How is thorium used today?
A weakly radioactive, silvery metal. Thorium is an important alloying agent in magnesium, as it imparts greater strength and creep resistance at high temperatures. Thorium oxide is used as an industrial catalyst. Thorium can be used as a source of nuclear power.
What is thorium most commonly used for?
Thorium is also used to strengthen magnesium, coating tungsten wire in electrical equipment, controlling the grain size of tungsten in electric lamps, high-temperature crucibles, in glasses, in camera and scientific instrument lenses, and is a source of nuclear power, according to Los Alamos.
What is radium used for today?
A soft, shiny and silvery radioactive metal. Radium now has few uses, because it is so highly radioactive. Radium-223 is sometimes used to treat prostate cancer that has spread to the bones. Radium used to be used in luminous paints, for example in clock and watch dials.
Does thorium produce waste?
Thorium is three times more abundant in nature than uranium. Compared to uranium reactors, thorium reactors produce far less waste and the waste that is generated is much less radioactive and much shorter-lived.
Can thorium be used as fuel?
Thorium is more abundant in nature than uranium. It is fertile rather than fissile, and can only be used as a fuel in conjunction with a fissile material such as recycled plutonium. Thorium fuels can breed fissile uranium-233 to be used in various kinds of nuclear reactors.
Where is thorium most commonly found?
The main world resources of thorium are associated with monazite placer deposits in India, Brazil, Australia, the USA, Egypt, and Venezuela. The second most important thorium resources could be mined as by-product of REO from carbonatites (China, Greenland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden).
Is thorium a rare earth metal?
Rare earth minerals are processed primarily from ores and minerals that naturally contain uranium and thorium.
Is radium used in glow sticks?
Glow sticks have chemiluminescence. That means they glow because of a chemical reaction. Other objects have radioluminescence. That means they contain an element like radium that gives off light.
Is radium paint still used today?
Radium paint itself was eventually phased out and has not been used in watches since 1968.
Why thorium is not used in nuclear weapons?
Although in many ways thorium would be a better radioactive element to use for nuclear power, it’s also more difficult to weaponise than uranium. Uranium and plutonium have long been at the heart of nuclear power, but many experts see thorium as a better option.
Can thorium be weaponized?
Unlike the uranium commonly used to power nuclear reactors, thorium salts are protected against meltdowns and can’t be weaponized.