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Definition of "thorium" [tho•ri•um]

  • A radioactive silvery-white metallic element that is recovered commercially from monazite. Its longest-lived isotope, the only one that occurs naturally, is Th 232 with a half-life of 1.41 × 1010 years. It is used in magnesium alloys, and isotope 232 is a source of nuclear energy. Atomic number 90; atomic weight 232.038; approximate melting point 1,750°C; approximate boiling point 4,500°C; approximate specific gravity 11.7; valence 4. See Table at element. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "thorium" in a sentence
  • "These are mostly mined for the rare earths; the thorium is a low-value waste product."
  • "I've read the Los Alamos reports, but I'd like to know if, since then anyone has said the thorium is more concentrated than being a constituent of KREEP overturned at basin rim structures."
  • "Nuclear fuel, ie uranium and potentially thorium, is incredibly abundant and currently inexpensive."