7 results for month: 08/2006


Weinberg's Reactor Rationale

Alvin Weinberg was one of the pioneers of nuclear energy. He was a participant on the Manhattan Project, he holds the patent on the light-water reactor, and he was the director of Oak Ridge National Lab from 1950 to 1970. He gave his rationale for the development of a "molten-salt breeder reactor" in the opening pages of ORNL-TM-1851 in 1967.WHY DEVELOP MOLTEN-SALT BREEDERS?Nuclear power, based on light-water-moderated converter reactors, seems to be an assured commercial success. This circumstance has placed upon the Atomic Energy Commission the burden of forestalling any serious rise in the cost of nuclear power once our country has been fully ...

Liquid Fuels from Nuclear Hydrogen

Hydrogen can be produced at high efficiency (~50%) from nuclear reactors that can produce high-temperature heat, such as the liquid-fluoride thorium reactor. Typically the hydrogen is generated from water using thermochemical processes and catalysts such as sulfur and iodine. With water as the feedstock, no CO2 or greenhouse gases are released during the hydrogen generation.My friend Charles Forsberg of the Oak Ridge National Lab sent me a paper he recently wrote on the uses of nuclear-generated hydrogen. I was especially interested in the potential uses of nuclear hydrogen to generate liquid hydrocarbon fuels from carbon feedstocks such as biomass ...

Comparing the Temperature Coefficients of Two-Fluid and One-Fluid LFRs

On a number of occasions in this weblog I have talked about the central importance of the temperature coefficient of reactivity in the safety of nuclear reactors, because the temperature coefficient governs how a reactor responds to changes, transients, accidents, etc. It must ALWAYS be negative, and strongly negative temperature coefficients are even better.While reviewing some of the old ORNL documents I was able to compare and contrast the difference in temperature coefficients between the one-fluid design and the two-fluid design. The information and relevant sections are reproduced here, and the parent documents are also available on this ...

Recent Thorium Announcement?

Several people have pointed me to this recent piece of news:Northamerican Energy Group to Launch Thorium Power Generating Research Development DivisionUnfortunately, I've never heard of this company (Northamerican Energy Group) before. Their website seems to indicate that they are involved in oil and gas development. As far as their plans to use thorium, the article states:As part of this agreement Bayport has also identified, and has options on, two potential sites for constructing new Thorium generating plants in Idaho, and Utah, and according to Bayport has received favorable Senatorial support in those efforts.In addition, it is estimated that ...

Meeting at Ohio State

We had another excellent meeting of our "Ohio thorium" group again at Ohio State University on Tuesday, August 8th, 2006.Early that morning, Ray Beach, Al Juhasz, and I drove from Cleveland to Columbus. Chuck Alexander and Eugenio Villeseca from Cleveland State were on the road doing the same thing.We arrived at OSU and met in the reactor building which was fairly close to campus. I had never been that close to an actual operating nuclear reactor before, which was very exciting. We were greeted by Dr. Tom Blue of OSU and some of his colleagues, including Dr. Tunc Aldemir, Dr. Richard Denning, and Dr. Richard Christensen. Several of Dr. Blue's ...

1997 DOE MSRE Disposition Study

I found a document (that can be purchased or read online) that talks about removing U-233 from the salts of the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment, a liquid-fluoride reactor that was built at Oak Ridge National Lab and operated from 1965-1969.Evaluation of the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternatives for the Removal and Disposition of Molten Salt Reactor Experiment Fluoride SaltsI was aware of the issues that they had faced related to the disposition of the MSRE based on conversations I had had with some "old hands" at ORNL. Basically, it came down to the fact that when they shut down the MSRE in 1969, they thought they might be restarting it again at a ...

Complete WASH-1097 Document

I've completed the conversion of WASH-1097 to a full-text PDF rather than just scanned page images. Here is the file.WASH-1097: The Use of Thorium in Nuclear Power Reactors, PDF, 1.9 MB.