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PostPosted: Jun 18, 2009 7:37 pm 
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J. Slough made a very recent presentation of his Field Reversed Configuration (FRC) at UCLA describing his recent fusion efforts and future plans as follows.

http://www.fusion.ucla.edu/FNST/Renew_P ... 20talk.pdf

He has achieved 10e15 neutrons per pulse. The next stage in his development plan is to ramp up the pulse rate to about 1000 pulses per second. That will get him to a fluence of 10e18 neutrons per second.

If you remember that the neutrons per second rate for the Laser Inertial Fusion Engine, or LIFE system was about 10e20. Ramping up the plus rate on his reactor is a simple engineering effort requiring only money and not a science breakthrough. So John Slough is almost where the LIFE system wants to be in 10 years.

By 2012 his neutrons per pulse will be up to 10e17. At 1000 pps the fluence will be at 10e20 just like LIFE.

His system is SO much simpler. His burn chamber is SO elegant in its simplicity. Both LIFE and ITER will look foolish in 2013 when the big FRC reactor is operational.

Of course, John will need about 95% of the Lftr technology to complete his reactor. I hope he will feel welcome here for our help.

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PostPosted: Jun 18, 2009 7:56 pm 
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Axil wrote:
Of course, John will need about 95% of the Lftr technology to complete his reactor. I hope he will feel welcome here for our help.


John and I have been friends for a long time, but I don't think I've ever talked much about LFTR with him.


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PostPosted: Jun 18, 2009 8:11 pm 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
Axil wrote:
Of course, John will need about 95% of the Lftr technology to complete his reactor. I hope he will feel welcome here for our help.


John and I have been friends for a long time, but I don't think I've ever talked much about LFTR with him.


When the FRC starts transmuting thorium fluoride salts, the FRC will need the same pumps, pipes, reactor walls, and primary and secondary heat exchangers. There is also corrosion control, and fuel denaturing. Then there is salt reprocessing to remove poisons and denatured U232/U233; and so on and on.

A fusion reactor is just an Lftr with some fusion produced high energy neutrons added. John could really use a Lftr expert to plow the way.

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PostPosted: Jun 18, 2009 10:19 pm 
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Quasi-steady Fusion Reactor based on the Pulsed High Density FRC

Excerpt:

Neutron source for fissile and fusile fuel breeding


FRC plasmoid fusion, as presented here, has the unique attribute of maintaining critical formation, heating and diverter systems physically far from high neutron fluence and blanket energetics. This key feature greatly mitigates many of the difficult design issues associated with a fusion/fission hybrid system, and is critical to the applications considered here. In addition, the capability of generating a small, intense source of high energy neutrons makes it well suited for use as a nuclear fuel breeder. With projected production costs of over $100M/kg, the need for an alternate source of tritium is obvious. For there to be any growth in fusion energy production, tritium self sufficiency is not enough. Tritium breeding will be essential. Having no need for large structural elements in the cylindrical blanket, parasitic neutron absorption will be minimal. The small source size and the relatively large extended blanket geometry make for near unity blanket coverage so that a TBR significantly greater than one is feasible.

These advantages also apply to fissile fuel breeding, in particular the enabling of an alternate fuel cycle based on thorium. Unlike uranium, thorium is not fissile and can not be used for weapons manufacture. When enabled by an external source of neutrons, thorium can be burned without generating the long-lived high level waste characteristic of the uranium cycle. While all conventional PWR reactors can burn the activated thorium, a symbiotic linking with a molten salt breeder provides for an even more attractive nuclear option. By co-locating a molten salt reactor with FRC QSFRs, a waste mitigating closed nuclear cycle is achieved that is highly proliferation resistant. Only non-fissile material enters the plant in the form of thorium. All fuel for the reactor is produced on-site by the FRC QSFR.

Only a relatively small fusion power source is required (~ 7% of the fission reactor output) as it is leveraged by the much larger energy yield from the fissile fuel enriched thorium reactor. The fissile fuel doubling time can be as short as 5 years, and essentially all the thorium can be consumed in fission reactions, thus extending the energy reserves from thorium to several thousand years, limited only by the lithium reserves required for DT fusion [9]. Waste from the thorium cycle is orders of magnitude smaller than that of a current PWR, and decays to background levels in less than 500 years – only slightly longer than that from fusion neutron activation. By using the FRC QSFR to enable a thorium based energy cycle, nuclear power can finally deliver what the current uranium based fission can not: abundant, safe, and clean energy. Most importantly, it can be done in a timeframe to allow fusion to play a role in the effort to move from a carbon based energy economy.

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PostPosted: Jun 18, 2009 11:52 pm 
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Fusion may be the future energy source for a long time, if not ever. A neutron source is required for thorium fuel till enough U-233 is available but the matter is too urgent, at least for India, to await a fusion trigger. In the meantime, a combination of existing technologies could be used to irradiate thorium and produce U-233 as a large scale exercise in isotope production.
Reactors could be provided with thorium blanket behind carbon composite separators to purposely 'leak' moderated neutrons to blanket. These blankets could be cooled and used in current generation neutron efficient thermal reactors. The practice used in Indian PFBR could be extended to all reactors. U-233 could be extracted by UCl6 route from used thorium fuel for preparation of higher fissile strength fuels.
ITER is just to keep in contact with progress, at best.


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PostPosted: Jun 19, 2009 12:34 am 
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jagdish wrote:
...but the matter is too urgent, at least for India, to await a fusion trigger.


If funded, 2015 is the approximate timeframe for FRC fusion prototype completion, whereas the Indian 3 part plan (see attachment below) has a 2050 timeframe for thorium. This is what does not make sence to me.

Under the US nuclear deal, India cannot reprocess PU from spent fuel. No PU for india means no U233.

Quote:
ITER is just to keep in contact with progress, at best.


S500,000,000 is a lot of money to keep in contact with progress!


Attachments:
three stage.jpg
three stage.jpg [ 118.54 KiB | Viewed 7632 times ]

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Last edited by Axil on Jun 21, 2009 2:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Jun 19, 2009 7:28 am 
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Axil wrote:
Under the US nuclear deal, India cannot reprocess PU from spent fuel. No PU for india means no U233.

India is buying fuel from France, Russia, and Kazakhstan with no restrictions on reprocessing.
http://www.dae.gov.in/press/press110209.htm
Special clearance is required under the deal for reprocessing US fuel. This has been asked but not given so far. There shall be no purchase from US till it is cleared. Cutting edge research and operation facilities are not being declared as civilian and are run on Indigenous fuel. This includes PFBR and latest design PHWRs. Only 14 of 22 running/under construction reactors are being declared as civilian and eligible to use imported fuel. In any case US is a net importer of nuclear fuel from Russia and others. President Bush is to be thanked mainly for NSG clearance.
India is currently the only nation running a U-233 fueled reactor, the research reactor KAMINI at IGCAR. A plutonium fueled FBTR and two commercial PHWRs fueled by natural uranium are running on the same campus. Site selection/acquisition is in hand for a thorium fueled AHWR prototype.


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PostPosted: Jun 24, 2009 6:15 pm 
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How can a civilization, country or even an organization make a technology plan that can long endure for any length of time let alone for 50 years? The Indian three step nuclear plan is an example. With the speed in which technology is evolving, how can anyone know what will be possible in five years time let alone by 2050.

That Indian nuclear power plan is so detailed and inflexible there is little hope in it to incorporate future innovation. It is better to let market forces impose evolutionally pressure on as many systems as possible to see which ones dominate at any given period of time. This is how the pharmaceuticals, aerospace, the internet and information technology has advanced so rapidly, this free wheeling market based strategy could do the same for power production.

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PostPosted: Jun 24, 2009 7:26 pm 
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I agree that such long term plans should be only guidelines with details to be filled in as technology evolves. However the basic ideas are so right that a strong thinking to move to thorium is still gaining ground even in other parts of the world. The possible improvements that are possible are simultaneous development of stage II, fast reactors as a source of fissile feed and of thorium fuel, the stage III. Accelerator driven systems or other sources of neutrons can be used if and when available. Still, the uranium shortage exaggerated by a ban in imports was seen through with slow and steady research. Imported LWRs have been built in the program when Russian VVER was introduced as were earlier BWRs. Other posts besides mine have remarked on the continued relevance of the program. Right now only bottleneck is shortage of heavy forging capacity, which is common to most of the world, and of fissile material. For the latter there is very little trade except between the big two, with Russia selling down blended HEU to the USA.


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PostPosted: Jul 18, 2009 12:06 pm 
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jagdish wrote:
I agree that such long term plans should be only guidelines with details to be filled in as technology evolves. However the basic ideas are so right that a strong thinking to move to thorium is still gaining ground even in other parts of the world. The possible improvements that are possible are simultaneous development of stage II, fast reactors as a source of fissile feed and of thorium fuel, the stage III. Accelerator driven systems or other sources of neutrons can be used if and when available. Still, the uranium shortage exaggerated by a ban in imports was seen through with slow and steady research. Imported LWRs have been built in the program when Russian VVER was introduced as were earlier BWRs. Other posts besides mine have remarked on the continued relevance of the program. Right now only bottleneck is shortage of heavy forging capacity, which is common to most of the world, and of fissile material. For the latter there is very little trade except between the big two, with Russia selling down blended HEU to the USA.


From what I understand, the contract involving export from Russia to USA of weapons grade Uranium from old decommissioned warheads is going to expire and that Russia is not keen on renewing the contract. Or am I wrong ?

Meanwhile, does anybody have a thorium breeding reactor actually in operation that uses an accelerator driven system and without any seed fissile material? Or is it still in experimental stage and years away from potential use ?


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PostPosted: Jul 18, 2009 12:39 pm 
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Is any one even talking about an accelerator driven thorium reactor without any seed fissile?
That would seem like a hard thing to do.


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PostPosted: Jul 18, 2009 1:33 pm 
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Lars wrote:
Is any one even talking about an accelerator driven thorium reactor without any seed fissile?
That would seem like a hard thing to do.


Well, not sure if the answer should be yes or no. I got interested once to read an article by Kapoor from BARC : http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=14455300

But could not get access to the paper, till someone with access passed it to me.

The article started with the Abstract:
Quote:
In this talk we present an overview of accelerator-driven sub-critical reactor systems (ADS), and bring out their attractive features for the elimination of troublesome long-lived components of the spent fuel, as well as for nuclear energy generation utilizing thorium as fuel. In India, there is an interest in the programmes of development of high-energy and high-current accelerators due to the potential of ADS in utilizing the vast resources of thorium in the country for nuclear power generation. The accelerator related activities planned in this direction will be outlined.


By the above, I assumed the goal was to search for a Thorium reactor that does not require fissile seed. Also, the terms like "sub-critical reactor for power generation using Thorium" used elsewhere in the Article indicated to me that such a reactor would be perpetually dependent on a particle beam to provide Neutrons or Protons, breed 233Uranium from Thorium and use the subsequent fission process to generate power, without the worry of "spent fuel" issues.

The article is dated 2002, and it appeared that several countries - India, USA, a group of 9 European nations combined, as well as Italy, Belgium, France, Japan, Russia, Korea and China have been working, or preparing to work, on such a system. In USA for example, the article states that AAA (advanced accelerator applications) plans to have an accelerator-driven test facility (ADTF) by 2011 and a full technical demonstration model some years further down the line. Regarding India, Kappor writes following in the concluding remarks:
Quote:
Accelerator-driven sub-critical reactor systems have many attractive features for nuclear power applications. One of the most challenging component of the ADS is the high-energy and high-current accelerator capable of delivering average proton beam power of 10 MW or more. There is worldwide interest to develop an accelerator system of such a high beam power, which is at least one order of magnitude larger than the beam power of presently operating ones. Development of such high power accelerators will have several other applications in nuclear science and technology. In India, there is a programme to undertake a stage-wise development of such a high power proton accelerator and put to applications the intermediate milestone achievements.


That was in 2002. I just wondered if anyone had any recent information on a prototype.


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PostPosted: Jul 18, 2009 1:46 pm 
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I would not interpret any of the quoted material provided as implying they started the reactor with no fissile. In general, ADS systems look to get 95-98% of their neutrons from the fission process and only the "makeup" neutrons from the accelerator. Such reactors need to start with a near critical load of fissile and then the accelerator takes them the last little bit to criticality.

I suspect to start with NO fissile and use an accelerator to build up enough fissile to run a power plant would be a slow process indeed.

ADS systems are being worked on. In fact, they just had a mini-conference in England recently.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerator-driven_system


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PostPosted: Jul 18, 2009 2:04 pm 
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Lars wrote:
...the accelerator takes them the last little bit to criticality.

No, it doesn't.


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PostPosted: Jul 18, 2009 2:15 pm 
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As I posted previously, the production of neutrons from a proton beam is only a very small part of the challenge to develop an ADS based reactor. The big expense is the development of the molten salt power extraction components of the ADS reactor. This will cost many billions of dollars; it is the same technology that the Lftr will eventually use.

These molten salt technologies share a common not yet developed technology base with the Lftrs of numerous types, Fusion Hybrids of various types, fusion reactors of various types, Thorium Energy Amplifiers (ADS), thorium pebble bed reactors (PB-AHTR).

This includes heat exchangers, pumps, pipes, tritium isolation and extraction systems, molten salt chemical processing, and turboelectric generators to name just a few.

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