Thoughts on Thorium Molten Salt Reactors?

Point out news stories, on the net or in mainstream media, related to polywell fusion.

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Robthebob
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Thoughts on Thorium Molten Salt Reactors?

Postby Robthebob » Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:14 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbyr7jZOllI

Sounds cool, I'm already too far away from fission energy to really do anything about it. Fission has always been easier but not as good as fusion, but what gets the job done gets the job done.
Throwing my life away for this whole Fusion mess.

Enginerd
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Re: Thoughts on Thorium Molten Salt Reactors?

Postby Enginerd » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:41 am

Robthebob wrote:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbyr7jZOllI

Sounds cool, I'm already too far away from fission energy to really do anything about it. Fission has always been easier but not as good as fusion, but what gets the job done gets the job done.


I would prefer it if we can get our power from pB11 aneutronic fusion... It it turns out that polywell, and FRC, and DPF, etc all prove in-feasible (for any type of positive power generation for any type of fusion), then the next best thing we have going would likely be either LFTR and/or the IFR. IMHO.
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
--Philip K. Dick

cc
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Re: Thoughts on Thorium Molten Salt Reactors?

Postby cc » Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:02 am

Enginerd wrote:I would prefer it if we can get our power from pB11 aneutronic fusion... It it turns out that polywell, and FRC, and DPF, etc all prove in-feasible (for any type of positive power generation for any type of fusion), then the next best thing we have going would likely be either LFTR and/or the IFR. IMHO.

Even if any form of fusion does pan out, we should still pursue LFTR as a means to destroy the existing stockpiles of spent fuel and plutonium. As much as the greens would like, it isn't going to vanish just because we turn away from nuclear.

LFTR also offers a means of producing desperately needed Pu-238 and medical isotopes, among other valuable elements. From what I have seen, it looks like the most immediately viable solution to our energy problems, and it is insane that we are not actively pursuing it.

Skipjack
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Postby Skipjack » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:06 pm

Even if any form of fusion does pan out, we should still pursue LFTR as a means to destroy the existing stockpiles of spent fuel and plutonium. As much as the greens would like, it isn't going to vanish just because we turn away from nuclear.

Actually if you can do T+D or D+D Fusion, you can make a fusion-fission hybrid and use that to burn the stockpiles of nuclear waste. Helion as a concept for that in the drawer.

KitemanSA
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Postby KitemanSA » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:27 am

If we can ever get to do fusion economically, then fine.

Till then, LFTR is mostly a no-brainer. Safe, efficient, cleaner than anything else I've seen.

Folks say "20-30 years". Ridiculous. One has been built and was built is a few years. It comes down to a decision to do it. That decision might need the weight of the folks at the top to prevent needless impediment by the bureaucrats. Without it, the 20-30 may become "never".

Skipjack
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Postby Skipjack » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:26 am

Kite, I agree that we should be building LFTRs, but the idiot politicians and the beaurocrats in the NRC are doing their best to prevent it from happening.

cc
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Postby cc » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:48 pm

Skipjack wrote:Kite, I agree that we should be building LFTRs, but the idiot politicians and the beaurocrats in the NRC are doing their best to prevent it from happening.

Let's not forget the Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu. He is perfectly well aware of the potential of MSRs, but for whatever reason, he spouts the same lies that were used as an excuse to cancel the program in the first place.

The NRC and nuclear industry do present a considerable obstacle though, and it may be doomed to failure in the US, like so many other things. The MSR technology and business model are both completely orthogonal to the existing nuclear industry, so they have no inherent advantage or desire to pursue it. The NRC is also ill-prepared to regulate a fundamentally different nuclear technology.

It will happen though, and China has committed a billion dollars to it, which should get it off the ground. Others are taking notice. Ironically, the IP laws that we are forcing on the rest of the world will likely be turned against us in this most critical area, and China is set to capture this huge emerging market.

(I do wish China the best, as they have a great need for clean energy, and it could do wonders for curbing fossil fuel emissions. Still, I would rather the US not destroy its innovation potential for the sake of preserving entrenched interests.)

Also, there is a new White House petition for Thorium. See more details here.

seedload
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Postby seedload » Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:44 pm

KitemanSA wrote:If we can ever get to do fusion economically, then fine.

Till then, LFTR is mostly a no-brainer. Safe, efficient, cleaner than anything else I've seen.

Folks say "20-30 years". Ridiculous. One has been built and was built is a few years. It comes down to a decision to do it. That decision might need the weight of the folks at the top to prevent needless impediment by the bureaucrats. Without it, the 20-30 may become "never".


I am a huge LFTR fanboy, but we shouldn't overstate it.

A LFTR was never built. An MSR was built, but the step of breading U233 from Thorium is not as technically insignificant a hurtle as one would like to think. I suspect that 10-20 years for a real commercial technology is not unreasonable and that 30 years is not ridiculous.
Stick the thing in a tub of water! Sheesh!

seedload
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Postby seedload » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:10 pm

cc wrote:(I do wish China the best, as they have a great need for clean energy, and it could do wonders for curbing fossil fuel emissions. Still, I would rather the US not destroy its innovation potential for the sake of preserving entrenched interests.)


Again, while I love LFTR, let's not overstate it. Fission products are NOT clean.

LFTR does seem to be much safer regarding catastrophic failures due to the lack of pressure and the potential for passive safety.

But, in my opinion, LFTRs may actually face far greater challenges and potential for minor accidents when dealing with fission products and Protactinium sequestering. And, while there is far less waste, the waste doesn't come out pre-packaged, which may make dealing with it much harder.

All I am saying is that it is a leap to say 'clean' when talking about a LFTR.

Cleaner, maybe. Carbon free, sure. Clean, no.
Stick the thing in a tub of water! Sheesh!

KitemanSA
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Postby KitemanSA » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:23 pm

seedload wrote: I am a huge LFTR fanboy, but we shouldn't overstate it.

A LFTR was never built. An MSR was built, but the step of breading U233 from Thorium is not as technically insignificant a hurtle as one would like to think. I suspect that 10-20 years for a real commercial technology is not unreasonable and that 30 years is not ridiculous.
True, a "LFTR" has never been built, but every significant part of one HAS been demonstrated, INCLUDING breeding U233 from Thorium. The third Shippingport core had Thorium in it and after 5 years there was more fissile material than when installed.

AcesHigh
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Postby AcesHigh » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:53 pm

we should resort to the Electron Pump.

(I wonder if anyone here read The Gods Themselves, by Asimov)

I am totally in favor of developing Molten Salt Reactors and other kind of fission energy.

People forget that Fukushima and Chernobyl were outdated systems...

seedload
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Postby seedload » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:52 pm

KitemanSA wrote:
seedload wrote: I am a huge LFTR fanboy, but we shouldn't overstate it.

A LFTR was never built. An MSR was built, but the step of breading U233 from Thorium is not as technically insignificant a hurtle as one would like to think. I suspect that 10-20 years for a real commercial technology is not unreasonable and that 30 years is not ridiculous.
True, a "LFTR" has never been built, but every significant part of one HAS been demonstrated, INCLUDING breeding U233 from Thorium. The third Shippingport core had Thorium in it and after 5 years there was more fissile material than when installed.


I fail to see what Shippingport has to do with demonstrating breeding of U233 in a MSR.

I disagree that we have demonstrated all of the 'parts' of a LFTR. We haven't demonstrated a two fluid design. We haven't demonstrated a single fluid design that includes breeding and fission product separation. We haven't demonstrated a lot of things.
Stick the thing in a tub of water! Sheesh!

JohnP
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Postby JohnP » Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:36 pm

cc wrote:The NRC and nuclear industry do present a considerable obstacle though, and it may be doomed to failure in the US, like so many other things. The MSR technology and business model are both completely orthogonal to the existing nuclear industry, so they have no inherent advantage or desire to pursue it. The NRC is also ill-prepared to regulate a fundamentally different nuclear technology.


If the NRC's inability to regulate thorium reactors is a deal-killer, then what hope does Polywell have?

Betruger
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Postby Betruger » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:28 pm

Polywell only needs to prove it can meet Bussard's projections. Then other countries will exploit it and the NRC won't have much choice.

seedload
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Postby seedload » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:29 pm

JohnP wrote:
cc wrote:The NRC and nuclear industry do present a considerable obstacle though, and it may be doomed to failure in the US, like so many other things. The MSR technology and business model are both completely orthogonal to the existing nuclear industry, so they have no inherent advantage or desire to pursue it. The NRC is also ill-prepared to regulate a fundamentally different nuclear technology.


If the NRC's inability to regulate thorium reactors is a deal-killer, then what hope does Polywell have?


... or ITER or NIF or blah blah blah.

We are spending big money on Fusion research.

If the NRC is not blocking big fusion experiments and is not expected to block future fusion power stations, then why do we think it would be an insurmountable obstacle for LFTR.

In another thread, I tried to make the point that the NRC or the current fuel cycle blocking LFTR argument might be a bit overstated. I hadn't thought of the similarity to fusion and it's need for differing regulation. Good point.
Stick the thing in a tub of water! Sheesh!


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