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PostPosted: Feb 09, 2016 6:34 am 
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No, the IMSR most definitely starts on and continues to consume enriched uranium.


My understanding is they use low enriched rather than high enriched. And that the former is simpler in regulatory terms.


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PostPosted: Feb 09, 2016 6:39 am 
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More on fuel here:-

http://www.daretothink.org/david-leblanc-on-imsr-fuel-and-waste-scenarios/


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PostPosted: Feb 09, 2016 6:47 am 
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It is very much debatable whether venture capital has the foresight and the fortitude to fund a new nuclear reactor. We have no existence-proof to point towards.


From what I can tell Bill Gates is funding Terra Power and Peter Thiel is funding Transatomic Power. Do you call their money "venture capital"? Although they are yet to succeed at creating a new reactor so perhaps that's your point.


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PostPosted: Feb 09, 2016 8:59 am 
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Thiel is a venture capitalist. Gates is not.


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PostPosted: Feb 09, 2016 12:04 pm 
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TerjeP wrote:
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I am not sure about the 7 year core life thing. It saves capital cost in return for ongoing costs and regulatory headaches relating to opening the containment repeatedly over the core life.


Not sure about this. Why would you be opening the containment repeatedly over the seven year life of the core? Other than for adding more fuel to the salt I can't see any reason to do so and even then I don't see why it would entail much of an opening. And I presume any reactor that requires fuel to be added requires some form of access past the containment so how is it unique in a regulatory sense?


The problem is that any attempt to make the cores drop in modules is going to run into serious economic issues regarding qualification of every core.
And changing the graphite requires slicing the containment wide open.

A whole life core only needs a fuel addition scuttle. Which doesnt need any fuel removal capability and doesnt even need to handle molten materials - the only other thing really needed is a sparge gas top up line.


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PostPosted: Feb 09, 2016 1:45 pm 
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And changing the graphite requires slicing the containment wide open.


They don't change the graphite. It stays there for the seven years of the modules operating life. The module is then retired and cools for about seven years. Then the salt is pumped out for reuse in another module. Then at age 14 the unopened module is relocated to an adjacent holding pit where it will sit for a few more decades. The graphite is still enclosed long after the module finished it's seven year service. The module is still unopened.

The pictures of their plant show either four or six holding pits. And two operational pits. But only one module is ever active. So in some cases a module can be at the site for 56 years before it needs to be removed from site. At no poiint is it opened.


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PostPosted: Feb 09, 2016 2:31 pm 
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TerjeP wrote:
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And changing the graphite requires slicing the containment wide open.


They don't change the graphite. It stays there for the seven years of the modules operating life. The module is then retired and cools for about seven years. Then the salt is pumped out for reuse in another module. Then at age 14 the unopened module is relocated to an adjacent holding pit where it will sit for a few more decades. The graphite is still enclosed long after the module finished it's seven year service. The module is still unopened.

The pictures of their plant show either four or six holding pits. And two operational pits. But only one module is ever active. So in some cases a module can be at the site for 56 years before it needs to be removed from site. At no poiint is it opened.

This issue is that regulators are used to certifying a core for 40-60 years, and each certification is quite a big and costly step.

Terrestrial and Thorcon "core swap" is a process more akin to refuelling. It shouldn't really have involvement from the regulators - or minimal involvement. The reactor as whole then has an effectively infinite life, as other parts are swapped out when needed - e.g. turbines are 30 years, piping after 60 years, etc.

How does this sit with regulation, which currently will want to spend two years evaluating every core swap?


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PostPosted: Feb 09, 2016 3:21 pm 
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TerjeP wrote:
They don't change the graphite. It stays there for the seven years of the modules operating life. The module is then retired and cools for about seven years. Then the salt is pumped out for reuse in another module. Then at age 14 the unopened module is relocated to an adjacent holding pit where it will sit for a few more decades. The graphite is still enclosed long after the module finished it's seven year service. The module is still unopened.

The pictures of their plant show either four or six holding pits. And two operational pits. But only one module is ever active. So in some cases a module can be at the site for 56 years before it needs to be removed from site. At no poiint is it opened.


So now you have four or six separate nuclear reactors that will all have to be approved separately.
Each one produces a small amount of electricity for a handful of years.

You are going to be replacing effectively the entire core internals - don't believe for a minute you will get away with a refuelling level acceptance test.


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PostPosted: Feb 09, 2016 4:32 pm 
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How does this sit with regulation, which currently will want to spend two years evaluating every core swap?


Based on the videos I think part of the answer lies in Canada having a different regulatory approach. ThorCon is looking to build in Indonesia so that is another regulatory puzzle. I don't know the answer to this question but time will tell. I can say how I think regulation of such reactors should work but only time will tell how the regulators respond.


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PostPosted: Feb 09, 2016 4:38 pm 
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So now you have four or six separate nuclear reactors that will all have to be approved separately.


Only one is a reactor. The others are waste items awaiting recycling or disposal.


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PostPosted: Feb 09, 2016 5:25 pm 
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TerjeP wrote:
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So now you have four or six separate nuclear reactors that will all have to be approved separately.


Only one is a reactor. The others are waste items awaiting recycling or disposal.


They were all reactors at some point and have to be approved as such


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PostPosted: Feb 10, 2016 3:00 am 
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TerjeP wrote:
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So now you have four or six separate nuclear reactors that will all have to be approved separately.


Only one is a reactor. The others are waste items awaiting recycling or disposal.


That is a reasonable interpretation. However, it's not currently in the regulatory processes. Regulators will need new processes for a nuclear power plant that last indefinitely and reactor core that is swapped out every four or seven years.

I suspect there's a bigger issue before the replacement core is inserted, as opposed to after it's removed. Any recycling centre also comes within the regulatory remit.

I believe the current UK SMR assesment study is looking into this topic.


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PostPosted: Feb 10, 2016 6:04 am 
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Pretty much all the molten salt options being developed face regulator hurdles. They all no doubt think they have the best way forward to overcome the regulatory barriers. We can but hope for regulators that take a big picture view of things. In a sense it is useful if challenges to the status quo come from multiple directions.


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PostPosted: Mar 08, 2016 5:57 am 
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And now the government has come to the party and given them a grant of CAD$5.7 million.

http://news.sys-con.com/node/3709198

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Grants funds will be used to support Terrestrial Energy's pre-commercial activities, which conclude with the construction of an electrically-heated non-nuclear mock-up within 30 months. The mock-up will test and demonstrate many aspects of IMSR operation, and will include the data collection over a wide range of operating scenarios of the performance of the IMSR's passive cooling systems; this will validate Terrestrial Energy's safety analysis computer codes, a common industry requirement. The results will support Terrestrial Energy's regulatory engagement and key aspects of the IMSR's Safety Case, one built on simple, natural and passive cooling mechanisms.


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PostPosted: Mar 14, 2016 12:23 am 
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LWR was a twentieth century happening based in the US and there were followers and competitors. It was halted/slowed down by the 'China syndrome' and other incidents, decades apart.
MSR is likely to be a twenty-first century thing based in Canada/China, most likely. Will any 'America syndrome' of over-regulation obstruct it?


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