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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Thorium is a chemical element with the symbol Th and atomic number 90.
  • Pure thorium is a silvery-white metal that retains its luster for several months.
  • Thorium has the largest liquid range of any element: 2946 K between the melting point and boiling point.
  • Thorium is a naturally-occurring, slightly radioactive metal.
  • It is found in small amounts in most rocks and soils, where it is about three times more abundant than uranium.
  • It is the most common of a group of elements called the actinides.
  • The most common ores of thorium are thorite and monazite.

Mining Process

  • Thorium is a relatively abundant element in the Earth's crust. Scientists estimate that the crust contains about 15 parts per million of the element.
  • The thorium in monazite, thorite, or other minerals is first converted to thorium dioxide (ThO2). This thorium dioxide is then heated with calcium to get the free element.
  • U-233 must be recycled if thorium cycle is to be sustainable.
  • Calculations are performed to estimate the feasibility of operation of heavy-water thermal neutron power reactor in self-su±cient thorium cycle.
  • Cost of thorium mining is much less than that of uranium because the radiation danger in the process of thorium mining is »100 times less than in the uranium mining.

Technology

  • The coating of mouse myocardial cells has been investigated with a variety of cytochemical methods. The coating of the surface membrane gives a positive reaction with ruthenium red, colloidal thorium, phosphotungstic acid (PTA) at low pH, silver methenamine after periodic oxidation(PA-silver technique).
  • A procedure has been developed for the determination of uranium and thorium in geological samples using extraction chromatography.
  • A new oxidimetric method for the titrimetric determination of thorium is based on the precipitation of thorium as the normal molybdate followed by the reduction and titration of the molybdenum equivalent to the thorium.

Market

  • The thorium fuel cycle could not compete economically with the well-known uranium cycle.
  • Total amount of thorium produced worldwide: 37 500 tonnes(US, Australia, China, India).
  • Norway has one of the major thorium reserves in the world.
  • Thorium demand worldwide remained depressed because of concerns over its naturally occurring radioactivity.
  • Thorium consumption worldwide is relatively small compared with that of most other mineral commodities.
  • All thorium compounds, metal, and alloys used by the domestic industry were derived from imports, company stocks, or material previously acquired from the U.S. Government stockpile.
     

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