Traveling Wave Reactor

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cld12pk2go
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Re: Traveling Wave Reactor

Post by cld12pk2go » Jun 05, 2018 10:37 pm

Kirk Sorensen wrote:TerraPower’s Nuclear Reactor Could Power the 21st Century
Feinberg imagined what we now call a breed-and-burn reactor. Early proposals featured a slowly advancing wave of nuclear fission through a fuel source, like a cigar that takes decades to burn, creating and consuming its fuel as the reaction travels through the core. But Feinberg’s design couldn’t compete during the bustling heyday of atomic energy. Uranium was plentiful, other reactors were cheaper and easier to build, and the difficult task of radioactive-waste disposal was still decades away.

The breed-and-burn concept languished until Edward Teller, the driving force behind the hydrogen bomb, and astrophysicist Lowell Wood revived it in the 1990s. In 2006, Wood became an adviser to Intellectual Ventures, the intellectual property and investment firm that is TerraPower’s parent company. At the time, Intellectual Ventures was exploring everything—fission, fusion, renewables—as potential solutions to cutting carbon. So Wood suggested the traveling-wave reactor (TWR), a subtype of the breed-and-burn reactor design. “I expected to find something wrong with it in a few months and then focus on renewables,” says John Gilleland, the chief technical officer of TerraPower. “But I couldn’t find anything wrong with it.”

That’s not to say the reactor that Wood and Teller designed was perfect. “The one they came up with in the ’90s was very elegant, but not practical,” says Gilleland. But it gave TerraPower engineers somewhere to start, and the hope that if they could get the reactor design to work, it might address all of fission’s current shortcomings.

The TerraPower team, led by Wood and Gilleland, first tackled these challenges using computer models. In 2009, they began building the Advanced Reactor Modeling Interface (ARMI), a digital toolbox for simulating deeply customizable reactors. With ARMI, the team could specify the size, shape, and material of every reactor component, and then run extensive tests. In the end, they came away with what they believe is a practical model of a breed-and-burn TWR first proposed by Feinberg six decades ago. As Levesque recalls, he joined TerraPower when the team approached him with remarkable news: “Hey, we think we can do the TWR now.”
twr-cutaway.jpg
Still seems like embracing inherently safer technology would be a better concept...TWR appears to solve the "problem" of lack of fuel, which isn't a commercial/financial issue...

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Kirk Sorensen
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Re: Traveling Wave Reactor

Post by Kirk Sorensen » Oct 14, 2018 9:56 pm

Energy Dept. R&D Deal FCA Suit Tossed After Gov't Request
An Idaho federal judge has dismissed a whistleblower’s False Claims Act allegations accusing nuclear technology designer TerraPower of violating a U.S. Department of Energy research and development agreement by hiding an invention funded by the deal, after the federal government claimed the suit was unwarranted. The government had shown it has legitimate interests in not wanting the suit to move forward, such as risks to relationships between the DOE and its private-sector partners and the dependence of any potential damages on a pending patent application, after which the government can bring its own suit, U.S. District Judge David C. Nye ruled in his Oct. 10 order, dismissing relator Douglas Toomer’s claims and unsealing the case. “The court finds that the government has met its burden of establishing (1) a valid government purpose for the dismissal; and (2) a rational relation between dismissal and accomplishment of that purpose,” Judge Nye said. Toomer was a relationship manager for Battelle Energy Alliance LLC, the operating contractor of Idaho National Laboratory, a federally funded nuclear energy research and development lab, according to the order. Among other responsibilities, he worked with TerraPower LLC, which in 2011 and 2012 entered into a pair of cooperative research and development agreements, or CRADA, with Battelle covering testing of nuclear fuel- and nuclear reactor-related technologies. The CRADA require that any invention conceived to perform work under the deals be disclosed to the government. While the inventor can retain the title to those inventions and move to patent them, the government also gets a license to the inventions. But, according to Toomer’s 2016 complaint, TerraPower developed a “duplex liner” — used to reduce failures of nuclear fuel rods — while working under the 2012 CRADA, without disclosing the development to the government, so it could sell the device outside the U.S. The invention could save nuclear fuel producers hundreds of millions of dollars, Toomer claimed. The issues behind the suit first came to light in 2014, when TerraPower disclosed the duplex liner as “background intellectual property” while negotiating a new R&D deal, according to the order. Battelle argued that the liner was a covered invention under the CRADA, but TerraPower held fast to its position, and while Battelle forwarded related material to the DOE and prepared a related white paper, it did not recommend any specific action. Toomer, however, continued to argue that TerraPower had violated its CRADA, which he claimed led to backlash from TerraPower and ultimately from Battelle after he issued a formal request to involve the DOE. Toomer says he left Battelle in May 2016 because of a hostile work environment resulting from his push, and he filed suit the next month. The government, after asking for several extensions to decide whether to intervene, ultimately asked that the suit be dismissed. It noted that the DOE was aware of the alleged issue all along, but had been waiting to conduct an inquiry while TerraPower pursued a related patent application — currently on appeal after a rejection by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2017 — and said that the benefits of terminating the suit outweighed the benefits of going forward. For example, the government has neither lost any property rights nor suffered any damages, and given the relevant CRADA remains in place until 2023, it has lots of time to conduct an inquiry and file suit after the patent process is complete, if needed, it claimed. Also, patentability is the key factor for damages, the government noted, as it will suffer little to no monetary loss if the duplex liner is deemed unpatentable. But if the suit continues to move forward, it will have to waste time and resources monitoring the case, as well as potentially having to reimburse Battelle’s related legal expenses, it said. Further, litigation could delay or impair the work being carried out by Battelle and TerraPower and discourage TerraPower and other private companies from working collaboratively with the DOE in future, the government claimed. Toomer in turn argued that attempts to foster public-private collaborations or save government time and money should not be considered legitimate government interests that more important than addressing violations of the law. and harm to the taxpayer. That, in essence, was a disagreement between Toomer and the government over the government’s priorities, Judge Nye claimed, siding with the government. “This disagreement is insufficient to establish that the government’s reasons for seeking dismissal are invalid,” the judge said. “Certainly, dismissal does not directly serve the mission of the FCA, but the FCA does not require the government to prosecute (or allow others to prosecute) potential FCA violations at all cost.” The primary purposes of the FCA are to alert the government to potential fraud and encourage insiders to come forward with related information, both of which had been achieved in Toomer’s case, and potential litigation costs are a legitimate government interest, according to the judge. Judge Nye dismissed Toomer’s FCA claims with prejudice, while allowing him to pursue retaliation claims against Battelle, also leaving open the door for the government to potentially pursue its own FCA claims in future. Nathan Olsen of Petersen Moss Hall & Olsen, counsel for Toomer, told Law360 Friday that although counsel were still reviewing and analyzing the decision, they were “deeply concerned about the implications of this decision and the dismissive approach taken by the Department of Justice toward what appears to be serious and intentional violations of the law.” “This case will in many respects determine how protections will be enforced under the law against the use of U.S. taxpayer dollars and national laboratories by influential individuals and companies to improperly benefit themselves and foreign powers, such as China and Russia, in the development of nuclear technologies,” Olsen said. Representatives for the DOE and for TerraPower did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday. The decision comes after an internal U.S. Department of Justice memo, the so-called Granston Memo, highlighting to DOJ attorneys the circumstances under which they can, and should, use the department’s previously rarely-invoked authority to ask for qui tam False Claims Act cases to be dismissed, was publicly leaked in January. While the most prominent part of that memo addressed “meritless” qui tam suits, another factor mentioned as potentially warranting a dismissal request is when a suit interferes with agency policies and programs. Toomer’s suit — although still under seal at the time — was specifically mentioned, with the concern that the case “would hinder the [DOE’s] ability to collaborate with private sector partners.” Toomer is represented by Nathan M. Olsen of Petersen Moss Hall & Olsen. The government is represented by Bart M. Davis and William M. Humphries of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho. The case is U.S. ex rel. Toomer v. Terrapower LLC et al., case number 4:16-cv-00226, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho.

Asteroza
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Re: Traveling Wave Reactor

Post by Asteroza » Oct 15, 2018 7:14 pm

Is the mentioned duplex liner of interest to molten salt systems?

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Kirk Sorensen
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Re: Traveling Wave Reactor

Post by Kirk Sorensen » Oct 16, 2018 9:59 am

Battelle Energy Suit Ends in U.S. Bid to Maintain Good Relations
A district court granted the government’s wish to end a whistleblower’s false claims case against TerraPower LLC and Battelle Energy Alliance LLC, two Energy Department contractors. The companies are carrying out a contract with a maximum value of $21 billion to operate an Idaho nuclear research facility.

jagdish
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Re: Traveling Wave Reactor

Post by jagdish » Oct 20, 2018 3:05 am

Unnecessary litigation only hinders development, which could be the aim of the complainant. It is wise of doe and court to end it.
TWR is one option for uranium recycling. Fast MSR using Cl37 could be another.

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Kirk Sorensen
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Re: Traveling Wave Reactor

Post by Kirk Sorensen » Dec 30, 2018 8:19 pm

Axios: Bill Gates shelves nuclear reactor in China, citing U.S. policy
TerraPower, a nuclear-energy company founded by Bill Gates, is unlikely to follow through on building a demonstration reactor in China, due largely to the Trump administration’s crackdown on the country.
GatesNotes: What I learned at work this year
We had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the U.S. have made that unlikely. We may be able to build it in the United States if the funding and regulatory changes that I mentioned earlier happen.
As China option fades, Bill Gates urges U.S. to take the lead in nuclear power, for the good of the planet
“The world needs to be working on lots of solutions to stop climate change,” Gates wrote in the wide-ranging letter, released Saturday night. “Advanced nuclear is one, and I hope to persuade U.S. leaders to get into the game.”
I'm sorry, but I just gotta call bull on this one. If Bill Gates believes in the Traveling Wave Reactor as much as he claims that he does, he has more than enough money....more than ten times enough money...to fund a prototype and prove that it has merit. He doesn't need China or the US government or anyone else. He can absolutely do it all himself. The fact that he doesn't tells me that he doesn't believe in it as strongly as he claims to.

And for good reason...it's not a very good design.

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Re: Traveling Wave Reactor

Post by jagdish » Jan 01, 2019 8:01 pm

Fast MSR could still be the ultimate energy machine.

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Kirk Sorensen
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Re: Traveling Wave Reactor

Post by Kirk Sorensen » Jan 04, 2019 3:54 pm

Bill Gates's Experimental Nuclear Power Plant Halts Construction in China
At least for now, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates is pulling back on nuclear power. He hasn't changed his mind on the science—he puts his blame on the Trump Administration's bitter relationship with China.


jagdish
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Re: Traveling Wave Reactor

Post by jagdish » Jan 05, 2019 6:58 pm

The current president could help America become great by recycling used nuclear fuel rather than importing fresh one!
Last edited by jagdish on Jan 10, 2019 2:44 am, edited 1 time in total.


jagdish
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Re: Traveling Wave Reactor

Post by jagdish » Jan 10, 2019 2:46 am

Can they offer him NRC approval?

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Kirk Sorensen
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Re: Traveling Wave Reactor

Post by Kirk Sorensen » Jan 26, 2019 5:37 pm

Bill Gates comes to Washington — selling the promise of nuclear energy
But critics say TerraPower has been stumbling over a handful of obstacles. First, TerraPower has discovered that the traveling wave didn’t travel so well and that it would not evenly burn the depleted uranium in the “candle.” Second, and partly as a result, it needed to change the design to reshuffle the fuel rods — and do that robotically while keeping the reactor running. Third, it has struggled to find a metal strong enough to protect the fuel rods from a bombardment of neutrons more intense than those commonly used in reactors — and for a much longer period of time. TerraPower’s Burkey said in an email that the company has been researching new steel alloys. It has sent ingots to a unique Russian test reactor and brought them back for examination. She said the company had made important advances in that and other areas.
First time I've ever seen these technical deficiencies of the TWR discussed openly like this.

Report: Bill Gates promises to add his own billions if Congress helps with his nuclear power push
The Post reported, based on accounts from congressional staffers, that the Microsoft co-founder is telling lawmakers that he personally would invest $1 billion and raise $1 billion more in private capital to go along with federal funds for TerraPower’s pilot plan. Gates has reportedly met with lawmakers from both parties, including Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). He also met with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and three other senators last month. Jonah Goldman, of Gates Ventures, stressed to The Post that Gates was not advocating for TerraPower alone. Gates thinks the U.S. has “the best minds, the best lab systems and entrepreneurs willing to take risk,” Goldman told the newspaper. “But what we don’t have is a commitment on Congress’ part.”
Gates can afford to build the TWR with his own money if he wants.

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Re: Traveling Wave Reactor

Post by jagdish » Jan 28, 2019 8:50 pm

TWR is one way for complete recycling of nuclear fuel. A fast MSR could be another.
Nuclear power is a subject not only of national but also international laws. Nobody will like to invest private money.

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