AFAIK there is no legal restriction on LEU >5% and <20% enrichment.Kurt Sellner wrote:Is that a complaint against Terrestrial's IMSR or against the current enriched uranium industry?Kirk Sorensen wrote:If you're running an MSR on greater than 5% enriched uranium fuel, you're running it on HEU. The only difference being that the government downblended it before you got it, and then you downblend it even further.
What is preventing commercial enrichment facilities from producing 5% U-235? If there is a legal restriction then while we lobby the government for regulations that allow MSRs to get built then we should also lobby for a rule change to allow the production of the fuel needed for them. If it's a matter of not having a market for 5% U-235 that keeps commercial enrichment from producing it then the problem solves itself with the construction of reactors that will need it as fuel.Kirk Sorensen wrote:Commercial enrichment facilities don't make enrichments greater than 5%. Governments make it from HEU.
The lack of commercial 5% enriched uranium production shouldn't count against IMSR any more than a lack of commercial thorium production should count against LFTR.
The issue is there isn't much of a commercial market for that, hence enrichment companies just aren't interested in that.
Its a chicken and egg problem. Too little demand = no supply, which perpetuates the problem of too little demand. Terrestrial doesn't want to depend on a type of fuel for which there isn't much (or none at all) supply.
The only types of operational civilian and commercial scale reactors in the world that need fissile content above 5% are fast reactors, and those don't work too well on U235, they need higher levels of Pu239 on their cores instead.
If Terrestrial can start with <5% enrichment pure Uranium fuel, its a better start because it avoids a lot of certification issues.
If you look at presentations on proliferation issues that any MSR must face, like the complexity of keeping track of fissile/fertile stockpiles on a reactor that continuously looses noble gasses and where the fuel isn't divided on discrete units such as fuel pins, any MSRs have enough issues without throwing Thorium and Uranium enrichment above 5% challenges.
The easier the better, aka the KISS principle.
Don't make it complicated where you don't absolutely need to.
Its easy to dream its soooo hard to achieve.
Once there are dozens or hundreds of operational MSRs in the market, it will be so much easier to create a market for DMSR 80% Th232+15% U238+5% U235 fuel.