McCain supports nuclear energy…

One of my favorite folks, Senator John McCain, is clearly a supporter of nuclear energy. I’m very glad to hear it. One of the (many) drawbacks of today’s uranium-fueled, water-cooled reactors is that they depend on a great deal of cooling water for heat rejection. This limits their use in Western states that have scarce water resources. The three-unit Palo Verde plant in Phoenix uses some careful measures to conserve water.

But by using highly-efficient, closed-cycle helium gas turbines for power conversion, we could envision direct heat rejection to air, which would remove the constraint of needing to locate the plant near large water supplies. This could allow thorium-fueled, liquid-fluoride reactors to be deployed across the West without concern for cooling water supplies. This nice feature, along with the virtual elimination of long-lived transuranic waste should make the thorium LFR a much more popular option with Western congressmen.

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