Sign up for Equitymaster's free daily newsletter, The 5 Minute WrapUp and get access to our latest Multibagger guide (2017 Edition) on picking money-making stocks.

This is an entirely free service. No payments are to be made.

Download Now Subscribe to our free daily e-letter, The 5 Minute WrapUp and get this complimentary report.
We hate spam as much as you do. Check out our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.
Let's hope this 'silver bullet' blows your mind - Views on News from Equitymaster
  • E-MAIL
  • A  A  A
  • Sep 23, 2010

    Let's hope this 'silver bullet' blows your mind

    One ton of this element can produce as much energy as 200 tons of uranium and 3.5 m tons of coal, according to the former director of CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research). It is called the "silver bullet". It is also 3-4 times more abundant in nature than uranium. So, before you think that we are giving you a recipe for the next weapon of mass destruction, here is a cautionary note. It is low cost, clean and perfectly safe.

    And, now to top it all. India is one of the top 5 holders of this important resource. For many years, our country has been the only sponsor of major research initiatives on how to use this element.

    What is this energy source that everyone is talking about? And why do most of us still not know anything about it?

    The mystery element is 'Thorium'. According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), Thorium is a naturally-occurring, slightly radioactive metal. It was discovered in 1828 by the Swedish chemist Jons Jakob Berzelius, who named it after Thor, the Norse god of thunder. It is found in small amounts in most rocks and soils. Soil commonly contains an average of around 6 parts per million of thorium.

    Advantages of using Thorium as an energy source

    • It is 3-4 times more readily available in nature than uranium, which is currently used in most nuclear reactors. Even though it is not a renewable energy source, it can still be used for many years due to its abundance.

    • Natural thorium is more usable than natural uranium as a fuel. Mined uranium needs to be highly refined before it can be used. All of the mined thorium is potentially useable in a reactor, compared to just 0.7% of natural uranium.

    • Less fuel is required to produce energy through this source; and therefore less radioactive waste is produced. Thorium also has the ability to reabsorb the radioactive wastes it produces.

    • It can help decompose plutonium left by uranium nuclear reactors. This makes it act like an eco-cleanser. Plutonium is one of the dangerous elements that can be used for making nuclear bombs.

    • Post the nuclear disaster at Chernoby, nuclear power has received a bad reputation for being dangerous. The chance of a nuclear meltdown through thorium is negligible.

    • If it is used as a fuel, energy can be generated without producing carbon dioxide, reducing the negative effects of coal/oil as fuels.

    One of the main reasons why uranium was used as a fuel source in the past was because it produced plutonium which could be used to make nuclear weapons. During the arms race of the 20th century it was important to have a stockpile of weapons for your safety. But now in a world, with terrorism and global uncertainty, not giving anyone access to this dangerous material is of paramount importance. Enter, Thorium. Unfortunately converting existing uranium plants and developing new technology may prove expensive.

    India and Thorium
    According to WNA, India has a successful and largely home-grown nuclear power program. The country expects to have 20,000 MW (mega watt) of nuclear capacity by 2020, and 63,000 MW by 2032. It aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050.

    India has almost six times more thorium than uranium. India has thus made utilisation of thorium for energy production a major goal in its nuclear power programme. We have around 12% of the estimated world reserves of thorium.

    Source: World Nuclear Association, 2010
    Note: these are estimated resources

    India was outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (treaty to limit the spread of nuclear weapons) for around 34 years. This was due to its weapons program. Due to trade bans and low uranium reserves, India has been developing a nuclear fuel cycle to utilise its thorium reserves.

    Now, post the signing of the Nuclear Liability Bill, foreign technology is expected to boost India's nuclear power plans in a large way.

    Considering the advantages of using the element, if the thorium movement does eventually take off, India could definitely be one of the global super-'powers'.



    Equitymaster requests your view! Post a comment on "Let's hope this 'silver bullet' blows your mind". Click here!


    More Views on News

    Tejas Networks Ltd. (IPO)

    Jun 14, 2017

    Should you subscribe to the IPO of Tejas Networks Ltd?

    Discover the Secrets of Hidden Smallcaps From These AGMs (The 5 Minute Wrapup)

    May 26, 2017

    Don't be surprised to come across some Super Investors there!

    A Trader's Nightmare. A Business Owner's Delight. (The 5 Minute Wrapup)

    May 19, 2017

    Not all small-cap investors see themselves as traders. Some see themselves as business owners.

    Securities & Intelligence Services Ltd. (IPO)

    Jul 31, 2017

    Should you subscribe to the IPO of Securities & Intelligence Services Ltd?

    Why Super Investors are Underperforming in This Market (The 5 Minute Wrapup)

    Jul 8, 2017

    If Super Investors can wait for the right pitch, so can you.

    More Views on News

    Most Popular

    A 'Backdoor' to Multibaggers: It's Like Investing in Asian Paints Ten Years Ago(The 5 Minute Wrapup)

    Aug 10, 2017

    Don't miss these proxy bets on growing companies or in a few years you will be looking back with regret.

    The Most Profitable Investment in the History of the World(Vivek Kaul's Diary)

    Aug 8, 2017

    'Yes, it looks like a bubble. And, yes, it's like buying a lottery ticket. But there's something happening that has never happened before. It's an evolutionary leap in money itself.'

    Should You Invest In Bharat-22 ETF? Know Here...(Outside View)

    Aug 8, 2017

    Bharat-22 is one of the most diverse ETFs offered so far by the Government. Know here if you should invest...

    Signs of Life in the India VIX(Daily Profit Hunter)

    Aug 12, 2017

    The India VIX is up 36% in the last week. Fear has gone up but is still low by historical standards.

    Bitcoin Continues Stellar Rise(Chart Of The Day)

    Aug 10, 2017

    Bitcoin hits an all-time high, is there more upside left?

    Copyright © Equitymaster Agora Research Private Limited. All rights reserved.
    Any act of copying, reproducing or distributing this newsletter whether wholly or in part, for any purpose without the permission of Equitymaster is strictly prohibited and shall be deemed to be copyright infringement.

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Equitymaster Agora Research Private Limited (hereinafter referred as 'Equitymaster') is an independent equity research Company. Equitymaster is not an Investment Adviser. Information herein should be regarded as a resource only and should be used at one's own risk. This is not an offer to sell or solicitation to buy any securities and Equitymaster will not be liable for any losses incurred or investment(s) made or decisions taken/or not taken based on the information provided herein. Information contained herein does not constitute investment advice or a personal recommendation or take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situations, or needs of individual subscribers. Before acting on any recommendation, subscribers should consider whether it is suitable for their particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek an independent professional advice. This is not directed for access or use by anyone in a country, especially, USA or Canada, where such use or access is unlawful or which may subject Equitymaster or its affiliates to any registration or licensing requirement. All content and information is provided on an 'As Is' basis by Equitymaster. Information herein is believed to be reliable but Equitymaster does not warrant its completeness or accuracy and expressly disclaims all warranties and conditions of any kind, whether express or implied. Equitymaster may hold shares in the company/ies discussed herein. As a condition to accessing Equitymaster content and website, you agree to our Terms and Conditions of Use, available here. The performance data quoted represents past performance and does not guarantee future results.

    SEBI (Research Analysts) Regulations 2014, Registration No. INH000000537.

    Equitymaster Agora Research Private Limited. 103, Regent Chambers, Above Status Restaurant, Nariman Point, Mumbai - 400 021. India.
    Telephone: +91-22-61434055. Fax: +91-22-22028550. Email: info@equitymaster.com. Website: www.equitymaster.com. CIN:U74999MH2007PTC175407

    Become A Smarter Investor In
    Just 5 Minutes

    Multibagger Stocks Guide 2017
    Get our special report, Multibagger Stocks Guide (2017 Edition) Now!
    We will never sell or rent your email id.
    Please read our Terms