Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Jul 23, 2018 5:51 am 

Joined: Apr 25, 2011 10:01 pm
Posts: 47 ... um_reactor

I see someone with an axe to grind against LFTRs has been busy on wikipedia.

I was hoping to recruit some knowledgeable people to help debunk and cleanup the wiki page.

Thank you :)

PostPosted: Jul 23, 2018 11:04 am 
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Joined: Jan 12, 2010 10:15 am
Posts: 42
Location: Singapore
Hmm, the arguments and language of said editor-with-axe-to-grind are the kind made by people who appear to have no real or substantive knowledge of the subject on which they are critiquing, other than their own opinion and a quick google to find anything to support said opinion :)

I'll try to help with a few of the most egregious ones.

1. Highly questionable economics
The use of the phrase 'highly questionable' in what is supposed to be a section of a technology article requiring objective and at least marginally quantifiable terms (Disadvantages) is..... highly questionable. Perhaps 'Uncertain economics' would have been better? but would not have accomplished the editors' objective as casting this 'fact' as a fatal disadvantage, since that applies to all advanced nuclear reactors... heck it'd apply to 90% of all ambitious technology development endeavors, but I digress...

- 'detailed studies of their economics': and goes on to cite a single paper done in 2014 ( ... lPaper.pdf) and lifts a line in the abstract that could be applied to every other advanced nuclear reactor development effort. And then draws a conclusion worded to sound as if this was a fact that supports the assertion 'invariably conclude there is no real advantage in overall terms' (which is NOT in said paper btw, not even implied so!). If I did this back in university, my paper would 1000% be used as a toilet roll substitute...

Note: I bothered to read the whole paper too... and whoever edited this left out (probably deliberately so) the author's opinion that this is under current conditions, notwithstanding further development of LFTR technology, and/or changes to the macroeconomic and political situation (which has undoubtedly shifted in the last year or so). Even when I tried to read the paper from a perspective hostile to LFTR, I found it's not really even that critical of the technology, supportive even from a future economic potential perspective! (Try reading page 43 and 44 if you don't have time to go through the whole thing). Sadly, I wonder if the editor actually read (or understood) the paper he/she was citing.

2. Reaching break even breeding is questionable
-This is really incoherent and I'm confused why this is even in the 'disadvantages' section. Just because you opine that break even breeding may not be possible doesn't mean it isn't; because not only is it possible, the thorium fuel cycle has demonstrated breeding in far more challenging fuel form/conditions than you'd find in an MSR (i.e. shippingport) and because of that it's not a disadvantage, it's simply an engineering challenge.

- But the biggest sin in this one is that the editor is attempting to conflate breakeven breeding with unsafe void coefficient and in doing so sneakily hope to lead the unwary to think that LFTR is inherently unsafe. But even if this were accurately cited (which is dubious, which you will understand once you read the rest of what I've to say below) since they bring this up, shouldn't they also make note of LFTR's superior thermal expansion and doppler broadening characteristics that would negate this? (this is the wrong section to debate this in any case)

Furthermore this person attempts to do this by attributing certain design characteristics of "Old proposed single fluid designs" to the LFTR, specifically "breeding performance tend to have an unsafe positive void coefficient and often assume excessive fuel cleaning to be economic [SIC] viable".

To answer this, I'd first ask this person: "What is the basic definition of a LFTR?"

Answer: A 2-fluid MSR

Why is this important?: It's not a 'single fluid' system... (In case the editor is reading this, I'll help you further; saying that the neutron balance, fuel characteristics, and fuel processing strategy of a 1-fluid system is different from a 2-fluid system is an understatement at best)

That's all I'll go for now.


Edit: I'm not sure how helpful that was, if it were me, I'd simply delete the whole shebang this guy wrote and insert note [Please do not provide personal opinions or inaccurate/false technology comparisons/statements using non-LFTR examples]

PostPosted: Jul 25, 2018 9:54 am 

Joined: Jun 05, 2011 6:59 pm
Posts: 1334
Location: NoOPWA
Sounds like the crap Ed Phiel posts on Facebook.

DRJ : Engineer - NAVSEA : (Retired)

PostPosted: Jul 25, 2018 11:40 pm 

Joined: Apr 19, 2008 1:06 am
Posts: 2247
Nuclear power new construction is currently economical in China but not in North America or Western Europe. It could continue to be so for lifter. Conversion ratio of a thermal breeder will also be known for sure only after a design is built. We need not be worried about an opinion expressed. The views are quite objective by and large.

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