an old post from "porky" contains lots of technical info, in particular outlining drawbacks.
. 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).
That is correct. However it is possible to design a reactor fueled by Thorium (or Uranium for that matter), which is
immune to the
aforementioned power surges, and fuel element overheating. The Pebble Ped Modular Reactor
and Molten Salt Reactor MSR / LFTR
are both reactor designs which will be
Uranium / Thorium fueled respectively, both can not have a meltdown or many other types of accidents involving the reactor itself. Also, given
civilian and military reactor safety in the western world during the previous 40 years, it is my opinion that safety issues are perceived
2. What is the definition of minimal radioactive waste? waste is waste, and it is still a problem for thousands of years....
Depends on reactor design. A conventional Light Water Reactor (LWR) of 1000MW capacity will generate 35 tons of "waste" per year, a small component
of which is dangerously radioactive for thousands of years (known as actinides). I don't like the term "waste" because if you put that in a Fast
Reactor then you can convert that nasty stuff into energy, and be left with very, very, very small amounts of far less potent waste (no actinides).
This was the idea behind the Integral Fast Reactor, which was canceled during the 1990s (for no reason), but it is still in development by
corporations such as GE-Hitachi.
It is possible to go a step further in nuclear fuel efficiency, with the Liquid Fueled
Thorium Reactor (LFTR)
. For a 1000MW capacity plant of this design, you get 1 ton of waste. 83% of that can be sold after 10 years as the waste
is made out of quite expensive materials. The rest is much
less potent compared to the stuff coming out of todays reactors, has no actinides
and therefore will only need to be in isolation for 300 years. Running your life for 10-15 years will only need about one square meter of the average
rock in the Earths crust, using this in a LFTR would create less than 3 grams of that bad stuff which needs storage for 300 years (And that is
easy to accomplish).
Actually, one of the biggest arguments for
this type of technology, fast reactors, is that it could significantly reduce
waste, while creating massive amounts of energy. It's simply a waste of money spending money on repositories such as Yucca Mountain when you can
generate energy out of it. Also, a small fraction of each kilowatt hour of electricity generated from Nuclear goes to a waste disposal fund, so far
billions of dollars have been collected in the US. I think we should use that money to develop the LFTR (or IFR). Getting rid of our nuclear waste is
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.
That's why you use a liquid fuel. Thorium Tetrafluoride. The gas will bubble right out of it. We know the LFTR works because, well, they did it,
during the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment
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).
That's why you burn up all the fission products. All of it. i.e. Thorium goes into the reactor, it and its by-products get completely burned up.
Turned into energy.
[edit on 8/12/2009 by C0bzz]