Thorium a lustrous radioactive element with the highest temperature of 3,000 degrees has been acknowledged as an interesting resource on the planet. The global thorium market was boosted with the rising applications in the production of nuclear fuel.
Several demonstrations have been carried out to generate electricity in different type of reactors worldwide. Many countries that have abundant resource for thorium are expected to focus on the utilization of thorium on industrial scale.
The thorium market is expected to hold potential opportunities for the application in Advanced Heavy Water Reactors (AHWR). Such applications are expected to remain a significant step towards the development of long-term ecological thorium-based systems.
In India, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is working on third stage development of technologies to generate thorium fuel cycle.
Thorium is generally traded in granular or powdered form by suppliers and distributors. The thorium market offers its application in certain retail uses in composition with many other alloy elements.
Thorium being the untapped energy available as a source of nuclear power is mainly found in the Earth’s crust as compared to that of Uranium and other fossil fuel sources. The increasing demand for thorium over uranium coupled with the sufficient availability is expected to uplift the thorium market over the forecast period.
Thorium Market: Dynamics
Thorium is available as rich as lead and three folds more than Uranium. The production of thorium is observed to be more than 30,000 tons a year.
Such abundant availability of thorium is expected to offer exciting possibilities in the near future to fuel nuclear reactors by thorium. Major focus has been given to research on thorium-based fuels for utilization in evolutionary generation III+ reactors in order to provide optimum choice to manage Uranium and Plutonium.
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The growing aerospace industries are expected to hold potential opportunities for its use in the composition with magnesium for air craft engines. Moreover to this, the non-nuclear use of thorium is expected to hold moderate growth in the thorium market during the forecast period.
However, health and environmental concerns due to radioactive nature of thorium is expected to hinder the growth of the thorium market. Release of thorium in large amount in the environment contaminates the flora and fauna of the ecosystem.
Another factor to be considered is the waste disposal which is performed strictly under appropriate local, state and federal regulations.
Thorium Market: Segmentation
The thorium market can be segmented on the basis of form type:
- Powder form
- Granular form
The thorium market can be segmented on the basis of application:
- Gas Mantles
- Electronic Equipment Coating
- Refractory Material Manufacturing
- Camera lens/Scientific Instrument
- Nuclear Reactor
- Heat Resistant Ceramics
Thorium Market: Region-wise Outlook
Based on the geography, the U.S. and the European countries are expected to be the promising markets of thorium in the forecast period.
India followed by Brazil, Australia, the U.S., Egypt and others are showing a large reserves for thorium, which are extracted from the rare-earth metals thus, hold significant market volume share throughout the forecast period. Other industrialized economies, such as the U.K., Germany, Russia, Japan and the U.S.
are expected to witness vital prospects for its on-going research on thorium-based fuel cycles.
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In 2013, the development of thorium power projects for countries such as Indonesia and Chile were planned and proposed by the Thorium Power Canada. Other countries, such as Norway, are expected to foresee vital opportunities where development and testing of two thorium bearing fuel is to be used in the present nuclear power plants.
Also, Europe and North America are in the process to initiate investigation in the use of Th-Add fuel for commercial reactors. India being the largest supplier of thorium is expected to account significant share over the forecast period.
Thorium Market: Key Players
Examples of some of the recognized key players in thorium market are:
- ARAFURA Resources
- Blackwood Corporation Limited
- Crossland Uranium Mines Limited
- Kimberley Rare Earths Metal Limited
- Navigator Resources Limited
- Western Desert Resources Limited
- Steenkampskraal Thorium Limited (STL)Micron Platers
- Namibia Rare Earth Inc.
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