Thorium Power Plants Could Solve The World's Energy Problems

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posted on Oct, 29 2006 @ 01:55 AM
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A Norwegian Professor, Egil Lillestol, believes that Thorium power plants could help solve the global energy crisis. Norway has a huge amount of Thorium and a Thorium reactor has lots of advantages over a traditional nuclear power plant. The world's reserves of Thorium could cover the energy needs globally for thousands of years.


Norway Can Solve the Global Energy Crisis


Accelerator driven nuclear reactors based on Thorium may present a solution to the global energy crisis and could help ease political tension globally. Norway could play a key role in this development.

•There is no danger of a melt-down like the Chernobyl reactor
•It produces minimal radioactive waste
•It can burn Plutonium waste from traditional nuclear reactors with additional energy output
•It is not suitable for the production of weapon grade materials
•The energy contained in one kilogram of Thorium equals that of four thousand tons coal
•The global Thorium reserves could cover the world’s energy needs for thousands of years
•Norway has an estimated 180 000 tons of Thorium which based on the current price of oil is equivalent to 250 thousand billion US$, or 1000 times the Norwegian oil fund.

What is now needed is the building of a prototype. This will take about 15 years to build and cost approximately 550 M€. It is expected that several countries and institutions will contribute with money as well as know-how if the prototype is realized as an international collaborative effort.


Wikipedia: Thorium

The current thorium mineral reserve estimates (in tons)[1]:

* 360,000 India
* 300,000 Australia
* 170,000 Norway
* 160,000 United States
* 100,000 Canada
* 35,000 South Africa
* 16,000 Brazil
* 95,000 Others

The problem is that it will take about 15 years to build the first reactor. I hope they will build it, and I hope they will start building it soon. This sounds very promising. Why haven't they started to build these already? I suspect that someone might not want the competition from these plants...

Related Links:
Energy from Thorium blog




posted on Oct, 29 2006 @ 01:04 AM
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Why haven't they started to build these already?


It takes 15 years to build.

I'm really skeptical of so-called "Silver Bullet" solutions like this.

I guess it could work out if funded appropriately, but all I've been hearing about is ITER. That project is tying up large amounts of Nuclear R&D budgets worldwide so I think that 15 years is a bit optimistic for even a test reactor. Add in another 15 years for testing and efficiency refinements and you're now in the same time frame of Commercial Fusion Energy.

We need to find a way to power down gradually until these discoveries are ready for prime time and whats needed for that is things like better solar cells, more efficient wind and wave energy collecting, more efficient ways of transporting goods across the Pacific and Atlantic, more efficient computers/appliances, etc.

[edit on 29-10-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on Oct, 29 2006 @ 03:03 AM
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I think a reactor that could run on Thorium is fantastic. It would also solve many of the problems revolving around nuclear proliferation.

personally I think the future of nuclear energy is fusion. It is the holy grail of nuclear power. Difficult to achieve, but well worth the effort.



posted on Oct, 29 2006 @ 03:17 AM
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Only Russian reactors can melt down the way Chernobyl did. (just a quick notice)



posted on Nov, 4 2006 @ 12:31 PM
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Originally posted by Figher Master FIN
Only Russian reactors can melt down the way Chernobyl did. (just a quick notice)



so, what happened in Three Mile Island was just some kind of show or what? granted, western reactors have much more containment, but i wouldn't say they can't ever blow up.



posted on Nov, 4 2006 @ 03:40 PM
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It sounds good. I don't like the expanse of time they are saying that it will take though. I think the hybrid electrical technology will develop long before then... I mean, fully develop.



posted on Nov, 4 2006 @ 03:45 PM
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This sounds like a great program that deserves a lot of research funding. If this becomes a reality, It'd be great for the nuclear powers to fulfill their NPT obligations to help non-nuclear countries build peaceful nuclear power reactors without the risk of material being diverted to weapons programs.

[edit on 11/4/2006 by djohnsto77]



posted on Nov, 4 2006 @ 07:24 PM
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Thorium in water based reactors did not perform as well as expected, so more research was performed using plutonium, and Uranium than Thorium.

Nevertheless, the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Japan, Russia, Canada, Brazil, and India have all run Thorium-based fuels in a variety of reactors. The earliest that I am aware of starting back in the 1960's.


Recently interest has been again stirred. India is in progress building an advanced Thorium reactor and the Netherlands has had an Thorium reactor running at 1MWth for three years.

In 2000 the IAEA released a detailed report {pdf} describing Thorium based Electrical Generation Options in use by various countries.

In 2004 the U.S. awarded a Russian Research Center with $4 million to test a new Thorium fuel. The funding was extended another $1 million in '05. The company doing the testing says they will be able to make Commercial reactors for the new fuel in 3 years.

Could it save the world? I doubt it, but it could go a long way to making things a lot safer.

Related Articles
Thorium Fuel for Nuclear Energy September 2003
Thorium UIC Briefing Paper # 67 June 2006
US government contracts
Clean Nukes Go Public Oct. 2006
Neutronic analysis of PROMETHEUS reactor fueled with various compounds of thorium and uranium November 2002



posted on Nov, 4 2006 @ 08:31 PM
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posted by XphilesPham

I think a reactor could run on Thorium . . It would also solve many problems around nuclear proliferation. I think the future of nuclear energy is fusion. It is the holy grail of nuclear power. Difficult to achieve, but well worth the effort. [Edited by Don W]



Name: thorium
Symbol: Th
Atomic number: 90
Thorium is not suitable for the production of weapon grade materials Thorium is a source of nuclear power. There is probably more untapped energy available for use from thorium in the minerals of the earth's crust than from combined uranium and fossil fuel sources. Much of the internal heat the earth has been attributed to thorium and uranium.

Listed under "Uses" #8. source of nuclear energy

When pure, thorium is a silvery white metal which is air-stable and retains its lustre for several months. When contaminated with the oxide, thorium slowly tarnishes in air, becoming grey and finally black. Thorium oxide has a melting point of 3300̊C, the highest of all oxides. Only a few elements, such as tungsten, and a few compounds, such as tantalum carbide, have higher melting points.

Thorium is slowly attacked by water, but does not dissolve readily in most common acids, except hydrochloric. Powdered thorium metal is often pyrophoric and should be carefully handled.When heated in air, thorium turnings ignite and burn brilliantly with a white light.

Thorium is named for Thor, the Scandinavian god of war. It is found in thorite and thorianite in New England (USA) and other sites.

Further data for naturally occuring isotopes of thorium are listed separately. This table gives information about some radiosotopes of thorium, their masses, their half-lives,

Radioisotopes
232Th 232.0380508 (23) 1.4 x 1010 y (14 b. years)

233Th 233.041576 22.3 minutes ?- to 233Pa


FUSION
The Tokamak Machine
South Korea announced plans to spend $300 million on an advanced superconducting tokamak machine as part of its effort to become a fusion leader. Physicists say the project will give South Korea the expertise needed to join an even bigger program, the $10 billion International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, meant to demonstrate fusion as a commercial source of power. To realize its ambitions, South Korea is seeking international funding and technical support. But with the US fusion budget shrinking, scientists said at a meeting last week, advice may be all that South Korea gets.



posted on Nov, 5 2006 @ 11:56 PM
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1. Your first point makes no sense.....just because the reactor uses thorium does not exempt it from the possibility of power surges, fuel element overheating, etc.... (i.e., meltdown).

2. What is the definition of minimal radioactive waste? waste is waste, and it is still a problem for thousands of years....

3. no comment
4. true
5. okay...
6. true, but is has to be mined...

You all seem to be forgetting, thorium itself is not fissionable, but the transmutation of Th232 into U233 is what we are talking about here. U233 is fissionable and is what is required, this is where a breeder type reactor comes into play.

One disadvantage is that the thorium cycle produces more fission gas per fission, although experience has shown that thorium dioxide is superior to uranium dioxide in retaining these gases. Another disadvantage is the cost of recycling thoria-base fuels, or the "spiking" of initial-load fuels with 233U. It is more difficult because 233U always contains 232U as a contaminant. 232U alpha decays to 228Th with a 1.9 year half-life. The decay chain of 228Th produces strong gamma and alpha emitters. All handling of such material must be done under remote conditions with containment. (this was taken from another website).

I hope more research goes into this...



Originally posted by Hellmutt

Accelerator driven nuclear reactors based on Thorium may present a solution to the global energy crisis and could help ease political tension globally. Norway could play a key role in this development.

•There is no danger of a melt-down like the Chernobyl reactor
•It produces minimal radioactive waste
•It can burn Plutonium waste from traditional nuclear reactors with additional energy output
•It is not suitable for the production of weapon grade materials
•The energy contained in one kilogram of Thorium equals that of four thousand tons coal
•The global Thorium reserves could cover the world’s energy needs for thousands of years
•Norway has an estimated 180 000 tons of Thorium which based on the current price of oil is equivalent to 250 thousand billion US$, or 1000 times the Norwegian oil fund.

What is now needed is the building of a prototype. This will take about 15 years to build and cost approximately 550 M€. It is expected that several countries and institutions will contribute with money as well as know-how if the prototype is realized as an international collaborative effort.


Wikipedia: Thorium

The current thorium mineral reserve estimates (in tons)[1]:

* 360,000 India
* 300,000 Australia
* 170,000 Norway
* 160,000 United States
* 100,000 Canada
* 35,000 South Africa
* 16,000 Brazil
* 95,000 Others

The problem is that it will take about 15 years to build the first reactor. I hope they will build it, and I hope they will start building it soon. This sounds very promising. Why haven't they started to build these already? I suspect that someone might not want the competition from these plants...

Related Links:
Energy from Thorium blog



posted on Nov, 6 2006 @ 08:31 AM
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posted by porky1981


“ . . Norway has an estimated 180,000 tons of Thorium which based on the current price of oil is equivalent to 250 thousand billion US$, or 1000 times the Norwegian oil fund . .” Q. $250 trillion? A. I think someone made a mistake. I expect they meant to say 250 thousand million, which would be 250 billion. US style. Not trillion. That is more than the value of the whole Earth. [Edited by Don W]


“ . . It will take about 15 years to build the first reactor. I hope they will build it and I hope they start building it soon. Why have they not started to build these already? I suspect that someone might not want the competition from these plants . . [Edited by Don W]



Are you suggesting Mr P1, that VP Cheney and his secret energy cabal are not the appropriate parties to make the national energy policy for the 300 million citizens of the United States of America? None of whom were ever consulted? Arrogance made perfect by the refusal not only to tell us ordinary mortals - who do the dying in Iraq - what they decided, but even to reveal who was present at the beginning!

Thank you Jesus, for giving us a born again leader like Bush43.



[edit on 11/6/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Nov, 6 2006 @ 07:07 PM
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Originally posted by porky1981
waste is waste, and it is still a problem for thousands of years....

I wouldn't say thousands of years...

Once wee have a cheap and very safe and reliable way of getting off earth, we can just send big containers full of waste into our sun...and problem solved.
Its not feasable today, because a rocket couldn't hold much...plus it wouldn't be good if it blew up on launch.
But I doubt we would have to store the waste on earth for more then 100 years...I would assume by then access to space would be extremely cheap, safe, easy, and virtually common place.



posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 03:45 PM
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Originally posted by porky1981
2. What is the definition of minimal radioactive waste? waste is waste, and it is still a problem for thousands of years....


What do you mean by waste is waste? Minimal radioactive waste is thousand time better than current one, and million times better than traditional carbon-based fuel wastes (CO, CO2) since these wastes affect globally, the atmosphere. Just imagine the panic CO2 is causing nowadays, all happened just within 50 years, or much less than that. Whereas radioactivity (even in the case of explosion) has local effects and leave us with an option to quit that area.

Considering all those techs available today for energy production, N-energy is the best and ideal among the others. Because, solar energy is costly when it comes to mass production. Hydraulic and air turbines are not ideal, since the functionality of our world is chaotic (chaotic system), means flap of a butterfly's wing can set typhoons (butterfly effect). These energies come with an attractive ecology price tag.

So the solution is a safe ('melt-down' free and easy & minimal radioactive waste management) N-energy. Thorium is the right thing to achieve that.



posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 07:52 PM
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Originally posted by Hellmutt
The problem is that it will take about 15 years to build the first reactor. I hope they will build it, and I hope they will start building it soon. This sounds very promising. Why haven't they started to build these already? I suspect that someone might not want the competition from these plants...


15 years? ...nope (Or may be it's for Norway).

India is working on Thorium for more than 30 years (their nuclear program started in mid 40's, before their independence in 1947). And it is the first country which successfully used Thorium in its reactor. Check out this: Thorium



In India, both Kakrapar-1 and -2 units are loaded with 500 kg of thorium fuel in order to improve their operation when newly-started. Kakrapar-1 was the first reactor in the world to use thorium, rather than depleted uranium, to achieve power flattening across the reactor core. In 1995, Kakrapar-1 achieved about 300 days of full power operation and Kakrapar-2 about 100 days utilising thorium fuel. The use of thorium-based fuel was planned in Kaiga-1 and -2 and Rajasthan-3 and -4 (Rawatbhata) reactors.

In India, the Kamini 30 kWth experimental neutron-source research reactor using U-233, recovered from ThO2 fuel irradiated in another reactor, started up in 1996 near Kalpakkam. The reactor was built adjacent to the 40 MWt Fast Breeder Test Reactor, in which the ThO2 is irradiated.


Rethinking Nuclear Power: India's Homegrown Thorium Reactor (needs subscription)



Abstract: In isolation, India decades ago launched an ambitious nuclear electric program that relies heavily on homegrown technology.


India starts Thorium-based reactor... (Kamini reactor attained criticality in Oct 1996)



Kamini, a 30 kW experimental neutron-source reactor using uranium-233 fuel has started up near Kalpakkam. The reactor runs on fissile U-233 recovered from ThO fuel irradiated in another reactor, the U-233 having been bred from thorium-232. Kamini is India's seventh research reactor and will be used in connection with the adjacent 40 MW Fast Breeder Test Reactor. The reactor core consists of 72 uranium-aluminium alloy plates (containing about 600g of U-233) in a nine-litre space, totally surrounded by beryllium oxide reflector encased in zircalloy, with light water moderator. The reactor vessel is a 2m diameter stainless steel tank, 4m high. Large negative temperature and void coefficients make the reactor inherently very safe.

The reactor is seen as a first step towards the thorium cycle, where in a near-breeder reactor U-233 would be bred from Th-232 fuel continuously. Though a focus of interest for many years, the thorium cycle has never been commercialised. However, India, with enormous reserves of thorium-rich mineral sands and no uranium reserves, has long been interested in it. An advanced heavy-water thorium cycle power reactor is under development.


World's safest N-reactor by India



India unveiled before the international commuity Thursday its revolutionary design of 'A Thorium Breeder Reactor' that can produce 600 MW of electricity for two years 'with no refuelling and practically no control manoeuvres.'

Designed by scientists of the Mumbai-based Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, the ATBR is claimed to be far more economical and safer than any power reactor in the world.

BARC scientists V Jagannathan and Usha Pal revealed the ATBR design in their paper presented at the week-long 'international conference on emerging nuclear energy systems' in Brussels. The design has been in the making for over seven years.



posted on May, 21 2007 @ 06:59 AM
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I read in norwegian media today, that Norway in cooperation with Sweden and Finland are planning to start a project that can lead to the building of a thorium power plant. This is very good news!

Dagbladet: Statkraft vurderer atomkraft (in norwegian...)


The world needs power, lots of power and there is global warming. An option is nuclear power. But as we can see in cases like Iran, the world is worried about nuclear weapons. Thorium plants are not suitable for the production of weapon grade materials. Maybe that's also the reason why this technology have been ignored in the past? There are experimental thorium plants, but the technology is not fully developed yet. The world need this technology now. Please make it happen asap.



posted on May, 22 2007 @ 03:49 PM
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Scandinavian are smarts.

American won't buy it, they will tell you input=output. No way you can get better energy than OIL. They want you to use and buy oil from America, so they can proceed their war in middle east to protect they beloved great great grand master Jews in Israel.



posted on May, 23 2007 @ 11:05 AM
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India has already started construction of a 500 megawatt prototype reactor.

NewKerala.Com: 'Nuclear energy is panacea for India's energy needs'


May 23 2007


"As a matter of fact, a beginning of commercial activity with the second stage has already been made as the construction of the 500 megawatt energy prototype fast breeder reactor is already in progress.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Norwegian industry leaders gives Thorium plants a thumbs-up.


The Norway Post : Norwegian industry wants nuclear energy


23.05.2007


Leaders of Norwegian industry want nuclear industry for Norway. They believe nuclear power based on Thorium will prevent future energy crises.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.



posted on May, 23 2007 @ 06:11 PM
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Here is a summary of what I have gleaned from several websites. It looks like thorium will be a source of power but maybe not before 2025. Still, you have to look ahead. Once we pass Peak Oil the price of petroleum products will go out of sight. I predicted that the world will "internationalize" all petroleum sources and will allocate an equal number of gallons per person per year. Today's poor can sell their allocations to SUV drivers.

When pure, thorium is a silvery-white metal which is air-stable and retains its luster for months. When contaminated, thorium slowly tarnishes in air, becoming gray and finally black. The purest specimens often contain several tenths of a percent of oxides. High-purity thorium has been made. Pure thorium is soft, very ductile, and can be cold-rolled, swaged, and drawn.

Thorium oxide has a melting point of 3300C, which is the highest of all oxides. Only a few elements, such as tungsten, and a few compounds, such as tantalum carbide, have higher melting points. Thorium is slowly attacked by water, but does not dissolve readily except in hydrochloric acid.

Large deposits of thorium minerals have been reported in New England and elsewhere, but these have not yet been exploited. Thorium is now thought to be about three times as abundant as uranium. Thorium is recovered from the mineral monazite, which contains from 3 to 9% ThO2 along with other rare-earth minerals.

The metal is a source of nuclear power. There is probably more energy available for use from thorium than from both uranium and fossil fuels. Any sizable use of thorium as a nuclear fuel is still several years in the future. Several power producing prototypes, including the HTGR (high-temperature gas-cooled reactor) and MSRE (molten salt converter reactor experiment), have been operated. While the HTGR reactors are efficient, they are not expected to become important commercially for many years because of high operating temperature difficulties.

The principal use of thorium has been in the preparation of the Welsbach mantle, used for portable gas lights. These mantles glow with a dazzling white light when heated in a gas flame. Thorium is an important alloying element in magnesium. Glass containing thorium oxide has a high refractive index and low dispersion and find applications in high quality lenses for cameras and scientific instruments. Thorium oxide has also found use as a catalyst in petroleum cracking, and in producing sulfuric acid. Thorium metal (99.9%) costs about $150/oz. Cheap. And plentiful.

[edit on 5/23/2007 by donwhite]



posted on May, 23 2007 @ 09:04 PM
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OK Mr Hellmutt Kujager
GMT +1 equals Madeira, the Canaries, the Azores or Gough Is. which is listed as a UK territory. I’m skipping Freetown and the far west coast of Africa. Too much sand.

Given my choice, I'd go with the Portugese and a limitless supply of good Madeira wine. So Hello in Madeira?

[edit on 5/23/2007 by donwhite]



posted on May, 23 2007 @ 09:28 PM
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Originally posted by donwhite

Madeira?

Nope, I'm from Norway. I thought everybody knew...
It's easy to guess by looking at my profile. So, I guess I'm a bit biased regarding the topic of this thread. You provided some really good info in your post





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