Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2013 7:47 am 
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The German government is going to assess new locations for a final nuclear waste depository:

German Nuclear Operators to Pay for $2.6 Billion Waste Site

This is a very hot potato for German politicians, because it is extremely controversial in a country with fierce opposition to anything nuclear.

So I was thinking of whether something of a grand bargain can be struck with the Germans, where another country (Russia, France, USA ?) would relieve Germany of its TRUs in exchange for the Germans funding the development and construction of a waste transmuter, a la Transatomic's WAMSR or something similar. A good idea ?


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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2013 8:37 am 
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I think more likely Czech as they have an interest in molten salt technology, and a pro nuclear stance.


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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2013 12:57 pm 
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Here are two additional English language sources:

Deutsche Welle: Nuclear waste to find a new home

World Nuclear News: Search for German repository site starts again

The cost that is quoted, 2 bn. Euros, is incredibly low for a final waste depository. Yucca Mountain has cost multiples of that amount. The French waste depository, to be built at Bure in the Lorraine region, to be operational by 2025, will very likely cost 14 bn. Euros or more. Yes, I think it is an enticing idea to have the Germans pay for the privilege of not burying the evil atoms deep in German soil, but to have the waste transmuted in the Czech Republic (or elsewhere) and have the Czechs sell the generated electricity to Germany. Seems like a win-win situation to me.


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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2013 1:03 pm 
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The US and France also have a lot more nuclear power generated so more waste to store. Is the cost per ton of spent nuclear fuel much different?


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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2013 2:49 pm 
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This money (2bn) is not going to be used to build a repository. Rather it is meant to be used for the search and assessment of new potential sites.


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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2013 2:50 pm 
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Yes, Germany has less waste to store. The BfS, the German government entity which is responsible, has an estimate of 29,030 m3 of heat-generating radioactive waste (http://www.bfs.de/en/endlager/abfaelle/prognose.html). For France, it is close to 130,000 m3 if I interpret ANDRA correctly (http://www.andra.fr/international/pages ... -1611.html). Still, 2 billion Euros seems like a low figure to me. I also think there is the danger of cost escalation, because nobody in Germany wants such a waste depository in their backyard, so you can expect protracted procedures and costly legal proceedings.


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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2013 3:01 pm 
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Burghard wrote:
This money (2bn) is not going to be used to build a repository. Rather it is meant to be used for the search and assessment of new potential sites.


Indeed, I stand corrected, the 2 billion Euros is for the costs related to search/assessment, not for the cost of the actual depository. The cost of 2 billion seemed just too low to me for such a depository. Finland has reserved 1.4 bn. Euros for Onkalo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onkalo_spe ... repository) .


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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2013 3:27 pm 
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How can you possibly spend 2000 million euro's on research?

What's wrong with the world?


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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2013 3:59 pm 
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Cyril R wrote:
How can you possibly spend 2000 million euro's on research?

What's wrong with the world?


Okay, I have a breakdown of these research costs: 500 million Euros is going to be spent on a preliminary search: 5 sites will be investigated: 100 mn. per site. Then 2 sites will be selected: 500 mn. will be spent (per site) for more extensive geological reseach. Add in miscellaneous costs and this is will amount to 2 bn. Euros in total . Source: http://www.zeit.de/politik/deutschland/ ... ndortsuche (in German).

A DMSR could be interesting for this purpose, as the TRUs can be added in as the fissile material. How much is the R&D for a DMSR ?


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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2013 4:50 pm 
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It will be interesting to watch what the rulings of the courts will be on this matter. Nuclear utilities already spent 1.6bn € on the salt dome at Gorleben and announced fierce opposition. Since there is no evidence that the existing site is not fit for the purpose, they see no legal basis for this decision.


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PostPosted: Apr 11, 2013 5:36 am 
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NIMBY is such a problem for SNF that a worldwide solution has to be found for it.
US and France have conducted nuclear tests in isolated uninhabited islands in the pacific. They could have cooled enough for dealing with SNF. Waterless pyroprocessing could be arranged under IAEA arrangements at a fee for all comers and the SNF could be partitioned into:-
1. Uranium.
2. Transuranics.
3. Fission products.
4. Cladding.
A fast spectrum MSR could also be installed for power from the products. Copies could be installed for any customers as a revenue source.


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PostPosted: Apr 11, 2013 12:23 pm 
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jagdish wrote:
A fast spectrum MSR could also be installed for power from the products. Copies could be installed for any customers as a revenue source.

If you are burning the plutonium from LWRs directly in a fast spectrum machine then you need to burn around 300kg Pu/GWe-yr of LWRs - which means if you add no fertile to your fast spectrum machine at all then you need around 1 fast spectrum machine for every three LWRs. Since there are around 500GWe worldwide an island that handles the worlds waste and burn off the plutonium using fast spectrum machines on the island would have a 160GW supply!
This drove me to think the better approach would be to do a first pass burn off of the plutonium using thermal LFTRs to reduce the plutonium by a factor of 10 or so then feed the remnant into fast reactors.


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PostPosted: Apr 12, 2013 3:11 am 
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Burning thorium is one of the best uses of plutonium/transuranics. A fast spectrum MSR will enable burning of recovered uranium/Depleted Uranium too. These could be installed to replace LWR's at the end of their life. The British reactors are at that stage now and the French and US reactors will follow later. The Germans have, of course, sworn off the nuclear energy creating the opportunity for neighbors Czech and France to export power to them as they fall short with wind power. Poland are just starting and may convert to MSR earlier than others.
P.S. The China could buy the transuranics and sell the MSR's.


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