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CERN to host international conference on thorium technologies for energy

Geneva, 17 October 2013. CERN1 is to host the Thorium Energy Conference ThEC13 on 27-31 October, 2013. The Conference will address the scientific and technical advances offered by thorium in alternative nuclear technologies for energy production and for the destruction of nuclear waste. ThEC13 is organized by iThEC2 (international Thorium Energy Committee, Geneva) and IThEO3 (International Thorium Energy Organization, Stockholm).

Thorium is a silvery white metal four times more abundant than uranium in the Earth's crust. Its potential as nuclear fuel also offers an alternative for safer and cleaner nuclear energy production, reducing the volume and lifetime of existing nuclear waste.

Several nations have therefore embarked on ambitious plans aimed at the development of a new generation of nuclear power plants based on thorium instead of uranium, which could offer unmatched level of safety up to now. This technology would also allow for reducing present and future nuclear waste and is attractive in terms of non-proliferation and CO2 emissions.

“Energy is a major concern for society and I’m sure that this conference will show once again how fundamental research can help to address such an important challenge” said Rolf Heuer, CERN Director-General.

China and India are actively supporting several initiatives in this direction with important resources, and the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan, South Korea, and Norway are also evaluating this technology. The ThEC13 conference will be attended by scientists of 32 countries including all the major actors, to discuss the status of the field and define common project in a spirit of international cooperation.

"Thorium offers a route to safe, clean nuclear energy," said Jean-Pierre Revol, President of iThEC, "The number of renowned scientists coming to ThEC13 gives a clear signal that a truly international cooperation is forming to herald a new era in nuclear energy, with clear benefits for the world."

During the 1990s, CERN has been pioneering thorium technologies research with experiments instigated by Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia, testing the basic concepts of a thorium-fuelled reactor driven by a proton accelerator.

Journalists interested in the conference are invited to contact CERN’s press office for accreditation.






1. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. Its headquarters are in Geneva. Its Member States are currently: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Romania has the status of Candidate for Accession. Israel and Serbia are Associate Member States in the pre-stage to Membership. India, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.
2. iThEC is a non-profit organization based in Geneva, promoting the use of thorium for nuclear waste destruction and as a sustainable nuclear energy source, which is both safe and proliferation resistant.
3. IThEO is a non-profit organization, based in Stockholm, campaigning for thorium energy by organizing international conferences in partnership with other organizations.