Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Jun 05, 2016 4:28 pm 
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Is there a report or a list of the start-ups and governmental initiatives developing new reactor concepts?


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PostPosted: Jun 07, 2016 5:35 am 
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Yes. It has 33 reactor concepts on it, and is held by DECC.

A few names mentioned:

http://www.cityam.com/242623/rolls-royc ... r-reactors


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PostPosted: Jun 07, 2016 3:41 pm 
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Hello, HolgerNarrog!

Also, see if these help:

"The Advanced Nuclear Industry" by Samuel Brinton, June 15, 2015. Scroll down to the "North American Advanced Reactor Projects" table.

Quote:
Third Way has found that there are nearly 50 companies, backed by more than $1.3 billion in private capital, developing plans for new nuclear plants in the U.S. and Canada. The mix includes startups and big-name investors like Bill Gates, all placing bets on a nuclear comeback, hoping to get the technology in position to win in an increasingly carbon-constrained world.

and

United States Nuclear Infrastructure Council (USNIC): Members

alexterrell wrote:
Yes. It has 33 reactor concepts on it, and is held by DECC.

A few names mentioned:

http://www.cityam.com/242623/rolls-royc ... r-reactors

Hi Alex! The cityam page content is blurred.

This page is a fascinating summary: Advanced Nuclear Technologies. Notice the "Global Energy Sources" graphic and huge relative size of thorium.

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PostPosted: Jun 11, 2016 3:37 pm 
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Thank You very much!

By studying the lists..they forgot some...

The question for me is how many of these concepts are serious concepts including some overpromising*

How many of these concepts are just followed to catch sponsors and governmental subsidies.



*All of the presentations show more or less overpromising


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PostPosted: Jun 13, 2016 10:53 am 
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Holger, glad this was helpful. Forgot which?

Also, NRC/NuScale: Design Certification Application expected second half of 2016.
NRC Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 31, 2016 wrote:
Project Overview

The staff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is currently engaged in pre-application activities on the NuScale small modular reactor (SMR) design. NuScale is an integral pressurized-water reactor (iPWR), designed by NuScale Power, LLC. The design is based on MASLWR (Multi-Application Small Light Water Reactor) developed at Oregon State University in the early 2000s. NuScale is a natural circulation light water reactor with the reactor core and helical coil steam generator located in a common reactor vessel in a cylindrical steel containment. The reactor vessel/containment module is submerged in water in the reactor building safety related pool. The reactor building is located below grade. The reactor building is designed to hold 12 SMRs. Each NuScale SMR has a rated thermal output of 160 MWt and electrical output of 50 MWe, yielding a total capacity of 600 MWe for 12 SMRs.

I feel strongly in favor of dissolved thorium in an MSR, and in the U.S., our fundamental nuclear laws (42 U.S.C. & 10 CFR) are for solid-phase uranium fuel cycle ONLY, as far as I know at this time. If that statement is true, then it's well past time to upgrade our nuclear laws to accommodate the better nuclear technology: fluid phase thorium fuel cycle.

HolgerNarrog wrote:
By studying the lists . . . [the] question for me is how many of these concepts are serious concepts including some overpromising--[all] of the presentations show more or less overpromising.

How many of these concepts are just followed to catch sponsors and governmental subsidies?
If you believe climate change is real and a threat, and accepting that only nuclear power has the ability to meet baseload that renewables are unable to supply, then marketing machines that would come into demand under those circumstances, overpromising is to be expected, sadly.

Our host here (as far as I know) is Kirk Sorensen. I believe I can guess at what most of his answer to this question would be. Is the Transatomic Power molten salt actinide burner an example of "overpromising" or the Flibe Energy LFTR?

Echoing the goal here, "energy from thorium" can be had in several designs. I'm betting on the vision of Dr. Wigner and particularly Dr. Weinberg under the chairmanship of Dr. Seaborg. I believe exclusive of support for the U.S. nuclear weapons program, domestic peaceful nuclear power could also be achieved in the fluid phase with thorium instead of uranium. Given that the Flibe Energy LFTR is largely a continuation of the successful MSRE/MSBR program at Oak Ridge that ended in the 1970s, this particular design was under development and rather was showing to be promising for power but not for weapons grade material in 233U. And 239Pu experience had already been gained. Evidently, Dr. Fermi's sodium-cooled fast breeder of 239Pu from the fertile 238U (majority natural isotope; thorium is ONLY fertile) was selected and the MSBR program discontinued.

"NASA" - THORIUM REMIX 2016 by Gordon McDowell (May 20, 2016) seems to be fairly accurate and tells this story in the context of extraterrestrial energy for life away from Earth.

Will people yield to the knowledge, skill, experience, and wisdom of the original scientist/engineers at the beginning of our nuclear age? Dr. Wigner's protégé, Dr. Weinberg, had a promising design. His work should be completed. But it seems our nuclear laws would have to be amended specific to Dr. Weinberg's designs for fluid characteristics.

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PostPosted: Jun 16, 2016 5:09 pm 
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Dear Tim,

I don`t believe in such tales as the climate hoax or renewable* energy. The facts are poor the political and media pressure in favor is very strong. I`m a friend of nuclear and a big fan of MSFR, MCFR technology. But till today I did not see any concept that is really superior to a LWR or a coal powered plant.

Thorium has indeed a big advantage in terms of a higher breeding in thermal reactors and thus promise a higher burn-up compared to U - Pu fuel. On the other hand the creation of 232U by the n -> 2n reaction makes the use of thorium very challenging. The hard gamma radiation from its decay makes handling and reprocessing of used fuel challenging. Maintenance and repair of a reactor using Th - U fuel is challenging as well. This might change sometimes in the future when robots with a low sensitivity to radiation might take over handling and maintenance in nuclear reactors and facilities.

The LWR is based on steel structure material and water as coolant. MSR concepts are mostly based on nickel alloys, super alloys the coolant is difficult to handle. It requires serious benefits to make it competitive to a LWR.

*According to thermodynamics "renewable energy" does not exist.


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PostPosted: Jun 17, 2016 12:47 pm 
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Dear Holger,

I appreciate your informative reply very much. Aside from the politics of climate change, you've echoed a sentiment elsewhere on this forum--not sure where yet--that the million-to-one energy density advantage for nuclear over carbon oxidation remains independent of the climate arguments. Either way in the open debate aside from presumptions, new nuclear works. If advancing nuclear begins to bear an increasing share of the baseload out of total energy generation capability and capacity, such will have the default side effect of radically reducing demand for carbon energy and therewith result in reduced emissions and eventually lead to a sustainable global carbon balance? But I believe this is why the advance nuclear reactor legislation is gaining bipartisan support. Representatives and senators on both sides of the isle know the benefits of nuclear energy; and so does our President.

I believe the 232U management strategy in a thermal MSR burning thorium evidently is something Flibe Energy has as IP in its LFTR engineering designs. With respect to your topic, you're not sold yet on the FE LFTR fluid reactor fueled with thorium. That's a long subject on which I am hardly qualified yet. I appreciate the MSFR and MCFR but LFTR is designed with integral chemical processing. Gamma-emitting decay products and FPs come out in the separator where they can conceivable be continuously isolated in decay tanks?

Other topics on this forum discuss the fissile 233U proliferation risk (PR) posed by the FE LFTR that has always been recognized low because of the 232U gamma emissions that foul components? I've found this PR subject very touchy with people and especially from opponents of thorium that inflames the pro-LFTR people. A good working smart LFTR prototype is highly likely to prove itself.

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"Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it."

—James Arthur Baldwin, American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic


Last edited by Tim Meyer on Jun 20, 2016 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Jun 17, 2016 3:54 pm 
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Dear Tim,

I believe that a mix of nuclear and hydrocarbon based energy serves mankind in the best way. Nuclear requires a high capital investment but generates low operating costs. Coal and natural gas does the opposite. It should be a competition of total costs and feasibility and not by politics and religion (climate hoax).

It should be the main target of nuclear industry and regulation to get down the costs of nuclear that it can compete again with coal and natural gas. The tools might be lower regulation pressure, more simple and bigger reactors.

Th -> 233U is a very suitable way to generate a fissile material for a military purpose. As the n - > 2n reaction requires neutrons of high energy the Th might be placed in the edges of a Candu or in the blanket of a FBR reactor to generate a 233U with a very low 232U contamination. Workers health has a different priority in military projects (it is kept secret) in many countries and hence it is a nice option. In a LFTR it is possible to separate the Pa and hence you will get a 233U free of 232U. The 2 - fluid concept of the 60ies was according to my assumption designed for that purpose. I would not be astonished if India (Candu, FBR) and other countries use or at least study this way.

The requirement of a fuel treatment or processing is a main disadvantage of any liquid fuel reactor. It increases complexity and if you use Th -> U fuel handling, maintenance and repair are challenging due to the hard gamma radiation which matters in a commecial operation.


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PostPosted: Jun 17, 2016 4:33 pm 
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HolgerNarrog wrote:
Th -> 233U is a very suitable way to generate a fissile material for a military purpose.


No it's not. Read my thesis.

HolgerNarrog wrote:
As the n - > 2n reaction requires neutrons of high energy the Th might be placed in the edges of a Candu or in the blanket of a FBR reactor to generate a 233U with a very low 232U contamination.


Speculation. Never done. Pu-239 is much easier in either scenario.

HolgerNarrog wrote:
Workers health has a different priority in military projects (it is kept secret) in many countries and hence it is a nice option.


No it's not. Dead workers still get noticed in the 21st century. The world has had 70 years to do what you've proposed and never has.

HolgerNarrog wrote:
In a LFTR it is possible to separate the Pa and hence you will get a 233U free of 232U.


The Pa itself is contaminated, so your supposition is incorrect. You should bother studying my design sometime instead of pretending you know how it works.

HolgerNarrog wrote:
The 2 - fluid concept of the 60ies was according to my assumption designed for that purpose.


No it wasn't.

HolgerNarrog wrote:
I would not be astonished if India (Candu, FBR) and other countries use or at least study this way.


They didn't. They're working on Pu-239 instead.

Anything else to pull out your arse today?


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PostPosted: Jun 18, 2016 5:18 pm 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
HolgerNarrog wrote:
Workers health has a different priority in military projects (it is kept secret) in many countries and hence it is a nice option.


No it's not. Dead workers still get noticed in the 21st century. The world has had 70 years to do what you've proposed and never has.


I'd like to add that if we are talking about dead people in military service then we are talking about warriors, not just workers. Since military nuclear power is exclusive to warships then we are talking about sailors.

There are very few nations with nuclear powered vessels. The vast majority of them are in the US Navy and given the freedoms even our warriors enjoy it is quite unlikely for a death due to a nuclear accident to go unnoticed. Outside of the US there are five other nations with known operational nuclear warships. China and Russia may have the political structure to keep nuclear accidents a secret but the UK, France, and India do not.

We do know of the deaths caused by a nuclear accident on the Soviet K-19 submarine, a major motion picture was even made of it. Given the radiation detection equipment placed throughout the world a major failure of a nuclear powered vessel is not likely to go unnoticed.

Sailors have been sickened and killed by radiation exposure in recent history but they have been due to humanitarian efforts after the nuclear accidents in Japan. I recall a Russian nuclear powered submarine that was sunk with no crew recovered alive but that had nothing to do with the nuclear power plant, the cause was traced to an experimental torpedo that exploded in the launch tube. Russia could not keep that quiet but there are many questions about the sinking, none have to do with the power plant.

I realize that no one can prove that navies throughout the world have not kept secret deaths from nuclear accidents at sea. What should be obvious is the difficulty in doing so given how freely people in the world can communicate, even in tightly controlled countries like China and Russia.

I recall in the news recently that there was speculation of a lost North Korean submarine. Given the lack of news following I assume the submarine was not found. This was a diesel powered submarine, so no nuclear accident involved here. Even with the highly secretive North Korea we know of lost navy vessels.

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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.


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PostPosted: Jun 19, 2016 2:32 pm 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
Anything else to pull out your arse today?



Sadly anytime Thorium discussion comes up on places like reddit the trolls come out in full force. It makes having a civil discussion impossible and the people on the sidelines don't know who to believe, but usually side with guys like this because "LFTR is just too good to be true" in their minds. The most common rebuttal I hear is: "If LFTR was that good, we would using it already."

To be honest Kirk I am not so sure that these people aren't paid shills, because they all seem to have the same talking points, and an inexhaustible amount of time to devote to trolling. I've seen threads blow up in the hundreds of comments, all repeating the same basic mantras.

The main talking points I see from these guys are:

1. Thorium has been a failure every-time we've tried it before (in light water reactors).
The people on the sidelines don't know the difference between a molten salt reactor or a light water reactor.

2. Laser powered thorium cars were a scam, therefor LFTR is a scam.

3. U233 is a good weapons grade material.

4. Hastelloy N can't handle the neutron flux coming from the reactor, and the neutron embrittlement will lead to failure of the reactor housing.
Pointing out ORNL solved this by adding small amounts of niobium or titanium to the mix, does no good.


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PostPosted: Jun 20, 2016 2:41 pm 
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matthewwight wrote:
Sadly, anytime Thorium discussion comes up on places like reddit the trolls come out in full force. It makes having a civil discussion impossible and the people on the sidelines don't know who to believe, but usually side with guys like this because "LFTR is just too good to be true" in their minds. The most common rebuttal I hear is: "If LFTR was that good, we would be using it already."
Great post, Matthew! I experienced a troll last week on a facebook thorium group. The discussion began precisely with your latter question. I'm on the sidelines, but I graduated in chemistry and ran a mass spectrometer for a few years. Guess how you can tell there's a chlorinated compound present?

Someone with some physics background was going on about 232U and proliferation risk of 233U. I asked him if he had read Kirk's masters thesis (Thorium Research in the Manhattan Project Era). He came back in rather rude belittling fashion on how irrelevant my question was. Good luck to a student who rejects a learning opportunity. I'm thin-skinned. It still bothers me.

Maybe this forum could have a membership requirement to pass a short quiz on Kirk's thesis? Until some qualified authority comes along and proves that Kirk's paper is NOT original research and indeed rather presents an earlier examination of the history of thorium in the nuclear era, Sorensen's thesis IS the authority. Is the University of Tennessee at Knoxville unqualified to judge?

I wish I had the budget to make a documentary film out of it. I suppose some of it is already covered by Gordon McDowell's "Thorium Remix" films on YouTube in bits and pieces. What ever happened to The Good Reactor film?

Holger, I believe your declaration that increasing atmospheric carbon concentrations having negative impacts in the biosphere being a hoax is an extreme minority position. As far as I know not having done the measurements myself, oceanic acidification is having negative effects on marine life. The greenhouse effect I believe is measurable. I have a friend who teaches English near Beijing. He attests to the horrible air quality there and a lot comes from coal burning.

Or maybe you're an internet troll who delights in wrecking positive efforts just for the fun of the destruction? I hope not. But I dare to naively grant all the benefit of the doubt. You've revealed nothing of your background here. What's to hide? This is the energy from thorium group. The goal is non-carbon energy because it's a million times more powerful and has many other advantages. Thorium can do it if done right. If you're not with that, are sure you're in the right place?

Our host just cited you. If you're interested in civility, your replies ought to be fascinating.

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—James Arthur Baldwin, American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic


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