CONTACT

Rick Maltese runs this blog and advocates Molten Salt Reactors such as the IMSR proposed by David LeBlanc and the LFTR proposed by Kirk Sorensen and other designs that use liquid nuclear fuel

malteserick@gmail.com
skypename: rickmaltese

I am always open to posting ideas or content if you want to contribute.

Some of my other interests or passions include music and web design. Music is my main passion and career choice. Playing, composing, arranging, conducting, accompanying and song-writing are all part of my regular activities. Making a living from music is not so easy so donations will help me to keep the blogs going.

My other sites:
Deregulate the Atom http://deregulatetheatom.wordpress.com
My blog about Nuclear Energy Industry and regulatory policy and other obstacles.

Energy Reality Project EnergyRealityProject.com

Energy Reality Facebook Group www.facebook.com/groups/energyreality

Molten Salt Science (MsSci) http://MsSci.com

Leadsheetz (Total Musicianship) http://leadsheetz.com

My Piano Gigs Page http://rickmaltesemusic.com

35 Comments

  • Philip Daykin, Ph.D.(Physics)
    August 24, 2012 - 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Canada has 10% of the known monazite — the prime source of both rare earths and thorium.
    And it is all in Quebec province. Come and mine it!

  • April 21, 2013 - 1:38 am | Permalink

    Do you have an email list that I can get myself on? I am very interested in thorium nuclear technology but have only a layman’s understanding of it all. I am very concerned that knowledge of thorium LFTRs and similar technologies is being suppressed in the US by hydrocarbon and uranium fuel interests. It seems like the only practical way to cheaply and safely generate the carbon-free energy we need to run our lives. I am dumbfounded that the US Congress hasn’t green lighted a Manhattan Project scale development program. The biggest obstacle seems to be political and that has to be addressed successfully before any large scale development and deployment will occur in the US.

  • ankur
    September 21, 2014 - 11:12 pm | Permalink

    My name is ankur Panchal. Currently I am study in BE mechanical engineering and complete my post graduate diploma in computational fluid dynamic. And i basically work on thermal engineering. Few months ago when i don’t know about this technology, I was think and created some image in my mind. Why don’t use moltan salt inside the nuclear reactor because I am beleave solt have good thermal storage capacity and it has so safety for storing the nuclear Wastes. After that shown image I have improve to work on this project. And I tryout to find about this. And now I have answers in the form of MSRE. And LFTR lifter I mean liquid florid thorium reactor. And now I am so interested on this project. I am from india. And my contact no is +919979063189.

    • Paul Byrne
      May 22, 2016 - 2:34 am | Permalink

      Dear Ankur:

      I am working my PhD on Thorium Reactor Design in the UK. I would like to discuss various aspects of the design with you and companies in India. I feel that India is leading the way for a viable Reactor Design and my research at a leading UK university can help. I will call you later today.

      Regards,
      Paul

  • Steve
    April 22, 2015 - 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Dear All:

    I believe that Thorium reactors should be considered more seriously by the West. However, let us get the story straight. This website states that making nuclear weapons is impossible using any Thorium cycle. This is not true. For example, see the following:

    http://www.whatisnuclear.com/articles/thorium.html

    Kind regards

  • Dr Tim
    June 12, 2015 - 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Fukushima Dai’ichi is gradually killing the Pacific Ocean, and there is now not a damn thing that Tepco or anyone else can do about the situation. On the US West Coast, there is mass die-off of many ocean species presently occurring; the die-off temporally correlates with release of radiation from Fukushima Dai’ichi, accounting for transport time for the nuclear fallout across the Pacific Ocean. Nuclear engineers no longer have any moral high ground. MSR, for example Thorium LFTR, are dangerous pieces of equipment because of their hard Gamma radiation and high neutron flux during operation. A serious accident or leak in a MSR, for example Thorium LFTR, would be very hard to fix. This is the reality, glossed over by the advocates of Thorium LFTR, for example Flibe.

    HOWEVER (!), MSR may be the only way we can process the presently insane quantities (estimated circa 100000 tonnes worldwide) of high-level nuclear waste from the convention nuclear industry, and render it somewhat safer and requiring storage for a far shorter period (faster half-life decay). Thus, in view of Fukushima Dai’ichi (rapidly becoming a nuclear swamp), I cautiously endorse MSR, provided that it is used to transmute existing huge stockpiles of nuclear waste, but do not be under any illusion about the dangers in operating a MSR, for example a Thorium LFTR: hot molten fuel, highly chemically corrosive fuel, highly radiologically hot fuel: this is reality. Do not be fooled by the slick Power Point presentations at conferences such as TEAC.

    Your sincerely

    Dr Tim

    • admin
      June 12, 2015 - 10:49 pm | Permalink

      Dr. Tim

      You are mistaken about the dangers to the ocean. Calling it a nuclear swamp is a total misrepresentation and indicates you need to dig deeper to learn about the effects of the levels of radiation being released. Read http://hiroshimasyndrome.com for a truthful and accurate assessment.

      Rick Maltese

  • Dr Tim
    June 12, 2015 - 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Dear Rick

    I have spent thousands of hours studying reports of the effect of Fukushima Dai’ichi radiation. The tanks at Fukushima Dai’ichi only have limited lifetime and there is a huge quantity of highly radioative water now being stored there. Please do not be condescending, as I know more about this subject than yourself. Sadly, the nuclear industry, particularly Thoium LFTR, seems to attract zealots who do not know the true issues about nuclear systems. I submit that MSR and Thorium LFTR are a great improvement on convention nuclear systems (based on use of solid fuel rods), but the dangers of operating MSR and Thorium LFTR should not be glossed over or underestimated. A high-power Thorium LFTR (250 MW) will have huge neutron flux and Gamma radiation within it internal structures, and the radiation shielding is only as good as preventing the fuel from leaking outside the radiation shielding (yes – such things could happen).

    Kind regards

    Tim

    • admin
      June 12, 2015 - 11:32 pm | Permalink

      Thanks. Tim. I did not intend to condescend. This is one of the areas that I must admit I rely on the experts to keep me up to date. I need to ask. Are you a believer in the Linear No Threshold theory (LNT) that makes the bold claim that any dose of radiation is harmful? This could be the dividing factor making expert opinion useless if the original hypothesis is based on false information based on the study of radiation on fruit flies. I judge by the comments I read on several forums about the easy to measure but relatively harmless amount of radiation in those tanks. The ocean is already plenty radio-active from natural processes. The solution I have been reading is that shipping that water out to sea and releasing it is a reasonable way to deal with it.

      Regarding the LFTR and MSR. These nuclear plants are not yet in prototype but small versions were built in the 1960s. There are several reasons why thorium will not likely be the first fuel used in the first MSRs. They will likely start with Uranium. The LFTR concept is a more complex design and may run into regulation problems as well. I have also read that the radiation would be intense inside an MSR reactor but I’m wondering what it is you suspect could happen that would put anyone at risk?

  • Dr Tim
    June 13, 2015 - 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Dear Rick

    I know all about the Oak Ridge project in the 1950’s and 1960’s, with Dr Alvin Weinberg and colleagues. Dr Alvin Weinberg deserves great respect for his wisdom ad foresight. I have their complete set of documents, AND I have read through them. Their reactor was a very small research reactor, operated for a limited period of time, namely rather a different situation in comparison to a future commercial design of MSR. The Oak Ridge reactor was already showing signs of corrosion, even after its limited period of operation. Moreover, its Hastelloy-N components were very costly to machine.

    Apart from a few spurious research results showing low radiation doses to be beneficial, most studies show that genetic damage increases in proportion to radiation dose, making even low-level radiation increase health-wise significant when exposed to a large population. Birds in the Fukushima Dai’ichi region now have increased antioxidants in their blood to try to cope with a higher rate of cell mutation and apoptosis due to radiation exposure. The “beneficial” effects of low-level radiation have probably been attributed to over-compensation by way of increased antioxidant production in biological systems. Some species of animal react differently to others, so these studies showing “beneficial” effects of low-level radiation have to be studied with care.

    From practical necessity, the US and Japanese governments have, since the Fukushiam Dai’ichi accident, increased permitted radiation doses in food and the environment. Canadian salmon is generally not tested for radiation, as the radiation plume now reaching the Californian coast could also render the Canadian west-coast fishing industry non-viable. It is dangerous now to eat tuna caught in the Pacific Ocean. This will be experienced as an increased cancer rate in human beings, which, like health damage due to smoking, is hard to prove statistically at an individual level. Automobile air filters from automobiles in Tokyo, after a few months operation, are so radioactive (as measured using Geiger counters), that they would be regarded as nuclear waste in the USA. There are circa 40 million people living in Tokyo who really should be evacuated, but where would they be accommodated? – what about the economic impacts on the Japanese economy? The Shinzu Abe government in Japan has decided to try to live with the excess radiation in the Tokyo environs. The Japanese population want renewables, but the Japanese government and industry want nuclear, under pressure from the USA, mainly from large US corporate organisations and the military. If Japan were to reject nuclear, the public media fallout in the USA to its fleet of old nuclear plant (that should really be closed down at the end of its operating lifetime, but extensions have been granted, even despite severe neutron embrittlement of reactor components) would be economically problematic to Wall Street which is heavily invested in utilities.

    There is a fact that it is virtually impossible to insure a nuclear facility; liability is taken on at governmental level, and the tax-payer underwrites the liability. If contemporary nuclear were to compete like-for-like with other power sources with insurance cover as well, contemporary nuclear would be commercially non-viable. In contradistinction, most renewable energy systems can be insured, although catastrophic failure of a large hydroelectric system can have severe consequences (and has occurred in the past). However, with hydroelectric failure, radioactive contamination does not occur in the longer term.

    From the above, it is clear that a new generation of nuclear reactors is desperately needed, rather than continuing with 1960’s-style solid fuel rod systems that are very inefficient and wasteful (i.e. embrittlement of the zirconian or stainless steel cladding occurs before the nuclear fuel is more than a few percent fissioned). Silicon carbide clad fuel rods are in an experimental phase, but may in future allow for deep-burn of nuclear fuel. Sellafield in the UK was unable to make reprocessing of fuel rods commercial viable, and the USA generally adopts a “once through” policy for its fuel rods.

    However, a major problem is the 100000 tonnes of high-level nuclear waste in the World from conventional nuclear reactors. Whether one is an advocated for nuclear power or not, the issue is that burying this highly radioactive waste (which is mainly being presently stored at nuclear reactor sites) is not a satisfactory solution. There is a very strong argument, despite safety issues generally with nuclear reactors, to develop next generation MSR’s to transmute this waste, to render it less environmentally hazardous. However, this does not address the radioactive contamination already dispersed generally from the Fukushima Dai’ichi site; that sadly will plague future generations of human beings for a very long time (100’s of generations).

    Therefore, I submit that the discussion and research effort in new MSR reactor design should be focused primarily at the waste disposal issue (via transmutation of actinides), and, if excess energy can be produced in the process, this is only beneficial.

    The bottom line is that the TEAC conference is a positive step in the right direction, but my view is very much from the perspective of a realist. I am not a Throium LFTR zealot, but, like Dr Alvin Weinberg, appreciate its potential benefits to mankind.

    Kind regards

    Tim

  • admin
    June 13, 2015 - 9:31 pm | Permalink

    I will need to erase your comments unless you identify your credentials. You are making pretty wild claims without backing up your declared facts with links or citations. It does appear that you are someone with a vested interest to propagating fear for profit.

  • Dr Tim
    June 14, 2015 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    Dear Rick

    I have no vested interest in fear for profit. What I have written is the truth, uncomfortable though it may be for some people. If you erase my comments, you are applying censorship and biasing the whole debate in an unbalanced manner.

    You will find my e-mail details associated with these comments. I run my own business in legal and technical consultancy, unrelated to nuclear industry, so I have no vested interest commercially.

    I was very taken initially by Thorium LFTR and the presentations by Dr Kirk Sorensen. I lobbied UK Government to invest in Thorium technologies, especially MSR, rather than investing in a new fleet of conventional nuclear reactors. To my horror, plans for Sizewell C and Hickley Point C are conventional designs, which merely perpetuate problems of nuclear waste disposal. A commercial Thorium LFTR design could be developed for a fraction of the UK defence budget and investment in new rail systems, and yet there is a huge stockpile of nuclear waste. MSR provides the way to dispose of this waste safely and successfully, and should be top priority in my humble view. However, the importance and Thorium LFTR and MSR in general is largely being ignored in the UK (not an issue in the recent general election there), but is vitally important for future generations.

    By deleting my e-mails, you also delete arguments why MSR and Thorium LFTR are so necessary, if they can dispose of nuclear waste as well as generating useful energy. I am supportive of what you are doing, but we need to be realistic and pragmatic.

    Kind regards

    Dr Timothy Norris
    United Kingdom

    • admin
      June 14, 2015 - 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Thankyou for identifying yourself. It is no surprise that you are not a nuclear scientist. If you were you would have gone down the LNT path and discovered it’s flaws. I am glad you have been advocating for MSRs and that is an important part of your self-education. Now you have some more investigating to do. Start with one of your own country men. Wade Allison.

  • Dr Tim
    June 14, 2015 - 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Dear Wade

    I have studied engineering many years, so I know my stuff, including nuclear engineering.

    Quoting above from admin comment: “… Are you a believer in the Linear No Threshold theory (LNT) … ?”.

    Do you have to be a “believer”? I try to take an objective scientific view based on facts, measurements and observations. There is presently a myopic view in the nuclear industry, that either a person is fully enthusiastic about nuclear systems, otherwise they are “hostile”.

    I am a pragmatist. I have lobbied IAEA about Thorium MSR, pointing out that the situation at Fukushima would have been far less disastrous had these units been Thorium LFTR. However, even accelerator-driven Thorium reactors (neutron balance maintained by high energy beam directed at a spalation target, as per Rossi) based on solid fuel rods are dangerous if core integrity is lost, and the rods become unusually crowded together causing an inadvertent local spatial criticality. In such situations, switching off the accelerator beam does not help the situation.

    A Thorium MSR may be hazardous in operation, but is unlikely to experience catastrophic failure as can occur with conventional nuclear plant (e.g. as per Chernobyl disaster). If you are a nuclear engineer, you will respectfully know well the background to this (as taught in many nuclear classes at university).

    Kind regards

    Dr. Tim Norris

    Please visit http://enenews.html for more information. (editors note: This is an antinuclear propaganda website)

  • admin
    June 14, 2015 - 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Two things immediately reveal that you are not a pragmatist. First if you were you would be well read on the subject of radiation. You would know that my name is not Wade Allison. I was recommending that you read his writings. http://www.radiationandreason.com/

    Second, the website you recommend is very biased. You raise everyone’s suspicion that you are either terribly misguided or a shill for the anti-nuclear side. Perhaps you are pro-msr but you are not helping the industry by recommending such anti-nuclear sources of information. Fukushima’s failed reactors are an old reactor design that can actually be found in the US. You should be critical about how Japan failed to upgrade their reactor to match what the US has been doing for decades. What has been happening with nuclear reactors for decades is constant regulatory oversight that has continuously insisted on expensive upgrades. Many of these I feel were unwarranted but nontheless it has reduced the chance for human error with each upgrade. You are right to favour MSRs as safer. You are also understandibly frustrated at the UK’s attitude toward nuclear. They built rather large nuclear monstrosities without a smart approach to nuclear “waste” management. If the US and the UK had followed France’s lead they would both have been much better off.

    So yes I think you are taking too much credit as a well-rounded well-read nuclear engineer. It appears you have significant learning still left to do. I have given you a voice and won’t likely add any more of your comments. Especially if you include outrageous sources like the last example. If that is your only source I am shocked that you call yourself a nuclear engineer.

    Rick Maltese publisher of
    http://thoriummsr.com
    http://deregulatetheatom.com
    http://energyrealityproject.com

  • Dr Tim
    June 14, 2015 - 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Dear Rick

    Your response saddens me, but I am not offended. Seems that your nuclear scene is rather like a religion, either a person is a believer or not. It would be better if people were objective about the facts.

    Kind regards

    Tim

    • admin
      June 14, 2015 - 10:12 pm | Permalink

      Rather than be saddened take my advice. Realize that I am surprised by what you have provided as a basis to evaluate your level of experience. Sure I am even more of a layman than you. I respect scientists and engineers. They typically understand cause and effect. There is little room for interpreting facts wrong in a scientifically explicit world. But what seems to be happening is that the misrepresentation of facts have clouded your judgement. Being objective about facts means understanding the consequences of the release of radiation in an already radioactive world and, no, not the world made worse by melt downs and bomb testing but the world that has had radiation hurling at us from the beginning of time. We get it from all angles and we have evolved with the capacity to live with it as have most living creatures. When life began on earth radiation levels were significantly higher than they are now. Life evolved and our predecessors adapted when levels were higher. So we are well equipped.

      Rick Maltese

  • Dr Tim
    June 14, 2015 - 11:54 pm | Permalink

    This is what an adviser to UK Government asserts:

    Thorium: Not ‘green’, not ‘viable’, and not likely

    1. Introduction

    “With uranium-based nuclear power continuing its decades-long economic collapse, it’s awfully late to be thinking of developing a whole new fuel cycle whose problems differ only in detail from current versions.”
    Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute, March 2009.

    A number of commentators have argued that most of the problems associated with nuclear power could be avoided by both:
    – using thorium fuel in place of uranium or plutonium fuels
    – using ‘molten salt reactors’ (MSRs) in place of conventional solid fuel reactor
    designs.

    The combination of these two technologies is known as the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor or LFTR, because the fuel is in form of a molten fluoride salt of thorium and other elements.
    In this Briefing, we examine the validity of the optimistic claims made for thorium fuel, MSRs and the LFTR in particular. We find that the claims do not stand up to critical scrutiny, and that these technologies have significant drawbacks including:
    – the very high costs of technology development, construction and operation.
    – marginal benefits for a thorium fuel cycle over the currently utilised uranium /
    plutonium fuel cycles
    – serious nuclear weapons proliferation hazards
    – the danger of both routine and accidental releases of radiation, mainly from
    continuous ‘live’ fuel reprocessing in MSRs
    – the very long lead time for significant deployment of LFTRs of the order of half
    a century – rendering it irrelevant in terms of addressing current or medium term energy supply needs

    3. Thorium claims – and the reality
    Numerous advantages for thorium as a nuclear fuel and for the LFTR design over conventional solid fuel reactors have been claimed. In this section we consider each of these claims in turn.

    3.1 Abundance of thorium relative to uranium
    Claim: Thorium is several times more abundant in the Earth’s crust than uranium.

    Response: Thorium (232Th) is indeed more abundant than uranium, by a factor of three to four. But whereas 0.7% of uranium occurs as fissile 235U, none of the thorium is fissile. The world already possesses an estimated 1.2 million tonnes of depleted uranium (mainly 238U), like thorium a fertile but non-fissile material. So the greater abundance of thorium than uranium confers no advantage, other than a very marginal advantage in energy security to those countries in which it is abundant.

    3.2 Relative utility of thorium and uranium as fuel
    Claim: 100% of the thorium is usable as fuel, in contrast to the low (~0.7%) proportion of fissile 235U in natural uranium.

    Response: Thorium must be subjected to neutron irradiation to be transformed into a fissile material suitable for nuclear fuel (uranium, 233U). The same applies to the 238U that makes up depleted uranium, which as already observed, is plentiful. In theory, 100% of either metal could be bred into nuclear fuel. However, uranium has a strong head start, as 0.7% of it is fissile (235U) in its naturally-occurring form.

    3.3 Nuclear weapons proliferation
    Claim: thorium reactors do not produce plutonium, and so create little or no proliferation hazard.

    Response: thorium reactors do not produce plutonium. But an LFTR could (by including 238U in the fuel) be adapted to produce plutonium of a high purity well above normal weapons-grade, presenting a major proliferation hazard. Beyond that, the main proliferation hazards arise from:
     the need for fissile material (plutonium or uranium) to initiate the thorium fuel cycle, which could be diverted, and
     the production of fissile uranium 233U.

    Claim: the fissile uranium (233U) produced by thorium reactors is not “weaponisable” owing to the presence of highly radiotoxic 232U as a contaminant. Response: 233U was successfully used in a 1955 bomb test in the Nevada Desert under the USA’s Operation Teapot and so is clearly weaponisable notwithstanding any 232U present. Moreover, the continuous pyro-processing / electro-refining technologies intrinsic to MSRs / LFTRs could generate streams of 233U very low in 232U at a purity well above weapons grade as currently defined.

    3.4 Safety
    Claim: LFTRs are intrinsically safe, because the reactor operates at low pressure and is and incapable of melting down.

    Response: the design of molten salt reactors does indeed mitigate against reactor meltdown and explosion. However, in an LFTR the main danger has been shifted from the reactor to the on-site continuous fuel reprocessing operation – a high temperature process involving highly hazardous, explosive and intensely radioactive materials. A further serious hazard lies in the potential failure of the materials used for reactor and fuel containment in a highly corrosive chemical environment, under intense neutron and other radiation.

    3.5 State of technology
    Claim: the technology is already proven.

    Response: important elements of the LFTR technology were proven during the 1970s Molten Salt Breeder Reactor (MSBR) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. However, this was a small research reactor rated at just 7MW and there are huge technical and engineering challenges in scaling up this experimental design to make a ‘production’ reactor. Specific challenges include:
     developing materials that can both resist corrosion by liquid fluoride salts including diverse fission products, and withstand decades of intense neutron radiation;
     scaling up fuel reprocessing techniques to deal safely and reliably with large volumes of highly radioactive material at very high temperature;
     keeping radioactive releases from the reprocessing operation to an acceptably low level;
     achieving a full understanding of the thorium fuel cycle.

    3.6 Nuclear waste
    Claim: LFTRs produce far less nuclear waste than conventional solid fuel reactors.

    Response: LFTRs are theoretically capable of a high fuel burn-up rate, but while this may indeed reduce the volume of waste, the waste is more radioactive due to the higher volume of radioactive fission products. The continuous fuel reprocessing that is characteristic of LFTRs will also produce hazardous chemical and radioactive waste streams, and releases to the environment will be unavoidable.

    Claim: Liquid fluoride thorium reactors generate no high-level waste material.

    Response: This claim, although made in the report from the House of Lords, has no basis in fact. High-level waste is an unavoidable product of nuclear fission. Spent fuel from any LFTR will be intensely radioactive and constitute high level waste. The reactor itself, at the end of its lifetime, will constitute high level waste.

    Claim: the waste from LFTRs contains very few long-lived isotopes, in particular transuranic actinides such as plutonium.

    Response: the thorium fuel cycle does indeed produce very low volumes of plutonium and other long-lived actinides so long as only thorium and 233U are used as fuel. However, the waste contains many radioactive fission products and will remain dangerous for many hundreds of years. A particular hazard is the production of 232U, with its highly radio-toxic decay chain.
    Claim: LFTRs can ‘burn up’ high level waste from conventional nuclear reactors, and stockpiles of plutonium.
    Response: if LFTRs are used to ‘burn up’ waste from conventional reactors, their fuel now comprises 238U, 235U, 239Pu, 240Pu and other actinides. Operated in this way, what is now a mixed-fuel molten salt reactor will breed plutonium (from 238U) and other long lived actinides, perpetuating the plutonium cycle.

    3.7 Cost of electricity
    Claim: the design of LFTRs tends towards low construction cost and very cheap electricity.

    Response: while some elements of LFTR design may cut costs compared to conventional reactors, other elements will add cost, notably the continuous fuel reprocessing using high-temperature ‘pyro-processing’ technologies. Moreover, a costly experimental phase of ~20-40 years duration will be required before any ‘production’ LFTR reactors can be built. It is very hard to predict the cost of the technology that finally emerges, but the economics of nuclear fuel reprocessing to date suggests that the nuclear fuel produced from breeder reactors is about 50 times more expensive than ‘virgin’ fuel. It therefore appears probable that any electricity produced from LFTRs will be expensive.
    We must also consider the prospect that relatively novel or immature energy sources, such as photovoltaic electricity and photo-evolved hydrogen, will have become well established as low-cost technologies long before LFTRs are in the market.

    3.8 Timescale
    Claim: Thorium and the LFTR offer a solution to current and medium-term energy supply deficits.

    Response: The thorium fuel cycle is immature. Estimates from the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (see 4.2 below) suggest that 10-15 years of research will be needed before thorium fuels are ready to be deployed in existing reactor designs. Production LFTRs will not be deployable on any significant scale for 40-70 years.

    Read full text at http://www.nuclearpledge.com (EDITOR’S Note – This is a political plea to vote against nuclear in the UK.)

    EDITOR: What are you trying to accomplish? Acting polite and pretending to be supportive yet promoting green technology. Now you really show your true colors. You are invested in renewables it appears. Very sneaky of you. Take away nuclear and your investments will perform better. Not the world but your pocket book.

  • admin
    June 15, 2015 - 12:17 am | Permalink

    Tim Norris

    Who is doing the responding in this dialogue?

    Rick

  • Dr Tim
    June 15, 2015 - 12:28 am | Permalink

    Renewable energy systems will not dispose of the nuclear waste. We therefore need MSR to try to dispose of the nuclear wast by transmutation :o)

    • admin
      June 15, 2015 - 12:48 am | Permalink

      You did not give the real source for that quote or say who is responding. I’m unavailable for a few hours but will monitor later.

  • Dolf Johnson
    June 15, 2015 - 12:33 am | Permalink

    This “Dr Tim” guy sounds like a virulent infectee by the NSD meme but then he claims to support MSRs. THEN he pastes in that hack job from the Gurdian (IIRC). ersonally, I can’t believe anyone with actual science credetials can read the ENE(thing but reliable)News site more than once and lend it ANY credence whatsoever.

  • Chris Bergan
    June 15, 2015 - 3:23 am | Permalink

    Dr. Tim seems incapable of discerning real science – real science isn’t determined by legal actions or social platforms. Many of those sources he uses should post disclaimers like their sister site: “nuclear-news.net/ does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any information’s, content contained on, distributed through, or linked, downloaded or accessed from any of the services contained on this website.”

    I sincerely hope he continues to learn from a wider selection of places as several intelligent environmentalists have before him.
    Some better web-sites for both inquiring professionals & laypersons are:
    RadiationEffects.org http://www.the-weinberg-foundation.org
    ansnuclearcafe.org http://www.daretothink.org
    nuclearliteracy.org hps.org/publicinformation/
    http://www.iem-inc.com/information/radioactivity-basics/radiation-risks/the-alara-concept

  • Dr Tim
    June 15, 2015 - 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your feedback and comments.
    You are a great team of colleagues :o)
    Wishing you all success in commercializing MSR.

    Kind regards

    Dr Tim

  • Dr Tim
    July 17, 2015 - 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Re: Update on the Molten Salt Reactor Scene and More on Thorium July 2015

    There is mention in the above article of Flibe Inc. and a lot of patenting work done. The patent right term is 20 years maximum (21 years if priority year included). Patent applications often take a few years before they progress through substantive examination before they are granted and give rise to patent rights. The time scales for LFTR development is so long that patent protection from initial patents is largely useless when the LFTR technology is to be deployed commercially, for example via patent right licensing.

    The credit for LFTR should go to Dr Alvin Weinberg and his team at ORNL. Flibe Inc. came later, and has not seemingly made any great innovation in advance of what was proposed by Dr Alvin Weinberg (from what has been disclosed at recent conferences). The biggest issue is corrosion and neutron embrittlement, requiring special material development. Using Hastelloy N for reactor containment, and graphite as a wall material to separate primary and secondary reactor circuits is conventional technology and really not innovative at all. Merely to say that “the reactor will dumped after a few years use”, before issues of corrosion and embrittlement become a problem, is a cop-out. There are much better solutions which have recently been brought to my attention.

    • Roman Golubev
      October 29, 2015 - 7:06 am | Permalink

      Dr Tim, What better solutions?

  • Dr Tim
    August 2, 2015 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir/Madam

    I have just read that Areva, the French nuclear engineering group, has recently witnessed a sharp fall in its share price, wherein the shares are now regarded as “junk status” by investors. In other words, the report is saying that Areva is technically bankrupt.

    In order to try to improve the situation, after alleged EDF financing, Areva is considering changing direction to become a renewable energy company, just as Siemens AG has shifted emphasis away from nuclear technology to renewables.

    The large Areva project in Finland is grossly over budget and late; many experts expect that Areva will abandon the project in Finland. Moreover, it is looking increasingly likely that Hinckley Point C nuclear reactor for the United Kingdom will never be built, because its operation would have to be subsidized by British taxpayers, which would be against EU competition rules, in comparison to building out renewables.

    Question is whether or not Thorium LFTR, or MSR in general, would be any less expensive than conventional nuclear plant in operation, especially when all the cost of the continuous chemical processing is taken into account?

    My submission is that MSR and Thorium LFTR should be built specifically with the aim of transmuting the present insane stockpiles (yes – 145000 tonnes of the stuff ! – needing safe storage for 100000 years) of nuclear waste from the conventional nuclear industry, as the cost of transmuting the waste is likely to be less than storing it for a very long period.

    There is a place for MSR and Thorium LFTR, but for very specific purposes.

    Kind regards

    Tim

  • Justin Hale
    October 23, 2015 - 11:43 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been told that in a continuously reprocessing 2 fluid LFTR the Pa-233 could be isolated and allowed to decay into pure U-233 which could be used for bomb making. Is this true?

  • Timok
    October 30, 2015 - 12:11 am | Permalink

    Dear Justin

    Many thanks for your comment. Having consulted with several nuclear experts, that is also their opinion, namely that a Thorium LFTR can be modified to function as a source of nuclear bomb making material. For people to assert that Thorium LFTR cannot provide material for a bomb is grossly incorrect. However, the myth that Thorium LFTR is so unsuitable for weapons manufacture will no doubt be asserted by enthusiasts of Thorium LFTR. A realistic view is required: Thorium LFTR is better than conventional technology, but still nevertheless dangerous in operation.

    Kind regards

    • admin
      October 30, 2015 - 3:14 am | Permalink

      I removed a comment that characterized Dr. Tim disrespectfully. But I must object to the state of fear that his comments reveal. The notion of danger is debatable. Why would a more modern reactor be any more dangerous than already safe existing reactors? The technology keeps getting better presumably. You don’t need any special schooling to realize that. The possibility of using an MSR for nuclear weapons material is also a debatable topic. Yes a team of scientists could redesign and plan for creating bomb material. It would be extremely difficult to sabotage a molten salt reactor intended for commercial use. Even if a rogue nation doing this in secret it would be hard to do undetected. Safeguards would not be so difficult to create. Like a lot of other people have been saying there are easier ways to create nuclear bomb materials.

  • Timok
    October 31, 2015 - 1:19 am | Permalink

    Safety is relative. Problem is that any form of high-flux fission process creates a lot of radioactive material. This is true whether a nuclear reactor is Thorium LFTR, MSR in general or convention solid-fuel nuclear apparatus. Yes – you are correct that modern reactors have very many more safety features than earlier, and that safety has been improving as a function of time. However, the generation of highly radioactive fission by-products is a fundamental operation issue, and there will always be some safety issue arising as a consequence. To assert otherwise is fundamentally incorrect.

    However, wind turbines tend to cut birds to pieces and fragments from disintegrating turbine blades can also be hazardous, hydroelectric system dams can break and flood major areas downstream, biofuel depots have been known to break spontaneously into flame if biofuel storage is not correctly implemented, etc… so renewables are also not without their dangers.

    Kind regards

    Timok

    • admin
      October 31, 2015 - 1:39 am | Permalink

      Timok The “lot of radioactive material,” you refer to, is a generalized way of saying “look out that stuff is dangerous.” Again you are playing a game here. You appear to want people to fear radiation as you do even when it is not a danger because nobody is exposed to it. That radiation is contained and managed very well across the planet. We know too well the possible dangers if rules are not followed. The fact is that the rules are followed very well. The extreme case of Fukushima is exactly that yet still it has been inconsequential to peoples health as corroborated by several organizations like WHO etc. and experts who have agreed that no health effects (other than mental) have been observed.

      You sign “Kind regards” but I don’t consider you kind by sharing misleading information. If you really cared you would learn the truth about the competing energy forms such as coal and natural gas which both cause much more damage to humans as a result of their extraction and energy creating processes.

  • Timok
    October 31, 2015 - 11:26 am | Permalink

    World Health Organisation is a United Nations function as well as IAEA. WHO tends to play down the risks of radiation, as been widely reported. The waste is not well managed; there have been some recent serious incidences in the USA regarding highly dangerous nuclear waste from the Manhattan Project. The status of waste in Russia is not generally well known. To assert that the 145000 tonnes of highly reactive nuclear waste in the World is all (!) managed responsibly is a somewhat optimistic assertion. I wish it were true, bu the reality is otherwise.

    Kind regards

  • Timot
    May 22, 2016 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    Hello Paul

    India is working with Zirconia-clad Thorium solid fuel rod systems, that offer no advantage in comparison to Thorium LFTR. Silicon Carbide ceramic can be used for Thorium fuel rod cladding to allow them to be in the reactor for longer with deep burn. The high hard Gamma flux from a Thorium LFTR is particularly problematic, especially if something goes wrong and access is needed to address the problem.

    However, our assessment is that LENR will be more relevant technology in the future than even Thorium LFTR as heavy water is the fuel and Helium the by-product, with negligible radiation emissions;the LENR reaction was first demonstrated circa 100 years ago (but porly understood at the time), whereas fission came later around 1940’s onwards. We have several LENR prototypes running now, and are looking at scaling up the design for GW operation with collaborators.

  • Quick Facts: [Thorium Element 90 in periodic table] [Burns up fuel much more efficiently than traditional reactors] [leaves barely any waste behind] [3 x more abundant than uranium] [MSRs run at high temp in liquid molten mixture of fluoride - heat useful for purifying water] [looks like blue water] [no pressure needed] [much safer because of passive safety] [Less expensive to build because it is smaller and easier to build with no pressurized containment needed] [can run without water therefore good for dry and remote locations][molten salt is very stable]

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