Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: May 01, 2016 5:44 am 
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GE-Hitachi are going to exit the Global Laser Enrichment joint venture:

http://world-nuclear-news.org/UF-GE-Hit ... 04168.html

It seems quite a setback for this laser enrichment project, with GE-Hitachi and its deep pockets exiting.

Will laser enrichment lose out against the centrifuges of Urenco, Areva and Tenex?


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PostPosted: Jun 07, 2016 12:56 pm 
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http://www.powermag.com/ge-hitachi-exit ... t-venture/


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PostPosted: Jun 07, 2016 3:02 pm 
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Sonal Patel, associate editor wrote:
Silex said it remains positive. However, it added, dismally, that "there is no guarantee of obtaining new investors for GLE given current market conditions." [Global Laser Enrichment in 2012 got the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) unprecedented approval to build and operate a full-scale laser uranium enrichment facility.]

What current market conditions? Increasing natural gas production from fracking? Projected dominance of coal?

Quote:
"The combustion of coal is responsible for more than 70 percent of CO2 emissions, dwarfing those from any other fuel used for generating electricity. With nearly 1,200 more coal-fired power plants planned in 59 countries, that cloud of greenhouse gas could grow by 4 billion tons, increasing nearly 50 per­cent by 2020. . . . Our dependence on coal isn’t ending anytime soon. Although renewable energy is expected to boom over the next decade, coal will remain by far the world’s top power source."—Victoria Tang

"Renewables Aren’t Enough. Clean Coal Is the Future" by Charles C. Mann (Science) for Wired, March 25, 2014


Is this another testament to fear of change, fear of the unknown? Allison MacFarlane, former chairwoman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said with respect to the Monju FBR situation, "What is truly impressive is that these many governments continue to fund a demonstrably failed technology." ("Japan’s Nuclear Holy Grail Slips Away With Operator Elusive")

What? Entrenched insistence on restricting nuclear energy to natural U-235 fissile? A demonstrably successful technology could be the Flibe Energy LFTR running on the much more abundant U-233 fissile from thorium.

And, please comment, how about ionic liquids for HD lithium?

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PostPosted: Jun 08, 2016 8:35 am 
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The current market condition is the low cost of LEU for power reactors. The shutdowns of many reactors in nations like Japan and Germany means that there a bit of a glut in the supply chain, driving the cost downwards.


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PostPosted: Jun 08, 2016 2:15 pm 
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Thanks for clarifying, Jim.

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Last edited by Tim Meyer on Nov 13, 2016 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Nov 12, 2016 4:06 pm 
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Paducah Laser Nuclear Enrichment Facility Gets Fuel but Not Formal Construction Decision

Quote:
While GE-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment (GLE) confirmed it hasn’t made a formal decision to proceed with licensing or construction of a laser enrichment facility at Paducah, Ky., the Department of Energy (DOE) announced it has agreed to sell depleted uranium to the company over a 40-year period to help produce nuclear power plant fuel.

The DOE said that GLE would finance, construct, own, and operate the Paducah Laser Enrichment Facility proposed for a site near the DOE’s Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in western Kentucky. The commercial facility is expected to use, under a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license, depleted uranium to produce natural uranium, which will then be used for production of fuel for U.S. civil nuclear reactors. The agreement provides for the sale of about 300,000 metric tons of DOE-owned high-assay uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) inventories for re-enrichment using proprietary SILEX technology to produce natural-grade uranium.

Yet, as a GE Power spokesperson told POWER on November 11, GLE “has made no formal decision to proceed with licensing or construction of the facility.”


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PostPosted: Nov 12, 2016 6:23 pm 
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Did I read that correctly? It sounds like they are taking the tailings from a previous enrichment, the depleted uranium, and running through this new enrichment process to squeeze out whatever U-235 the previous enrichment missed. Do I have that right?

If I undertand this correctly then I'm left wondering if uranium prices have become so expensive that we are seeing people going back to a well that was previously considered dry. Is there a shortage of natural uranium or something?

I'd appreciate a correction/clarification on what they are trying to do here.

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PostPosted: Nov 12, 2016 6:44 pm 
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Kurt Sellner wrote:
Did I read that correctly? It sounds like they are taking the tailings from a previous enrichment, the depleted uranium, and running through this new enrichment process to squeeze out whatever U-235 the previous enrichment missed. Do I have that right?


Pretty much. The old gaseous diffusion process used at Paducah was so expensive and wasteful of energy that they ran some pretty "high-tails" runs there for many years. GE-H probably realizes that with their technology, which I have heard from some people that I believe is incredibly energy efficient, they can run all those tails through the laser process and "mine" a bunch more U-235.

I had to snicker when I saw that they "bought" all that depleted uranium from the DOE. I'll bet they paid a dollar for the whole lot.


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PostPosted: Nov 13, 2016 11:01 am 
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Gas Diffusion's only real advantage was that it was the best of the three WW2 era enrichment processes.
Once Gas Centrifuges came along it was doomed.
Lasers are more energy efficient, if they can get them to work properly, but the gas centrifuge does have the advantage of flexibility.
For example Urenco use their spare centrifuge capacity to enrich a variety of other isotopes for other purposes - lasers require fundamentally different equipment for each isotope to be seperated, and many cannot be so seperated.

The only more flexible technology is the mooted plasma centrifuge that would be able to enrich literally anything you can make a solid electrode out of.


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PostPosted: Feb 02, 2017 3:13 pm 
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http://www.asahi.com/sp/ajw/articles/AJ ... 20042.html


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PostPosted: Feb 05, 2017 4:16 am 
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Now the world has substantial amount of enriched uranium, reactor grade plutonium and additional plutonium locked in used LWR fuel. We should take a fresh look at nuclear power and find the most efficient ways of producing it. Thing which, by my laymans thinking are,
1. Changing the fuel cycles to incorporate use of a thorium blanket in all types of reactors. It will result in production of larger quantity of U-233, a superior fissile for reactors.
2. Use of fast cycle in all new designs. It will result in higher fissile production.
Let us replace enrichment with more efficient chemical processes now that it is possible.


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