Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Apr 16, 2016 7:00 am 
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The plutonium was intended for nuclear weapons. So, why not dust off the PACER hybrid fission/fusion power plant ideas? There is no surer way to dispose of the plutonium than to consume it in a atomic explosion with a little fusion boost.
I know this idea is from cloud cuckoo land and violates(maybe) the intent of the agreement, but the it would be nice to convert all of the plutonium into U233 and then some (thank you D-D fusion). Breeding U233 would facilitate down blending with current stores of depleted uranium to minimize the weapons potential of the bred U233 (the intent of the agreement). The U233 could also find a nice home in Kirk's LFTR if the Proliferation fears can be mitigated.

Michael


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PostPosted: Apr 16, 2016 8:08 am 
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"Downblending" U-233 makes it worthless. I have never been and will never be in favor of such a plan. And it doesn't make the world one bit safer either. Building LFTRs on the thorium fuel cycle and retiring enrichment facilities and burning down plutonium, now that would be an improvement on the state of things, not grasping at phantoms with uranium-233.


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PostPosted: Apr 16, 2016 8:43 am 
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Downblended U-233 is hardly worthless.

ThorCon has posted a note on this issue at http://thorconpower.com/docs/wgpu.pdf


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PostPosted: Apr 16, 2016 10:01 am 
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Downblended 233U to ~4-5% still leaves it worth $1-2/g, which translates to something like $20-40/g of actual 233U for light reactor use.

Hardly worthless.


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PostPosted: Apr 16, 2016 11:29 am 
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I don't disagree Kirk.
The greatest value would be to place the Plutonium/U233 in thermal spectrum breeders/iso-breeders. The comment about converting the plutonium to U233 and down blending was an acknowledgement of the current state of regulations regarding fissile isotopes and the public's irrational fear of plutonium.
The current regulations to prevent diversion of fissile materials to weapons use make little sense when compared to the path chosen by the majority of nations to obtain nuclear weapons (centrifuges).
The United States cannot even see the value of the U233 that it currently holds. (Have they have down blended it already?)
My original purpose with the post was to show the opportunity, provided by the agreement, that could be exploited by the MSR community. 34 tons of plutonium could jump start the MSR revolution if given a chance. I would hate to see it blended with reactor grade plutonium and buried.

Michael


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PostPosted: Apr 16, 2016 11:47 am 
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Thanks djw1,
The Thorcon paper was interesting.

Michael


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PostPosted: Apr 17, 2016 3:11 am 
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Correct, reprocessing in the USA isn't forbidden, but try doing it, and see what the EPA has to say about it. And see how many potholes the NRC will throw at it too (proliferation).
There are way too many pot holes in the nuclear industry in the USA, they managed to make it outrageously expensive (almost forbid it, without actually forbidding it).

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PostPosted: Aug 18, 2016 8:05 am 
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Quote:
Does any one know if Lightbridge has evaluated using plutonium in their Metallic fuel?


Yes they have. See this page from their website for information on both thorium and plutonium variants:-

http://www.ltbridge.com/fueltechnology/ ... lanketfuel


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PostPosted: Aug 18, 2016 2:13 pm 
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michaelw wrote:
So, why not dust off the PACER hybrid fission/fusion power plant ideas?

Because first that is most certainly a violation of the treaty. Secondly, any mention of using nuclear explosives to generate energy is a near certain way to get a thread locked and a "time out" from the moderators.

Using the plutonium as a starter fuel for LFTR, DMSR, or similar liquid fuel reactors is certainly preferable to many other means of disposal as it means seeing the plutonium used as fuel for energy, can jumpstart a nuclear renaissance, and do so without expensive fuel fabrication.

While the DOE has handcuffed itself with self imposed lack of even a means to license liquid fuel reactors this does not prevent other government entities from licensing reactors. The DOD has been licensing reactors for a very long time and the US Navy has been an advocate for nuclear power research and development for decades. It should not be take too much to get some admirals convinced to put some resources in developing a power reactor that can burn this plutonium even if it never proves feasible in a warship. Such reactors are valuable for powering military bases, and making sure that military bases have power in a case of a full scale war or civil disruption is always a concern.

Another means of getting nuclear reactors licensed is through state governments. So far states have allowed the federal government to have a monopoly on nuclear material regulation but that does not mean the states cannot assert their right to license their own reactors. This would most likely ruffle some political feathers but convincing the powers that be that this means disposing of plutonium as required by treaty should smooth some of them. Pointing out the potential for jobs, carbon free energy, preventing nuclear weapon proliferation, and other benefits should reduce some of the politic resistance.

Perhaps my idea of a state licensed nuclear reactor is also from cuckoo land but at least I'm not proposing the building of plutonium bombs to detonate in a cavern.

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PostPosted: Dec 02, 2016 11:33 am 
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Who killed the US-Russia plutonium agreement, and does it really matter?


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PostPosted: Dec 05, 2016 1:30 pm 
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DOE Secretary: U.S. Commits To IAEA Monitoring For Six Metric Tons Of Plutonium Disposition

Quote:
At an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conference, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz today announced the United States is embarking on an effort to dilute and dispose of six metric tons of excess plutonium from the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, and that the United States is prepared to work with the IAEA in 2017 to develop a monitoring and verification plan for the disposition process.


Yucca is dumb.
MOX is dumber.
This is the dumbest of all.


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PostPosted: Dec 08, 2016 8:13 am 
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I feel that some improvements on MOX may be worthwhile. These could be
Thorium plutonium MOX.
Cermet with Pu O2 or PuF3 in metallic thorium.
Once the techniques are learnt, reactor grade plutonium obtained by reprocessing may be similarly used. It will produce more energy than what you call the dumber MOX.


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PostPosted: Dec 08, 2016 12:02 pm 
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That was my question... When Kirk says MOX, he means just U238 MOX, not Thorium MOX. Thorium MOX sounds like a great idea since its converting Pu into U233. With enough U233 in spent fuels, pure Thorium/U233 MSRs might never need Plutonium at all.

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PostPosted: Dec 09, 2016 2:35 am 
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TerjeP wrote:
Quote:
Does any one know if Lightbridge has evaluated using plutonium in their Metallic fuel?


Yes they have. See this page from their website for information on both thorium and plutonium variants:-

http://www.ltbridge.com/fueltechnology/ ... lanketfuel

A seed and blanket fuel using metallic thorium pins in blanket may be the best way to grow U-233 in existing reactors while still producing power. There may also be economy in natural uranium used.


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PostPosted: Dec 09, 2016 8:52 pm 
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Titanium48 wrote:
Unless somebody manages to build a molten chloride reactor soon, making Th-Pu MOX to burn in water cooled reactors makes the most sense. When a commercial LFTR design is ready for mass production, fluorinate the spent Th-Pu MOX for startup fuel.
A molten fluoride reactor can burn PuFFF the magic fuel too.

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