To meet the world energy needs, systematic R&D has to be pursued to replace fossil fuels. The ThEC13 conference organized by iThEC at CERN last October has shown that thorium is being seriously considered by developing countries as a key element of their energy strategy. Developed countries are also starting to move in the same direction. How thorium could make nuclear energy (based on thorium) acceptable to society will be discussed. Thorium can be used both to produce energy and to destroy nuclear waste. As thorium is not fissile, one elegant option is to use an accelerator, in so-called “Accelerator Driven Systems (ADS)”, as suggested by Carlo Rubbia.
CERN’s important contributions to R&D on thorium related issues will be mentioned as well as the main areas where CERN could contribute to this field in the future.