Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Dec 04, 2009 7:21 pm 
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Mark William Energy writer for the AP needs to get educated as does Ed Lyman.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... wD9CCENN02


Experts say while thorium fuel has some advantages, the benefits are modest at best.

"A lot of the hype one hears about thorium fuel is indeed too good to be true," said Ed Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Lyman said thorium can be used as a fuel in a fission reactor, where it would play a role similar to uranium-238. But it cannot replace uranium and plutonium. To start a chain reaction, thorium would have to be used together with either enriched uranium, uranium-233 or plutonium.

Thorium is more plentiful, but there is enough readily available uranium to meet projected world demand through 2070, said Felix Killar of the Nuclear Energy Institute. Plutonium is a viable energy source too.

Killar said fission of thorium produces uranium and plutonium that still could be used for nuclear weapons, just in smaller quantities. It also does produce waste, and there still would be the need for long-term disposal.

Lyman said Norway and India, which have vast thorium reserves, are exploring the technology, as is China.

There have been some federally supported projects over the years, but Lyman said he is not aware of any significant effort at this time.

Mark Williams

AP Energy Writer
Columbus, Ohio

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PostPosted: Dec 04, 2009 10:05 pm 
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Fission of thorium produces U and Pu? WTF?

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PostPosted: Dec 05, 2009 8:26 pm 
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fnord wrote:
Fission of thorium produces U and Pu? WTF?

Looks like spin compounded by ignorance. The statement 'thorium fission plants produce both U and Pu' is strictly true, as even a pure Th cycle reactor makes some Pu by successive neutron captures, as well as every U isotope from 232 to 236. However, most of the Pu is 238Pu - short-lived, very hot, and not fissile - unlike the Pu from LWRs. Anyone who has any knowledge about Th cycle reactors would know this, but the AP writer has not done his homework and so falls for the trap, thinking Pu = proliferation risk. No actual lies, but effective deception.


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PostPosted: Jan 04, 2010 6:00 am 
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Many of these newer, more recent attacks on thorium I've done already heard. When playing devil's advocate, I've been able to turn around and give rebuttals to most all of them. Like the arguement they are now making that thorium still produces long-lived technetium - 99 with a half - life of something like 213,000 years. But technetium makes - up only a percentage of overall waste. Most other isotopes are more short - lived. And it's just a weak beta emitter that can't penetrate anything when vitrified in borosilicate glass. There's far worse stuff coming from LWRs we have now. Like the long - lived transuranic actinides which a thorium reactor can eliminate. Technetium-99 is just an absurd red herring. Can't the Union of Concerned scientists conjure-up something better than this ?


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PostPosted: Jan 04, 2010 6:16 am 
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There's also the arguement about how U-233 is even more fissionable than U-235. This makes it even all the better for terrorists to steal for making a bomb, so the arguement goes.

But who wants to get close to it with U-232 mixed with it ? It would take some incredible sophistication by a terrorist group to steal it, separate various components, and etc. Only governments instead of terror groups have the financing to do that. And they are usually rich enough to finance bomb development anyway, if they want one enough. And there's far simpler ways to get the enriched material they need than the difficulty it entails to steal it from a thorium reactor.

This bunk about U-233 being more dangerous than U-235 is also a red herring by the Union of Concerned Scientists.


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PostPosted: Jan 10, 2010 5:15 pm 
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I once dissed Ed Lyman on Kos.

Contemplating the Terrorist Who Strikes the Indian Point Nuclear Station.

It was one of the most fun diaries I wrote back in those days. I think I did a pretty good job of making him look like an ass, and the sequence of diaries lead to the frequent appearance of King Kong in my polls.


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PostPosted: May 10, 2016 3:30 pm 
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Over six years after this thread was initiated, Dr. Lyman was included in the panel for the April 21, 2016 hearing on S.2795:

Senate Hearing on Regulation Innovation and Modernization

The US House hearing was on April 29, 2016:

http://www.c-span.org/video/?408832-1/officials-testify-nuclear-energy-technologies (H.R.4979 - Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act of 2016)

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PostPosted: Nov 08, 2018 11:00 am 
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Environmental group: Keep open nuclear power plants


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PostPosted: Nov 15, 2018 3:18 pm 
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There is a very good YouTube video on thorium reactors, "Why making energy from dirt might save the world", by Rusty Towell, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDqCpfVwdP4


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PostPosted: Nov 20, 2018 9:42 am 
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Alex Goodwin wrote:
Fission of thorium produces U and Pu? WTF?
Well, no. FAILURE to fission creates U and eventually Pu.But if we do it right, the Pu stops at Pu238 and that is REALLY handy stuff!

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