Thorium and the rare earth value chain – a nuclear renaissance solution?

By IM Staff
Published: Friday, 27 February 2015

Rules covering thorium discharge in many of the world’s top rare earths-consuming countries have prevented the development of potentially valuable domestic resources in these regions and helped cement China’s monopoly over the sector. James Kennedy* and John Kutsch** discuss the social and economic disadvantages of this situation and outline how a new nuclear strategy could help solve the problem.

International regulations pertaining to thorium have played a significant role in distorting today’s rare earths market. The concentration of supply in China has caused severe economic dislocation and national security problems for the US, Japan, Korea, the European Union and other nations.

Private interests worldwide have invested around $6bn...

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