Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

It is currently Sep 20, 2017 4:59 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 153 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Mar 19, 2014 9:40 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Nov 30, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 3282
Location: Alabama
UK Telegraph: Chinese going for broke on thorium nuclear power, and good luck to them

Quote:
China’s thorium drive is galling for the Americans. They have dropped the ball. As I reported last year, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee actually built a molten salt thorium reactor in the 1960s. It was shelved by the Nixon Administration. The Pentagon needed plutonium residue from uranium to for nuclear bombs. The imperatives of the Cold War prevailed.

The thorium blueprints gathered dust in the archives until retrieved and published by former Nasa engineer Kirk Sorensen. The US largely ignored him: China did not.

Mr Jiang visited the Oak Ridge labs and obtained the designs – entirely legitimately – after reading an article in the American Scientist extolling thorium. His team concluded that a molten salt reactor may be the answer China’s prayers. It is playing out just as he hoped.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mar 19, 2014 11:31 am 
Offline

Joined: Jun 19, 2013 11:49 am
Posts: 1483
Even if they are doing as well as that implies, it is not clear what they really gain by moving first.
Modern scientific and engineering literature is sufficiently 'leaky' that we will find out how to build a proper MSR shortly after they do.

So they pay for development then we build one for half the cost.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mar 19, 2014 4:06 pm 
Offline

Joined: Dec 24, 2011 12:43 pm
Posts: 219
Location: Newport Beach, CA
E Ireland wrote:
Even if they are doing as well as that implies, it is not clear what they really gain by moving first.
Modern scientific and engineering literature is sufficiently 'leaky' that we will find out how to build a proper MSR shortly after they do.

So they pay for development then we build one for half the cost.


In the grand scheme of things I don't think development is that expensive. Kirk may disagree. $1billion up front is not a deal breaker if you have a high probability of success. China has much more urgency to do so given their heavy reliance on coal (and how bad that air quality is for citizen's satisfaction with leadership) and aggressive development pace. The free rider problem is a non-issue to them. This is a good thing.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mar 19, 2014 4:56 pm 
Offline

Joined: May 20, 2008 4:00 pm
Posts: 169
Location: Orem, Utah, USA
"The nuclear race is on. China is upping the ante dramatically on thorium nuclear energy. Scientists in Shanghai have been told to accelerate plans (sorry for the pun) to build the first fully-functioning thorium reactor within ten years, instead of 25 years as originally planned.

“This is definitely a race. China faces fierce competition from overseas and to get there first will not be an easy task”,” says Professor Li Zhong, a leader of the programme. He said researchers are working under “warlike” pressure to deliver."

"The Chinese appear to be opting for a molten salt reactor – or a liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) — a notion first proposed by the US nuclear doyen Alvin Weinberg and arguably best adapted for thorium."

"The thorium blueprints gathered dust in the archives until retrieved and published by former Nasa engineer Kirk Sorensen. The US largely ignored him: China did not." [Note: I think Kirk also gets credit for "LFTR".]

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/am ... k-to-them/

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/ ... ctors-2024


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mar 20, 2014 4:50 am 
Offline

Joined: Sep 02, 2009 10:24 am
Posts: 512
and even non-critical article in the Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/m ... og-thorium


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mar 20, 2014 2:51 pm 
Offline

Joined: Feb 28, 2011 10:10 am
Posts: 345
It is good to see that MSR R&D is being fast-tracked in China. The smog problem is really enormous in many Chinese cities. Necessity is the mother of invention ?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mar 20, 2014 3:05 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Nov 14, 2013 10:31 pm
Posts: 27
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
camiel wrote:
Necessity is the mother of invention ?

No, that's war.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Chinese Up the Ante
PostPosted: Mar 21, 2014 5:55 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Nov 14, 2013 2:34 pm
Posts: 180
Location: Here and There
The following is from the link:

"The nuclear race is on. China is upping the ante dramatically on thorium nuclear energy. Scientists in Shanghai have been told to accelerate plans (sorry for the pun) to build the first fully-functioning thorium reactor within ten years, instead of 25 years as originally planned."

Here's the link:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100026863/china-going-for-broke-on-thorium-nuclear-power-and-good-luck-to-them/

Note the article mentions the molten salt reactor.

Some thoughts - The Chinese are a rising nation. People there have had some hard times. They have had mass starvation not too many years ago. I don't think they are fat, dumb and happy as perhaps some in other countries are. They are not so spoiled as to want a "perfecr" source for their electricity as they are still building coal plants. Like people after the great depression, perhaps they are just happy to get electricity, whatever the source.

They may produce something great while other countries with the resources and expertise are sitting on their tailbones. They have 1/4 of the world's population, the odds are that if it's not LFTR, hard working Chinese will find a way to make Thorium work for them.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Chinese Up the Ante
PostPosted: Mar 21, 2014 12:24 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jan 16, 2012 7:15 am
Posts: 90
Another news item mentioned March 5 as the day they announced the new program schedule.
It was March 1 when the Russian Parliament voted to allow Putin's use of the military in Crimea.
Coincidence?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mar 22, 2014 8:34 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Nov 14, 2013 2:34 pm
Posts: 180
Location: Here and There
Here's more:

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1452011/chinese-scientists-urged-develop-new-thorium-nuclear-reactors-2024

There is a great need for energy in China. The Chinese have immense air pollution problems. The Chinese have 25 % of the world's opulation giving them huge human capital to solve problems. In conjunction with the fact that they give the appearance of being the only government seriously working on developing a molten salt reactor gives a pretty strong chance that they will get the thing and others won't.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mar 22, 2014 11:00 am 
Offline

Joined: Jul 20, 2010 12:52 pm
Posts: 185
E Ireland wrote:
Even if they are doing as well as that implies, it is not clear what they really gain by moving first.
Modern scientific and engineering literature is sufficiently 'leaky' that we will find out how to build a proper MSR shortly after they do.

So they pay for development then we build one for half the cost.


Agreed. The United States has been doing that for more than half a century, I don't really have a problem with someone else picking up the ball once in a while. I used to think it would be Japan, but it just didn't happen. Maybe China will be different.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mar 22, 2014 8:36 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Nov 14, 2013 2:34 pm
Posts: 180
Location: Here and There
"So they pay for development then we build one for half the cost."

Do you all feel the development of a LFTR is so generic that there will be no patents? IF China develops the LFTR, there will be patents. Will we rob China of its intellectual property rights? China is not known to respect the intellectual property rights of others, but will a higher standard be held by other countries? I could see the Chinese reaching into their deep pocket book. I could see them tying up a new power plant project in the US with their lawyers for ignoring their intellectual property rights. It would be as bad as any nuclear intervenors. It may end up that all LFTRs have to be from Chinese companies at their price.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mar 22, 2014 11:51 pm 
Offline

Joined: Apr 19, 2008 1:06 am
Posts: 2219
Chinese product will have to be taxed heavily or regulated for US products to compete, just like existing US brand reactors. The Chinese need some type of MSR for replacement as coal plants get worn out as they are suffering from SPM. They can ignore the CO2 but not the SPM.
In any case certain things (materials, salts, moderator) will have to be updated for quality as they are introduced in the US. 18% of world population in any case needs to do certain things first as in the past.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mar 23, 2014 6:45 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Nov 14, 2013 2:34 pm
Posts: 180
Location: Here and There
"The Chinese need some type of MSR for replacement as coal plants get worn out as they are suffering from SPM. They can ignore the CO2 but not the SPM."

- Excuse my harmless babble below -

I had to look up SPM (Suspended Particulate Matter) to see what that was all about. That's not a show stopper. For many years the US coal plants have had electrostatic precipitators to catch dust. Today due to tightened EPA regulations and cost, remaining coal plants in USA are or have been retrofitted with baghouses. Baghouses are a mature technology. Other concerns that would need to be addressed are Sulfer Dioxide, Sulfer Trioxide, Mercury, etc. However, no matter how clean they make the emissions, coal plants will still be belching Carbon Dioxide. Common sense tells us that we won't be able to capture this despite the rhetoric we hear otherwise.

Here's Wikepedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil-fuel_power_station

Coal plants are continuously wearing out. Boiler tubes and other components are replaced all the time. The Chinese know how to weld metal. That's not a show stopper.

Now think about 30 seconds. Coal plants have mills, forced draft fans, induced draft fans, air heaters, soot blowers, emissions monitoring equipment, conveyor belts, boiler feed pumps, etc. These plants have more stuff than nuke plants. They are physically more complex. They take up more room. Many trainloads of coal are shipped from Western states every day and probably every hour. This coal must be handled to get it in the boiler. The Chinese contend with this coal situation as well. Nuke plants have fuel that sits in the pot (reactor) for 2 years before being shuffled around. Which is really more complex?

If you were a smart Chinese citizen, wouldn't you want that coal plant replaced with a unit about 6 ft in diameter and 18 ft long that will run without refueling for maybe 10 years? Besides this it will burn Thorium, scrap tailings from rare earth mining. It just seems like a no-brainer.

Sorry for the paragraphs above, I realize that I'm preaching to a choir a lot smarter than I am.

I just can't figure out why other countries aren't doing what the Chinese are doing.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mar 24, 2014 12:11 am 
Offline

Joined: Nov 14, 2013 7:47 pm
Posts: 560
Location: Iowa, USA
Eino wrote:
I just can't figure out why other countries aren't doing what the Chinese are doing.


I'll propose a possibility. China has a government that consists of an oligarchy, they have no fear of losing an election. What they do fear is a political uprising, and they also desire to enhance their own luxury. This lack of elections allows them the freedom of long term thinking that nations with periodic elections like the USA cannot have. They can think ten years ahead. This desire to stay in power and improve their own lifestyle means they will seek the means to keep the public reasonably happy and encourage profit.

In Canada, USA, UK, and numerous other nations with operating elections will gravitate towards short term thinking. They think two years ahead instead of two decades. The development of MSRs takes years. Even if given mountains of money it is unlikely for anyone to create a commercially viable MSR before the next election. So the result is that government funding is minimal or nothing.

This also gets to another issue, "nuclear" is synonymous with political death. If we were talking about any other energy source then we can get big money from the government. They take both less time to develop and avoid the bogeyman of anything "nukular". Anything that gets close to nuclear technology brings up images of Fukushima, Three Mile Island, and Chernobyl. Nuclear has become such a bad word in politics that politicians are twisting their words into pretzels to avoid having to utter the word.

There's a few good articles and Youtube videos that go over this. There are quite a few politicians that know nuclear energy is safe, clean, reliable, and cheap. Well, it's cheap if we can keep people from releasing rabid attack lawyers at even the hint of anything "nukular". What they will do to avoid mentioning thorium, fission, or nuclear, is to use code words and euphemisms. Instead of "thorium" they will say "rare earth metals". Instead of nuclear power they will mention "carbon free energy", which of course also implies wind and solar power. They can't mention mining but they can say "we need to exploit our vast natural resources".

What I just typed above is of course my own babbling.

_________________
Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 153 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group