Why Thorium? 3. The best way to produce clean energy. Pass SB 4242.

This is insanity. In 2011 the Oak Ridge Laboratories had a stockpile of 1400 kg U 233. They have been busy downblending it into depleted uranium to render it useless, and there is now only about 450 kg left. Unless this insanity is stopped asap Thorium nuclear power will be set back immensely, since U233 is used as the startplug for the cleanest Thorium nuclear power production

The bill is introduced. It should be immediately passed in the Senate, and be passed in the house without amendments. Any delay is critical. It is that important. We gave the technology to the Chinese so they can build up their naval fleet with molten salt Thorium nuclear power. Meanwhile we still have some u-233 left, worth billions as a National Security asset. At the very least, we must stop downblending immediately, even before the bill is passed.

Here is the bill itself.


Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 2-0)
Status: Introduced on May 18 2022 – 25% progression, died in committee
Action: 2022-05-18 – Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Pending: Senate Energy And Natural Resources Committee
Text: Latest bill text (Introduced) [PDF]


A bill to provide for the preservation and storage of uranium-233 to foster development of thorium molten-salt reactors, and for other purposes.
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Thorium Energy Security Act of 2022


Sen. Tommy Tuberville [R-AL]Sen. Roger Marshall [R-KS]


2022-05-18SenateRead twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.



US Congress State Sources

2d Session

S. 4242

To provide for the preservation and storage of uranium-233 to foster development of thorium molten-salt reactors, and for other purposes.


May 18 (legislative day, May 17), 2022

Mr. Tuberville (for himself and Mr. Marshall) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


To provide for the preservation and storage of uranium-233 to foster development of thorium molten-salt reactors, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Thorium Energy Security Act of 2022”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress makes the following findings:

(1) Thorium molten-salt reactor technology was originally developed in the United States, primarily at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the State of Tennessee under the Molten-Salt Reactor Program.

(2) Before the cancellation of that program in 1976, the technology developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory was moving steadily toward efficient utilization of the natural thorium energy resource, which exists in substantial amounts in many parts of the United States, and requires no isotopic enrichment.

(3) The People’s Republic of China is known to be pursuing the development of molten-salt reactor technology based on a thorium fuel cycle.

(4) Thorium itself is not fissile, but fertile, and requires fissile material to begin a nuclear chain reaction. This largely accounts for its exclusion for nuclear weapons developments.

(5) Uranium-233, derived from neutron absorption by natural thorium, is the ideal candidate for the fissile material to start a thorium reactor, and is the only fissile material candidate that can minimize the production of long-lived transuranic elements like plutonium, which have proven a great challenge to the management of existing spent nuclear fuel.

(6) Geologic disposal of spent nuclear fuel from conventional nuclear reactors continues to pose severe political and technical challenges, and costs United States taxpayers more than $500,000,000 annually in court-mandated payments to electrical utilities operating nuclear reactors.

(7) The United States possesses the largest known inventory of separated uranium-233 in the world, aggregated at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

(8) Oak Ridge National Laboratory building 3019 was designated in 1962 as the national repository for uranium-233 storage, and its inventory eventually grew to about 450 kilograms of separated uranium-233, along with approximately 1,000 kilograms of mixed fissile uranium from the Consolidated Edison Uranium Solidification Program (commonly referred to as “CEUSP”), divided into approximately 1,100 containers.

(9) The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board issued Recommendation 97–1 (relating to safe storage of uranium-233) in 1997 because of the possibility of corrosion or other degradation around the storage of uranium-233 in a building that was built in 1943.

(10) In response, the Department of Energy published Decision Memorandum No. 2 in 2001 concluding that no Department of Energy programs needed uranium-233 and directed that a contract be placed for disposition of the uranium-233 inventory and decommissioning of its storage facility.

(11) The Department of Energy awarded a contract for the irreversible downblending of uranium-233 with uranium-238 and its geologic disposal in Nevada, which downblending would create a waste form that would pose radiological hazards for hundreds of thousands of years, rather than to consider uranium-233 as a useful national asset.

(12) All 1,000 kilograms of CEUSP uranium-233-based material have been dispositioned (but not downblended) but those containers had little useful uranium-233 in them. The majority of separated and valuable uranium-233 remains uncontaminated by uranium-238 and suitable for thorium fuel cycle research and development. That remaining inventory constitutes the largest supply of uranium-233 known to exist in the world today.

(13) The United States has significant domestic reserves of thorium in accessible high-grade deposits, which can provide thousands of years of clean energy if used efficiently in a liquid-fluoride reactor initially started with uranium-233.

(14) Recently (as of the date of the enactment of this Act), the Department of Energy has chosen to fund a series of advanced reactors that are all dependent on initial inventories and regular resupplies of high-assay, low-enriched uranium.

(15) There is no domestic source of high-assay, low-enriched uranium fuel, and there are no available estimates as to how long the development of a domestic supply of that fuel would take or how expensive such development would be.

(16) The only viable source of high-assay, low-enriched uranium fuel is through continuous import from sources in the Russian Federation.

(17) The political situation with the Russian Federation as of the date of the enactment of this Act is sufficiently uncertain that it would be unwise for United States-funded advanced reactor development to rely on high-assay, low-enriched uranium since the Russian Federation would be the primary source and can be expected to undercut any future United States production, resulting in a dependency on high-assay, low-enriched uranium from the Russian Federation.

(18) The United States has abandoned the development of a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain and is seeking a consenting community to allow interim storage of spent nuclear fuel, but valid concerns persist that an interim storage facility will become a permanent storage facility.

(19) Without a closed fuel cycle, high-assay, low-enriched uranium-fueled reactors inevitably will produce long-lived wastes that presently have no disposition pathway.

(20) The United States possesses enough uranium-233 to support further research and development as well as fuel the startup of several thorium reactors. Thorium reactors do not require additional fuel or high-assay, low-enriched uranium from the Russian Federation.

(21) Continuing the irreversible destruction of uranium-233 precludes privately funded development of the thorium fuel cycle, which would have long term national and economic security implications.

SEC. 3. Sense of Congress.

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1) it is in the best economic and national security interests of the United States to resume development of thorium molten-salt reactors that can minimize long-lived waste production, in consideration of—

(A) the pursuit by the People’s Republic of China of thorium molten-salt reactors and associated cooperative research agreements with United States national laboratories; and

(B) the present impasse around the geological disposal of nuclear waste;

(2) that the development of thorium molten-salt reactors is consistent with section 1261 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (Public Law 115–232; 132 Stat. 2060), which declared long-term strategic competition with the People’s Republic of China as “a principal priority for the United States”; and

(3) to resume such development, it is necessary to relocate as much of the uranium-233 remaining at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as possible to new secure storage.

SEC. 4. Definitions.

In this Act:

(1) CONGRESSIONAL DEFENSE COMMITTEES.—The term “congressional defense committees” has the meaning given that term in section 101(a) of title 10, United States Code.

(2) DOWNBLEND.—The term “downblend” means the process of adding a chemically identical isotope to an inventory of fissile material in order to degrade its nuclear value.

(3) FISSILE MATERIAL.—The term “fissile material” refers to uranium-233, uranium-235, plutonium-239, or plutonium-241.

(4) HIGH-ASSAY, LOW-ENRICHED URANIUM.—The term “high-assay, low-enriched uranium” (commonly referred to as “HALEU”) means a mixture of uranium isotopes very nearly but not equaling or exceeding 20 percent of the isotope uranium-235.

(5) TRANSURANIC ELEMENT.—The term “transuranic element” means an element with an atomic number greater than the atomic number of uranium (92), such as neptunium, plutonium, americium, or curium.

SEC. 5. Preservation of uranium-233 to foster development of thorium molten-salt reactors.

The Secretary of Energy shall preserve uranium-233 inventories that have not been contaminated with uranium-238, with the goal of fostering development of thorium molten-salt reactors by United States industry.

SEC. 6. Storage of uranium-233.

(a) Report on long-Term storage of uranium-233.—Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the heads of other relevant agencies, shall submit to Congress a report identifying a suitable location for, or a location that can be modified for, secure long-term storage of uranium-233.

(b) Report on interim storage of uranium-233.—Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Chief of Engineers shall submit to Congress a report identifying a suitable location for secure interim storage of uranium-233.

(c) Report on construction of uranium-233 storage facility at Redstone Arsenal.—Not later than 240 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Chief of Engineers shall submit to Congress a report on the costs of constructing a permanent, secure storage facility for uranium-233 at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, that is also suitable for chemical processing of uranium-233 pursuant to a public-private partnership with thorium reactor developers.

(d) Funding.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, amounts authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for the U233 Disposition Program for fiscal year 2022 or 2023 shall be made available for the transfer of the inventory of uranium-233 to the interim or permanent storage facilities identified under this section.

SEC. 7. Interagency cooperation on preservation and transfer of uranium-233.

The Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of the Army (including the head of the Army Reactor Office), the Secretary of Transportation, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and other relevant agencies shall—

(1) work together to preserve uranium-233 inventories and expedite transfers of uranium-233 to interim and permanent storage facilities; and

(2) in expediting such transfers, seek the assistance of appropriate industrial entities.

SEC. 8. Report on use of thorium reactors by People’s Republic of China.

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Administrator for Nuclear Security, shall submit to Congress a report that—

(1) evaluates the progress the People’s Republic of China has made in the development of thorium-based reactors;

(2) describes the extent to which that progress was based on United States technology;

(3) details the actions the Department of Energy took in transferring uranium-233 technology to the People’s Republic of China; and

(4) assesses the likelihood that the People’s Republic of China may employ thorium reactors in its future navy plans.

SEC. 9. Report on medical market for isotopes of uranium-233.

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Congressional Budget Office, after consultation with institutions of higher education and private industry conducting medical research and the public, shall submit to Congress a report that estimates the medical market value, during the 10-year period after the date of the enactment of this Act, of actinium, bismuth, and other grandchildren isotopes of uranium-233 that can be harvested without downblending and destroying the uranium-233 source material.

SEC. 10. Report on costs to United States nuclear enterprise.

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Congressional Budget Office, after consultation with relevant industry groups and nuclear regulatory agencies, shall submit to Congress a report that estimates, for the 10-year period after the date of the enactment of this Act, the costs to the United States nuclear enterprise with respect to—

(1) disposition of uranium-233;

(2) payments to nuclear facilities to store nuclear waste; and

(3) restarting the manufacturing the United States of high-assay, low-enriched uranium.

Day 150 of reading the Holy Bible in 365 days.

Luke 23:1-25. This is it, the second most important day in the Christian calendar. Jesus was on trial before Herod and Pilate. Pilate was trying to wiggle out of sentencing Jesus by setting one condemned prisoner free on Passover. The crowd chose Barabbas over Jesus, Pilate reluctantly gave in, so Jesus was sentenced to be crucified.

2 Kings 10. Jehu was at it big time is this killings chapter, Ahab’s seventy sons were killed, Ahaziah’s forty-two brothers killed, the rest of Ahab’s family killed, worshipers of Baal killed, and finally the normal death of Jehu himself.

2 Kings 11. This is a chapter full of palace intrigue: Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel seized power over Judah and reigned for six years. Finally, Joash was crowned King of Judah, and Athaliah was put to death.

Day 149 of reading the Holy Bible in 365 days.

Luke 22:39-65. After Jesus shared the Last Supper with his disciples they went to the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed. While they were there Jesus was betrayed, arrested and taken to the house of the high priest. Waiting outside, Peter disowned Jesus three times before the cock crowed. Jesus was interrogated during the night and before daybreak the Sanhedrin had heard enough and were ready to sentence him to death, but only the Romans had the right to execute a death sentence, so they could only express their frustration.

2 Kings 8. The King restored the Shunammite’s Land, and then Hazael murdered Ben-Hadad. The chapter lists two more kings of Judah, Jehoram and Ahaziah.

2 Kings 9. Jehu, a man of action was anointed king of Israel, Joram of Israel was killed, Ahaziah of Judah likewise, and finally Jezebel suffered the most humiliating and violent death possible, thrown out from a window, trampled to death by horses and was then eaten by dogs.

Why Thorium? 2. Thorium is already mined for rare earth metals, just needs to be refined.

Thorium is a by-product of mining heavy metals and rare earth metals. The price is the cost of extracting and refining, which can be as low as $40/Kg. No extra mining is required for extracting the Thorium, and we all know that mining is a major source of pollution.

The first thing we must realize is that rare earth metals are not all that rare. They are a thousand times or more abundant than gold or platinum in the earth crust and easy to mine, but more difficult to refine. Thorium and Uranium will  be mined together with rare earth metals.

Related image

U.S. used to be the major supplier for rare earth metals, which was fine up to around 1984. Then the U.S. regulators determined that Uranium and Thorium contained in the ore made the ore radioactive, so they decided to make rare metal ore a “source material” with all what that meant for record keeping and control. This made mining in the U.S. unprofitable so in 2001 the last mine closed down. China had no scruples, such as human and environmental concerns, so they took over the rare earth metals mining and in 2010 controlled over 95% of the world supply, which was in line with their long term plan of controlling the world by 2025. Luckily this has now been rectified with U.S. and Australian mines reopened, but the U.S. mined ore is still shipped to China for refining. However, in July 2019, President Trump activated Section 303 of the Defense Production Act to declare domestic production capability for rare earth elements and other critical minerals “essential to the national defense.” Domestic refining was scheduled to begin late 2020. It has since then been delayed until 2022. I do not know if refining has started as of May 2023, and if Thorium is included in the reining process. In the mean time the ore, including Thorium was shipped to China for refining. The Mountain Pass mine is quite impressive:

By Tmy350 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=115261745

Rare Earth Element Production

So, why is this important? Just take a look at all the uses for rare earth metals. The most sought after pays all the cost of mining and refining, and the rest are readily available at nominal cost.

The Chinese almost got away with it, and that was but one reason the trade negotiations were so complicated and hard fought, but necessary. Donald Trump fought for reciprocity and fair competition. Since the onset of the COVID -19 pandemic, originating in Wuhan, China, it has become more and more obvious that China can no longer be allowed to be single source supplier of anything.

Why Thorium? 1. Only Thorium can supply the worlds electric energy needs until the next millennium, or at least until fusion power finally is solved.

We live in challenging times with enormous environmental challenges. It takes a lot of energy to clean up the pollution we have generated over the ages. It would be a shame to use up our remaining coal, oil and gas to produce the electricity needed to clean up. Oil coal and gas will eventually be depleted and we need to save as much as possible for future generations, so they can enjoy flying, to which we have become accustomed. It would be a shame to convert the remaining fossil fuel to CO2 for electricity production, it is far too valuable a resource in limited supply. Like the famous conservationist Sarah Palin once said: “for when it’s gone, it’s gone.”

The need to develop a Thorium based molten salt fast breeder nuclear reactor to develop our energy needs for the future can not be overstated. Lest anyone should be threatened by the words fast breeder, it simply means it uses fast neutrons instead of thermal neutrons, and breeder means it produces more fissile material than it consumes, in the case of Thorium the ratio is about 1.05. In 2007 the world’s energy consumption was around 500 quads (Quadrillion BTUs). It is scheduled to be 700 Quads by 2935

Thee are 18,800 quads of Coal left, enough for 90 years consumption at 2035 levels

Thee are 35,000 quads of natural gas left, enough for 200 years consumption at 2035 levels

Thee are 8,400 quads of oil left, enough for 36 years consumption at 2035 levels.

Thee are 1,900 quads of Uranium left, enough for 38 years consumption at 2035 levels. The efficiency of using all the Uranium could be increased by a factor of 200 in fast breeder reactors, but in the U.S they are still experimental, but a couple exist in Russia. Alone in the world the U.S has already used up 78% of the reserves, and the fact that they sold 20% of the remaining ore to Russia does not help.

Renewables are forever, but they cannot exceed more than about 20% of the totel energy need until the battery storage problem is solved for when the wind doesn’t blow an the sun doesn’t shine.

Fusion does exist, and when solved will solve our energy problem forever, but the energy production solution is still 20 years away. as they were 60 years ago. Right now they exist as neutron producers.

Which leaves us Thorium. The world supply is about 6,355,000 tons of easily obtainable Thorium supplies or about 700 years of supply, if Thorium supplied all our energy, 2200 years if Thorium supplied all our electricity and 20% is supplied by renewable energy.

There are of course the sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, tidal and wave energy, and they should be pursued where economically and environmentally appropriate. These are separate but important subjects.

Day 148 of reading the Holy Bible in 365 days.

Luke 22:1-38. Judas agreed to betray Jesus, it was Passover so Jesus commemorated the Last Supper with his disciples, after which they went to the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed. Jesus also predicted Peter’s denial.

2 Kings 6. Elisha made an ax head float, “The Floating Ax Head”, the Syrians tried to capture Elisha from which we get the quote”Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” But later Syria besieged Samaria, and the famine was great.

2 Kings 7. When the siege was about to succeed Elisha prophesied “Hear ye the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.” During the night the Syrians fled and four lepers discovered it. After feasting they went and told the good news to the no longer besieged.

Day 147 of reading the Holy Bible in 365 days.

Luke 21:25-38. Jesus told about the signs of the times, the end of the age, the destruction of Jerusalem, the coming of the Son of Man and finally the parable of the fig tree.

2 Kings 3. There was trouble all around: Moab Rebelled against Israel. Israel called for Judah and Edom to help. They gathered their armies and horses, but after seven days without water they called for Elisha. He told them to dig ditches in the desert. They obeyed, and without rain the ditches were filled, they all got water and quenched the rebellion. Then they punished Moab, but the King offered his firstborn son as a burnt offering. This was too drastic even for Israel, so they drew back.

2 Kings 4. Like Elijah, Elisha multiplied a widow’s oil, like Elijah, Elisha raised a person from death, this time the Shunammite’s son. Elisha purified a pot of stew, and at another time he fed one hundred men with twenty small loaves of bread, and there were leftovers, much like Jesus did, but on a much smaller scale.

2 Kings 5. Naaman’s Leprosy was healed. This was so important that Jesus mentioned it to the self- righteous Jews, proving they were not that special. Elisha refused payment for healing Naaman, but his servant Gehazi accepted payment instead, so he became leprous instead of Naaman.

Day 146 of reading the Holy Bible in 365 days.

Luke 21:1-24. There is giving and then there is giving. Jesus watched the people give their offerings in the Temple with his disciples, and from that he taught us a lesson about the widow’s two mites. After that he told about the signs of the times, the end of the age and the destruction of Jerusalem.

2 Kings 1. God Judged Ahaziah. Elijah the prophet delivered the messages from God, and so Ahaziah died, left no heir, so Joram, son of Ahab became king.

2 Kings 2. Elijah was taken up to heaven, Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, and received it because he witnessed Elijah’s ascension.

Day 145 of reading the Holy Bible in 365 days.

Luke 20:20-47, continuing Holy Week, it is now Tuesday, Jesus was teaching in the Temple and his authority was questioned. Standing in Solomon’s colonnades the religious leaders tried to entrap Jesus so they asked him: “Is it legal to pay Taxes to Caesar?” You know the answer, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.” After that it was the Sadducee’s turn: What about the Resurrection? Jesus answered with scripture: “How can David call his descendant Lord?” Jesus finally warned the people: “Beware of the teachers of the Law.”

Proverbs 5 tells of the perils of adultery and does not mince words.

Day 144 of reading the Holy Bible in 365 days.

Luke 20:1-19,  continuing Holy Week, it is now Tuesday. Jesus was teaching in the Temple and his authority was questioned. Standing in Solomon’s colonnades he taught the parable of the wicked wine dressers. The religious leaders tried to entrap Jesus, but were afraid of the people.

1 Kings 20. Ahab defeated the Syrians and he did it twice. After that Ahab made a treaty with Ben-Hadad, and that led to the prophecy of Ahab’s Condemnation.

1 Kings 21. Naboth was killed for his vineyard and for that the LORD condemned Ahab.

1 Kings 22. Micalah prophesied against Ahab, Ahab therefore disguised himself for protection but died in battle by a stray arrow. Jehoshaphat became King of Judah, followed by Ahaziah.