Thorium is not free in nature, it is located in the structure of about 50 minerals. Of these, only monazite, torit, torianite and allanite are used in thorium production. These minerals are also often found with rare earths (NTE). Globally, monazite is mainly produced for rare earth element content and only a small part of the by-product produced is thorium. Thorium is a nuclear fuel raw material waiting for its turn. The biggest reason for this is the problem of the nuclear fuel cycle. Thorium-232 can be converted to uranium-233 by some processes. Thorium-233 is also a degradable substance such as uranium-235. As a result of this fragmentation, a great energy is released. Due to the fuel cycle problem, although there are no commercial-scale power plants operating with thorium, prototypes of these power plants have been tried for a long time in the UK, Germany and the USA. In addition, thorium-based nuclear research; It continues in Russia, India, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czechia, France, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands and Norway.
Thorium is considered to be the cleanest fuel in nuclear power plants because it produces less plutonium and other trans-uranium elements than uranium, when thorium is used in the fuel cycle. In order to increase the resistance of magnesium at high temperatures, it is used in the coating of tungsten laminates in alloys, electronic devices and lighting, in the construction of high temperature resistant crucibles, in high quality camera lenses and in nuclear technology. Electrodes with 1% thorium added in gas tungsten arc welding are used to increase arc sensitivity. In addition, since thorium has a high melting point, it is also used in gas lamps, camping lamps and projectors in cinemas.
There are 6.35 million tons of thorium in the world. Thorium production is mainly made from monazite sands.
In Turkey, the Mineral Research and Exploration as a result of the work done by the General Directorate in the past years, Eskisehir- rare earths and thorium complex ore deposit in Sivrihisar-Kizilcaoren region, the average grade of 374 000 tonnes appears that ThO2 0.2% reserves have been identified. However, technological problems related to enrichment of thorium in the area in question have not been solved yet. Apart from this region, it is estimated that the thorium reserve of our country will increase as a result of more detailed exploration studies in Malatya-Hekimhan-Kuluncak, Kayseri-Felâhiye, Sivas, Diyarbakır and Burdur-Çanaklı sites, where thorium beds have been identified. With thorium deposits that are found and being investigated in Turkey, one of the countries with the world's largest reserves of thorium can be said to be in position. Provided that the technological problems can be solved, Turkey, has a significant potential for thorium nuclear energy, which is our raw material and thorium mine has a very rich mineral wealth classification in class.
Thorium prices were at $ 29 / lb in 2015, reaching $ 33 / lb in 2017, and this balance continues at this level.
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