Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Dec 13, 2011 2:24 pm 
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Thanks Jaro. Do you know if CTs last longer than PTs? With the lower pressure and temperature, they should last much longer, right? Or do they just get replaced with the PTs?

Vented TWR fuel would be quite low pressure, and sodium is chemically much nicer on metals than water, but the TWR cladding would operate at much higher temperature than Candu PTs.

I'd say the radiation damage to the cladding is THE biggest technical issue for the TWR. Not the fuel actually, that can swell as much as it wants, just displace the sodium fuel-cladding bond up into the plenum. Metal fuel might be better than oxide fuel, with its better thermal conductivity keeping temperatures low, and metal self annealing if it gets too hot locally. Whereas oxide fuel, while it might suffer less radiation swelling damage, will run very hot and not anneal itself out, more likely the opposite happens, when it cracks it further overheats from void thermal insulation, exagerbating fuel damage.


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PostPosted: Dec 14, 2011 1:34 am 
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Having briefly perused the TerraPower site, I see that the company was initiated back in 2007. I assume that preceded Kirk's discovery and advocacy for LFTR. In that case, TerraPower must have committed to their TWR concept before LFTR was even a concept.

The $64,000 question here, of course, is how much better LFTR is than TWR, if any. I certainly don't know enough about nuclear power to know the answer to that question (I'm an aero engineer working on ATC systems).

If LFTR is clearly superior to TWR, than Gates and TerraPower would be wise to admit it and switch over, but that seems unlikely at this point. On the other hand, given the kind of money Gates has, he could fund both technologies and let them compete. Sure, he would lose money on the losing side, but he could possibility save the future of civilization -- not a bad tradeoff for money he doesn't need anyway!

Since Gates is unlikely to do that, that leaves it to some other benefactor to sponsor LFTR. Sergey Brin would love to show up Gates anyway I'm sure, so he would be ideal, but many others are rich enough to do it as well. There are lots of billionaires and hundred-millionaires (is that the right word?) around these days.

-- Russ P.


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PostPosted: Dec 14, 2011 11:45 am 
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Russ P. wrote:
...Since Gates is unlikely to do that, that leaves it to some other benefactor to sponsor LFTR. Sergey Brin would love to show up Gates anyway I'm sure, so he would be ideal, but many others are rich enough to do it as well. There are lots of billionaires and hundred-millionaires (is that the right word?) around these days.

-- Russ P.


Two who come to mind are Warren Buffet and T. Boone Pickens. Buffet would likely consider it as an investment by Berkshire Hathaway, so he would have to see clear profit potential. Pickens has advocated wind power and natural gas for transportation fuel, to make America energy independent. I think he could become interested in LFTR, if he knew about it.


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PostPosted: Dec 14, 2011 12:23 pm 
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@ Russ P. --- Kirk's advocacy goes back to at least 2006. And the LFTR concept goes back to the 1960's, but perhaps not that exact acronym.

If we are looking for a sugar daddy, I'd volunteer Elon Musk (co-founder of PayPal, founder of SpaceX & Tesla car). He has the $$$ and the intellect to understand LFTR.


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PostPosted: Dec 14, 2011 1:21 pm 
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Quote:
Having briefly perused the TerraPower site, I see that the company was initiated back in 2007. I assume that preceded Kirk's discovery and advocacy for LFTR. In that case, TerraPower must have committed to their TWR concept before LFTR was even a concept.


Molten salt reactors were not exactly a secret before Kirk discovered them. TerraPower was fully aware of MSRs and likely a close second in their minds (they have great experts but very few experts know as much as they should about MSRs). I gave a talk at a conference just following a TWR talk in 2009 and when I spoke later with the speaker he talked about how they had consider MSRs and thought highly of them. Might have come down to where they thought they could get the most patent protection.

David LeBlanc


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PostPosted: Dec 14, 2011 4:49 pm 
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The biggest sugar daddy of all is Uncle Sam. A good scenario is Flibe Energy lands a military contract.


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PostPosted: Dec 14, 2011 10:23 pm 
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Steve Brown wrote:
A good scenario is Flibe Energy lands a military contract.


I sure hope so. This country's future may just depend on it.


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PostPosted: Dec 15, 2011 10:08 am 
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Prothor wrote:
Steve Brown wrote:
A good scenario is Flibe Energy lands a military contract.


I sure hope so. This country's future may just depend on it.



The world's future depends on it....


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PostPosted: Dec 15, 2011 9:00 pm 
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rihoughton wrote:

The world's future depends on it....


Well, yes in the bigger picture, but China's going to leave us in the dust if we don't wake up. If we make/refine the LFTR technology in the states, we wont have to pay big licenses fees to foreign companies, which in turn will be passed on to the consumer.

Flibe Energy + military contract is the ONLY scenario that I see that happening.


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PostPosted: Dec 15, 2011 11:23 pm 
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I am sure that it will be Chloride rather than fluoride salt reactor. Li-7 of required purity is just too costly to be economically feasible. Chlorides are also low melting and more convenient to have in liquid form. The Chinese are the current biggest producers of Li-7 but may use robust economic sense and go for chlorides.


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PostPosted: Dec 16, 2011 2:37 am 
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Why is Bill Gates selling nuclear tech to China?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/inn ... _blog.html
Best place for nuclear innovation-China.
Best nuclear technology on horizon-MSR version of IFR. Kirk has called it Simplified Waste Digester in his Forbe's blog.


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PostPosted: Dec 16, 2011 3:49 am 
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It would be interesting to know how the CANDU pressure tubes would behave at lower pressure but higher temperature (500C) with a coolant like a salt eutectic (SnF2-PbF2) or a liquid metal (Mg-Al). Everyone talks about different fuels in Calandria configuration but the only coolants considered have been water or heavy water.
I hope that Mr Gate's computations show that irradiation can convert enough fertile matter for the wave to continue and proceed in his TWR.


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PostPosted: Dec 16, 2011 10:18 am 
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It is too bad that this design is getting so much press. As far as I can see, LFTR has a much better design philosophy.


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PostPosted: Dec 16, 2011 12:16 pm 
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And what do you people think about the fast variant of the MSR proposed by french scientists?
It doesn't need graphite nor berillium (very toxic).
http://www.gen-4.org/GIF/About/document ... enault.pdf


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PostPosted: Dec 16, 2011 1:36 pm 
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jagdish wrote:
It would be interesting to know how the CANDU pressure tubes would behave at lower pressure but higher temperature (500C) with a coolant like a salt eutectic (SnF2-PbF2) or a liquid metal (Mg-Al). Everyone talks about different fuels in Calandria configuration but the only coolants considered have been water or heavy water.


The pressure tubes are made of zirconium niobium alloy. Zirconium gets severely attacked from fluoride melts, expecially less stable ones such as SnF2-PbF2. Though it would be interesting to know the solubility of ZrO2 in a fluoride melt. Such passivation protection, even if ZrO2 is insoluble in fluoride melts, is not likely to be effective in a molten salt cooled or fuelled reactor, because it is not likely to be practical to maintain makeup oxygen to keep the passivation layer intact.

Niobium however is compatible with fluorides, similar resistance as Hastelloy N. It does cost you neutrons in a thermal reactor.

Mg-Al is a horribly corrosive bile, and highly flammable when molten.

Lead is likely to work as a coolant with zirconium-niobium alloys. And you have a practical oxygen supply, by putting some in the helium reactor cover gas, for passivation upkeep. Lead also doesn't burn in air or water.


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