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In the build-up to the Christmas Lectures in 2012, the Royal Institution published a new video for every day of advent revealing the elements that really excite and inspire people. Physicist Suzie Sheehy demonstrates how element thorium could be used as a fuel in future nuclear reactors. Unlike uranium, thorium needs to be bombarded by neutrons to start the process of nuclear fission. The neutrons are produced by a particle accelerator – this improves safety, since the reaction can be stopped by switching off the accelerator. This video links to topics such as energy resources, science in society, particle physics and nuclear fission.

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