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Los Alamos National Laboratory earns 3 R&D 100 Awards
Date:6/22/2011

able of producing more energy than both uranium and coal using significantly lower quantities. This element is only slightly radioactive, making it an excellent candidate for a future sustainable energy source. It is so safe that it will never lead to a nuclear meltdown when used in a nuclear reactor.

Before Th-ING, thorium could only be produced in hazardous settings at unreasonably high prices. This new method involves reacting thorium nitrate with aqueous hydrochloric acid under mild conditions, which can be performed using conventional glassware in a traditional laboratory setting. Then, a novel combination of anhydrous hydrochloric acid and trimethylsilyl chloride is used to remove coordinated water molecules, replacing them with dimethoxyethane to make the new thorium chloride reagent. The process cuts costs of production from $5,000 per kilogram to a mere $30 per kilogram and is "green"as it does not produce wasteful solvent ring-opening/polymerization or waste thorium (95 percent production yields). With Th-ING, thorium becomes a practical and reliable source of energy for the future.


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Contact: James Rickman
jamesr@lanl.gov
505-665-9203
DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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