3 results for month: 01/2007


Is Waste the Main Issue?

Here's a question I have often wondered, as I've tried to understand the point of view of those who oppose nuclear power--how much of their opposition is driven by the longevity of nuclear waste?If long-lived nuclear wastes are the main issue they have against nuclear power, then thorium could go a long way towards alleviating their concerns.If on the other hand, waste is only the issue du jour, and a solution to the waste issue would simply cause them to harp on other aspects of nuclear energy, such as proliferation, potential terrorism, CO2 release from mining, and my favorite stupid one--thermal pollution.I really wonder because I know there are ...

Uranium vs. Thorium: Mining, Processing, Waste Generation

I've taken a little time to do another comparison slide between the waste generated in a typical light-water reactor compared to a liquid-fluoride thorium reactor. For the light-water reactor waste calculations, I used the WISE Uranium Nuclear Fuel Energy Balance Calculator and used a baseline value of 1 GW*yr of electricity production. I accepted all the defaults of the calculator, with the exception that I used a fuel burnup of 35 GW*day/MTU, and a electrical generation efficiency of 33%.For the fluoride reactor, I assumedcomplete burn-up of the thorium feedtwo-fluid fluoride reactor using reductive extraction for blanket fueling/protactinium ...

Learn Nuclear Engineering from MIT for free!

Even with an initial engineering background, and a mechanical engineering background at that, I was really surprised how important formal education in nuclear engineering is. I had thought, when I first began learning about thorium and fluoride reactors several years ago, that doing some overall reactor design calculations would be as simple as getting a nuclear engineering text, parsing through it for the relevant equations, and doing some quick and simple sizing.How wrong I was!Nuclear engineering turned out to be devilishly difficult to learn. Now most folks are smarter than I am, and will probably have less trouble, but since I began my formal ...