Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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 Post subject: Thorium production
PostPosted: Mar 22, 2009 4:51 pm 
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I read in a web article that current worldwide thorium production is about 31 thousands tonn per year. Given the fact that it needs only 1/20 of that production to power the entire planet electric needs (eventually with heat pumps for heating and electric vehicles and trains for transportation), for which (non energy?) uses thorium is currently used, I guess India shoudn't have a big role, at least today


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 Post subject: Re: Thorium production
PostPosted: Mar 22, 2009 4:56 pm 
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Welding rods.


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 Post subject: Re: Thorium production
PostPosted: Mar 22, 2009 7:00 pm 
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Is there any share of that ~ 30'000 tonn/year from the energy sector, from India I guess?


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 Post subject: Re: Thorium production
PostPosted: Mar 23, 2009 12:20 am 
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoria#Applications

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium#Applications


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 Post subject: Re: Thorium production
PostPosted: Mar 23, 2009 7:04 am 
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Any numbers about the world share for energy production (if there is some) versus other applications?


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 Post subject: Re: Thorium production
PostPosted: Mar 23, 2009 7:48 am 
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Thorium production is a byproduct of mining for rare earths and other minerals.


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 Post subject: Re: Thorium production
PostPosted: Mar 23, 2009 9:28 am 
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Forgive me, but your replies don't answer directly to my question; to be more specific, although of course I consider thorium availability in the planet a non-issue, I' d like to know if there is today some use of thorium (and how much, eventually) for the energy/electricity production - I know India has some interest in the thorium minning/exploitation


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 Post subject: Re: Thorium production
PostPosted: May 14, 2009 3:19 am 
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Just going through some numbers. If Alex’s number of 31,000 tonns of thorium are produced each year, and the most common uses are gas lamp mantles, and each mantle weighs .6 gm when in use we have enough mantles to supply every man woman, and child on the earth with about 7900 each year. This is not rational. For TIG electrodes assuming all TIG electrodes are 2% thorium, they are not, we would have to use the entire world supply of tungsten just for electrodes. This is not rational ether. From a Google search it appears that the world usage of thorium concentrate is about 7000 tonns a year. http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:4LW ... clnk&gl=us

Reported prices for thorium nitrate in 1997 was less than $30,000 per tonn. This price would make the fuel cost for a thorium reactor negligible.

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 Post subject: Re: Thorium production
PostPosted: May 14, 2009 8:05 pm 
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According to http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/thorium/mcs-2009-thori.pdf , there were 3.5 tons consumed in the US in 2007, and an estimated 6.51 tons in 2008. The value of thorium alloys, compounds, and metal used by the domestic industry was estimated to have decreased to about $155,000 from $318,000 in 2007. So it is a microscopic industry and probably has erratic pricing.

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 Post subject: Re: Thorium production
PostPosted: May 14, 2009 8:30 pm 
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pstudier wrote:
According to http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/thorium/mcs-2009-thori.pdf , there were 3.5 tons consumed in the US in 2007, and an estimated 6.51 tons in 2008. The value of thorium alloys, compounds, and metal used by the domestic industry was estimated to have decreased to about $155,000 from $318,000 in 2007. So it is a microscopic industry and probably has erratic pricing.

Right.

For one thing, AFAIK, thorium lamp mantle manufacture is no longer allowed in the US -- since several years ago.

The only radioactive (Th) lamp mantles still made are Indian, and I don't think they're even being imported -- so they've become a collector's item.


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 Post subject: Re: Thorium production
PostPosted: May 18, 2009 10:06 am 
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Thanx for your answers/comments

Pratically, as far I understand, we don' t need any extra substantial increase in thorium mining, even if we are going to produce > 80 PWh/year worldwide (1 PWh = 1000 TWh = 10^12 kWh) with LFTR, assuming a production of > 11 TWh per tonn of thorium (of even less) - only about one fourth more of that 31 thousands tonn/year of thorium production is needed, easily achievable on a world basis


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 Post subject: Re: Thorium production
PostPosted: May 18, 2009 12:44 pm 
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http://www.irel.gov.in/scripts/products.asp
Indian Rare Earths site gives some data about products including thorium compounds.

USES OF THORIUM COMPOUND:(Extracted from above site)

In the field of nuclear energy - preparation of U233 .

Thorium Magnesium alloys in material of construction of supersonic aircraft, earth satellites and missiles.

In manufacture of refractories, polishing compounds, alloys, and chemicals.

As a catalyst in manufacture of Ammonia, Sulphur Trioxide and water gas.

Thoriated tungsten as electrodes.
Quantities are not given.


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 Post subject: Re: Thorium production
PostPosted: May 18, 2009 3:48 pm 
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also used in petroleum industry for isobutane. It's cheaper than your average tetravalent oxide catalyst.

We used it in solution to clean half the steam generators at AIW in 1983. It was part of the iron removal solution, I think.


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 Post subject: Re: Thorium production
PostPosted: May 18, 2009 5:36 pm 
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Alex P wrote:
Thanx for your answers/comments

Pratically, as far I understand, we don' t need any extra substantial increase in thorium mining, even if we are going to produce > 80 PWh/year worldwide (1 PWh = 1000 TWh = 10^12 kWh) with LFTR, assuming a production of > 11 TWh per tonn of thorium (of even less) - only about one fourth more of that 31 thousands tonn/year of thorium production is needed, easily achievable on a world basis


The real demand is not what is burned per year but what is needed to start up a LFTR. It would probably take many tons of Thorium for the blanket.

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 Post subject: Re: Thorium production
PostPosted: May 18, 2009 6:16 pm 
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For the fast spectrum 1GWe machine we need around 45 tonnes for the core and something like 30 tonnes for the blanket. A great deal more than what is consumed during normal operations but still not very much.


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