8022, in theory thorium is a great concept, but major nuclear companies, universities and research institutes have been working on the concept for 40 odd years. Yet not a single commercial reactor has been built or is planned to be built. There is no way South Australia could afford the mega squillions to be the first to get one going.
What the state needs is a relatively simple "off the shelf" nuclear generator from a trusted western (not Chinese) company, whacked in the north of the state, say within 200 km of Port Augusta. That is the only way it would have a chance of being both affordable and "politically possible".
A few fast breeder reactors have been though, as opposed to a thorium thermal breeder reactor. One design of fast breeder reactor (and not commercialised ...yet), the Integral Fast Reactor (Q&A sheet here
) has the benefit of being designed to burn material from older generation plants as well as from weapons. While an IFR does need an enriched source of uranium, or plutonium (around 10 tonnes fissile actinides), to start a reaction, it can be fuelled with depleted uranium (238), i.e. waste from older plants. As the name breeder suggests - it creates more fissile material than it consumes hence efficiency of over 99% rather than less than 1% of a LWR, in terms of U-238 used.
So for one year at a 1GWe fast breeder reactor such as an IFR, 1 tonne of U-235 would be needed (in metallic fuel form). An LWR/thermal reactor needs about 25 tonnes of U-235, which leaves behind upwards of 200 tonnes of waste of U-238.
Waste from a LWR/thermal reactor includes U-238, Pu, fission products and some actinides. A fast breeder will burn anything from Thorium up once operating. The waste from a 1GWe fast breeder/IFR would be about 1 tonne/year with a half-life of 90 years and has the benefit of removing Pu from the waste stream.
This peer reviewed paper
discusses commercialisation of this, including using the funds from taking other countries waste (our potential fuel), to support commercialisation and operation.