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Obama could kill fossil fuels overnight with a nuclear dash for thorium

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posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 05:59 PM
reply to post by Peruvianmonk

This sounds very cool, much like GenIV nuke plants...

But lets not get too carried away now, as virtually everything in the modern world is made from crude oil derivatives.

Vastly abundant and cheap energy would allow us to afford higher quality products that last longer, but we'd still need all of the solvents we get from crude.

posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 06:30 PM
See what these people should do if the big players don't bite, is make the technology open source.

Reveal the working plans to the general public and those engineers that can understand it, so that they can get the process down to a large generator that can fit in a home.

Watch the big boys scramble then! Whats worse then fuel that doesn't give as much profit? Free fuel that they don't have control over!

posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 06:56 PM

Originally posted by Sovaka

Reveal the working plans to the general public and those engineers that can understand it, so that they can get the process down to a large generator that can fit in a home.

The physics behind this stuff isn’t exactly top secret. It’s been standard lecture materiel through physics classrooms for decades now.

And releasing the exact design details of large units will not help small ones, because that stuff does not scale down.. It will just make it easier for people to attack the weak points of the installations that already exist.

And besides that, the general working details of most units isn’t exactly top secret either.

The only difficulty is in fuel production in the uranium cycle. We don’t exactly want that in the hands of the back yard mechanic. And it couldn’t be scaled down to the back yard mechanic scale anyway. Look at all the centrifuge troubles mister Hitler wanabe is having over in Iran.

With fast breeder, we don’t even need uranium enrichment. The reactor does it.

The main problem with small reactors is they will be in the hands of technically incompetent people. People say that they are inherently safe. That is in the hands of someone that knows what they are doing. As the old saying goes, you can make something fool proof. But fools are awfully resourceful.

The last thing we need is a whole neighborhood irradiated because someone used an angle grinder to grind of the top of the containment chamber to “See why it would not work”

posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 08:42 PM
Well I hope if they do explore this new energy source they are a lot smarter than they were in the 40s. My town of West Chicago, IL where I grew up was ravished by thorium and is still taking part of a over 15 year cleanup of the city. A company by the name of Kerr-mcghee (maybe misspelled) was using thorium back in the 60's and 70's for different products and from what I read back in the 40s for bomb experimentation.

The plant was torn down in the 70's and the building scraps were ground down and used for yard/land fill dirt so many homes and parks in West Chicago were "hotspots" for thorium throughout the 80s and early 90s. (and even still today)

Also, I worked construction in the City of Chicago and one of the sites I was building was also housing a thorium cleanup..( i believe it was around Illinois st. and Columbus drive. From talking to the HASMAT crews that I worked around I learned that Thorium is only harmful if ingested or airborne inhaled. ( I was nervous working in the same holes as dudes in white suits with gigercounters) This site however they said was extremely "hot" as they put it and still I was very nervous working in the area.

The whole Chicagoland area was the 40's nuclear bomb making headquarters so there are many areas throughout the city and surrounding suburbs that have many deposits and leftovers from government experimentation. I just hope that now we know more about the dangerous effects that misuse and abuse can are a few articles on Thorium and my city...

posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 08:58 PM
reply to post by Peruvianmonk

If thorium works the way you claim it does, then Obama would
be too stupid to use it. It makes too much sense for his green
initiative. So would Obama, HELL NO! He is too much of a coward to use it.

posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 08:59 PM
great thread for sure....if i knew how to star and flag I would...a few months back I did some research on the radioactive dump site in midland michigan at dow chemical just out of curiosity because I was invited to play frisbee golf with some friends and was seems to be a strange coincidence that a lot of wildlife preserves have direct connections to previous nuclear experiments and so on...after looking for what seemed to be an eternity I finally found the dump site and what was burried was 320,000 cubic feet of thorium the midland site...and even a bigger site in bay city only 20 or so miles away...while searching for this information i found documents about an experimental thorium reactor at dow chemical midland, michigan that is apparently not being used there has been research and test models constructed but for some reason they didn't get the jump start they maybe needed...or the reaction was just too hard to sustain...well here is my two cents worth...i would add documents and proof of research but definatly do not want the three day search again for this information....and the curiosity I had about the frisbee golf course was pretty close....about a 1/4 mile away from where we were playing...

posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:44 PM

Originally posted by icemud

No where in any of those documents do they stipulate what the contamination levels were.

When they do stipulate the final “decontaminated” radiations levels of 35 urem, with the proclamation that it is still 3 times normal background. But 35urem hour is about normal background radiation level for Denver.

But it is less that 1/80 of average places in ramisar iran.
2900 urem hour average exposure.
1/2570 of the top end in ramisar
90000 urem in the hottest spots. (Yes people live in those areas)

it’s about 1/50 of some places in India.
1700 urem hour.
1t’s about 1/40 of the normal level in the Ural mountains.
1370 urem hour.
It less than 1/3 of normal in Norway.
114 urem hour.

I wonder what the “original contamination levels” were?

Something tells me that was probably not anywhere close to the higher levels on my list. If they had to decontaminate those places, then we better declare India a superfund site.
I have an idea, lets declare IRAN a superfund site, that way we can invaded to clean up the “radioactive contamination”…… considering the fact that some places measure 7714 times “normal background levels”

Are those areas any more/less safe than the “contaminated” areas of Chicago?

And where they proclaim that people in west Chicago have a 27.7/19.5 (man/woman) percent higher incidence of cancers than the norm (err average). There are far greater variations from the “norm” than that in places all across the country. Some have less than half the occurrence of cancers and other have over double the occurrence of cancers. And that is without any variation in background radiation level.

There is things called compounding factors, like age, smoking habits, drug use, and the list goes on.

So it’s just fear mongering at its finest. The anti everything people just keep muddying the waters.

posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:47 PM
There are many, many different ways to utilize nuclear fuel such as Uranium and Thorium. How much waste that is produced, how long it lasts, et cetera, depends mostly on the design of the reactor. There are some experimental reactors that use Uranium as a fuel source and have almost all the advantages of the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor, like the Integral Fast Reactor or Sodium Cooled Fast Breeder Reactor. Adding Thorium to current reactors isn't hugely advantageous. i.e. it's in the reactor combined with the fuel, not only the fuel.

I'm going to lump together a bunch of different reactor types, since in general they have the same advantages and disadvantages...:

Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment

The Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) was an experimental molten-salt reactor at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); researching this technology through the 1960s. The MSRE was a 7.4 MWth test reactor simulating the neutronic "kernel" of an inherently safe epithermal thorium breeder reactor. It used three fuels: plutonium-239, uranium-235 and uranium-233. The last, 233UF4 was the result of breeding from thorium.

Fuji Molten Salt Reactor

The FUJI mini-molten salt reactor is a design project for a 100 MWe (megawatts of electrical output) molten-salt-fueled Thorium fuel cycle thermal breeder reactor, using technology similar to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Molten Salt Reactor Experiment. It is being developed by a consortium including members from Japan, the U.S. and Russia. As a breeder reactor, it converts Thorium into the nuclear fuel uranium-233. To achieve reasonable neutron economy, the chosen single-salt design results in significantly larger feasible size (a few tons vs. 23kg fissile inventory, also reprocessing difficulties) than the smaller two-salt reactor (where blanket is separated from core, which involves graphite-tube manufacturing/sealing complications). As a thermal-spectrum reactor, its neutron regulation is inherently safe. Like all molten salt reactors, its core is chemically inert and under low pressure, helping to prevent explosions and toxic releases.

Integral Fast Reactor

The goals of the IFR project were to increase the efficiency of uranium usage by breeding plutonium and eliminating the need for transuranic isotopes ever to leave the site. The reactor was an unmoderated design running on fast neutrons, designed to allow any transuranic isotope to be consumed (and in some cases used as fuel).

Compared to current light-water reactors with a once-through fuel cycle that induces fission (and derives energy) from less than 1% of the uranium found in nature, a breeder reactor like the IFR has a very efficient (99.5% of uranium undergoes fission) fuel cycle.[3] The basic scheme used electrolytic separation to remove transuranics and actinides from the wastes and concentrate them. These concentrated fuels were then reformed, on site, into new fuel elements.

Experimental Breeder Reactor II

It operated as the Integral Fast Reactor prototype. Costing more than USD 32 million, it achieved first criticality in 1965 and ran for 30 years. It was designed to produce about 62.5 megawatts of heat and 20 megawatts of electricity, which was achieved in September 1969 and continued for most of its lifetime. Over its lifetime it has generated over two billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, providing a majority of the electricity and also heat to the facilities of the Argonne National Laboratory-West.

n April 1986, two special tests were performed on the EBR-II, in which the main primary cooling pumps were shut off with the reactor at full power (62.5 megawatts, thermal). By not allowing the normal shutdown systems to interfere, the reactor power dropped to near zero within about 300 seconds. No damage to the fuel or the reactor resulted. This test demonstrated that even with a loss of all electrical power and the capability to shut down the reactor using the normal systems, the reactor will simply shut down without danger or damage. The same day, this demonstration was followed by another important test. With the reactor again at full power, flow in the secondary cooling system was stopped. This test caused the temperature to increase, since there was nowhere for the reactor heat to go. As the primary (reactor) cooling system became hotter, the fuel, sodium coolant, and structure expanded, and the reactor shut down.

Fast Flux Test Facility

The Fast Flux Test Facility is a 400 MW nuclear test reactor owned by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Radiation exposure to operators was 1/100th of commercial power reactors.
Established a world record for fuel performance.
Produced extremely high quality rare radioisotopes for medicine and industry.
Conducted the first passive safety testing.
Demonstrated commercial viability of breeder reactor components, materials and fuels.
Provided fundamental experimental data for fusion programs.
Advanced the fuels and materials development for space nuclear power.
Demonstrated miniaturized reactor test techniques.
Demonstrated the feasibility of transmuting radioactive technetium-99 into a non-radioactive element using a reactor. Technetium-99 is one of the most troublesome long-lived components of the nuclear waste stream. Processing out this isotope and destroying it, permanently reduces the risks associated with long term storage.


S-PRISM, also called PRISM (Power Reactor Innovative Small Module), is the name of a nuclear power plant design by General Electric-Hitachi based on a sodium-cooled fast breeder reactor[1]. The design utilizes reactor modules, each having a power output of 311 MWe, to enable factory fabrication at low cost. The design is based on the Integral Fast Reactor. The Integral Fast Reactor was developed at the West Campus of the Argonne National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho and was the intended successor to the Experimental Breeder Reactor II. The Integral Fast Reactor project was shut down by the U.S. Congress in 1994. The S-PRISM represents General Electric-Hitachi's Generation IV reactor solution to closing the nuclear fuel cycle and is also part of its Advanced Recycling Center proposition[2] to U.S. Congress to deal with nuclear waste.

Advancer Recycling Center proposition to U.S. Congress

Mr. Chairman, Congressman Hall, and Members of the Committee, I appreciate this
opportunity to provide you with a description of a suggested approach to managing
Used Nuclear Fuel (UNF) from our nation's fleet of nuclear power reactors. GE Hitachi
Nuclear Energy (GEH) has developed this approach based on technology originally
developed with funding from the Department of Energy. We believe that with well focused research and development and timely demonstrations, the United States can
move toward closing the nuclear fuel cycle.

Advanced Reactor Concepts, LLC

The mission of Advanced Reactor Concepts, LLC (ARC) is to commercialize a disruptive new technology for power generation in the form of a small-scale (50 MWe - 100 MWe), factory-built nuclear reactor with fixed fuel costs for 20 years. The ARC reactor is a sodium-cooled, metal fueled, fast-reactor. It is designed to provide safe, clean, affordable and proliferation-resistant nuclear power to energy starved markets in both the developed and the developing world. The ARC reactor can be used for distributed power, incremental capacity additions, load following, and base load applications.

A number of test reactors have operated around the world that were sodium coolant, including Phenix, Superphenix, Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Station, a couple are being built in China, India is building their first, etc.... but still, needs more development. I reckon we could have it commercialized before 2025 though, which in terms of energy isn't really that long.


Approximately one third of all nuclear reactors would be required to be a Liquid Metal Fast Breeder, to burn nuclear waste into nothing, if I recall correctly.

There's some debate over which, the IFR or LFTR, is better. I don't really know which one is....

Originally posted by butcherguy
reply to post by C0bzz
I like your signature.

How do the numbers stack up if you include all the coal, oil and gas disasters since the start-up of the reactor at Shippingport in 1957? I bet it is even more impressive!


I believe the 2nd study compares latent fatalities of nuclear with immediate fatalities of coal / gas.... but I can't be bothered going through it at this time.

But you're right, Nuclear does look even more impressive.

Pity Chernobyl, a reactor type that has absolutely nothing to do with anything we ever built in the west, had to ruin it.

Any questions, ask me.

[edit on 31/8/2010 by C0bzz]

[edit on 31/8/2010 by C0bzz]

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 12:15 AM

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 04:22 AM
reply to post by Peruvianmonk

Thank you very much for the thread Peruvianmonk,

I am SO ANGRY after reading about the potential of Thorium, and it's energy densities and implications for cheap and clean energy production throughout the whole world.

The way it SHOWS CONCLUSIVELY how completely corrupt our governments and corporations are, is absolutely unbelievable!

I always knew these money obsessed cretins were slime, but this is beyond the pale stuff.

What stunning, mind blowing hypocrisy! Climate change blah blah, carbon emissions blah blah, melting ice caps blah blah, endangered species blah blah, carbon trading, deforestation, polluted waterways and seas, environmental think tanks, starving populations, overpopulation, peak oil...the list goes on and on...IT'S ALL A TOTAL FRAUD! A total fraud perpetrated on every single human being alive.

I'm as mad as hell...i'm shaking in fury and disbelief at the power elite, and their insane pursuit of avarice over human and planetary life and well being, and plain decency. These people condemn untold numbers of people to their deaths every single year, through the crap and byproducts of their crap that they force our societies to use as fuel.

Hundreds of thousands of people in DEVELOPED countries, never mind counting third world countries, DIE due to energy the 21st century, people are dying because they cannot afford to pay the extortion they call fuel's incredible.

To ignore a fuel like this, which can power our world forever, almost for free, whilst at the same time scavenge existing dangerous and highly toxic nuclear fuels, and leaving no waste to damage future generations of life on our planet for the sake of propping up a seething mass of corruption in the energy corporations and the governments who go along with them.

This has to stop. For the good of our children and our home planet, if they are to have a future, a clean and forward looking future, these bastards have to be stopped.
How can they be stopped? Honest, decent politicians will simply be murdered or discredited.

Any ideas?

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 04:28 AM
If the information you've said is correct I support Obama. For all those who say it will never happen because people are too greedy, you're only helping negate the problem.

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 04:45 AM
reply to post by marg6043

Can plastics be made from Thorium?
Can pacemakers and synthetic organs and limbs be made from Thorium?
Can rubber be made from Thorium?
Can asphalt be made from Thorium?

I could keep asking questions, but maybe you see the point.

Oh and btw....

A new report from the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) has revealed that thorium-based nuclear energy plants – once vaunted as a clean alternative type of nuclear energy – have the same negative environmental consequences as their uranium-based cousins do.

[edit on 1-9-2010 by ElectricUniverse]

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 05:37 AM
reply to post by ElectricUniverse

well we would need oil for that stuff, of course.

but that article just sounded like an opinion piece, not an in-depth paper at all.

no stats or anything to really compare.

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 06:09 AM

Most journalism in the mainstream media is relatively poor on anything to do with nuclear, as it is designed for the layman. I have seen the article in question get accused of sloppy journalism by a couple of nuclear advocates.

You are correct in that Thorium is no substitute for oil in many arenas, like plastics. In terms of providing electricity or process heat, oil is extremely poorly suited to both of these simply because it is extraordinarily expensive compared to coal or natural gas. Those are the fossil fuel that advanced nuclear has a very real possibility of killing, but only in electricity generation and industrial process heat. Besides, burning natural gas in powerplants is a waste, because it, like oil, has no substitute in other areas. Likewise we should not waste oil on areas where there actually is a substitute, like transportation (to a small but expanding extent.. e.g. ships, trains (electric), or cars in the distant future). That would, after all, give us more oil, and cheaper oil, to make plastics with. Also, advanced nuclear has very real applications such as shale oil extraction, and cracking, which could possibly extend oil reserves.

It will not happen overnight, either, as I described in my first post on this thread (page one).

Can fossil fuel powered power plants have a raw fuel cost of less than one-tenth of a cent per kilowatt hour?

Can fossil fuel powered power plants use 1000 kilograms of fuel per gigawatt-year?

[edit on 1/9/2010 by C0bzz]

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 06:15 AM
reply to post by ElectricUniverse

that thorium-based nuclear energy plants – once vaunted as a clean alternative type of nuclear energy – have the same negative environmental consequences as their uranium-based cousins do.

Considering that uranium nuclear plants are maybe the cleanest power source we currently have, I dont see how this is bad news..

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 06:27 AM
reply to post by Maslo

The only problem being the waste from Uranium which stays radioactive for thousands of years. Where as Thorium stays radioactive for only 500 years.

Now C0bzz seems convinced that it is this Uranium waste that is part of the future of the provision of energy. Surely the same can be said for Thorium waste?

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 06:31 AM
reply to post by C0bzz

I like the sound of the recyling centre propsed by GE Hitatchi, any word on whether that has been given the nod?

The Fuji Molten Salt Reactor sounds like the safest out of the Thorium reactors (It's a cool name as well).

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 06:35 AM

A new report from the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) has revealed that thorium-based nuclear energy plants – once vaunted as a clean alternative type of nuclear energy – have the same negative environmental consequences as their uranium-based cousins do.


The above is a sloppy, biased, misleading report come from a 'direct action' group that promotes the oxymoron of "clean coal" and also promotes global warming mitigation efforts (not that there's anything wrong with that.
). To utilize Thorium effectively a special kind of breeder reactor is required, one that uses a fuel that itself is a molten salt. The article assumed that Thorium would be used in existing reactors which use a solid fuel (hence their concerns about meltdowns), where a thorium breeder is very difficult if not impossible. I'm not sure why Bellona talks about the environmental and economic consequences of nuclear, then turns around and says we need "clean" coal which is probably one of the worst energy sources ever envisioned - economically and environmentally. Maybe they should wear a dunce hat, or something. So, the report is partially correct, but it's not relevant to the breeder reactor envisioned.

[edit on 1/9/2010 by C0bzz]

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 06:40 AM

Originally posted by Peruvianmonk
Surely if the U.S. could show the benefits of Thorium powered reactors they could export the technology to places like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel and anyone else developing a Nuclear programme to replace any Uranium powered sites?

I wish that our leaders (whoever they are) here in Australia would research and adopt this technology. If we apparently have tons of the stuff anyway why not?

Then we wouldn't need to buy power from anyone else we could produce it locally. Stop using gas and petrol powered vehicles and totally transform the economy.

posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 07:42 AM

Originally posted by Peruvianmonk
reply to post by Maslo

The only problem being the waste from Uranium which stays radioactive for thousands of years. Where as Thorium stays radioactive for only 500 years.

Now C0bzz seems convinced that it is this Uranium waste that is part of the future of the provision of energy. Surely the same can be said for Thorium waste?

When combined with reprocessing, nuclear reactors can be built that produce practically no waste, or even consume waste. This type of reactor is known as a breeder, and they can be designed to consume either Thorium, or Uranium. The Thorium breeder, in actual fact, converts Thorium-232 into Uranium-233, which is used as the fuel source. The Uranium breeder converts Uranium-238 into Plutonium-239, which can also be used as the fuel source. Both have very similar advantages, and some differences. Thorium/Uranium breeder is at an earlier stage in development, is a simpler design, whereas the Uranium/Plutonium breeder is closer to realization, but is somewhat complex. To my understanding, the Uranium/Plutonium breeder is more suited at burning existing nuclear waste into nothing, and has been demonstrated many times.

There's more to it, but those are the basics. With that being said, a conventional non-breeder reactor that uses Thorium will create just as much long-lived waste as a current reactor, and pretty much no advantages. That's why there are no conventional reactors that run on Thorium - there are very few advantages in doing so. The point is, the entire reactor needs to be redesigned so that it's completely different to what we do now in order to take advantage of it. So in response to your own question, the only Thorium reactor that is likely to be created is a breeder, and thus produces no waste in the first place. If they did decide to use Thorium as a fuel source in conventional reactors, then I presume that the waste could be burned into nothing in a breeder at a later date. I'm interested in both technologies, and I don't know which is better.

[edit on 1/9/2010 by C0bzz]

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