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PostPosted: Jun 29, 2016 8:07 pm 
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Tim Meyer wrote:
"The DOE has long been hostile to nuclear energy research." Really, Kurt?

Yes, the DOE has long been hostile to nuclear energy research. Dr. Bussard gave several talks about the troubles he's had in obtaining permission and funding from the DOE to perform his fusion power research. Sadly he died before he could prove his reactor viable. The company he established continues his research with DOD funding but without the blessing from the DOE this can continue for only so long. The DOE owns a large amount of very valuable uranium 233 material and they planned to destroy it. Either they are ignorant of their own research into thorium energy or are too stupid to realize its value. Either way this reflects poorly on them. I could give many more examples of how the DOE has shown to be hostile to nuclear energy.

Tim Meyer wrote:
No one read these bills?

These bills would be unnecessary if the people in DOE would only do the job they were tasked to perform. Their job is to encourage research and development in energy resources in order that the USA would not have to rely on foreign sources of energy. They have failed in this in many ways. We don't need more legislation, we need people in the DOE to do their jobs.

You may ask, if the DOE isn't doing their job then how do we fix it? I don't have any one answer to this question since the cause of the problem is complex. I don't know why the DOE is not embracing technologies like the Polywell Fusor and LFTR. There appears to be a lack of guidance, motivation, or authority.

I believe one way to "fix" the DOE is to get rid of it. The DOE is mandated with reducing the USA's reliance on foreign oil and yet decades later we still import large amounts of foreign oil. I believe the problem is inherent with their mandate. Any entity has as it's first priority to preserve itself. The DOE as an entity will want to preserve its existence. If they solve the problem of America's dependence on foreign oil then they no longer have a reason to exist. Therefore the DOE will never solve the problem.

The question then becomes, if there is no DOE then who would be tasked with encouraging nuclear energy development? This assumes the DOE has in any way encouraged nuclear energy development. They've largely been the obstacle here, Dr. Bussard has made this clear, as has Dr. Boyd, Mr. Sorensen, Mr. Jim Kennedy, and Mr. John Kutsch.

What has been pointed out by people like Dr. LeBlanc and Dr. Boyd is that they expect the USA to follow, not lead, on nuclear energy research. I'd expect more people in the industry to say the same if not held up by politics to say nice things about the DOE. One does not bite the hand that feeds them.

You asked if I read the bills and I have. They are full of legalese and directives but they do not require the DOE to do anything. This is because Congress cannot give direct orders to an executive agency. The way US Congress works makes it difficult for them to do things like issue nuclear operating licenses directly, and this is a good thing since Congress should not be tasked with such things.

Barring the dismantling of the DOE and having licensing handled by other federal agencies, such as perhaps the Department of Defense and Department of Commerce, we could do some house cleaning in the department. Anyone opposed to molten salt reactors could be removed from the department. Given time I believe this will be done as a mere matter of our own mortality. In other words, I believe the DOE is full of living fossils that view nuclear power as a bogeyman and they will die off in time. Those that replace them will be people with a differing view on nuclear energy. This changing view is not inevitable since newcomers could be equally hostile to nuclear energy, however I do see this as unlikely since it is difficult to fathom a department that is any more hostile to the DOE than what currently exists.

If Congress will not act with anything more that just some empty legislation then perhaps the states will have to act. The federal government is a creation of the states and therefore has only those powers granted to it. The states could declare that the US federal government no longer has a monopoly on the regulation of nuclear material and license reactors and fund research on their own.

If Congress will not disband the DOE, the federal executive will not clean house at the DOE, and the states will not assert their authority to allow nuclear research in spite of a federal ban then we are left with one other option. That is the USA will follow, not lead, in nuclear energy. The multi-national corporations that build the nuclear reactors all over the world are not bound by US law. They will siphon money from the US economy to build nuclear reactors in places like China. Then, only after the US DOE has been embarrassed so utterly and publicly, will they be dragged kicking and screaming into allowing such efforts to continue in the USA.

That is a much longer rant than I had intended from the start. I guess that is what happens when a month old thread is resurrected.

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PostPosted: Jun 30, 2016 8:36 am 
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Mr. Sellner! Kurt:

What an excellent reply to one of the puzzles of the April 2016 emergence of S. 2795 and H.R. 4979 and our President's late positions on nuclear energy. This, your latest entry is plenty enough timely compared to the half-life of U-233 and the rate of "recent" efforts in the U.S. Your "month-old" observation answers my earlier question on the relative life of this forum anymore. So far since I joined last December, it's had a little activity.

To Mr. Kirk Sorensen: Where's my "Welcome to the forum, Tim!"--huh? Gee! Do I smell or something?

And since no other member found a few minutes worthy of starting this topic, now I am happy I did just so a member of your talent and perspective could weigh in exactly as you have now. Your points are (pardon) kick-ass! This one is a home run. Thank you.

So far for what I know, I agree with most of what you've added. Of course, there's more, right? Any time you can afford to develop this further is greatly appreciated. Can you please add the part on the DOE responsibility for securing our top secret nuclear deterrent? DOD is the customer but involved in the technologies, too. You spelled out only a part of our DOE mandate.

Kurt, I have suggested that our Legislative and Executive can accomplish the goals of our membership here, right? Completion of the ORNL molten salt reactor research, development, and deployment program, could be established by adding a chapter to 42 U.S.C. that would lead to a chapter in 10 CFR. Flibe Energy (FE) of Huntsville, Alabama, the DMSR companies--TE IMSR, Martingale's ThorCon, TerraPower's MCFR, others?--and the WAMSR effort by Transatomic Power of Cambridge, MA, are the fluid fuel reactor designs underway whose requirements must be covered in that chapter of 42 U.S.C. and the licensing requirements that would be added to 10 CFR.

Our present fluid fuel consortium would complete that work at Oak Ridge under that chapter in 42 U.S.C. The chapter would immediately seize and arrest "our" (the People's) U-233--and our U-233 ought to be reserved now as an emergency measure--
Kurt Sellner wrote:
The DOE owns a large amount of very valuable uranium 233 material and they planned [planned--past tense?] to destroy it.
From: Managing the Uranium-233 Stockpile of the United States, Robert Alvarez, Institute for Policy Studies, Washington, DC, in August 2011 wrote:
The United States produced about 2 tons of uranium-233, a weapons-useable fissile material, as part of its military and civilian nuclear program. Of that, 1.55 tons was separated at costs estimated to be between $5.5 and $11 billion. Of the 1.55 tons, approximately 96 kg of uranium-233 may be unaccounted for. There are also varying site-specific estimates suggesting that material control and accountability of the U.S. uranium-233 inventory needs to be more stringent. About 428 kg of uranium-233 is stored at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), in Tennessee at Building 3019, a 69-year-old structure which DOE describes as the “oldest operating nuclear facility in the World” and one that does not meet current safeguards and security requirements.

Currently, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) goal for disposition of the 428 kg is 2018, more than 20 years after significant environmental, safety, and security vulnerabilities were first officially acknowledged. To meet this goal, DOE plans to waive its own waste acceptance criteria to allow direct shallow land disposal of a large portion of the uranium-233 by August 2014. Granting a disposal waiver sets a bad precedent for international safeguards and standards for the disposal of reprocessed wastes containing high concentrations of fissile materials.
Is the U-233 headed for Nevada or Texas? has it been moved already? denatured?

This is from April 2016: The word on U-233 at Oak Ridge

But for what I know it seems the 10 CFR needs all the nuclear engineering of the working machines and we need the working machines to establish the full extent of the thorium fuel cycle together with a combined uranium fuel cycle with the plethora of the processes, dynamics, and requirements for thorium fuel and combined waste burning in the FLUID PHASE.

This is a World-War level of mandate. No other human technology, I would argue, is as demanding as nuclear fission for industrial-scale domestic energy especially in the liquid phase that was tested and found feasible by ORNL some 40 years ago. This is DOMESTIC technology for homeland power for cement kilns and smelters and much more for refurbishing domestic homeland infrastructures for millions of great paying technical careers in many specialties here in the United States of America worth trillions. We got a lot of work that needs smart abundant power sources and new advanced-nuclear-enabled processes.

Sidenote: Once the legacy U-233 is denatured, it's disabled and compromised fuel, right? But then it joins SNF for WAMSRs? Anyway.

And the full extent of the thorium fuel cycle ends with a solution by the great Dr. Darryl Siemer:
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July 17, 2012, Dr. Darryl runs inexpensive vitrification experiments on how to best prepare nuclear waste for storage. As chemist at INL for more than 27 years, his input ought to be respected! If he reads this post, Hi Dr. Darryl! Please comment on the ionic liquids techniques.

Also extremely important is: Is Nuclear Waste Really Waste?, which does not depend upon what "is" is:
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The front-end software is badass! Love that ap. I hope and pray there's high-end modeling and simulation for the LFTR. Please don't tell me the budget ran out. Is there modeling and simulation for fluid reactors?

Kurt, we ought not out of respect for the "energy from thorium" group here to discuss "energy from light nuclei"--but Dr. Bussard's (rest in peace) Polywell Fuser is a very serious subject. Briefly, is it different from what Lockheed Martin is attempting with their compact fuser, perhaps? If yes, we can go to the fusion forum. If no, then that's a very serious implication and I wouldn't care where that discussion is had and here would be fine. The fallout would impact our efforts here in fission.

Dr. Darryl is a fisherman, and it's a brand nuclear day; perfect for fission. He's recommending the FE LFTR size go to 2.4 GWth ~1 GWe and I agree with him. The FE tech assessment specifies about a quarter of that and that's good enough for the prototype but the full chapter for 42 U.S.C. would require the 1 GWe size. I'm sure FE's is all scalable and offered in flavors. Dr. Darryl is calling for thousands! Holy under-utilized fertile material, Batman!

Dr. Darryl has not been persuaded by the Honorable (ahem!) . . . oh, never mind. Climate change being caused by burning up gigaton levels of geologic carbon is untrue according to Sen. Inhofe (R-OK, who introduced S. 2795 NEIMA backed by Sen. Booker, D-NJ, and the climate-change democrats) and Sen. Inhofe's majority. (I belong to Dr. Darryl's group who represents our group here in the Thorium Energy Alliance.) Still, they are voting for nuclear power. So their motivation is irrelevant. They'll support the molten salt fluid fuel pure and hybrid denatured thorium cycle that includes the legacy uranium fuel cycle in the fluid phase (molten salts) authorized under chapter X 42 U.S.C. so that the operational rules of 10 CFR can be encoded.

But Hitler developing a working fission bomb was real, actual, imminent, and gave Brig. Gen. Groves a chunk of the war budget to rapidly beat the Germans to the bomb. Ocean acidification, melting polar ice, shifts in weather systems and biota? That's no Hitler, speaking of DOE mandates and national budgetary adjustments--not like The Adjustment Bureau.

Also, 2016 is already toast given the level of mutual contempt between fellow citizens being exhibited these days. (Small Marine and Infantry units--"Ooorah!"--have inner disagreements but hold no contempt for their fellow fighters.) Some things could be accomplished. Would you agree, Kurt, that at least the introductions of S. 2795 and H.R. 4979 and their hearings so far shows that both sides are in favor of what Dr. Darryl likes to call a "nuclear renaissance" that is our position here?

Update: Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) just added his sponsorship of S. 2795 on June 29, 2016. Virginian Democrat. Agreeing with Sen. Inhofe?

P.S. Kurt, I wasn't mocking you when we first began rounds on this topic. I was taken aback by your authoritative tone that normally is the hallmark of someone with more experience in this arena than most of us. How do you feel about Dr. Moniz? Dr. Darryl pointed out, I believe, the sheer level of responsibility for keeping track of all the nuclear materials that have accumulated over the decades of our nuclear age for national defense and domestic energy. Something like $200 billion for wastes is needed now in a time when the U.S. is maxing out its credit card. I suggest the new chapter to 42 U.S.C. to authorize appropriate funding support for the fluid fuel nuclear industries to rather turn that waste into as much and more profit for us in the U.S. at least! (Dr. Seaborg figured thorium reserves worth about a hundred thousand trillion in 2016 USD if the machines could consume it safely.)

-------------

Sidenote idea (possible subject topic if not already posted elsewhere): On advanced nuclear power technology in the fluid phase, I wonder about molten salt preparative chromatographic separation. Seems an appropriate packed (coated? non-moderating molten salt-insoluble porous solid of some mesh resistant to plating?) Hastelloy-N column well-tuned stationary phase with the designated reactor molten salt eluent, could achieve good partitioning of elemental fluoride salt solutes (right?) and a good separation of a mixture of dissolved elemental fluoride salts of fuel elements, fission, and decay products as long as their chemistries were ALL amenable to dissolution in the particular mobile phase reactor molten salt (~2:1 7LiF-BeF2) with good partitioning, and if the Hastelloy-N column length were doable? (GC ovens go to 450C, commonly; the LFTR PHX fuel inlet is 653C and PHX coolant inlet is ~480C.) If run in cycles using holdup tanks, I wonder if a thermal ramp between 480C to 653C would help the separation? If it worked, the separated elemental salt species would be directed either back to the reactor salt if fuel or burnable TRUs, the eluate salt would be diverted to collectors for processing decay and fission products with salt recovery and make-up? Can the runs be timed by the 27-day Pa-233 decay to U-233 with a loop for undecayed Pa-233? Preparative liquid chromatography with molten salt eluent, if it worked, would not require fluorination or molten bismuth reductive liquid-liquid extractors and could run continuously if constructed with care to account for column maintenance (dual column, switchable)--that would require shielded automation. If it worked, all MS-soluble materials are continuously isolated--ESPECIALLY the U-232 gamma-emitting decay product Bi-212 and 61 minutes later the stronger gamma emitter, Tl-208, ending in stable Pb-208. as it begins forming--during reactor operation. If this is a bad idea, then forget about it. I started this topic, my guest status allows so far, and I'm not a stakeholder.

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Last edited by Tim Meyer on Jul 03, 2016 2:47 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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PostPosted: Jul 03, 2016 12:01 am 
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A hundred well-intentioned bills could be undone at NRC like Yucca was. The developments have to be outsourced to China or elsewhere before they can be risked in the US.


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PostPosted: Jul 03, 2016 6:45 am 
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Thank you for your post to my subject, Mr. Jagdish.
Acting largely independent of international developments on thorium, India has maintained a sustained interest in thorium fuels for many decades. To date, this has mainly been focused on India’s Heavy Water Reactors (HWR). Future plans will involve the breeding of U-233 in thorium blanket assemblies in India’s planned fast reactor fleet. The U-233 will then be separated and manufactured into U-233/Th fuel assemblies to be irradiated in the planned Advanced Heavy Water Reactors (AHWR). These reactors could meet about two-thirds of their long term U-233 requirement from breeding in the thorium matrix, with the balance being provided by the fast reactor breeder blankets.

India’s situation is special. The main justification for thorium is that India has large thorium reserves, but no reserves of uranium. India has been isolated from the broader international nuclear R&D community because of not having signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). India’s nuclear industry does not operate on the same commercial footing as most other countries, so that justification of the thorium fuel cycle does not have to be made on the same basis. Finally, there is a strong element of India wanting to demonstrate its technical prowess and the thorium fuel cycle provides a powerful vehicle for this purpose.

Implicit in your reply seems to be that the U.S. NRC is omnipotent and an office of the solid-fuel nuclear industry that is hostile to as yet unrealized fluid fuel designs. (MSRE holds great promise.) The People of the U.S. have the power to demand and effect positive changes in this effort. The NRC is defined by law (10 CFR as authorized under 42 U.S.C. as far as one non-lawyer science-informed concerned citizen can tell). Laws change when our Legislative and Executive act in a manner that discourages challenges in the Judicial.

I just searched this forum for "Yucca" and got 58 hits. One is Yucca Mountain started by Cyril "The Mercurial" R on March 14, 2015. It's brief and received one reply. Yucca Mountain is under General Nuclear Discussion » Reprocessing, Transmutation, Waste Storage. It could be a very informative topic if it were developed. Nuclear waste is the primary impediment to advancing nuclear energy technologies.

Another revealing topic: Republican majority in both chambers of Congress posted by Navier Stokes on November 6, 2014, runs for seven pages!

H.R. 4979 and its related bill in the Senate, S. 2795, are one shortcut to enabling a pathway to licensing an "advanced nuclear reactor" as the bills define. The replies to my topic here so far reveal (a) confidence in the rule of law is low, (b) these nuclear bills in the U.S. Congress are irrelevant, ineffective, and not likely to be passed anyway.

What else is revealed in a constitutionally legal effort to act on the development of advanced nuclear technology and the modernization and fostering of innovations in nuclear energy?

WAY back in September 2012, our host Mr. Kirk Sorensen (Hi, Kirk!) started: NNL Reports on Advanced Reactors and Thorium Fuel Cycle. Kirk's comparisons show the numerous advantages of the fluid (molten salt) phase over solid fuels in detail. Of course, "the community" is no doubt grateful for his excellent review. Almost four years now and where are "we" at?

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PostPosted: Jul 03, 2016 8:23 am 
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From: Re: Republican majority in both chambers of Congress on November 8, 2014, Kirk Sorensen wrote:
Quite frankly I don't care if people are "climate-denying" or not if they will get the right thing done, and the right thing is nuclear energy. If you're worried about the climate but you've got someone in there who fully agrees with you yet is pushing worthless wind and solar as the answer, what good is that going to do for you? On the other hand, if you've got someone in there who thinks Noah left the dinosaurs off the ark but he's getting things done for nuclear energy, shouldn't you be pleased about the result?
Yes. Just like what we have today in the summer of 2016 two years after you posted that. You can add clairvoyance to your resume. Now welcome me to the forum. "Hi, Tim! Welcome to the forum."

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PostPosted: Jul 03, 2016 8:32 am 
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Re: Republican majority in both chambers of Congress Nov 08, 2014, Kirk Sorensen wrote:
. . . in reply to what Eino wrote:
What politicians have endorsed support for LFTRs or reactors with similar advantages?

Politicians don't lead, they follow. They stick their fingers up in the air to gauge how the [political] wind is blowing.

Until they can stand next to an operating LFTR that seems to be a clear success, they won't publicly "endorse" it.

But the politicians have the power to pass laws and grant funding support for building your LFTR. Now what? Singapore?

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PostPosted: Jul 03, 2016 8:57 am 
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Eino wrote:
If the general populace wants nuclear power, it will be a reality. Politicians and utility executives bend to the will of the people. Right now I don't think enough people have this important issue on their minds. From reading what is [on this forum], I think the people who participate here may change that. You don't even need a majority of the general populace. What percentage of the general populace was lobbying to pay for all of these wind farms?
I think the majority of the populace has a fear of "Nuclear Waste" and until that can be [alleviated] there is little chance for much support for any nuclear power expansion.
It would be nice to believe Eino's view is true. I agree with nsche's view on nuclear waste. If people knew the "elegance" (if energy technology can ever be so) of fluid-fueled designs and their potential for waste burning in a WAMSR ("wham-zer"), I wager there would be an epiphany on the nuclear option.

Dr. Leslie Dewan, Transatomic Power, Cambridge, MA, wants to use molten salts in a dissolved fluid fuel design that is intended to be a waste annihilating molten salt reactor (WAMSR), correct? But her TAP WAMSR will produce enough fission and decay products that will require geologic storage.

Sidenote: Where on this forum (Reprocessing, Transmutation, Waste Storage) is a discussion of depositing vitrified fission products in certain subduction zones? Evidently, deposition of vitrified FPs and DPs in a candidate subduction zone has not been discussed on this forum. If the vitrified nuclear waste were deposited in a subduction zone, it would be hundreds of thousands of years before any material from within that zone to ever come up through a volcano if at all. By then, the relatively small amount of that "waste" would be no more "dangerous" than the volcano if the volcano occurred in that relatively small deposition area. Otherwise, the waste gets drawn into the mantle material that is already radioactive and would not make it back to the surface prior to beginning of our sun's red giant phase.

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PostPosted: Jul 03, 2016 11:20 am 
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Kurt Sellner wrote:
The question then becomes, if there is no DOE then who would be tasked with encouraging nuclear energy development? This assumes the DOE has in any way encouraged nuclear energy development. They've largely been the obstacle here, [as] Dr. Bussard has made this clear, as has Dr. Boyd, Mr. Sorensen, Mr. Jim Kennedy, and Mr. John Kutsch.
Speaking of which, Kurt, is another from Gordon McDowell: Rare Earth Elements & Thorium Legislative Efforts - Jim Kennedy @ TEAC7 - Published on June 22, 2015. I feel Jim's interview and presentation represents the present state of our topic frustrations and plan for moving forward with not with just energy from thorium in the U.S., but for wresting the REE monopoly away from China, for starters, and here in Florida, a solution to the phosphogypsum stacks.

This film is 26 minutes in length. At 20:12, Jim asks, "So why does it matter?"
Jim Kennedy wrote:
"Energy is the single largest component of global GDP and nearly all other goods and services require or spring from energy directly or indirectly."

Pay special attention at 21:51 when Jim describes his and John Kutsch's efforts to work rather from within the DOD, Kurt.

At the end at 24:32, Jim says:
Quote:
"So. Everybody here . . . needs to reach out to your member of Congress, your Senator, and explain to them that the United States is one hundred percent reliant upon China for all of these value-added materials. And that our military and our allies, NATO partners, all of them are one hundred percent dependent on China for these value-added materials. And worse than that, their careers, their children's' careers, are dependent on whether the United States has a presence in the technology economy--we have no place if we're not competitive there. So we have to get back into this field and we have to make it happen. We have to be a player. We can't take off our uniform and walk off the field. And if we lose this race, we've lost everything"
I've been writing to my representatives.

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PostPosted: Jul 06, 2016 11:22 am 
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Rep. Charles J. "Chuck" Fleischmann (R-TN) added his sponsorship of H.R. 4979 yesterday. That's 18 out of 435. Woo hoo! And the Senate version (S. 2795) is still alive.

But forum members here so far seem to have zero faith that these Acts of Congress will have any substantial positive effect. For the past two years, members of the Thorium Energy Alliance, Jim Kennedy and John Kutsch, since TEAC 6 (or earlier?), have been urging people to write to our representatives in Congress here in the U.S. I've been writing to my representatives. I posted this topic because I have a naive faith in my home country. Wow. USA!

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PostPosted: Jul 06, 2016 11:46 am 
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Kurt Sellner wrote:
Barring the dismantling of the DOE and having licensing handled by other federal agencies, such as perhaps the Department of Defense . . .
Kurt, please note from Jim Kennedy's presentation for the TEAC 6 in May 2014 beginning at 10:24:

Jim Kennedy - Department of Defense Blocked Solution to Rare Earth Crisis @ TEAC6
Jim Kennedy wrote:
"Shortly after that meeting where we basically thought we'd knocked it out of the park, we were contacted by the Senate office that was the lead sponsor, and we were told that the Department of Defense injected itself and contacted members of the Armed Services Committee and said they wanted this bill killed. The Defense Department killed this bill. When you're faced with the prospect of doing your job and conforming to federal law, they killed the bill."
Thorium is classed as "source material" without exemption. What would you propose, Kurt?

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PostPosted: Jul 06, 2016 3:49 pm 
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Tim Meyer wrote:
Thorium is classed as "source material" without exemption. What would you propose, Kurt?

I see the problem as a regulatory issue, a problem within the executive branch that I do not believe a single bill from Congress can fix. The NRC, and all of it's "customers", need to see thorium as a solution instead of a problem. This will come in time one way or another, but there is no doubt that there are things we can do to make that happen sooner.

I've stated how this might happen so I'll review them quickly. One way I see this issue getting resolved is the fossils that work within the NRC are replaced by more open minded people by attrition, these fossils will retire or die off in time. Another way this will be resolved is by some other nation showing LFTR or some related technology as viable and the NRC will be dragged kicking and screaming into licensing the technology here. One much less likely means is a restructuring of how fissile and fertile material is regulated. This will mean more than some bill from Congress that tells the NRC to do their damn job. What it means, IMHO, is that the NRC is replaced by some other agency that has a mandate to make nuclear power research and reactor licensing a priority.

I just remembered another resolution that I brought up before, one or more state governments realize that the federal government has only those powers granted to it by the states and they work towards licensing reactors on their own. States rights is becoming a big issue, we see that in education, health care, gun laws, drug laws, and so much more. I can see nuclear power becoming a states rights issue as well.

In short, I don't know what to propose, I only see several paths of resolution.

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PostPosted: Jul 06, 2016 5:26 pm 
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For what its worth, not quite a month ago this was published:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon ... 562d07411a


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PostPosted: Jul 07, 2016 10:32 am 
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Sen. Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA) added his sponsorship of S. 2795 yesterday. That's 10 out of 100 including Sen. Inhofe (R-OK), the bill's author, at 50-50 republicans and democrats; 100% bipartisan!. Woo hoo! And the House version (H.R. 4979) is still alive.
Kurt Sellner wrote:
I see the problem as a regulatory issue, a problem within the executive branch that I do not believe a single bill from Congress can fix.

Mr. Sellner, Kurt,

Thank you once again for engaging me for the public record on these legislative issues and ideas. I believe in ultimately getting a (best) working LFTR program, and (a) we agree the obstructions ought to be removed to fast-track this machine, and (b) we're voting for Flibe Energy, Inc. (Huntsville, AL) to get the contract. If I'm incorrect on what I'm assuming about your position, please post.

I'm glad you're finding time to contribute to this process. I understand and accept your views on the Executive versus the Legislative in this effort. Kurt, do you agree with Jim Kennedy here when Jim asks, "So why does it matter?"
Jim Kennedy wrote:
"Energy is the single largest component of global GDP and nearly all other goods and services require or spring from energy directly or indirectly."
If you agree, and people everywhere are well aware that energy technology policy is the highest-stakes game on planet Earth, right here, right now, then the Legislative branch can and must together with the Executive revamp existing U.S. nuclear laws according to the will of the People. Otherwise, what good is the U.S. Constitution? If the government of your state should begin building a LFTR, the attempt would smoke out this nuclear energy issue and make a ton of trouble for your state. Maybe that would be a kind of a fast-track approach?

To declare thorium "source material" under the present definition is political prejudice.

Of the ONLY two primordial elements on Earth that are the ONLY ore resources for power by fission, only one happens to have the only primordial fissile isotope. It's politically prejudicial to declare a priori of the two naturally fertile actinides, where only one of the two is the ACTUAL SOURCE of the only natural fissile material at 0.71% of the natural ore, that the only other fertile element primordially without a fissile component be classed "source material" by law!

Again, thorium is practically NOT source material for nuclear weapons as proposed in the above re-definition. In over 70 years since Hiroshima, not one nuclear warhead in the global arsenals is a U-233 device. Not one in any public report as far as your author of this topic is presently aware. North Korean is very likely not interested in U-233 over U-235/Pu-239 for its nuclear ambitions; and good luck to the IAEA in confirming this assertion. The same for Iran. Pakistan? India?

As was discovered in the beginning of the nuclear age (Thorium Research in the Manhattan Project Era (Sorensen, 2014)), neutrons are simply too precious for breeding WG material from thorium for a fission bomb. Uranium is primordially ready-made. Uranium is source material. Thorium is not!

Still, the LFTR appears to be a really good and most excellent particular pathway to the second near weapons-grade (WG) artificial fissile (thorium fuel cycle) after the first-most "sweet" artificial WG fissile material (uranium fuel cycle). Yes?

No! The thorium fuel cycle is NOT presently running. No LFTR for breeding U-233 fuel from thorium exists at this time. Thorium in the fluid-fueled MSR presents as unique a fuel cycle as the only natural fissile isotope is distinct to uranium, at the practical level. It's a program because it requires true source material to first generate an initial program inventory of nuclear-grade (NG) U-233 to supply the first round of the LFTR rollout of prime breeders. That fleet's U-233 excess inventory will eventually lead to an equilibrium condition when the prime breeders will get drawn down as well as the initial program NG U-233 inventory, and the main fleet levels off to isobreeding. The thorium program's initial startup inventory will be more vulnerable and therefore require special appropriations for security during this phase of this unique fuel cycle and becomes less so as the cycle levels to isobreeding and the vulnerability decreases.

It only seems that the LFTR thorium cycle is a serious WG U-233 pathway perhaps due to some form of cognitive dissonance with the intractable and pernicious naturally inherent foil to the plan for mass destruction: that pesky thallium-208 bugger of a hard-gamma emitting U-232 decay product that keeps showing up anytime fertile thorium is bred for fissile material. As is regularly recognized by our side in this debate, Tl-208 will be a hard lesson for those who may be actively working at making a U-233 device as we speak, eh? Any substantial inventory of WG U-233 HD in U-232 will eventually begin developing U-232 content and its Th-208 DP.
U-233 has a spontaneous fission rate of 0.47 fissions/sec-kg. U-232 has a spontaneous fission rate of 720 fissions-sec/kg.
ANY spontaneous neutron flux in a mass of near-pure WG U-233 initially almost free of any U-232 content will lead to the 233U(n,2n)232U and the degradation advances with time.

Authorities already routinely protect vulnerable critical systems, and we must, for the sake of raising global prosperity to minimize incentives for war and crime and for environmental protection that all leads to a very sustainable, safe, and secure world for the far future for hundreds and thousands of years, add LFTRs to our security regimens and get this done sooner than later!

In the U.S., we're in a bit of a rut. It'll take a strong pull to get this vehicle onto a better road. The force is building up as we speak. We're close to a breakthrough.

Step one:

Amend 42 U.S.C. and all nuclear laws to redefine source material as exclusively uranium.

Removing thorium from the definition of source material and recognizing it as only fertile would immediately facilitate a domestic U.S. "sweet" rare earth production program whose ores have thorium content, and to also recognize this need for national security to regain REEs from the PRC monopoly, and with special already-earned allowances for companies presently engaged.

(See: at 9:10 Rare Earth Elements & Thorium Legislative Efforts - Jim Kennedy @ TEAC7, June 2015.)

However, as a remote possibility yet exists for dubious attempts to make a fissile weapon from near-WG U-233, the amendments would still require restrictions in the use of the primordial true source material, enriched uranium, or secondary source material, either bred Pu-239 or U-233, for generating commercial utility-scale quantities of near-pure WG U-233 (HD in U-232 that degrades eventually) bred from thorium (as in the optimized FE LFTR design) that would specify a robust security protocol expressly in order for the U.S. to access our huge non-emitting energy resource in abundant thorium in a fluid-phase molten salt reactor program according to the unique requirements of the thorium fuel cycle.

Unlike most other regulatory environments, commercial "Atoms for Peace" nuclear energy for domestic baseload production is the most sensitive for the sheer and awesome million-to-one power advantage of the nucleus over chemical energy on top of the very serious and dangerous health hazards of the many radiotoxic elements involved in nuclear energy production that must never be released into the environment. There's no other technology like it. It's regulatory environment will always be "king of the hill" ever since 1934 when the German scientist, Ida Tacke, from her analysis of the work by Enrico Fermi, first proposed this odd behavior of a natural material under neutron bombardment that became known as nuclear fission. This changed forever the nature of human relationships. Dr. Weinberg eloquently described our energy dilemma as a "Faustian bargain" and thereby inaugurated that pithy phrase into our modern technological lexicon.

Jim Kennedy and John Kutsch, after substantial personal sacrifice, expense, and time commitment, of the Thorium Energy Alliance, have so far concluded that assuming a pro-nuclear president (that we'll always have by default--DOD nuclear deterrent for national defense) together with the present pro-nuclear bipartisan representation in Congress, we still need a senator-champion and/or a House-champion who will join this effort to get these laws amended and enhanced, and to elevate and resurrect the ORNL MSBR program with proper accolades to the father of domestic nuclear energy, Dr. Alvin M. Weinberg.

_________________
"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 Jul 08, 2016 4:54 pm, edited 39 times in total.

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PostPosted: Jul 07, 2016 12:15 pm 
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rc1111 wrote:
For what its worth, not quite a month ago this was published:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon ... 562d07411a
Thank you, rc1111.

Forbes, Energy Dept Plans Advanced Reactor Surge, Jeff McMahon, Contributor, on June 19, 2016, wrote:
“I don’t think you can come up with a viable, clean electricity scenario without nuclear playing a role in that,” said Tanju Sofu, manager of the Engineering Analysis Department at Argonne National Laboratory’s Nuclear Engineering Division. . . . Asked if thorium reactors were included in the MSR category, Sofu said, “They could be.”
Well! Thank you Jeff McMahon for representing the Thorium Energy Alliance at this extemely sensitive juncture in nuclear energy policy. Oorah! Essayons!

"They could be." They could be? By the way, it was Argonne's solid-phase fast breeder program that got the go-ahead under President Nixon and led to the shutdown of ORNL's fluid-phase thermal breeder project by 1976. (Fast breeding is the natural default for the uranium fuel cycle and thermal for the thorium cycle and are mutually exclusive by nature.) Cold War and financial exigencies ended the development of dissolved-fuel molten salt cooled reactors and the subsequent absence of these engineering criteria in the nuclear laws in the first place!

People ought to cry, "Foul!" Not "could be," rather, were, WELL before the 2001 GIF, historically the precedent for what the politicians today necessarily have to term an "advanced nuclear reactor" for the consequences of shutting down Dr. Weinberg's ORNL fluid-fueled program. Inadvertent Orwellian Newspeak (ION).

Those of the present-day global nuclear industrial establishment with captured regulation are running on what was first established with Adm. Rickover's (Dr. Seaborg's) solid fuels that don't slosh around at sea. Fluid-fuels are for the Army. Not the Air Force. ("Ahem. Excuse. The budget is how much?") They cannot, must not speak the "f" words: fluid-fueled. Nor can they dare speak the forbidden "th" word; we have "fuel cycle" ONLY! Really?
Wikipedia wrote:
Since December 1945, Rickover had been Inspector General of the 19th Fleet on the west coast. He had been assigned to work with General Electric at Schenectady, New York, to develop a nuclear propulsion plant for destroyers. Rickover was sent to Oak Ridge as the deputy manager of the entire project in May 1946 through the efforts of his wartime boss, Rear Admiral Earle Mills (who became the head of the Navy's Bureau of Ships that same year), granting him access to all facilities, projects, and reports. Following efforts by physicists Ross Gunn, Philip Abelson, and others in the Manhattan Project, he became an early convert to the idea of nuclear marine propulsion.

Rickover's vision was not initially shared by his immediate superiors. He was recalled from Oak Ridge and assigned "advisory duties" with an office in an abandoned ladies room in the Navy Building. He subsequently went around several layers of superior officers, and in 1947 went directly to the Chief of Naval Operations, Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, by chance also a former submariner. Nimitz immediately understood the potential of nuclear propulsion and recommended the project to the Secretary of the Navy, John L. Sullivan. Sullivan's endorsement to build the world's first nuclear-powered vessel, USS Nautilus, later caused Rickover to state that Sullivan was "the true father of the Nuclear Navy."


The DOE report is here: Vision and Strategy for the Development and Deployment of Advanced Reactors 2016, Version 21, 27 May 2016.

The report never mentions specific fuel (no occurrences of "uranium" or "thorium") only "fuel cycle" and its only mention of "liquid" phase, outside of light water, is with respect to liquid metal coolant, but on p. 15, it mentions DOE's research in salt-cooled reactors:
Quote:
DOE also performs targeted research at its national laboratories (generic and design-specific, as informed by industry needs) to solve technical issues that reduce technical risk, enhance safety and security, accelerate development, and improve the economic competiveness [sic] of advanced reactors. This research to address technical risk reduces technical uncertainty concerning innovative aspects of new designs and assists multiple companies. [Really? Like Flibe Energy, Inc. of Huntsville, AL?] Current research is focused on high-temperature reactors (HTRs), liquid metal cooled fast reactors (LMFRs), and salt cooled reactors. HTR research is focused on developing innovative fuel forms [my emphasis] and advanced high-temperature materials. Gas Fast Reactor (GFR) research is centered on silicon carbide materials research. LMFR research is focused on concept development and establishing component-testing capability. Research on salt cooled reactor concepts includes university-led work on fluoride high temperature (FHR) reactors and laboratory-based plans to examine molten salt reactor (MSR) technology. DOE also conducts crosscutting R&D on advanced reactor modeling and simulation, code development and validation, and development of advanced manufacturing capabilities based on identified needs.

Yes. Laboratory. For example, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where the extensive MSR program was born in the early 1950s. Yes. Like the "laboratory-based plans" at ORNL of the 1950s to "examine " the Aircraft Reactor Experiment (ARE) of 1954 (the year when Congress passed and the President signed the Atomic Energy Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2011-2021, 2022-2286i, 2296a-2297h-13) that was the world's first molten salt fueled and cooled reactor, which set a record high temperature of operation of 1,600 °F (870 °C), that led to more "laboratory-based plans" used to build, successfully run, and "examine" the MSRE in the last half of the 1960s over 40 years ago that by the 1970s proved to the co-inventor of the LWR (Dr. Alvin M. Weinberg, then Director of ORNL), the LWR that is the solid-fueled reactor design at the heart of our present DOE "vision" for near-term (2050!) nuclear energy technology, that his thermal-spectrum thorium MSBR was THE superior design for domestic nuclear energy, bar none!
Wikipedia wrote:
After World War II and with the availability of enriched uranium, new concepts of reactor became feasible. In 1946, Eugene Wigner and Alvin Weinberg proposed and developed the concept of a reactor using enriched uranium as a fuel, and light water as a moderator and coolant. This concept was proposed for a reactor whose purpose was to test the behavior of materials under neutron flux. This reactor, the Material Testing Reactor (MTR), was built in Idaho at INL and reached criticality on March 31, 1952. For the design of this reactor, experiments were necessary, so a mock-up of the MTR was built at ORNL, to assess the hydraulic performances of the primary circuit and then to test its neutronic characteristics. This MTR mock-up, later called the Low Intensity Test Reactor (LITR), reached criticality on February 4, 1950 and was the world's first light-water reactor (LWR).

A few years after Dr. Weinberg's ORNL program was shut down, Three Mile Island Unit 2 had an accidental partial core meltdown. Molten salt reactors require a meltdown to safely run at atmospheric pressure for just one of its many superior performance features compared to the Weinberg LWR.

Wow. How rude of the DOE in their vision report! Again, bad manners are everywhere. Who are these DOE people who disrespect the original scientists, the esteemed Dr. Alvin M. Weinberg, who established this superior fluid-fueled energy option for domestic prosperity? Shame. Since this is a draft report, let's go ahead and edit that in: ". . . a resumption of the original MSBR program at ORNL that was led by then esteemed director, Dr. Alvin M. Weinberg, co-inventor of the light-water reactor, to continue and finish the examinations for accelerated priority development and deployment of the most excellent and superior senior nuclear fission reactor design by virtue of the fluid phase over the solid--the present LWR fleet that have been the foundation of the global nuclear power industries--the premium liquid fluoride molten salt thorium thermal breeder reactor."

"Innovative fuel forms" is missing the word "solid" and therefore evinces the Herbert Mentality Effect (HME) that reveals hidden Orwellian Newspeak. The most innovative fuel form, bar none, is fluoride salts dissolved in molten 2:1 7LiF-BeF2 ("flibe"). This "fuel form" by 1976 achieved the highest technology readiness level (TRL) of 9 out of 9 supported by the 2006 ORNL confirmation studies (ORNL/TM-2006/12) ten years ago!
Wikipedia wrote:
In 1953, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his Atoms for Peace speech to the United Nations. Commercial nuclear power generation was [the] cornerstone of his plan. A proposal by Duquesne Light Company was accepted by Admiral Rickover and the plans for the Shippingport Atomic Power Station started.

Ground was broken on Labor Day, September 9, 1954. President Eisenhower remotely initiated the first scoop of dirt at the ceremony. The reactor achieved first criticality at 4:30 AM on December 2, 1957. [I was almost two months old.] Sixteen days later, on December 18, the first electrical power was generated and full power was achieved on December 23, 1957, although the station remained in test mode. Eisenhower opened the Shippingport APS on May 26, 1958. The plant was built in 32 months at a cost of $72.5 million.
Four years from groundbreaking to grid power. Four years! On October 1, 1982, the reactor ceased operations after 25 years of commercial service. It's third and final core was . . .
Quote:
. . . a light water breeder, which began operating in August 1977 and after testing was brought to full power by the end of that year. It used pellets made of thorium dioxide and uranium-233 oxide; initially the U233 content of the pellets was 5-6% in the seed region, 1.5-3% in the blanket region and none in the reflector region. It operated at 236 MWt, generating 60 MWe and ultimately produced over 2.1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. After five years the core was removed and found to contain nearly 1.4% more fissile material than when it was installed, demonstrating that breeding [of U233 from thorium] had occurred.
That cost of $72.5 million was in 1954 when gold was $35 per troy ounce; today's Shippingport project cost is ~$637 million ($0.6 billion) give or take a few million but who's counting?

The DOE, when it was yet the AEC, already had a major R&D program for fluid-fueled molten salt reactors, the ORNL MSBR program. Compared to the other Gen IV designs for advanced reactors, MSRs have seniority, and the FE LFTR is already mostly at TRL 6 of 9 just because of the ORNL MSBR program.

Missing from DOE "vision" plan's field of view is the senior (1970) ORNL MSBR Program suspended right in their blind spot!

"The DOE, with proper recognition of President Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace and honor to Dr. Alvin M. Weinberg, a founding father of the nuclear power industries that today supply 60% of non-emitting electricity, vigorously aims to resume Dr. Weinberg's original work on a reactor design safer and more able to deliver energy than his solid-fueled uranium LWR, and thereby more capable of achieving national security goals. Energy is the single largest component of global GDP and nearly all other goods and services require or spring from energy directly or indirectly. Non-emitting nuclear energy is immensely more energy dense than carbon burning and is the only energy technology capable of dramatically improving global GDP, reversing the accumulation of atmospheric carbon, drastically reducing rates of consumption of non-renewable energy resources, that combine to raise prosperity and achieve peace. Dr. Weinberg's fluid-fueled reactor was ideally suited for full utilization of the more abundant fertile thorium compared to uranium; a design more capable of realizing Atoms for Peace than his LWR. Dr. Weinberg's visionary invention had been suspended then and must for national and international security be completed now. A fluid design that was accomplished at Oak Ridge National Laboratory by the early 1970s, DOE now intends to build and institute Dr. Weinberg's safer Molten Salt Breeder Reactor based on the thorium fuel cycle in the fluid phase. DOE recognizes that this ambitious but necessary goal rests in the public domain. Only public efforts are able to overcome a singular, severe financial inertia of the very large initial one-time technology costs that the nuclear energy markets have not in the nuclear age ever moved to bear; costs that—by their particular nature in this singular and unique national security case—are highly unlikely to ever acquire incentives for the extraordinarily high entry into the nuclear energy businesses on a technology with very large regulatory uncertainty, particularly and uniquely faced with the only other natural and competing nuclear fuel cycle technology—fluid-fueled thorium—and especially in parallel to the aging solid-fueled uranium fuel cycle LWR fleet simultaneously competing with new, abundant natural gas production, and soon several competing solid-fueled designs. DOE respectfully grants top priority to the contemporary private LFTR MSBR qualified senior proposals with the priority goal of TRL 8 by 2022 at which time the first prime breeder for the U.S. thorium fluid-fueled program will begin operating with the first initial inventory of NG U-233 for the breeding phase. The first battery of public-private prime breeders by 2030 define the LFTR-MSBR program TRL 9 that will mark the phase-down to isobreeding at the start of the final expansion phase of the private isobreeding fleet for the thorium fuel cycle component of the total U.S. electrical and thermal energy resources until national security goals of optimized prosperity are met through the vastly improved energy resources maximally facilitated by the increasing LFTR fleet combined output; and prior to fusion power anticipated to be at TRL 7 by 2050; new nuclear energy supply levels that the natural diffuse, intermittent renewable energy technologies are unable to match beyond niche markets in competition with the extreme energy density of nuclear power."

"Many of the issues which arise in the course of the interaction between science or technology and society—e.g ., the deleterious side effects of technology, or the attempts to deal with social problems through the procedures of science—hang on the answers to questions which can be asked of science and yet which cannot be answered by science. I propose the term trans-scientific for these questions since, though they are, epistemologically speaking, questions of fact and can be stated in the language of science, they are unanswerable by science; they transcend science. In so far as public policy involves trans-scientific rather than scientific issues, the role of the scientist in contributing to the promulgation of such policy must be different from his role when the issues can be unambiguously answered by science."

_________________
"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


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PostPosted: Jul 11, 2016 1:55 pm 
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Tim Meyer wrote:
Mr. Sellner, Kurt,

Thank you once again for engaging me for the public record on these legislative issues and ideas. I believe in ultimately getting a (best) working LFTR program, and (a) we agree the obstructions ought to be removed to fast-track this machine, and (b) we're voting for Flibe Energy, Inc. (Huntsville, AL) to get the contract. If I'm incorrect on what I'm assuming about your position, please post.

I do believe that Flibe Energy deserves to have a chance to build a demonstration reactor, as do many others doing nuclear energy research. While I do believe that laws like what has been shown here may prove to be helpful I also believe that this is insufficient to solve the problem.

I'm getting to a point where I believe that anything short of disbanding the DOE would be insufficient. I do not know if the DOE can be fixed. What we have created in the DOE is a government agency made of a handful of people that are both the gatekeepers and keymasters to nuclear material. If this small group of people cannot be convinced of the merits of a design then it simply cannot be built. The DOE, if it is to continue as an agency, needs to become an agency that actually lives up to the definition of a regulatory agency. I mean that the DOE needs to regulate, not ban. The DOE is not regulating anything related to fluid fueled nuclear reactors since none are currently operating in the USA, or at least none that are public knowledge.

You have pointed out that thorium needs to be removed from the list of materials seen as weapon source material and I agree. I also believe this to be insufficient. LFTR does use thorium as feedstock but the actual fuel is uranium. We'd need to see uranium also removed as source material, or at least some isotopes of it. LFTR will in normal operation produce transuranic elements, including plutonium. We'd therefore need to see plutonium regulated differently.

If Thorium was removed from the list of weapon source materials then we'd see things like thorium gas lantern mantles return to the market. We'd also likely see thorium used in alloys, dyes, and optical lenses. Thorium is a very useful metal outside of its nuclear uses, that alone is sufficient reasons to make it available on the market. Making thorium marketable would also solve our rare earth element problems.

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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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