Proposal for improved nuclear fuel utilisation and economic performance by utilising thorium


  • Marina du Toit University of Cape Town
  • Sunil Chirayath



A systematic and strategic nuclear power reactor deployment roadmap has been developed for South Africa within the national strategic plan, utilizing thorium-based fuel. The roadmap was developed through analysis of economical, strategic and historical aspects. The accumulated advantages of thorium-based fuels are summarized, which could form the initiative to implement thorium-based nuclear fuels in South Africa. A timeline (which forms the basis of the roadmap) was constructed and consists of three different phases. Phase 1 starts in 2015 and extends to 2030. Phase 2 starts in 2031 and ends in 2044 whilst Phase 3 is from 2045 to 2060. Each phase is discussed with regard to construction, implementation and research activities. This roadmap starts at current pressurized water reactors (PWRs) and advances to future reactor technologies, using an evolutionary approach. In addition to the results reported in this paper, the economic advantages to introducing thorium as a fertile component in PWR fuels as compared to once-through conventional uranium-only cycles is explored (Du Toit & Cilliers, 2014). The economic evaluation compares uranium fuel to thorium-uranium fuel in terms of the fuel cycle costs, reactor downtime costs due to refuelling and income derived from electricity sales.


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Author Biography

Marina du Toit, University of Cape Town

Energy Research Centre Snr Research Officer




How to Cite

du Toit, M., & Chirayath, S. (2015). Proposal for improved nuclear fuel utilisation and economic performance by utilising thorium. Journal of Energy in Southern Africa, 26(2), 11–18.