Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Oct 07, 2010 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Jul 28, 2008 10:44 pm
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And in some LFTR designs we could mix in the thorium at the source so that the is even less chance of a criticality accident during shipment (but I'm not sure if we aren't reducing extremely near zero to very extremely near zero).


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PostPosted: Oct 08, 2010 11:27 pm 
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Joined: Dec 01, 2006 7:23 pm
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David wrote:
Can you explain that a little further. Does this mean that UF6 at 5% or less as a gas can't reach criticality no matter the volume (i.e. a huge leak before it cools and solidifies), but that above 5% it can?

David L.


The minimum enrichment for criticality for uranium metal is 5.4% assuming no reflector. See http://www.nti.org/e_research/official_docs/norway/HEU_as_Weapons_Material.pdf for a nice graph of critical mass for uranium-235 as a function of enrichment.


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PostPosted: Oct 09, 2010 2:35 am 
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Enrichment level is a self inflicted problem that we have to live with. Nuclear weapon states can get round it for government use. Otherwise we have to remain within IAEA guidelines. If the US has imposed a 5% limit on civilian enrichment, they have to live with it or change the rules. 20% enriched is a good workable limit enabling fast reactors like Russian SVBR series and Hyperion small reactor. It could also run thermal reactors (including DMSR) in combination with thorium for long burn up or for irradiating thorium for use as fuel.
I hope Russians are not similarly inhibited and I would recommend to them development of thorium-LEU fuel in collaboration with India to increase their market share of long burn up fuel to desired extent.


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