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PostPosted: Jul 31, 2015 5:31 pm 
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Energy Department to Invest in Advanced Reactor Concept Development

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The Energy Department will partner with industry to fund up to two awards of approximately $6.0 million each in FY 2015. The Energy Department will invest up to $3.6 million in each project, with a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) providing up to an additional $2.4 million. Recipients will be required to invest $1.5 million as part of the cost share. The funding opportunity allows for multiple-year funding for up to two awards with a total of $40 million in DOE cost share per award.


Issued on a Friday afternoon. Linking to a website that is down at the time of the announcement. Makes you wonder.

UPDATE: FedConnect is back up.


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PostPosted: Aug 06, 2015 1:08 pm 
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I am assuming that Flibe Energy, Thorcon, Transatomic and others, will be throwing their hats in the ring. I wish they were doing 3 not just 2. But hopefully it is a good sign.

GOOD LUCK TO ALL Three.


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PostPosted: Aug 15, 2015 10:18 am 
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It is great to see them do anything in DOE on this subject! However, it is not even round off error compared to their budget so it is hard to take them too seriously. Maybe in the next administration???

We have been asking for a few SBIRs or $500K studies to be sponsored for years. This is the first step-up in funds. I wonder if it is earmarked for someone or is it truly open competition?

It is a good sign overall, so I hope people can exploit the opportunoty to get in a liquid core design and perhaps thorium!


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PostPosted: Aug 17, 2015 10:11 am 
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Lest we become overly enthusiastic, remember that the DOE has not shown the slightest interest in molten-salt reactors heretofore, and that this solicitation is for "advanced reactors" not for molten-salt reactors specifically.

To the DOE, "advanced reactors" means liquid-metal-cooled fast spectrum reactors and gas-cooled thermal and fast spectrum reactors. Nearly exclusively. I would be shocked if the two winners of this competition were anything other than a metal-cooled fast reactor and a gas-cooled reactor.

Anyway, the DOE will likely be on a continuing resolution next year and that means there will be no specific appropriation for this work. It is likely that the only funds for this will be the FY2015 funds that are being reprogrammed.


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PostPosted: Aug 17, 2015 2:25 pm 
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Are there any start-ups that promote metal cooled or gas cooled reactor concepts?


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PostPosted: Aug 25, 2015 4:11 pm 
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Considering that the president and other politicians will not even mention nuclear power in public, it would be unwise to take this very seriously.

Before anything significant will happen here in the U.S., it will be necessary to mount an information campaign that effectively counteracts the anti-nuclear propaganda. I put suggestions for doing that in another thread here, but I shall repeat it here in case it is missed.

Produce a good video showing a wind farm owner unsuccessfully attempting to sell power to a utility. He would be asked how much power he had available and when. Of course he would not be able to give acceptable answers. Links to the video could be put into various threads discussing power and environmental issues.

Following is a paper I wrote which I am posting in various thread about energy issues; feel free to comment on it and re-post it as appropriate:

*******

Nuclear power is essential to minimize global warming. Half-way measures will make little difference.

By the year 2100, the global demand for power will increase by about FOUR TIMES as poor countries strive to lift their people out of poverty. That includes power for heating, cooling, lighting, cooking, transportation, sea water desalination, manufacturing, etc. To reduce CO2 emissions to acceptable levels, about 90% of that power must come from non-CO2 emitting sources.

Renewables, because of their intermittent nature, can make only a very minor contribution towards reducing CO2 emission although they are useful under some circumstances.

Only nuclear power can adequately reduce CO2 emissions so that 90% of global power will come from non-CO2 emitting sources. Unfortunately, the anti-nuclear crowd, by making government leaders afraid even to mention nuclear power, are leading us down a very destructive path.

Even though our current nuclear power technology is worse than mediocre, it still has a far better safety record than any other currently used power generating technology. It is capable of reducing CO2 emissions to an acceptable level and should be greatly expanded until we develop a better nuclear technology.

The reason we are temporarily stuck with a bad nuclear technology is that funds for R & D for better nuclear technologies were cut off in the late 1960s else we would already be using a better, more economical, more efficient, and safer nuclear power technology. The liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) looks especially promising, partly because it cannot melt down, but there are also other nuclear technologies that could be used to replace our current pressurized water nuclear reactors.

For more information, I suggest spending many hours studying. The following google searches will provide a good start:
“thorium reactor”
“integral fast reactor”
“pebble bed reactor”

Our government leaders should get over their fear of the anti-nuclear crowd and do what should be done, i.e., greatly expand nuclear power while supporting research for better nuclear technologies.


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PostPosted: Aug 26, 2015 2:57 pm 
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Dear FRE...

You wrote..."The liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) looks especially promising, partly because it cannot melt down,"

Any nuclear reactor with for ex. 3000 MWth produces 1 ton of fission products/yr. The fission products of 3 years of operation create some 200 MW directly after a scram shut-down.. some MW within the 1st day...down to several hundred kW after about a week or two.

How do you plan to prevent a melt down or evaporation of the used fuel of a LFTR in case of a LOCA???


Last edited by HolgerNarrog on Aug 27, 2015 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Aug 26, 2015 5:20 pm 
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HolgerNarrog wrote:
Dear FRE...

You wrote..."The liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) looks especially promising, partly because it cannot melt down,"

Any nuclear reactor with for ex. 2500 MWth produces 1 ton of fission products/yr. The fission products of 3 years of Operation create some 200 MW directly after a scram shut-down.. some MW within the 1st day...down to several hundred kW after about a week.

How do you plan to prevent a melt down or evaporation of the used fuel of a LFTR in case of a LOCA???


LOCA ? Fuel and coolant are mixed together. Haven't you heard of a drain tank ?
Evaporation of the fuel ? MSRs have been shown to offer much larger thermal margins than any water cooled or sodium cooled reactors. Evaporation of the fuel on an MSR is somewhat like trying to claim a nuclear reactor can explode like a nuclear bomb, it just makes you look silly for those that understand the facts behind MSRs.
Typical water cooled reactors operate with less than 400C margins in the hottest spot in the fuel until melting. On an MSR since the fuel is dissolved in the coolant and carrier salts need to reach something around 1500C to boil, taking about evaporation of the core fluids makes little sense.
Salts have much higher temperature carrying capacity vs water.
The fact that on an MSR the fuel is molten makes it easy to move (drain) to a separate location. The primary reactor vessel must be designed to loose as little heat as possible (except through the heat exchanger). The ability to drain the core fluids to a separate location where heat dissipation is maximized makes it like two orders of magnitude easier to prove LFTR (and any MSR that uses a drain tank) will be walk away safe.

C'mon if you'd like to attack MSRs in general, you need to do way better.

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Looking for companies working to change the world.


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PostPosted: Aug 27, 2015 1:39 pm 
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Dear Macpacheco...

If you have a close look on the MSR of the 60 ies it had a drain tank with a very strong redundant cooling system.

The decay heat in case of a LOCA is more than sufficient to evaporate the fuel/coolant salt of most of the MSR concepts without emergency cooling.

The nickel based structure material used for most of the MSR concepts is with most of them at its limit. A temperature increase of max. 200°C will cause a failure.

If you have a close look at the MSFR concept there are 4 location named where significant decay heat is generated: The bubbling unit, fp in the fuel, fertile blanket, petrochemical unit and they forgot the extracted fission products. That means there are 5 potential sources of failure and emission of radioactive decay products.

Till today the LWR is the source of energy with the lowest death toll of all known sources of energy. It will become a tough challenge for any new reactor concept to beat that.


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PostPosted: Jan 23, 2016 10:04 pm 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
Lest we become overly enthusiastic, remember that the DOE has not shown the slightest interest in molten-salt reactors heretofore, and that this solicitation is for "advanced reactors" not for molten-salt reactors specifically.


In light of the TerraPower award for molten-chloride fast reactors, I appear to have been unnecessarily pessimistic.


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PostPosted: Jan 26, 2016 12:51 am 
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I am assuming that other MSR based companies through their hats into the ring. But I noticed that the winner was one with a well-funded backer. I wonder if they think that it has a better chance of succeeding as a result.

Second, a question for Kirk or others: In response to the article written by Kirk (http://energyfromthorium.com/2016/01/16/doe-terrapower/): If one was going to design a Fast Neutron spectrum Reactor, Chloride MSR might be the best approach, especially for the coolant voiding issue. Probably a smart move by TerraPower away from traveling wave to CMSR.


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PostPosted: Jan 26, 2016 7:55 am 
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michael.runyan wrote:
I am assuming that other MSR based companies through their hats into the ring.


I cannot speak for any other MSR company but Flibe Energy did not propose to the FOA.


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PostPosted: Jan 26, 2016 12:27 pm 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
Kirk Sorensen wrote:
Lest we become overly enthusiastic, remember that the DOE has not shown the slightest interest in molten-salt reactors heretofore, and that this solicitation is for "advanced reactors" not for molten-salt reactors specifically.


In light of the TerraPower award for molten-chloride fast reactors, I appear to have been unnecessarily pessimistic.


I suspect Bill had a chat with someone. That works better than lots of funds.


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PostPosted: Feb 26, 2016 6:18 pm 
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Commentary: Beware of government’s loving embrace

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The department uses a device called a “funding opportunity announcement” to encourage technology developers. In 2013, it issued an FOA and handed out grants of $1 million each to four advanced reactor designers: General Electric, General Atomics, Westinghouse and Gen4 Energy.

The department’s next step was to issue another FOA. This time, the department planned to split $80 million over 10 years for just two designs, provided the grantees came up with their own $10 million. Gen4 and the others prepared detailed proposals and waited.

In January, Energy picked two rector designs: one from a consortium that includes Bill Gates and the Southern Co., and the other from technology entrepreneur Kam Ghaffarian. Neither were in the first round.

The decision hit Gen4 Energy particularly hard, as it was the smallest contender and probably the one most in need of Energy help as it labored on its design, which had originated in the Los Alamos National Laboratory and was due for feasibility testing at the University of South Carolina, according to Prince. “We really thought we had a shot,” he said.

Not so. Love from the Department of Energy is a sometime thing. Just ask Prince, who now must tell investors and staff that the $10 million or so they have already spent is gone and the business must pack up, technology abandoned, lives shattered, hope sunk.


I'm not much of a fan of the Gen4 design, but I like Bob Prince a lot. He's a great guy and really was doing his work there for the greater good of the nuclear community.


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