OSLO A Norwegian energy company, Thor Energi,
has declared its interest in building a nuclear power plant
based on thorium, a radioactive metal seen as a safer
alternative to uranium.
Norway had never had nuclear production, as legislation
bans nuclear power, but Norwegian energy authorities are now
studying the prospects for exploiting the country's thorium
The plant could be built by using existing technology to
convert a regular power plant into a thorium burning plant. A
makeover is expected to cost $4 billion, Thor Energi said.
"If we can define the fuel cycle and get the right
permissions, it will not take many years to build a thorium
plant," spokesman Sven Roest told Reuters on Friday.
He said a thorium-powered plant could within a decade
produce 2,000 megawatts of power, or 15 percent of Norway's
energy needs, if quickly approved by authorities.
Thorium production is regarded as more expensive than a
conventional nuclear plant fired by radioactive uranium, but
thorium has a shorter half-life and cannot be used to develop
Norway is estimated to hold the world's third largest
reserves of thorium. Roest said Norway has enough thorium to
cover all of its energy needs for the next 10,000 years.
India is seeking to buy thorium technology from U.S based
Thorium Power in order to exploit its thorium reserves.