Tag Archives: “Waste”

Advocates education Kirk Sorensen LFTR nuclear nuclear plants recycling reprocessing thorium uranium

"What garbage…a Thorium reactor needs an accelerator like a fish needs a bicycle."

This is Kirk Sorensen’s comment on his Facebook group page EnergyFromThorium which has encouraged 60 interesting responses.

 

What garbage…a thorium reactor needs an accelerator like a fish needs a bicycle.

www.dailymail.co.uk

No, not the engineer in the lab coat. Rather, the Electron Model of Many Applications in which she’s standing – a remarkable new technology which could change everything about the way we live.

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    • Cavan Stone

      Every scientist has their obsession, for those who tried to go into particle physics most have found that the problems there are best described as being akin to trench warfare. The accelerator crowd is probably made up of the folk who realized just how bleak particle physics is and need to get out. However the particle physics remains their true love and to make this problem “interesting” they over-complicate it by contorting the design to include their true love. One thing many scientists are guilty of is seeing their one true love as a golden hammer and everything else as a nail. I now I have fallen into this trap sometimes.
      15 hours ago ·  ·  2 people
    • Energy from Thorium

      ‎”‘This means the margin of safety is far greater than with a conventional plant,’ says Cywinski. ‘If the accelerator fails, all that will happen is that the reaction will subside. To stop the reactor, all you would have to do is switch off the accelerator.’”

      More mistakes from this ignorant fellow. If you walk away from any reactor with a negative temperature coefficient read more »

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Public Comment to BRC by Mike Conley

Mike Conley is a writer from L.A., California. He is working on a novel. Has a book being published and working on a script for a documentary. He also attended the Blue Ribbon Commission hearing on May 13th the same week and same city that hosted the third Thorium Energy Alliance Conference. Washington, D.C.
They only give each person three minutes so he was only able to read the first page. He was one of five people who had a statement to support the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor which was originally called a Thorium Molten Salt Breeder Reactor. Keep in mind that any details outlined about the actual design is purely a speculation and broadly based on the original designs from the 1960s by Alvin Weinberg’s team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. LFTR has flexibility of function and application.

The Thorium Paradigm
The problem is with the reactors we’ve been using to produce it. If the reactors at Fukushima had been Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs) they wouldn’t have had a disaster on their hands. 

  1. Liquid-fuel reactor technology was successfully developed at Oak Ridge National Labs in the 1960s. Although the test reactor worked flawlessly, the project was shelved, a victim of Cold War strategy. But LFTRs have been gathering a lot of attention lately, particularly since the tragic events in Japan.
  2. A LFTR is a completely different type of reactor. For one thing, it can’t melt down. It’s physically impossible. And since it’s air-cooled, it doesn’t have to be located near the shore. It can even be placed in an underground vault. A tsunami would roll right over it, like a truck over a manhole cover.
  3. Imagine a kettle of lava that never boils. A LFTR uses liquid fuel.nuclear material dissolved in molten fluoride salt. Conventional reactors are atomic pressure cookers, using solid fuel rods to super-heat water. That means the constant danger of high-pressure ruptures and steam leaks. But liquid fuel can always expand and cool off.
  4. LFTRs don’t even use water. Instead, they heat a common gas like CO2 to spin a turbine for generating power. So if a LFTR does leak, it’s not a catastrophe. Just like lava, the molten salt immediately cools off, quickly becoming an inert lump of rock.
  5. LFTRs burn Thorium, a mildly radioactive material as common as tin and found all over the world. We’ve already mined enough raw Thorium to power the country for 400 years. It’s the waste at our Rare Earth Element mines.
  6. LFTRs consume fuel so efficiently that they can even use the spent fuel from other reactors, while producing a miniscule amount of waste themselves. In fact, the waste from a LFTR is virtually harmless in just 300 years. (No, that’s not a typo.) Yucca Mountain is obsolete. So are Uranium reactors.
  7. LFTR technology has been sitting on the shelf at Oak Ridge for over forty years. But now the manuals are dusted off, and a dedicated group of nuclear industry outsiders is ready to build another test reactor and give it a go. Will it work. If it doesn’t, we’ll have one more reactor to retire.
    But if it does work and there is every reason to believe that it will the LFTR will launch a new American paradigm of clean, cheap, safe and abundant energy.
    Let’s build one and see!

A Uranium reactor is an atomic pressure-cooker – it works just fine until it pops a gasket. Then you’ve got a mess on your hands. Even when it works properly, it wastes 95% of its fuel, making another mess. And the same procedure for making that fuel is used to make nuclear weapons. Is that any way to power a planet.

A Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR, pronounced “lifter” ) is a completely different approach to generating power, with none of the problems inherent in Uranium reactors and several unique advantages. If the reactors at Fukushima had been LFTRs, Fukushima would never have happened.

The Molten Salt Reactor was the precursor to the LFTR. Developed at Oak Ridge National Labs in the sixties, the MSR performed flawlessly for 20,000 hours. But in spite of its superior design and stellar performance, the program was cancelled – a victim of professional rivalry, personality conflicts, and Cold War strategy.

LFTR technology has literally been sitting on the shelf for over forty years, but it’s been gathering a lot of keen attention lately. Because if LFTRs perform as predicted (and there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that they will) they will go a long way toward resolving the four main problems that everyone has with nuclear energy – Waste, Safety, Proliferation, and Cost.

WASTE: Yucca Mountain is obsolete. Why. Because LFTRs will eat nuclear waste for lunch. They’re designed to burn fuel so efficiently, that they can also consume the spent fuel that’s wasted by Uranium reactors. LFTRs will also be able to consume the cores of dismantled nuclear weapons.

No reactor is waste-free, but a LFTR’s waste will be miniscule. For a LFTR big enough to power a city of one million, the yearly long-term waste would be the size of a basketball, and becomes virtually harmless in just 300 years.

No, that’s not a typo. That’s how clean a LFTR will run. Its main fuel will be Thorium, a mildly radioactive element found all over the world. We have thousands of tons of it already dug up – it’s in the slag piles at our Rare Earth Element mines. (“REEs” are typically found with thorium ore.)
A 1-gigawatt LFTR, big enough to power a city of one million, will run on one ton of pure Thorium a year. The current price for a ton is $107,000 (that’s not a typo, either.) At the end of each year, 1,660 pounds of that ton will be “short-term” waste, meaning it’s virtually harmless in one year. The other 340 lbs (the size of a basketball) will take while longer to mellow out.

SAFETY: Imagine a kettle of lava that simmers but never boils. It’s super-hot, but it’s not under pressure. A LFTR is essentially a kettle of atomic lava. The analogy is accurate – Thorium and Uranium reactions are what keep the earth’s core molten. In a LFTR, Thorium is dissolved in molten (liquefied) fluoride salt. That’s why the Molten Salt Reactor is now called a Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor.

If this “lava” ever leaks out (actually, it looks and flows just like green dish soap) there’s no explosion, because there’s nothing around the power plant for the molten salt to react with – LFTRs don’t use water to keep cool, or make steam to spin a turbine. They heat a common gas like CO2 instead.

Since the liquid fuel is never under pressure, a leak would simply “pool and cool” just like lava, quickly forming a blob of solid rock on the reactor room floor. If it spilled into a flooded reactor room, it would behave like the lava flows in Hawaii. A bit of steam would billow off the cooling blob of salt, and that would be it.

Only two percent of the salt mixture is the actual radioactive fuel, and every atom of atomic fuel is chemically bonded to the salt. There are no radioactive particles floating around inside a LFTR, ready to escape. Every particle is bonded to the salt itself, and stays that way until it is burned as fuel. The big problem at Fukushima wasn’t radioactive material such as Cesium leaking out of the reactors. The big problem was that it leaked out and spread into the environment. But if a LFTR leaked any Cesium at all, it would be trace amounts of Cesium Fluoride locked into the fluoride salt. Liquid fuel solves a crucial problem of environmental safety.

Once the salt has cooled, it’s an inert radioactive blob with the consistency of cast iron, and dissolves in water very, very slowly. In fact, the minerals in both fresh and salt water would form a protective crust over the blob, enhancing its ability to withhold contaminants from the environment. So if the reactor room were flooded,
by a tsunami or a hurricane or even sabotage, the amount of material transferred to the environment would be negligible.

Liquid fuel is stable stuff. Below 450°C (about 750°F) it’s just a lump of rock, and can be broken up and collected by robots or other remote machinery. A year after the spill, it can be manually recovered by workers in radiation suits. Like any nuclear fuel, it’s dangerous. But at least it’ll stay put until you can clean it up.

A LFTR will naturally regulate its own temperature, but a Uranium reactor will naturally overheat, unless it’s held back by a robust cooling system. Solid fuel rods get hot, and they also heat each other up, which is a good thing, but they can’t expand or move away from each other to cool themselves off. For a lot of technical reasons, the coolant of choice is super-heated water, which stays liquid as long as it’s kept under pressure. Hence the term “atomic pressure cooker.”

In the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979, the cooling system failed for a mere ten seconds. That’s all it took. At Fukushima, all the control rods dropped the moment the earthquake hit. Which was good; that stopped the fission process. But the fuel rods were still red hot, and they were still tightly packed together. And, there was no electric power to run the cooling system. So when the tsunami flooded the backup generators, everything went to hell in a hand basket.

Nuclear power is wonderful stuff, but after a series of spectacular near misses and disasters, a lot of people have written off Uranium reactors as accidents waiting to happen. The numbers on the dice are too big, they’ll tell you. The risks are too great. They’ve had it up to here with nuclear power…

But nuclear power isn’t the problem. The problem is with the reactors
we’ve been using to produce it.

LFTRs are completely different. For one thing, they can’t melt down.
Ever. The reason is simple: How do you melt a liquid. Solid fluoride salt melts
at 450°C. With a full load of atomic material, the temperature rises to about 700°C (1,300°F.) If the liquid fuel starts to overheat, it expands, which separates the radioactive
particles and slows the fission process, cooling the molten salt back down again.

This completely eliminates the need for control rods and a cooling system, as well as all of the problems, costs, and risks associated with a pressurized light water reactor. It also entirely eliminates any possibility of a meltdown. Better yet, the fuel will be piped through a processing unit, where the contaminants that spoil solid fuel rods are easily removed. This increases the fuel-burning efficiency of a LFTR to 99%, which greatly reduces the volume and the radioactivity of its waste.

Liquid fuel changes everything.

A LFTR never operates under pressure because even with a full load of nuclear material, the molten salt is still more than 500°C below its boiling point. And if it ever does start to get too hot, a freeze plug of solid salt in a drainpipe below the reactor will melt away. The fuel will empty into a large holding tank and solidify.

On Friday afternoons at Oak Ridge, the research scientists would switch off a common household fan that cooled the freeze plug. The hot salt above the plug would melt it, and the fuel would drain out of the reactor by gravity. On Monday mornings, they would switch on the heating coils and re-melt the fuel, then pump it back into the reactor and turn on the freeze plug fan. Even Homer Simpson couldn’t screw that up. For five years, the reactor practically ran itself. They used to joke that the biggest problem they had was finding something to do.

Passive safety isn’t just built into the LFTR; it’s built into the actual fuel itself. The genius of liquid fuel is that the stuff won’t even work unless it’s held within the confined space of a reactor. In a Uranium reactor, the solid fuel rods keep radiating heat even when the control rods are dropped. The cooling system never rests. But when a LFTR shuts down, the fuel shuts down and sleeps like a rock.

Because of the constant and absolutely critical need for cooling, all Uranium reactors are located near a large body of water. It’s a tragedy that some were installed near the seashore, in the most earthquake-prone nation in the world, the very country that coined the word tsunami. But when you’re a small, crowded island nation hungry for carbon-free energy, you don’t have much of a choice…

Until now. Because LFTRs are air-cooled. That changes everything as well. Because that means they can be installed anywhere. They can even be placed in underground vaults to ward off an attack or a natural disaster. If a vault is near the ocean, a tsunami would roll right over it, like a truck over a manhole cover.

PROLIFERATION: Any rogue nation can build a 1940s-style graphite pile reactor and make the Plutonium for a bomb. That’s what North Korea did. Or they can use centrifuges to purify Uranium for a bomb. That’s probably what Iran is doing. Or, with a lot of expense and difficulty, they can convert a Uranium power reactor into a Plutonium breeder. The genie has been out of the bottle for over sixty years.

LFTRs convert Thorium into Uranium-233, an incredibly nasty substance. It’s an efficient, hot-burning reactor fuel, but it’s a very problematic weapons material. By contrast, U-235 and Pu-239 are very well behaved substances, and can be easily worked with in the lab or the factory. Out of the tens of thousands of nuclear weapons that were ever produced, the U.S. military built and tested only one U-233 “ device.” It was a partial fizzle, and we promptly abandoned the idea.

Even though LFTRs and LFTR fuel will be “denatured” to prevent weapons production, a rogue nation could possibly get around the fix and start a U-233 bomb program. But they’d have to start from scratch. There’s a wealth of information about U-235 and U-239 weapon design, and several experienced scientists could probably be recruited. But making a U-233 bomb is a lost art.

So, yes, in theory, you could make a bomb with a LFTR. But the development of a workable device would be an expensive and painstaking affair. Even though LFTRs won’t be “bomb-proof” per se, Uranium and Plutonium technology is very well known, thoroughly proven, and fully developed. So why reinvent The Bomb.

One last point: Nuclear weapons are not dependent on nuclear power. Even if every commercial power reactor in the world were taken out of service, that still wouldn’t stop the bad guys from pursuing nuclear weapons. North Korea developed the bomb without generating a single watt of nuclear power.

COST: The cost of a nuclear power plant is largely determined by four elements: The reactor itself; the structure that contains it; the inspection process; and the lawsuits that are piled on the project.

This last element adds an enormous amount of time and money to the endeavor, which raises utility rates and turns off investors and insurance firms and voters. So a rational comparison can only be made with the first two elements – the cost of the reactor and the cost of the containment structure.

The inspection process varies, depending on which reactor technology is used, and a Uranium reactor’s custom-made high-pressure systems require a bewildering thicket of inspections, tests, and reports. You’d think they were trying to go to the moon.

 

But LFTRs are an entirely different technology. In fact, it’s a lot more like high-temperature plumbing than nuclear physics. And because molten salt sheds heat quite easily, an elaborate cooling system isn’t even needed. A simple radiator will suffice.

Since LFTRs don’t operate under pressure, high-strength valves and fittings and high-pressure pipes aren’t needed, either. Off-the-shelf parts will do. Back-up generators, emergency cooling systems, control rod mechanisms, spent fuel storage pools, the crane for replacing fuel rods, the reactor pressure vessel, the airtight containment dome – all of these pricey items and more are eliminated.

For various reasons, every Uranium power reactor in America was designed and built from scratch, which significantly added to their build time as well as their cost. The plans alone would often exceed $100 Million in today’s dollars.

But LFTRs will be small and standardized, allowing them to be mass-produced in factories and shipped by rail. Their low-pressure components will be much easier to assemble, allowing for faster and simplified inspection. LFTRs will be modular, so a power plant will be able to grow along with the city it serves. All these factors and more will combine to produce a trickle-down effect, greatly reducing the complexity, cost, size, and build time of each project.

The current estimate for 1-gigawatt Thorium power plant is somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 Billion. That makes Thorium competitive with coal.

CONCLUSION: Liquid fuel is the killer app of nuclear power. It’s a whole new ball game. In fact, LFTRs could even replace the furnaces of our existing fossil fuel power plants, including coal. (Don’t get me started about coal…) LFTRs will provide carbon-free power wherever it’s needed, 24/7/365.

We’ve already mined enough fuel for over 400 years. They’ll be mass-produced right here in America, providing plenty of good jobs, and they’ll get us off of foreign oil and domestic natural gas, and even King Coal, by providing us with all the safe, clean energy we need.

Will they work as promised? Let’s build one and see. Power to the Planet!

Mike Conley Los Angeles p.s.

One more thing: Last fall, a delegation from China visited Oak Ridge National Labs. When they returned home, they announced that they would be embarking on an aggressive Molten Salt Reactor program, and would be patenting everything they can think of along the way. The Chinese are eating our lunch again, and using our own damn recipe. If this isn’t a Sputnik Moment, then I don’t know what is.

[I recall he did improvise a few words at the end in regard to building.the LFTR: Let us build one even if we make total fools of our selves as if to say "What if we're right?"]

 

 

“THE THORIUM PARADIGM” soon to be a one-hour documentary
from B2MR PRODUCTIONS

Executive Producer: James Blakeley III

310-283-8632

james.blakeley@yahoo.com

Producer: Marina Martins

310-666-9213

marina.uig@gmail.com

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Thorium Molten Salt Reactor covered in Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal wrote this on Thorium MARCH 19, 2011

Does a Different Nuclear Power Lie Ahead? By MATT RIDLEY
Might the Fukushima accident eventually create a chance for the nuclear industry to “reboot”? In recent years some have begun to argue that solid-fuel uranium reactors like the ones in Japan are an outdated technology that deserves to peter out and be replaced by an entirely different kind of nuclear energy that will be both safer and cheaper…

The attention brought by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant break down has had unexpected attention brought to the Thorium Molten Salt Reactor which by the way has no need for water or containment and cannot melt down and will not radiate the worst nuclear isotopes.

There was a time when the Americans chose a path based on the perceived need to compete with the Russians for military supremacy. Nuclear weapons needed Plutonium. The method at the time was to breed Plutonium in a reactor. But Thorium Molten Salt Reactors could not produce Plutonium. This was viewed as a negative and became shelved.

Fifty years later, the worst nuclear breakdown since Chernobyl in 1986 has turned turned out to be relatively minor and the 50 remaining nuclear reactors in Japan remain safe. The different circumstances are so obvious. For instance human error was responsible for the Chernobyl accident. A natural disaster of such an unexpected strength that has not been experienced by Japan in modern history caused the disruption of 4 reactor units at the same plant in Fukushima Daiichi. The safety record for nuclear power plants has been unsurpassed by any other power facility or other industry.

The antinuclear movement has unwittingly helped the progress of nuclear energy. Articles such as these will now become more common over the next few months. The reality is that people are asking why has there been so little innovation over the last 30 years? Can reactors be made safer?

One of the main inventors of the Thorium Molten Salt Reactor, Alvin Weinberg, knew that they were superior to the solid fueled reactors and pushed for their acceptance. He eventually lost his job for making too much noise about it when the politics of the time were more about arms than climate change. Weinberg was ahead of his time. He also designed the Light Water Reactor, currently the most popular reactors, which he himself turned against.

Now considered a fourth generation technology the Thorium Molten Salt Reactor shows the most promise as a nuclear energy design precisely because they solve the problems that made the older nuclear power plant designs unpopular.

Advocates Charles Barton education Kirk Sorensen LFTR nuclear nuclear plants reprocessing thorium

Hey Utah, China knows Weinberg was right about TMSR's. No Water Needed!

Utah needs water for nuclear power but water is scarce. (see Article in the Salt Lake tribune) The only alternative besides a LFTR is Natural Gas.

What’s that? A “LiFTer”? Huh? A LFTR is a Molten Salt Reactor that is a Fourth Generation Reactor yet it’s origins are predecessors of our current reactors. Why does China and Japan want them? China has started their own program as of last month. Japan will likely follow this year. Why? Because they are extremely adaptable and useful for all kinds of applications.  Besides, thorium is plentiful and the reactors emit zero carbon dioxide. Natural gas emits how much CO2? We know that it’s a lot.

The TMSR’s are cleaner and more fuel efficient and create almost no nuclear waste. Oh, and did I mention that it can also reprocess used fuel very effectively and that they are less expensive to build than LWR’s because they don’t need a dome containment.  Who invented the TMSR? Weinberg!!! Alvin Weinberg. You know who invented the light bulb. You know who invented the telephone. But you don’t know who invented the LWR. The basic principal originated with guess who? Alvin Weinberg!!! The 104 reactors (soon to be 105 if things work out) are all based on Alvin Weinberg’s design. Is his name in your child’s history book or science book? No.

These facts have been stated over and over among the various websites who advocate the Thorium Molten Salt Reactor and it’s successor the LFTR. China says it might take them 20 years but experts here say it could be done in less than 10 years maybe even 5 years. What’s stopping us? Just a few regulatory and licensing hurdles and an entourage of  “do gooder” antinuclear groups who, like Oprah Winfrey’s audience, judges before they know the facts. Sorry Oprah. I guess you deserve some credit for recognizing they exist. I guess Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck also count on the gullible masses.

LFTR’s don’t use water. They don’t need pressurized containment. They can be shut down very quickly.  What’s the old KnowItAll Nuclear establishment’s excuse? The graphite cracks. Hmm that’s a 50 year old problem. Material knowledge has grown immensely in 50 years. There are a whole group of smart guys who believe in this technology. You owe it to Alvin Weinberg. You owe it to the American people. You can’t just let this huge body of knowledge stay on the shelves of some library at ORNL.

“A single thorium mine in Idaho could produce 4500 MT of fuel per year. The current US energy load could be supplied by 400MT. We also ALREADY have 3200 MT of it stored underground in a Nevada Test Site from past efforts.”

It’s taken almost 30 years for us to realize that we’ve fallen behind in the energy race. We still are a highly resourceful people. The next wave of reactors really should be LFTR’s but how about building just one to start. What better opportunity than a place that is short of water. Ironically the 1st reactor in thirty years will start in 2012 will still be based on the LWR’s. And in that time France built their fleet to handle 80% of their electricity.  It’s not the law enforcers who are to blame it’s the model of regulation, licensing and punitive rules for the unfair advantage they have over fossil fuels.

Even if the country does not embrace LFTR’s I am still pronuclear. The developments over the last 30 years have been huge in improvements to LWR’s and HWR’s (Canada’s contribution).

You can look around here or go to http://energyfromthorium.com or http://nucleargreen.blogspot.com or check out my blog list for more information.

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The Physicians for Social Responsibility or Mental Disability?

Here was a comment I placed on the Salem-news.com article “Reactor Reax: Nuclear Energy Reporting This Week”  This article has the support of a surprising self-proclaimed group of anti nukers the Physicians for Social Responsibility

The article is so trashy I won’t give it the light of day on this blog. I had a friend who once suggested that engineers are generally smarter than doctors. Now I am really convinced. Here’s my comment:

This is really foolish to pick on Nuclear. The rate of development of solar and wind is not only too slow and unreliable they need a backup system and nuclear is perfect for that. It’s predictable and because it is far more concentrated it will meet the needs of the planet far sooner. We need a Manhattan style project to save the earth from disasterous climate change. But if you want to see destruction keep doing what you’re doing. We’ll be catapulted into a dark age.

I should add maybe the last dark age. We may not survive to see it end.

They made a website that is an attempt to make anyone pro nuclear appear evil.
http://www.nuclearbailout.org/
They are suggesting that the loan guarantees are some kind of a bailout. The success of nuclear is far too great to pay such a great deal of disrespect and blind competition. Where are their brains? It’s all been layed out in numerous articles and blogs. It’s sad really.

Even American Wind Energy is starting to recognize the importance of keeping nuclear. See the new York Time article Green Lobby Weighs ‘Political Realities’ of Energy Policy, Finds ‘Clean Energy Standard’ Isn’t So Bad

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China Solves Nuclear Self Sufficiency For 3000 Years – Reprocessing!!!

This article appeared in the African Engineering News ….. (UPDATE: Original China Daily Story )

China Central Television reported on Monday that the country’s scientists have successfully developed technology to reprocess spent nuclear fuel.

Other countries, such as France, Russia and the UK, have already developed and employ such technology, but, because it is highly sensitive, it cannot be bought and each country seeking to recycle nuclear fuel must develop the technology itself.

Recycling spent nuclear fuel reduces the amount of newly mined uranium required to feed nuclear power stations, thus extending the life of uranium reserves, or permitting the same resources to fuel a greater number of reactors.

China Central Television claimed that the newly developed recycling technology would, presumably at current usage, mean that China’s uranium resources would last for 3 000 years.

The China Daily newspaper reports that the country’s proven uranium reserves currently total 171 400 t, and are mainly found in the provinces of Jiangxi, Guangdong, Hunan, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Liaoning and Yunnan. (The provinces are listed in the order given by the newspaper.)

The recycling technology was developed and tested at China National Nuclear Corporation’s No. 404 Factory, located in the Gobi desert in Gansu province.

China Daily states that the country now has 12 operational nuclear reactors with a total generating capacity of 10,15 GW.

The Chinese government has established an official target of 40 GW of nuclear generating capacity by 2020.

However, Beijing has indicated that it could double this to 80 GW, to more rapidly reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Prior to the announcement of the local development of nuclear fuel recycling technology, Chinese researchers had been of the opinion that the country would have had to import 60% of its uranium requirements by 2020, even if only the more modest nuclear expansion programme was implemented.

2007 Article still very relevant – Recycling Nuclear Fuel: The French Do It, Why Can’t Oui?

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Wired article just barely a year old about Thorium

The Wired Magazine article Uranium Is So Last Century — Enter Thorium, the New Green Nuke

I remember when the author Richard Martin was lurking on the EnergyFromThorium forum researching the topic. Very good background article covers Kirk Sorensen’s early days with his first encounters with the ORNL masters and the book that taught him it’s secrets.

The enthusiasm is low-key as expected from the nerd culture of Wired Magazine but definitely worth reading.

Funding LFTR nuclear thorium

Possible billion dollar return from one tonne of Thorium

Kirk Sorensen provided this fascinating look at what a LFTR could do in the not so distant future:

Each metric tonne of thorium consumed in a LFTR could produce:

9900 GWe*hr of electricity (at 45% conversion efficiency)
up to 15 kg (8400 watts*thermal) of Pu-238 for NASA space missions
20 kg of molybdenum-99 for medical procedures
5 g of thorium-229 for targeted alpha therapy medical procedures
3300 thermal watts of strontium-90 for heating sources
150 kg of stable xenon
125 kg of stable neodymium

that’s about
$600M worth of electricity
~$100M worth of Pu-238
~$200-300M worth of Mo-99
and about $300K worth of xenon and neodymium

and many lives saved through clean electricity and medical radioisotopes.

See Kirk’s talk on Google Tech Talk posted Dec 6th 2010 – Is Nuclear Waste Really Waste?

Funding New Posts nuclear

My enthusiasm for rooting for nuclear energy is wilting. Just a phase I hope.

I have not lost my belief in nuclear but my faith in humanity has really been tested lately. I have watched my usual sources for something that would grab my attention and be newsworthy. There have been significant headlines. Billions more set aside for loan guarantees. Some states want Yucca mountain revived. Politicians who support nuclear do nothing to bring down the costs. My last blog on the problems with regulation got me thinking. It’s one of those moments that forces you to contemplate reality. I know that what I do here is serving a purpose to help raise awareness but I started to realize that it’s far more than awareness that needs changing.  I know why the green movement has become popular. It makes you feel good to think that we are standing up at least symbolically for nature. The general population does not think radiation is from nature.

Watching Obama and Chu under perform is painful. They are good men. It seems we have no politicians left that are passionate about what they believe. The closest two that I observe that consistently show a lot of integrity are Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich. But they are too far from public acceptance. Strong leaders know how to rally interest for their cause. It used to be a mans world but things have changed. The sum of a man used to be wrapped up in far less criteria. Now a man who wants to be liked needs to be too many things to all people.  I read about compromise every time a new bill needs passing.  Maybe just maybe there is a way for more effective leadership. My biggest criticism of Obama is that he’s too apologetic and maybe a little too meticulous about getting everything done. Since I had so little to say about nuclear I thought I’d be one more critic in the endless number of opinions by non-experts being expressed out there.

I’m not sure what it will take to wake people up to what’s going on. The signs are all there.  I think there’s a fundamental problem with thinking we can influence nature. As much as AGW is likely to be true the idea that we can stop it is almost as hard to believe as the idea we can change the weather.  We all know it’s gone out of whack all over the planet. There’s some kind of threshold of acceptability that will make the difference. Just like AIDS had to become a major epidemic and was more than a disease for homosexuals, the wakeup call has to really hit close to home to affect people and make them act against or speak out against things that need changing.  These days pleading ignorance is a poor excuse.

My best advice to everyone. Learn to live with less so that you have more time to be involved in your community and therefore the world.

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American Nuclear Society

AUDEEN FENTIMAN Associate dean of engineering, professor of nuclear engineering at Perdue University testifies to Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.

Last week Fentiman testified on behalf of the American Nuclear Society to the Blue Ribbon Commission. Their final report will be submitted in January 2012 to The Blue Ribbon Commission. The Blue Ribbon Commission final report is also due by January 2012.

Eric Weddle of BoilerStation.com asked “In your testimony, you said the main obstacles to a rational fuel cycle policy are political, financial and social, but not technological. Why is that?”

AUDEEN FENTIMAN: That is a major point that we made. All of the things that we are saying we need — geological storage, interim storage sites or even recycling — all of those things are being done and have been done to some extent somewhere in the world. So technically we know how to know them. We need a long-term policy and for that, we need financial, political and social (support). …READ MORE

Main obstacles “political, financial and social, but not technological” How about that?

  • 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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