Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Jun 24, 2015 8:40 pm 
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Darryl,
Laser isotope enrichment of nickel would likely be less expensive than gas centrifuges.


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PostPosted: Jun 29, 2015 5:51 pm 
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https://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/new-loo ... power-0624
It looks like I have supporters in my concept of a floating power plant!


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PostPosted: Jul 03, 2015 2:12 pm 
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michaelw wrote:
Darryl,
Laser isotope enrichment of nickel would likely be less expensive than gas centrifuges.


What's your basis for this opinion?

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PostPosted: Jul 04, 2015 2:36 am 
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A coating of enamel type of Nickel Fluoride will provide necessary corrosion protection without adding significant neutron absorption. We should avoid the expense of Nickel enrichment especially as it is not being done.
A water tube boiler with surfaces exposed to salts coated with this material could be the best LFTR.


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PostPosted: Jul 05, 2015 8:03 pm 
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Darryl,
Short link about laser isotope separation.
https://str.llnl.gov/str/Hargrove.html
less energy required. flexible isotope selection (dye lasers). less physical plant for same work (reduced capital cost)
hope it helps
mike


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PostPosted: Jul 05, 2015 8:14 pm 
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Even at current prices with centrifuge based enrichment it is probably worth it for structural components.
After all it will last the life of the plant and recycling is probably feasible at ~$10/g for enriched material.

(DepMo is roughly $11/g apparently).


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PostPosted: Jul 08, 2015 3:21 pm 
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michaelw wrote:
Darryl,
Short link about laser isotope separation.
https://str.llnl.gov/str/Hargrove.html
less energy required. flexible isotope selection (dye lasers). less physical plant for same work (reduced capital cost)
hope it helps
mike


Neither this nor any of the other docs. ( https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... Separation and http://www.wiley-vch.de/books/sample/3527406212_c01.pdf ) I've seen describing LLNL's AVLIS system
mention Ni as one of its likely applications. A "technical" reason for this may be that the copper lasers which pump the system's tuned dye lasers emit at 578 and 510 nm both of which wavelengths/energies correspond to less than one third of nickel's ionization potential (7.66 eV vs U's 6.2 eV). This means that achieving its ionization would likely require an additional (4 not 3) dye laser stage.

On the other hand I don't see any fundamental reason why the additional complication would absolutely rule out this application. It might still be cheaper than gas centrifugation and has the advantage that the separation isn't compromised by the fact that the elements apt to to accompany a gaseous form of nickel (oxygen & carbon) are not monoisotopic.

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PostPosted: Jul 08, 2015 4:15 pm 
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E Ireland wrote:
But because those minor ideas - which each make a small but significant contribution to determine whether the reactors are going to be economic to build or not - are kept secret, no-one has access to all of them which means that reactor construction might be delayed or even prevented.

The optimum solution from the perspective of getting these reactors into operation would be total information sharing about everything. But that would destroy the 'business case' of private capital funded attempts.


Well said!!!

Frankly I don't see how anything which will require as much additional experimentation/study as would the successful implementation of anything capable of doing what a LFTR is supposed to accomplish can be made "privately". It's both technically and politically too difficult for anything short of a full-blown, government-backed, R&D program.

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PostPosted: Dec 06, 2015 8:12 pm 
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darryl siemer wrote:
Well said!!!

Frankly I don't see how anything which will require as much additional experimentation/study as would the successful implementation of anything capable of doing what a LFTR is supposed to accomplish can be made "privately". It's both technically and politically too difficult for anything short of a full-blown, government-backed, R&D program.


I disagree with this, and if nuclear innovation requires government intervention, it's a doomed technology. The government will never be able to innovate and maximize technological efficiency like competing companies in a free market.

Government artificially makes research and experimentation in nuclear technology prohibitively expensive through layers of regulation and a borderline hostile regulatory body. The answer to this is not to infuse more government into this equation.


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PostPosted: May 12, 2016 2:26 pm 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
Guys, having spent some more time in the public relations "trenches" in the last few weeks, let me relate to you that the size of uranium reserves has nothing to do with public acceptance of the technology. The public believes that reactors take something best left alone (uranium) and turn it into a horrible monster that will come and devour their children in their sleep. From that perspective, telling them that there is plenty of that somewhat horrible stuff (uranium) that can be turned into devouring monsters by a fleet of nuclear reactors offers them pretty much zero comfort.

On the other hand, a vision of benign solar panels and gently spinning wind turbines is offered to them as the alternative, and they imagine, oh yes, I could see a few of those on the outskirts of where I live and I can imagine one or two panels on the roof I don't care about, and if I have those two wonderful things then the horrible devouring monster can never eat my children.

It's a fantasy of course, but I would wager about 98% of people believe some minor variant of this.

Too bad your audiences didn't stay for the thorium part of the story. Right. Never mind. Getting eaten by a devouring monster isn't so bad. The 2008 economic collapse ate many of us. We're still here. Some of us are attempting to understand nuclear power technology.

This is a valuable reality check. I, for one, am hugely grateful to you, Kirk, and to the vanguard here for your supreme dedication to a worthy cause; and on behalf of those trying to figure out how to move away from emitting energy production but who aren't qualified to do the immensely complicated technology, policy, and implementation work, or rightly judge the issues.

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Last edited by Tim Meyer on May 12, 2016 6:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: May 12, 2016 6:13 pm 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
. . . it misses many of the potential advantages of MSR, in my opinion, not the least of which is the thorium fuel cycle. . . . but wants to mix the thorium and uranium fuel cycles, a move I consider to be a big, messy mistake. But they disagree with . . . my zeal to hold to the thorium fuel cycle. . . . They press ahead with ZrH2 . . . but I think they will run into serious problems.

And I know all of them think I'm doing it the wrong way.

The things I am most proud of in my design, and keep the most secret, would be utterly uninteresting to my competitors since none of them plan to tackle the problems for which I think I have found solutions. And the converse is also true. So there we are.

The MOSEL reactor described by Kasten in 1964, when the MSRE was underway at Oak Ridge, mixes the thorium and uranium fuel cycles; ". . . a big, messy mistake."

Pure thorium fuel cycle in a design that minimizes or eliminates the formation of TRUs would seem to be the best.

David wrote:
. . . even a pure Th-U233 cycle would probably produce at least 10 or 20 kg per GWe year [TRUs] and ruin the claim of being 10,000 times less long lived waste than an LWR.

David LeBlanc

(From Liquid Bismuth Reductive Extraction and Zr)

In the two-fluid Flibe Energy LFTR design, if the reductive extractors on the blanket salt are highly efficient and the flows and other parameters finely tuned, Th-233 decays to Pa-233 in 22 minutes, so Pa formation can be designed to happened outside the area of neutron flux avoiding the parasitic (n,2n) absorption that leads to U-232, and just in time to contact the bismuth containing the reducing Th metal so that it gets moved to the decay salt held up in the decay tank.

The 233U (n,2n) 232U in the core region of highest neutron flux is unavoidable. But that doesn't produce TRUs, correct? The 233U itself branches (8.8% is it?) to 234U but is that the pathway to the elements higher than 92?

Thank you for any guidance.

Thank you, Darryl, for this great topic and the learning opportunity.

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PostPosted: May 12, 2016 8:54 pm 
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Cyril R wrote:
Now imagine what happens if you go to the NRC and start talking a totally different reactor design.

But don't worry, the NRC can't be bothered in any case, since their new chairman has publicly announced that they can't be bothered to put even 1% of their manpower in gen IV. They are too "busy".

Would it be a bother for you to read H.R.4979?

Your views on this legislation would likely be valuable and helpful. Perhaps you could do so at:

H.R.4979 Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act of 2016

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PostPosted: May 13, 2016 8:04 am 
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Even pure thorium cycles will lose roughly 1% of the input material to 236U, which almost inevitably will become Neptunium or Plutonium as it is very hard to remove it from the neutrion flux.
(10% of the 233U becomes 234U, and ~10-20% of 235U becomes 236U).


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PostPosted: May 13, 2016 8:08 am 
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Neptunium is easy to remove by fluorination to NpF6.


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PostPosted: May 13, 2016 8:55 am 
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Yes, but Neptunium is, by definition, a TRU.

So once you have it, you have failed in your almost-no Transuranium production objective. To avoid it you would have to pull 236U out of the neutron flux, which is unfortunately not feasible with the technology available.


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