Early pursuit of a thorium reactor

In the August, 1956 issue of Nucleonics, the nuclear power industry’s US trade journal, I found this jotting:

On December 7, 1954, Con Edison notified AEC that it was launching talks with various manufacturers in the nucleonics field. From several proposals made to it, the company selected a pressurized-water enriched-uranium thorium-converter reactor.

I haven’t teased out this design strand but immediately note that over six decades ago, New-York-based giant utility Consolidated Edison set out to construct a substantive thorium reactor. I often have conversations with people who say, “but what about thorium, isn’t that the reactor technology to save us?” So thorium is not new at all.

By the way, soon after Indian Point started pumping out electricity, Con Edison changed its fuel from thorium to uranium.


Nucleonics. 1956. “Indian Point plant enters construction phase.” Nucleonics, 14, Aug., pp. 70-73, 117.


  • Interesting. According to Wikipedia, ‘the decision to stop development of thorium reactors, at least as a backup option, “was an excusable mistake.”’

  • I’ve heard the military were planning a thorium-powered aeroplane. Has this cropped up in your meanderings?