly recognised, there is renewed interest in nuclear power in general. We must assess the types of expertise we will need to have in this country, even though the Government currently has no plans to permit the development of nuclear power in Norway," he continues.
Recommends increased competence
The report emphasises the need to increase competence in Norway within several areas, including radioactive waste management, dose assessment related to the thorium cycle, and nuclear technology and nuclear physics. "These efforts must take place through close international research collaboration, either with our neighbouring countries or through European research programmes, as recommended by the committee," says Hallén.
Final Recommendations of the Thorium Report Committee:
The thorium report
Thorium as an energy source (PDF-6 825 KB)
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