Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Apr 04, 2009 6:21 pm 
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charlesH wrote:
I don't expect private investment until the regulatory path is made clear at least. Private investment is not a priority for me at least.

If you want to help make this happen, start briefing all your local congress persons on LFTR.

That's pretty much how I feel too. I've had a number of Silicon-Valley-types approach me on this, promising that we can get funding, and I tell them, until the US gov't sees this as the way forward, we're likely wasting your money.

But slowly and surely, I think the US gov't will see this as the way forward.


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PostPosted: Apr 04, 2009 7:21 pm 
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charlesH wrote:
I fully expect gov support for LFTR development to have some kind of demo plant in 7-10yrs with a commercial roll out in 10-15yrs (well before I die). Many in this forum are working with congress to make this happen.

I don't expect private investment until the regulatory path is made clear at least. Private investment is not a priority for me at least.

That seems quite reasonable.

But it seems to imply that, rather than discussing specific reactor concepts (and variations of them), the real agenda should be coming up with concepts for "the regulatory path".

Although I have posted a media report on this topic in a separate thread, I don't recall seeing anyone proposing alternative regulatory concepts.
In fact, there wasn't even a single comment in that thread.
If you recall, the US NRC proposed shifting the job of evaluating novel reactor designs to the DoE (not least because NRC can't reasonably use its current funding for such purposes, as its derived from utilities operating LWRs....)

Is this an acceptable scheme ? ....if not, what are some of the alternatives ? ....is it simply a matter of fresh funding from congress ? ...to be spent by whom ? ....Markey & Waxman ? (just joking!)

charlesH wrote:
If you want to help make this happen, start briefing all your local congress persons on LFTR.

The current discussion started with Rick's question about possible nuke plant construction in Saskatchewan.
Briefing congress won't help here.
Obviously, for construction in the near future, you need a licensed design -- this limits the choices drastically: For home-grown designs, its either the enhanced CANDU-6 (like those in Qinshan), or the ACR-1000; Alternatively, AP-1000 and EPR are also realistic.

IMO, in the long run, as the world's largest supplier of uranium, the best we can hope for here in Canada is MSRs -- forget thorium, unless there is a strong incentive for an export market, such as India or Norway.


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PostPosted: Apr 04, 2009 7:37 pm 
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Let's look at the studies that have been commissioned. The reports for these things are funded and usually the funding source gets a favorable bias.

If SNF management and advanced fuel cycles are studied independently, the chances that they both point to LFTR are minimal unless a thorium interest has a hand in funding the study, right? If an entity is commercially interested in LFTR and can participate in these studies... the advice to fund LFTR development is more likely.

I don't know how reliable a naval thorium program will be. That's one of those things that can get shutdown pretty quick if a certain mindset gets elected. I'm kind of doubting it will even fly with this executive.

Can we list the relevant DOE and DOD studies that have been requested and see if we can present to the authors?


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PostPosted: Apr 04, 2009 7:59 pm 
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jaro wrote:
IMO, in the long run, as the world's largest supplier of uranium, the best we can hope for here in Canada is MSRs -- forget thorium, unless there is a strong incentive for an export market, such as India or Norway.

The value of the fuel is small compared to the value of the reactor. The fuel supply for LFTR will never have much value (hence I would not recommend anyone to try to buy Thorium mining rights). Even the value of uranium is small compared to the value of the nuclear plants. Politics can be irrational so perhaps you are right but it is as good an investment for Canada as anyone else.


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PostPosted: Apr 04, 2009 9:58 pm 
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Tobin wrote:
Let's look at the studies that have been commissioned. The reports for these things are funded and usually the funding source gets a favorable bias.

If SNF management and advanced fuel cycles are studied independently, the chances that they both point to LFTR are minimal unless a thorium interest has a hand in funding the study, right? If an entity is commercially interested in LFTR and can participate in these studies... the advice to fund LFTR development is more likely.

I don't know how reliable a naval thorium program will be. That's one of those things that can get shutdown pretty quick if a certain mindset gets elected. I'm kind of doubting it will even fly with this executive.

Can we list the relevant DOE and DOD studies that have been requested and see if we can present to the authors?


I believe the next step is for the DOE to set up a "blue ribbon panel" to identify alternatives to yucca. When we know who is on the panel we should make sure LFTR is "on the table".


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PostPosted: Apr 04, 2009 10:45 pm 
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charlesH wrote:
I believe the next step is for the DOE to set up a "blue ribbon panel" to identify alternatives to yucca. When we know who is on the panel we should make sure LFTR is "on the table".


In that case I really hope Per Peterson is on the panel.


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PostPosted: Apr 05, 2009 12:06 am 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
charlesH wrote:
I believe the next step is for the DOE to set up a "blue ribbon panel" to identify alternatives to yucca. When we know who is on the panel we should make sure LFTR is "on the table".


In that case I really hope Per Peterson is on the panel.


Yes, but that would make it too easy.


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PostPosted: Apr 05, 2009 3:46 am 
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Lars wrote:
jaro wrote:
IMO, in the long run, as the world's largest supplier of uranium, the best we can hope for here in Canada is MSRs -- forget thorium, unless there is a strong incentive for an export market, such as India or Norway.

The value of the fuel is small compared to the value of the reactor. The fuel supply for LFTR will never have much value (hence I would not recommend anyone to try to buy Thorium mining rights). Even the value of uranium is small compared to the value of the nuclear plants. Politics can be irrational so perhaps you are right but it is as good an investment for Canada as anyone else.

Utilisation of thorium in breeder or near-breeder cycle or even of uranium in fast spectrum shall reduce demand and shall have a lowering effect on uranium prices. I do not visualize it being promoted in Canada. Not even opponents of uranium mining are likely to support these new technologies.
Only places where thorium fuel or fast reactors are likely to be welcomed are far-sighted Russia or energy and uranium poor Asian countries Japan, China, India and S. Korea.


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PostPosted: Apr 09, 2009 7:43 pm 
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charlesH wrote:
I fully expect gov support for LFTR development to have some kind of demo plant in 7-10yrs with a commercial roll out in 10-15yrs (well before I die).

According to the Gen-IV International Forum's "Master Plan", posted in this 2008 French publication, the first small TMSR demo reactor (20 - 50 MW) won't start operating before 2025, and the first prototype MSR power plant, ten years after that (2035).

Large-scale commercial TMSR plant deployment is expected only decades after that : According to the model for Europe (see second figure), we're basically looking at an industry for the second half of the twenty-first century.... (same for the alternative SFR scenario, shown at left)

Moreover, the European TMSR deployment scenario shows TRU-started reactors dominating until about the second half of the twenty-second century (2150) -- with U233-started TMSRs taking over after that....


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PostPosted: Apr 09, 2009 8:30 pm 
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jaro wrote:
According to the Gen-IV International Forum's "Master Plan", posted in this 2008 French publication, the first small TMSR demo reactor (20 - 50 MW) won't start operating before 2025, and the first prototype MSR power plant, ten years after that (2035).

Which is why we won't be waiting for the French to do this thing...

By 2025 they can come and visit LFTR facilities in the US...


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PostPosted: Apr 14, 2009 3:38 pm 
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jaro wrote:
According to the model for Europe (see second figure), we're basically looking at an industry for the second half of the twenty-first century
This “well thought out” plan for electric energy production going out for 140 years makes me think of the worlds top energy planners at about 1869 making plans for the next 140 years. : ) I would love to be able to listen in on a history blog in 2150, and see if they think we were a bit naive in our understanding of difficulty in predicting the future that far ahead. Thirty years is about as far as I would go, and that is pushing it. By that time we could have LFTRs going in at about three a week, and at less than half the cost of PWRs.

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PostPosted: Apr 14, 2009 4:59 pm 
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Tomswift wrote:
Thirty years is about as far as I would go, and that is pushing it. By that time we could have LFTRs going in at about three a week, and at less than half the cost of PWRs.

I know what you're saying Tom.

But "LFTRs going in at about three a week" may not be feasible: Give the French some credit for looking at the constraints posed by availability of fissile materials.
Its always possible that fissiles will one day start raining from heaven.
But barring that unlikely scenario, one should, IMO, base one's guesstimates on likely rates of fissile inventory growth -- which has a solid footing in SNF production by existing & planned LWRs, as well as U235 from estimates of recoverable geological ores.....


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PostPosted: Apr 14, 2009 5:26 pm 
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Quote:
Its always possible that fissiles will one day start raining from heaven.


This is where the true power of fusion lies; in its copious production of fissile from fertile feedstock hopefully thorium. Such fusion need not be self sustaining in energy production but only be able to produce high quality neutrons. This is the breakthrough that I am waitng for; this is when fission will take off.

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PostPosted: Apr 14, 2009 5:41 pm 
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The French are building ITER at Cadarache -- and they're more realistic about it, it seems :lol:


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PostPosted: Oct 11, 2010 4:43 pm 
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A 1 GWe LFTR needs about 1 mt of Thorium, is that onyl the amount of thorium which consumed or does it inclued all the th in blanket and or fuel salt?

marcus


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