Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Feb 15, 2010 1:48 pm 
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Hi Guys!

My first post here!

Does anyone know why India has not joined the Generation IV International Forum (GIF)?

Does it have to do with NPT and political reasons OR India's stress on thorium based reactors?

Even if India wanted to use thorium based fuel cycles, a lot of technology shared at the GIF can be used in its development. Like high temperature alloys, turbine systems, material handling, fuel fabrication, etc.

Any ideas?

- Nitin


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PostPosted: Feb 15, 2010 4:33 pm 
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Welcome Nitin!

Not sure why India hasn't joined the Gen-4 but I don't think the program is very effective anyway so it probably doesn't matter.


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PostPosted: Feb 15, 2010 5:01 pm 
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I can't imagine India would have been allowed to join genIV prior to the change in US policy under Bush.
Even then it took (and is still taking) time before India is fully accepted.

More recently it seems genIV is getting less support and is less interesting to join now.


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PostPosted: Feb 15, 2010 5:02 pm 
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Hi Kirk,

Tell me something!

Apart from the "nuclear engineering" part which is to do with the nuclear core, what does it take to make a Gen-IV reactor? Superalloys (materials in general), heat exchangers, etc?? Or, is it primarily about the core?

How far are we from seeing one of these Gen-IV in operation? How is the price per kWh likely to compare with the current generation nuclear plants and coal plants?

- Nitin


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PostPosted: Feb 15, 2010 6:44 pm 
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nitinmittal wrote:
Hi Kirk,

Tell me something!

Apart from the "nuclear engineering" part which is to do with the nuclear core, what does it take to make a Gen-IV reactor? Superalloys (materials in general), heat exchangers, etc?? Or, is it primarily about the core?


Each one is different (there are six "Gen-4" concepts)....which one are you referring to?


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PostPosted: Feb 16, 2010 12:46 am 
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Indians are charting their own path and indigenous R&D is ahead of industrial work. Knowledge on thorium fuel, for example, will not be used for power reactors for decades. Only Russia and India are building fast reactors for power production. Indians could probably use knowledge on salt coolants and the only people really working on it are Czechs! Not much use fron GenIV. It is more fruitful to do ones own studies on Lead-Bismith eutectic. ITER and INPRO are sufficient for international co-operation. Best read annual report of DAE for information.


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PostPosted: Feb 16, 2010 4:16 am 
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Isn't the first thorium breeding commercial reactor going online soon or has it gone online already? I guess it is 500/550 MWe?

We need fast reactors for our own issues with availability or Uranium, right? Why are the Russians interested in them? Are these fast breeder reactor competitive against LWRs?

In the 3-stage program, where does molten salt fit in? I couldn't see why we would want that?

I actually think LFRs are very exciting, especially the battery version. Even at 10-15 cent/kWh, it makes sense to deploy them in places that do not yet have a grid or for process heat applications in industries. Anything happening there? Did you read about the Toshiba 4S?

Another one I really like is the Supercritical-water-cooled reactor (SCWR). Very simple cycle and it is evolution of the current LWR designs.

Any idea on where the bottleneck for these technologies are?

Does someone have a link to the DAE report link?


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PostPosted: Feb 16, 2010 12:04 pm 
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http://www.dae.gov.in/publ/ar0809/start.pdf
is the link to Annual Report.
PFBR is nearing completion. Thorium will be irradiated in the blanket.
There is no molten salt in stage-2. I hope they include a salt coolant before a sodium fire causes a setback as at other places.
Russians find fast reactors as economical as other reactors. They do not want to miss out on any technology. They are one of the leading exporters of nuclear reactors and fuel as well as gas fuel. They are selling nuclear fuel to US where their reactors are not working.


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PostPosted: Feb 19, 2010 11:26 pm 
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The bottleneck for the LFTR has some logic:
1. Reactor manufacturers have historically derived most of their revenues from fuel fabrication.
2. The LFTR needs no fuel fabrication.
3. Therefore, (from 1 & 2) reactor manufacturers don't want to build it.
4. So, nobody is willing to invest the big $ to get a LFTR design through the regulatory
approval process(es).

The LFTR has one unique, valuable deployment advantage. The fuel design is already tested. This could save up to a decade of development time compared to other efficient reactors.

There are also cost advantages from the low pressure core: Smaller containment and land parcel, and a safer, less expensive reactor vessel. Per Peterson's research group is trying to capture this advantage in an alternative design with a more conventional solid fuel.

The LFTR breeds, so it skips by the need for enrichment, and can use a relatively small starting load.


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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2010 3:15 am 
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Russia, France, China and India have nuclear power in the public sector funded for the most part by governments. The push for new designs will come from these countries. GNEP is nearly defunct. Joint development between these countries is also possible. It will depend on the value of a project in the eyes of participating countries. The only hope for the US is Blue Riband Panel recommendations or defense projects. AREVA's of the world could also try.


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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2010 5:11 am 
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Now I understand why people so passionately push for LFTR! 8)


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