Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Feb 16, 2010 7:16 am 
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PHWR's are meant for power and plutonium recovery for second (FBR) stage. AHWR's are the initial design for third stage. Commercial viability depends on setting and there is even some talk of exporting PHWR's to Kazakhstan or anyone interested. Imported reactors are costlier and are being procured only with assured fuel for lifetime, with secondary aim of reprocessing for plutonium. The temporary phase is imported reactors.


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PostPosted: Feb 16, 2010 7:47 am 
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nitinmittal wrote:
Guys,

Same question I asked in another post! Are these PHWR/AHWRs competitive against the LWRs? Or, are these primarily to make U232 for the 3rd stage?

This has significance from the view that now India has access to high quality uranium ores from Namibia, Kazakhstan, etc. and the possibility of buying all the uranium it needs for commercial use. Under this scenario I don't see the point where India would invest in a technology which is not competitive in price.

PHWR are going to be under IAEA safeguards right? Anyways these can't be used for breeding fuel for warheads either!


- Nitin


Generally, HWR has a bit higher upfront investment than PWR. However, not enough for clear arguments, especially when the avoided lifecycle cost of enrichment + enrichment plant is considered, the difference is very small. Enriching water once that is good for many decades seems more useful to me than enriching nuclear fuel every year. With reduced political profile (no enrichment) and no fabrication of large pressure vessels, I'd say the systemic advantage tends to be with the HWR, especially for a starting nuclear country. IMHO Iran could have had a larger number of reactors already operating if they went for HWR running on natural uranium. Of course the antis would likely claim Iran is building a fusion bomb.


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PostPosted: Feb 16, 2010 8:45 am 
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Location: Tilburg, Netherlands
Hahaha....the Iran thing is funny!

I heard that India has exported D2O to some countries, including USA. Seems that India has developed some expertise in this area.

Did India buy the reactors in lieu of the NSG clearance or was it a urgent requirement because of domestic electric supply shortage?

"...secondary aim of reprocessing for plutonium." Is this for the stage-2 where Th is bred into U-233?

Does India even have Uranium enrichment facility? Cause it doesn't need any. It uses Pu from the HWRs for military and commercial applications. Nowhere in any cycle I see the use of enriched uranium. This is unique!


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PostPosted: Feb 16, 2010 6:10 pm 
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Location: Albuquerque NM USA
Consider that although India may now have access to uranium from Namibia, Kazakhstan, etc., India may not wish to make itself dependent on it. There is no guarantee that the access will be forever. History indicates that it is wise not to become too dependent on resources from outside of the country, a lesson which some countries seem slow to learn.


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PostPosted: Feb 16, 2010 7:42 pm 
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I agree that WR-1 was an excellent performer, I'm currently trying to model it with current methods. I like LFTR but the operating temperatures are higher than I think you can use for extended service (what good is an 'infinite core' if you've got 1000 hr hot section inspections?), also licensing issues, absolutely zero clue on where to even start by NRC personnel, will extend any program.


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PostPosted: Feb 16, 2010 8:57 pm 
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Location: Montreal
nitinmittal wrote:
Does India even have Uranium enrichment facility? Cause it doesn't need any. It uses Pu from the HWRs for military and commercial applications.

Correction: India's original CANDU reactors have always been under IAEA supervision, and no Pu diversion has taken place.
Later CANDU-clones were not supervised, but using them to produce weapons Pu is not effective.
Dedicated weapons-Pu reactors are far more effective, and much cheaper than CANDU clones.
These may also use HW, but will not have the high-temperature & high-pressure fuel & fuel-channels required for power production (which is what defines CANDU).
Instead, they will use easy-to-reprocess metal fuel (instead of ceramic UO2), unpressurised, and relatively low operating temperature -- rejected as waste heat...


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PostPosted: Feb 17, 2010 1:03 am 
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Some purely power producing reactors are not declared civilian and put under IAEA inspection if the fuel is local. Saves cost and hindrance when you are learning on line. No one bothers if they are referred to as military! This includes new 700 MWe PHWR and fast reactors. They can be put under inspection later if imported fuel is required and initial bugs have been dealt with.


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