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Dennis Peterson

Oct 3, 2011
01:55

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Nice writeup! I advocate LFTRs and other advanced reactors in my National proposal "Cycling Carbon."

2011 Judges

Oct 11, 2011
06:48

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Overall assessment: Alternative nuclear technologies is an interesting avenue to pursue, though breeder reactors have been controversial. Judges’ comments and suggestions for improvement: - This is a compelling argument for giving the thorium cycle a fling. The arguments are persuasive, and the multiple problems that it might solve are many. - I don't have the expertise to evaluate this, although I like the idea of pushing a new technology approach (even though I gather the technology itself isn't new). The proposal doesn't deal with non-proliferation aspects.

Mike Carey

Oct 12, 2011
12:23

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Safe nuclear power is the only scalable source of energy for a world that will continue to poison itself unless fossil fuels are replaced. (See Malhotra, "A Cubic Mile of Oil.") Thousand of people die prematurely every year, from the toxic effects of fossil fuels, and will continue to do so, while vested interests support the deniers and scare mongers. China and India will dominate this emerging energy source unless the US reclaims its research own technology and leads the way to a safer, cleaner cheaper energy future.

Dennis Peterson

Oct 23, 2011
11:32

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Thorium reactors aren't exactly breeder reactors in the traditional sense, since they don't breed plutonium. Proliferation is less of an issue with thorium reactors since the fissile material is U233. No country uses U233 for bombs, but the U.S. did test it once, and the bomb fizzled. I've seen a suggestion that it's an inherent problem with the neutron economy of U233 fission, causing the bomb to blow apart before it fissions to a great extent. The people who actually know, of course, aren't talking. Thorium advocates have been discussing proliferation issues at length. With some reactor designs, the U233 ends up mixed with U232, which emits gamma rays, making the bomb difficult to handle and easy to detect. Separating U233 from U232 is more difficult than separating U235 from U238. Bottom line is, even if you have a thorium reactor, you're probably going to use traditional approaches if you want to make a bomb.

Alex Cannara

Oct 24, 2011
04:19

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Note that replacing existing or planned combustion power generation with LFTR means trying to catch up with the result aimed for in the 1962 Seaborg Commission report -- 700GWe of emissions-free power in the US by 2000. We have somewhat over 100GWe in the US now. This means our debt is 600GWe x 12 x emissions produced by non-nuclear generation since 2000, plus the average excess emissions caused by non-replacement of combustion power subsequent to 1963. Thus the model used in this lab needs some way of accounting for start dates & build rates for emissions-free power, in order to accurately forecast the two key effects of LFTR deployment: a) emissions reduction/prevention in proportion to deployment rate (e.g., GWe/week); and b) use of atmospheric CO2 to fabricate combustion fuels for those applications likely to require them indefinitely (e.g., aircraft). For example: http://home.comcast.net/~robert.hargraves/public_html/NuclearAmmoniaITHEODraft6.ppt Thus, LFTR deployment eliminates much of the construction emissions per GWe plant, it eliminates most all mining & transportation emissions, and it eliminates all enrichment & spent-fuel handling emissions. It then goes a step further in providing combustion fuel without added emissions and it provides desalination & cooling-water independence, each with emissions benefits to be quantified per project. Somehow, a model must include all these benefits to emissions reduction/elimination. I note the forestation aspect to the model. In this case, LFTR is somewhat unrelated, though it eliminates the need for forest harvesting for combustion power. And, it reduces the land required per GWe below that of any other source. It can be noted that in the 1960-1980 period, scientists advised one approach to mitigating combustion emissions -- tree planting. The estimate around 1970 was that 1 trillion trees needed to be planted per year. This was 200 trees per capita per year. So, if LFTR funding & development had proceeded from 1974, with forests protected and many trees planted, our present global-warming/ocean-acidification problems would be less than half what they are today -- trying to find a mechanism for going back 30 years and catching up with our US TWe deficit in emissions-free power. The deficit in China & India is growing faster, despite their plans for tens of emissions-free nuclear power plants -- our models need to reflect that as well, since it stems directly from our US failure to develop & deploy technology like LFTR years before countries like China & India became major emitters of GHGs, largely because of our business dependence on them.

Alex Cannara

Oct 24, 2011
05:27

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On weapons, using molten salt at >700C makes for a very high barrier to diversion. As commented to the Expert reviewers, the in-reactor processing of bred 233U from Thorium blanket to fission core involves simple fluorination to separate the gas UF6 from the blanket molten salt continuously (see LFTR diagram). A full 1GWe reactor will need about 10 ounces per hour of this diversion of 233U from blanket to core. Anyone trying to divert some of that, either as gas or molten salt (both at >700C) will face challenges: a) how to divert without detection from 10 ounces/hour, when the reactor's power will obviously decrease because it always has only just enough fissile U in core to meet the power demand; and b) diverting more than what's needed for power means adding unaccounted-for port & flow somewhere in the fluorination input to de-fluorination output paths, again at >700C and at a flow rate that would attempt theft of at least one kg of fissile material within a period of minutes to hours. In the case of LFTR, the fissile U233 is also always accompanied by 232U, whose gamma radiation signature is dangerous and easily detected. Given the reality today of laser isotope separation, it would be far easier to derive bomb material from stolen LWR fuel rods or UF6 gas canisters now stored in open fields in Kentucky and other US sites. The theft would not be physi8cally dangerous and the processing via laser enrichment would be easily disguised in a small industrial shop. However, international nuclear regulatory agencies need strengthening and treaty authority that allows full access to, and full control of, operations, if any country wishes to benefit from any nuclear power technology. Thus the proposal that the IAEA be given powers to require any country wishing to share the benefits of nuclear power to adhere to standard power plant monitoring & control established by the IAEA (and NRC...). This means two new capabilities must exist in any new nuclear plant: 1) full, public observability into all relevant aspects of plant operation, via remote sensors, video streams, etc.; and 2) full capability of the IAEA (NRC...) to cause the plant to enter safe shutdown and be sealed from material removal via instant, remote control. All the information will be available to anyone anywhere via secure network communication. Remote shutdown will be available only to the IAEA or other treaty-identified agency. This system will provide the assurance that any nuclear technology used for power generation is not subverted for other purposes, whether for fission weapons or 'dirty' bomb materials. For reference, note that in the US, we allow non-nuclear power generation a free pass on radioactive element emissions -- the NORM (Normally Occurring Radioactive Materials) escape clause. Thus, though coal-burning releases Radon, Uranium, etc. into the air in large amounts, these emissions are allowed in the US because they're 'natural' components of coal. The vast coal-ash 'lakes' created by coal plants are even more rich in elements like Uranium than are typical ores. Similarly for gas combustion -- Radon is released when most any material is extracted from underground, even via geothermal power. The same has even been true of the fertilizer & tobacco industries, where 40Potassium, Radon & other radioactive elements are routinely dispersed on fields, with Radon, for example, being deposited by dew on tobacco leaves, decaying to Polonium, and then rolled into cigarettes/cigars to be inhaled. The nuclear-power industry has actually been the safest form of power for decades because, despite occasional design/operation flaws (e.g., Chernobyl, Fukushima...), radioactive elements & radiation is taken seriously by most designers, regulators, management & operating staff. Conventional combustion energy sources have not been managed with the same level of science or seriousness. as their accident death tolls make clear.

Valerie Gardner

Oct 27, 2011
04:59

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Alex, for starters, let's assume that all of the facts that you present on all of the individual issues associated with advocating a form of nuclear power need to be fully addressed and vetted by supporters and skeptics, both extant and emerging. That cummulative information needs to be accessible not only to those with whom the issues are being actively discussed but also to newcomers to the concept, or else you'll be spending a lot of your time redundantly answering the same questions over and over. Thus, rather than write these long answers each time over and over, can you break out each aspect as a separate issue or concern, and begin to aggregate the answers into an organized outline? Some aspects of questioning will then be shown to be answered, while other aspects or subsets of concern will need continued debate, discussion and perhaps, research. I suggest we seek a method to compile the record, to conserve our energy and time and leverage technology so that you and the team can really focus on those aspects that are unanswered in this very complex arena.

Alex Cannara

Oct 27, 2011
06:11

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Sure Valerie. I have a draft article that addresses many of the issues, and it will include issues like radiation & health. I can send the draft to anyone and can also refer folks to the TEA & iTheo sites for excellent presentations. If this proposal is approved, then one of the key actions for the team is to establish a broadly useful educational source of documents & people, because this is necessarily a political endeavor that happens to apply science & engineering to solving key problems faced in the world. Here are some of the places to get good info right now (this is why I wrote a summary article)... Nuclear Science... http://ie.lbl.gov/toi.html www.colorado.edu/physics/2000/applets/iso.html (Beta Decay +- applet) http://lpsc.in2p3.fr/gpr/PPNPport/node47.html (delayed neutrons) http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/ http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/tableofelementsc.pdf Public... www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/sep/09/nuclear-power-popular-in-uk DoE & Senate... www.politico.com/news/stories/1210/46080.html#ixzz17pJ0eJjh www.truth-out.org/signs-life-senate-obamas-clean-energy-standard68796 www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/04/22/what-i-heard-about-energy-policy-through-advise-advisor President's 2010 Commission... http://brc.gov/Reactor_Fuel_Cycle_Technology_SC/RFCT_SC_08_30_10mtginfo.html http://brc.gov/library/reports/BlueRibbon_Report-pages.pdf http://webcast.streamlogics.com/audience/index.asp?eventid=78656511 (final public testimony ~6:30in) NRC, etc... www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/10/us-usa-nuclear-waste-idUSTRE7590SV20110610 www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/nuclear/page/intro.html http://fb.me/13pRE9z9F (waste) Safety... http://imgs.xkcd.com/blag/radiation.png http://www.energyfromthorium.com/javaws/SpentFuelExplorer.jnlp (spent fuel calc) www.inpo.info/AboutUs.htm www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIBQMkd96CA (1961 SL-1 accident) http://atomicinsights.com/1996/07/caused-accident-plenty-of-blame-share.html http://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/march/japan-nuclear-symposium-032211.html http://finance.yahoo.com/news/NJ-home-to-oldest-US-nuke-apf-631167215.html?x=0&.v=2 www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/03/24/nuclear.plant.visit/?iref=hpbua (Indian Point) www.washingtonpost.com/local/for-calvert-cliffs-japan-a-reminder-of-potential-perils-of-nuclear-plant-work/2011/03/25/AFktWduB_story.html?hpid=z8 http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2011/03/23/n_indian_point_nuclear_nyc.cnnmoney/ www.washingtonpost.com/national/nuclear-power-is-safest-way-to-make-electricity-according-to-2007-study/2011/03/22/AFQUbyQC_story.html?hpid=z3 or: http://tinyurl.com/3nwjboz www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/05/anti-nuclear-lobby-misled-world www.monbiot.com/author/george/ www.upi.com/Science_News/2011/04/04/Scientists-eye-algae-for-nuclear-cleanup/UPI-45951301956566/ www.cnn.com/2011/US/04/22/georgia.nuclear.plant/index.html?hpt=T2 www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fukushima-meltdown-may-me http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/nuclear/chernobyl-25-years-later/?utm_source=techalert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=042811 www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/27/us-utilities-tva-storms-idUSTRE73Q98920110427 www.readersupportednews.org/news-section2/338-177/5785-japans-nuclear-adviser-resigns-in-tearful-protest http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/energy/nuclear/the-scale-of-the-accident-was-beyond-my-imagination/?utm_source=techalert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=051911 http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=13700905 www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/07/japan-doubles-fukushima-radiation-leak-estimate http://theenergycollective.com/barrybrook/61373/climate-s-sake-nuclear-power-not-option-it-necessity www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vywZ84mixs (BBC Horizon, 9/16) www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15256981 (10/11, UK post-Fukushima) http://spectrum.ieee.org/podcast/at-work/education/radiations-big-lie/?utm_source=techalert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=102011 (http://tinyurl.com/4xqwzjc) www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-rather/nuclear-reactors_b_830392.html?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=030311&utm_medium=email&utm_content=BlogEntry&utm_term=Daily+Brief Molten Salt reactors... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten_salt_reactor www.ornl.gov/~webworks/cppr/y2001/pres/120507.pdf www.ornl.gov/info/ridgelines/nov12/msre.htm www.nuc.berkeley.edu/files/Berkeley_May09.pdf http://ralphmoir.com/media/coe_10_2_2001.pdf (MSR costs) http://home.earthlink.net/~bhoglund/mSR_Adventure.html https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B30RbwkXZ6ByODBjZWFjZTUtYzhiZi00NmY0LTg2MDktZjAwODBlMmE0NDNh&hl=en_US (salt properties) Alvin Weinberg... www.the-weinberg-foundation.org/ www.issues.org/19.4/weinberg.html http://nucleargreen.blogspot.com/2008/02/towards-acceptable-nuclear-future-alvin.html "The First Nuclear Era, the Life and Times of a Technological Fixer", A. Weinberg, AIP Press, 1994 http://home.earthlink.net/~bhoglund/mSR_Adventure.html ORNL now... ORNL's Fluoride High-temperature Reactor Workshop 20-22 Sept 2010... https://www.ornl.gov/fhr/agenda.html Summary Report: https://www.ornl.gov/fhr/documents/FHR_Workshop_Summary.pdf www.ne.doe.gov/geniv/neGenIV1.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_IV_reactor http://info.ornl.gov/sites/publications/files/Pub26178.pdf (small modular with salt storage) http://blogs.knoxnews.com/munger/2011/10/in-czech-ornl-part-of-nuclear.html (MSRE 2nd salt) Thorium & LFTR... www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHdRJqi__Z8&NR=1 (Kirk @Google) http://tinyurl.com/yb2qgex www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3rL08J7fDA&feature=relmfu (Kirk @MRU) http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/05/kirk-sorensen-has-started-thorium-power.html (NPR) http://tinyurl.com/3hmmlt9 (NPR audio) http://ThoriumRemix.com (Thorium Remix 2011) www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vbx_gFT0v7k (36min enviro version) www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9M__yYbsZ4 (2.0 hour version) www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU3cUssuz-U (Kutsch) www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2vzotsvvkw&feature=player_embedded#at=585 www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHs2Ugxo7-8 (Bonometti) www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhAsow4ROfA (Hargraves at BRC) http://sites.google.com/site/rethinkingnuclearpower/aimhigh (Hargraves Aim High) http://energyfromthorium.com/plan/ (Th to power world) www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13040853 (Rubbia) www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jul/04/thorium-nuclear-power http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/07/could-thorium-solve-worlds-energy.html www.coal2nuclear.com/ (coal plants to LFTRs) www.innovatingsmart.org/profiles/blogs/going-back-to-the-future-with-nuclear-energy www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2011/09/11/is-thorium-the-biggest-energy-breakthrough-since-fire-possibly/?partner=yahootix www.lanl.gov/science/NSS/issue2_2011/story6full.shtml www.thoriumenergyalliance.com http://thoriumenergy.blogspot.com/ http://thoriumenergy.blogspot.com/2006/04/brief-history-of-liquid-fluoride.html http://tinyurl.com/ye6leml http://energyfromthorium.com/pdf/CivilianNuclearPower.pdf or http://tinyurl.com/6xgpkfa www.ornl.gov/info/ridgelines/nov12/msre.htm www.google.com/patents?id=KVN8AAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract&zoom=4#v=onepage&q&f=false http://home.earthlink.net/~bhoglund/mSR_Adventure.html www.wired.com/magazine/2009/12/ff_new_nukes/ www.energyfromthorium.com/ www.energyfromthorium.com/pdf/NAT_MSRchemistry.pdf http://cavendishscience.org/bks/nuc/thrupdat.htm www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf62.html http://thoriumenergy.blogspot.com/2008/04/long-lived-fission-products.html www.tpub.com/content/doe/h1017v2/css/h1017v2_67.htm www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZR0UKxNPh8&NR=1 www.iaea.org/inisnkm/nkm/aws/fnss/fulltext/te_1319_5.pdf www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-3680 http://tinyurl.com/ye27k98 www.thoriumenergyalliance.com/ThoriumSite/Spring2010Conf.htm http://tinyurl.com/252wxt2 www.thoriumenergyalliance.com/downloads/TEAC2_AlexCannara.pdf http://tinyurl.com/2dq8hzs www.thoriumenergyalliance.com/ThoriumSite/TEAC3.html (2nd 2011 paper) www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUVq81kBKyk (2011 talk) www.thoriumenergyalliance.com/downloads/ThoriumSummary_Alex_Cannara.pdf http://tinyurl.com/25mgqkd https://www.climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/4/planId/15025 (MITEcoLab) www.wired.com/magazine/2009/12/ff_new_nukes/all/1 www.cosmosmagazine.com/features/print/348/new-age-nuclear?page=0%2C3 www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/1341/green-nuclear-power-coming-norway www.resourceinvestor.com/News/2010/7/Pages/Thorium-Time-for-a-Change-in-Perception.aspx www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-08/thorium-reactors-could-wean-world-oil-just-five-years www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/7970619/Obama-could-kill-fossil-fuels-overnight-with-a-nuclear-dash-for-thorium.html http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704893604576200492192158916.html www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-08/thorium-reactors-could-wean-world-oil-just-five-years www.technewsdaily.com/nuclear-power-thorium-future-2400/ (Pa issue) www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_17803676 http://financialedge.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0411/4-Clean-Energy-Alternatives-To-Uranium.aspx?partner=sfgate www2.tbo.com/news/opinion/2011/jul/18/meopino2-time-to-change-how-we-view-nuclear-power-ar-244357/ www.wired.com/magazine/2009/12/ff_new_nukes/ www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2107710/ngo-fuel-safe-thorium-nuclear-reactors#disp (NGO) Hargraves: Aim High & APS... http://sites.google.com/site/rethinkingnuclearpower/aimhigh www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/201101/hargraves.cfm http://home.comcast.net/~robert.hargraves/public_html/AimHighAMS.ppt http://home.comcast.net/~robert.hargraves/public_html/NuclearAmmoniaITHEODraft6.ppt http://tinyurl.com/4x4bpob Desalination... http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/v36_1_03/article_09.shtml#top Th history... www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf62.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium_fuel_cycle http://energyfromthorium.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2849&p=36707#p36707 www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/science/earth/21laser.html?_r=1 (laser enrich) AHTR & Pebble Bed... www.nuc.berkeley.edu/pb-ahtr/ http://pebblebedreactor.blogspot.com/ U232... http://ralphmoir.com/media/lLNLReport2_2010_06_25.pdf http://ralphmoir.com/media/moirProdu232_12_21_2010.pdf U233... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium-233 Relative yields of Sr89, Sr9l, Ba139, Ba140 & La141 are about equal (10%) for U233 fission. For U239, Sr is attenuated to 0.3 - 0.4... U233 product masses: 91, 141, 143, 144, 147, 149, 151, 153 & 156 Good fissiles are always odd, and the come in pairs: 233, 235U are good, 237 is bad; 239, 241 Pu are good, 243 is bad, If you fail to fission a 235U then you've got dead nodes at 236, 237, and 238 before you capture to a decent fissile element 239Pu. Xenon... www.c-n-t-a.com/srs50_files/049roggenkamp.pdf DMSR... http://home.earthlink.net/~bhoglund/multiMissionMSR.html#BR18 LWRs... www.world-nuclear.org/NuclearDatabase/rdResults.aspx?id=27569 www.nytimes.com:80/2009/12/16/business/global/16chinanuke.html?th&emc=th www.llnl.gov/str/JulAug04/Smith.html www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-New_nuclear_plants_for_Iowa_California-2904105.html http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8349715.stm http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2011-02-03/mox-fuel-facility-draws-interest www.nytimes.com/2011/03/08/opinion/08tue4.html?_r=1 www.ne.doe.gov/pdfFiles/AP1000_Plant_Description.pdf Eerkens... www.thesciencecouncil.com/index.php/dr-jeff-eerkens www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/guest-post-the-nuclear-imperative Military... www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/02/nuke-bases/ China... www.world-nuclear.org/NuclearDatabase/rdResults.aspx?id=27569 www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Fuel_loading_starts_at_new_Chinese_reactor-2204104.html http://energyfromthorium.com/2011/01/30/china-initiates-tmsr/#comments www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/01/china_thorium_bet/ www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/8393984/Safe-nuclear-does-exist-and-China-is-leading-the-way-with-thorium.html www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=are-new-types-of-reactors-needed-for-nuclear-renaissance www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=china-goes-nuclear-to-avoid-coal-burning http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/04/china-academy-of-science-annual-budget.html http://e360.yale.edu/feature/chinas_nuclear_power_plans_unfazed_by_fukushima_disaster/2432/ http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/30/china-announces-thorium-reactor-energy-program-obama-still-dwelling-on-sputnik-moments/ India... www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/0817_nuclear_energy_india_patel.aspx www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11084256 www.nytimes.com/2011/03/15/business/energy-environment/15power.html?_r=2 Natural fission reactors... www.uraniumminerals.com/Oklo/Oklo.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_nuclear_fission_reactor www.ocrwm.doe.gov/factsheets/doeymp0010.shtml http://knol.google.com/k/natural-planetary-nuclear-fission-reactors# Radio-Isotope Shortages... www.nature.com/news/2009/090715/full/460312a.html www.rsna.org/Publications/rsnanews/July-2010/isotope_feature.cfm http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/04/02/BU9N1IOIF6.DTL Tritium & 3He production in MSRs with Li salts... Tritium production is around 90 grams/GWe-yr at first and drops to 1/2 this over time. That translates to 672 liters/GWe-yr, dropping to 336 liters/year. Current world demand of 40,000 liters/year would take 60 GWe worth of power plants (later 120 as the 6Li burns off), including the ramp-up delay caused by tritium's 12-year half life. www.newscientist.com/article/mg20827832.300-tritium-shortage-threatens-us-nuclear-disarmament-goal.html http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2011/02/national-security-driving-a-helium-3-shortage-hurting-physics.ars

Rudy Stefenel

Oct 30, 2011
07:09

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What Dr. Alex Canarra proposes is a win, win, win situation. Not only would LFTRs provide energy cheaper than coal, they could solve our environmental problem, and provide a huge amount of electrical power from our existing nuclear "waste" too. Also, one of the isotopes created by a LFTR is an important isotope used as a cancer cure, and we are nearly out of the stuff. We have enough thorium in storage in the USA right now to supply all our electrical needs for about 170 years, assuming that we could switch all at once. That takes into account increasing our usage by two percent per year. Naturally we can't switch to LFTRs all at once, so what is in storage will actually last a lot longer, probably more than 200 years if we start building LFTR in five years from now, giving time for the R&D necessary. The thorium we have in storage has been a "left over" from precious metal mining. It would get us going and give us plenty of time to dig up more. It is all over the world. I feel what Dr. Alex Canarra proposes is among the best undertakings that can be done for the longevity of the human race. The best scenario is to get the R&D going right away, and then get them built through out the world on a fast-track basis. We can be the leader of this effort here in the USA. It is very important to read his proposal in detail.

Terry Floyd

Oct 31, 2011
05:37

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“Faustian Bargain” Legacy 2011:10:31 Terry Floyd Lets not wait for a nuclear cloud from another LWR Plant problem or a detonation of WNGN(Weapons Grade Nuclear Waste) by terrorist to convince us we desperately need to pursue the work Dr Weinberg started in the 1950s at Oak Ridge on LFTRs.Dr. Alvin Weinberg (patent holder on the LWR {TMI, Chernobyl, and Fukushima type}) spent 20 years prototyping LFTR at Oak Ridge as director. Earlier, he was involved with the Manhattan Project with Fermi in Chicago, he signed the petition requesting not to use the nuclear device without prior demonstration before Hiroshima. Dr Weinberg cautioned using LWR for civilian electrical power as a “Faustian Bargain” in 1972. At that time he knew molten salt reactors where viable. In 1973 Dr Weinberg was removed as director of Oak Ridge because of his concern with LWR safety issues. The uranium solid fueled LWR burns only 5% of the uranium leaving tons of radioactive toxic waste which needs storage for 1000s of years (Yucca Mnt.). Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor consumes 96% of several different fuels, natural thorium, LWR nuclear waste, and even Weapon Grade Nuclear Waste with a minuscule of waste requiring 500 years of storage while producing clean electric power with no CO2 or mercury(no Yucca Mnt.). The Earth Mother is sending a big giant hint and GIFT! REE (Rare Earth Elements) so necessary for all those wonderful Earth Friendly Technologies, wind mills, electric cars, etc., are buried in mounds of THORIUM! Thorium removal and separation is a high cost in REE mining. Thorium the fuel used in Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor(LFTR)s! LFTRs consume nuclear waste as fuel producing electric power with miniscule residue requiring three hundred years not thousands of years of storage. {NO YUCCA MOUNTAIN, THANK YOU}. Thorium is now green “Imagine an element that when used in a nuclear reactor is so safe that it may never lead to the possibility of the type of catastrophic meltdown that threatened the reactors in Japan. Picture one ton of such an element producing as much energy as 200 tons of uranium or 3,500,000 tons of coal. Imagine an element that right now is trapped in 3,200 metric tons of nuclear waste waiting for final disposition at the Nevada National Security Site.” http://www.lanl.gov/science/NSS/issue2_2011/story6full.shtml http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2008/20081121_Obama.pdf http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOoBTufkEog http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2vzotsvvkw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9M__yYbsZ4

Valerie Gardner

Oct 31, 2011
07:22

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Alex, your passion and dedication to this issue inspires me and, I am sure, your entire Co-Lab team plus many more who were unable to participate or contribute at this stage. I want to wish you a lot of luck, not only with this competition, but also with your ongoing efforts. You've done a huge amount of work and the thoroughness and expertise with which you address the issues is apparent! Thank you!

Dale Lueck

Nov 3, 2011
01:27

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This proposal makes a lot of sense! The vested LWR commercial interests are not doing the world any favors by continuing to push their developed but poor use of nuclear fission. Their proposals to improve safety by achieving a few days of meltdown-free safety should be rejected in favor of this inherently safe design. The nuclear waste issue is the most important aspect of this proposal. The helium-3 production should make Paul Spudis happy, although avoiding an expensive mining operation on the Moon is probably not one of his interests. We could use the He-3 if we ever achieve nuclear fusion power using it.

Bill Moomaw

Nov 4, 2011
08:45

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Safe nuclear power - Presenter Historic argument is interesting – Seaborg Report Scaling factor is an unresolved problem - 1 GWe per week is not a trivial matter. Do not document why wind, solar, etc. is not a useful alternative Can we actually get thorium in the ring=ht amounts from RE mining to do the job? Where are the numbers? Concept of thorium MSR is a good one, but numbers are not in the proposal to fully judge feasibility. Possible contender

mehl

Nov 11, 2011
08:20

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Dennis -- Alex C told me about your work. You present it well. Comment: I have always thought an Executive Summary should be short. Can you delineate the ES more clearly? Larry Mehl Menlo Park CA USA

higgs

Dec 6, 2011
07:02

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Good, so far as it goes, but what does DrAlexC say about 1. operating temperature vs. ambient pressure in LFTRs; which may require 2. niobium-doped hastalloy a/o even more exotic materials in the casing; 3. Thermal creep, and grain-boundary embrittlement/intragranular cracking; 4. Production of radio byproducts: technetium-99, thallium-208, selenium-79, protactinium-233; 5. HF and fluorine production; 6. graphite core and fire hazard; 7. life cycle cost per TW hr vs. conventional LWRs and alternative energy sources; 8. and net energy gain for LFTRs vs. photovoltaics or artificial photosynthesis to drive production of carbon-neutral liquid fuels?

Alex Cannara

May 1, 2013
05:48

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I just saw a comment come in and I just saw Higgs' above, so let;s answer that... 1) There's no pressure except the pumping differential. Themperature is ~700C and exapansion of salt is allowed and desired, since it provides negative feedback to fission rate. 2) The alloy used for 4 years in the 1960s at Oak Ridge survived well, with various adjustments to salt chemistry being available to avoid both metal plate-out and intermetallic corrosion, as via Tellurium from fission. Obviously, the tank & plumbing materials will demand more R&D for certification standards. 3) Thermal properties of these reactors are less demanding that for combustion systems and solar thermal salt systems, which already handle higher temps. The grain-boudary intrusions are handled via salt chemistry, as mentioned above. The 1960s experiments exposed how Tellurium can be controlled to avoid this. Fluoride salts and nickel alloys work very well together. 4) All fission/capture element production is managed real time, or in batch mode, so that the only isotopes removed are those which are gasses, Xenon, Krypton... or are salable, or chemically undesired. We must remember that to run all of NY City for an hour, we consume just a kg of Uranium, which fissions into slightly under a kg of fission-product isotopes and we want that to stay as fluorides in the salt, so their decay heat adds to output power. Unlike solid fuel, we have full chemical/phase control of the reactor content. And, our net processing demand is under a kg of materials per hour in the largest reactor we'd need. 5) The fluorination/de-fluorination processes are standards of industry. The materials are almost fully recovered, so little H or F are added over years of operation. 6) There's no oxygen (or H2O) in the salt so a graphite core, if used, is not subject to combustion risk. 7) Life--cycle costs, including carbon emissions, are better for MSR than for LWR, because of the much less demanding containment construction and the much lower cost of fuel and re-processing (if done) of spent solid fuel. LWRs are also, in fact, cheaper per GW-year than wind, and have similar overall costs to geothermal or hydro. MSR is lower than this cost basis and is less costly than coal even without carbon pricing. 8) MSR/LFTR/LWR... all provide an energy density in the 10s of kW per square meter. Solar PV, now at 20% efficiency, can provide 200W/sqm 1/3 the day, so the power density of nuclear vs solar is orders of magnitude better. Wind has far lower power density than solar, with about the same construction/maintenance costs & CO2 emissions as hydro, nuclear & geothermal. So MSR/LFTR are the superior technologies by far. Local solar, however, has little environmental impact and uses no land & long transmission, so the best long-term energy solution incorporates, local solar, EVs & efficient storage, and nuclear, especially MSR/LFTR. Another, recent summary is here... http://www.oaep.org/monthly_forum.htm

Walter Horsting

Sep 18, 2013
03:59

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I am advocating to the State of CA that it should invest in Thorium MSRs with Desalination plants instead of building the twin tunnel Delta Water Tunnel project estimated at $25B (2x or 3x for government projects)

Alex Cannara

Sep 18, 2013
05:31

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Thanks Visoner, but ask our Governor 1st to take over San Onofre, fix it and sell power back to SCE, instead of having CAISO burn gas. Only 1% gas leakage makes it's global warming effects as bad as coal. San Onofre when running, makes $400,000 per hour at SCE rates. There are 8760 hours in a year. The math shows the defective heat exchanger could be rebuilt in Platinum, if we wished!
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