14 results for month: 04/2009


The LFTR, a short and simple account

Thorium is a very abundant mineral in the earth's crust. The LFTR has a liquid fluoride salt core instead of the usual solid core. The liquid-salt type of reactor was developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory between 1950 and 1976. The LFTR would use thorium-232 rather than uranium as a basis of its fuel cycle. Thorium is subjected to neutron radiation inside the core of a reactor, and then undergoes a nuclear transformation that produces fissionable uranium-233. The LFTR is 200 to 300 times more fuel efficient than standard reactors. Given the abundance of Thorium and the efficiency of the LFTR, the combination offers abundant energy as long as ...

LFTR Development and manufacturing costs

I was working on the question of LFTR costs. I had intended to review two documents:ORNL-4812: Development Status of Molten-Salt Breeder ReactorsandORNL-5018: Program Plan for the Development of Molten-Salt Breeder ReactorsThose two documents offer a perspective on the cost of MSR developmental.According to ORNL-4812, up to 1972 ORNL had spent $130 million dollars on MSR development. In 2009 terms this was less than than one billion dollars,In 1980 the ORNL staff estimated that a commercial DMSR could be developed for $700 million (about 2.5 billion in 2009 dollars). Given another 2.5 billion for the development of the LFTR prototype we would have a ...

THE THORIUM MOLTEN SALT REACTOR: LAUNCHING THE THORIUM CYCLE WHILE CLOSING THE CURRENT FUEL CYCLE

French researchers of the Reactor Physics Group of the Laboratoire de Physique Subatomique et de Cosmologie Roepot very Promising results from their TMSR research. They are building a strong case for large non-Moderated Thorium Molten Salt Breeders. Such reactors would be very useful for Baseload power generators. The main draw back for a no moderator reactor would be the much larger starting charge required if TMSR/LFTR type reactors were expected to generate most electrical energy or to provide most energy for the national economy. A World Wide deployment by 2050 would creat a very large shortage of fissionable materials for start up charges ...

ORNL-4449 MSBR Design section in HTML

I've converted the MSBR design section of ORNL-4449 to HTML. It's got lots of good stuff in it about reactor siting, building design, afterheat removal, etc, from back in 1969.Enjoy!

Two-Fluid Core Designs from ORNL-4528 and -4119

I've been drawing the reactor cores from the ORNL MSRP reports lately.I hope you like them.Here's the one from ORNL-4119:and here's the one from ORNL-4528:Here's the picture from ORNL-4528 that I used for reference.Doing these has helped me learn a lot about fluoride reactor core design.

A brief comment on ORNL-4528

Kirk and I have been separately looking at ORNL-4528, a document that sets out ORNL thinking about a modular two fluid, graphite moderated MSR project. This concept was developed at ORNL between 1966 and 1967 and ORNL-4528 documents thinking about the concept during that brief period. This design work is of current interest because of interest in small factory build LFTRs in the Energy from Thorium community. ORNL's interest in modular MSRs was motivated by somewhat different concerns. For ORNL scientists, the lifespan of a MSR Graphite core was am issue of major concern. The limited lifespan of the graphite core necessitated periodic reactor shutdown ...

ORNL-4528 sections available in HTML

ORNL-4528 is a great document that both Charles and I have been looking at a lot lately. In the interest of making it easier to read through ORNL-4528, I'm in the process of converting the sections of the document into webpages. I've got the first 4 out of 7 ready, and here they are:ORNL-4528, sections 1 and 2ORNL-4528, section 3ORNL-4528, section 4Enjoy!

The Energy Black Swan at a Dollar a Watt

In some respects the LFTR does not qualify as a black swan. Certainly not by Nassim Nicholas Taleb's standards. Its emergence was far from random. There could scarcely be a better provenance for a reactor idea than to have been first proposed by Eugene Wigner, Alvin Weinberg and Gale Young in 1945. To this we have to add the contributions of Harold Urey. Raymond C. Briant, Ed Bettis, and many others. I would also add my father, C.J. Barton, Sr., to the list. An idea whose fathers included to Nobel-prize winning scientists and the patent holder for the light-water Reactor can hardly be considered highly improbable. It was however, daring, and ...

The Road not Taken

The idea of a fluid fueled thorium breeder was first proposed by Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner, together with Wigner's protégé Alvin Weinberg, and highly regarded engineer Gale Young in 1945. Between 1945 and 1958 Wigner and Weinberg who rose to be director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory had focused on a heavy water fluid fuel reactor the aqueous homogeneous reactor. But in 1948, an young Oak Ridge engineer, Ed Bettis, invented a second type of fluid fueled reactor, the Molten Salt Reactor, which was to demonstrate far greater potential as a thorium breeder and power production reactor.Between 1950 and 1976 Oak Ridge National Laboratory ...

Revising the History of the Nuclear Age

When I first began to write Nuclear Green, I did not realize that I would be engaged in revising the history of the nuclear era. Indeed I was unaware that the very possibility of such a revision could be possible. But there were always questions that had first arisen from my fathers choice in 1964 to leave the field of nuclear safety where he was happy and enjoyed very considerable success, in order to return to the field of Molten Salt Chemistry, a field where he had once covered himself with glory, but where he had never known happiness and where he had been for half a decade worn a crown of thorns. There was the 1969 shutdown of the Molten Salt ...