I liked the interview, yet, the main issue stopping thorium isn't the technical details.
It is the political interests that will not give thorium a chance. The usa energy policy "or lack thereof" has, and always is about letting the market decide, or subsidizing "green" (called green because of huge subsidies) solar bullshit and wind bullshit. High energy prices do not effect the rich, or the poor who can get energy stimulus from the government. The working middle class is most effected by the high price of energy.
Thorium reactors were successfully built using 1960 technology, that was 50 years ago. Technical aspects are NOT what is holding thorium back. Political is what is holding thorium back.
Why no mention of china? Only when America is forced to use thorium to use thorium because china uses thorium will the usa ever adopt thorium. Competition is the very nature of free enterprise. It is only if china does successful thorium will America ever consider thorium adoption.
How do you figure the amount of Xe produced during operation? Is it a percentage of the U233 by mass? Read some where Xe being 12% but I did not understand how it was implied. I have an idea i am working on.
Also what is the scaling of lftr. Is a 2Mw going to being twice the size of a 1Mw or is there a level of exponential growth and if so how much?
I want to ask something offtopic, though: I'm watching "The Thorium Dream", and in it, you talk about your introduction to "Fluid-fueled Reactors". You mentioned you were working on a nuclear-powered rocket. Would you mind geeking out a bit about it? It sounds interesting, but you just rambled right past (understandably in pursuit of telling the main story, rather than this side plot): "We were working on a nuclear-powered rocket – whatever – but there was this _book_"
Arthur, your statement is almost correct. True, the risk of a meltdown is orders of magnitude lower as compared to a PWR, but it is still a theoretical possibility.
For this example, let's assume you are using a steam generator to remove heat from your liquid salts. (Not the best idea, BTW.)
In the event of a loss of primary circulation (pump failure) or a significant increase in secondary water flow, the fuel salts *could* cool so much that they freeze in place inside the steam generator. This would effectively stop all flow of the salt fuel/coolant through the reactor core. (Multiple loops would minimize this danger.) The reactor would need to scram (stopping fission) and the fuel immediately drained into the hot salt tanks below the reactor room. The always-hot underground tanks are shaped to increase the surface area of the salts, and lined with neutron-absorbing materials to prevent any fission reactions. The pre-heaters are turned off and the tanks are cooled by natural circulation – because all reactors have decay heat that must be removed. A simple air chimney would be sufficient.
Let's imagine a worst case situation where you are operating a single loop, the reactor fails to scram, and the fuel fails to drain. In this astronomically improbable situation, the fuel *could* melt through its containment – in this case the reactor vessel – a situation known as a "meltdown". The liquid salts would spill out onto the reactor room floor. Though fission would stop because the fuel is no longer physically concentrated and lacking a moderator, the fuel salts will keep producing decay heat so they are not going to solidify instantly. That's why the reactor room floor is specially designed to gravity drain into the previously mentioned natural cooling tanks below the reactor room.
Even a meltdown of an MSR makes an astoundingly boring tale – and that's how we like it. 😀