The Truth About Thorium and Nuclear Power

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posted on Oct, 22 2010 @ 11:02 AM
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Thorium has nearly 200 times the energy content of uranium without creating plutonium—an ingredient for nuclear weapons. Is this the nuclear fuel of the future?

October 20, 2010

Talk of a large-scale U.S. nuclear renaissance in the post-Three Mile Island era has long been stalled by the high cost of new nuclear power plants, the challenges of safeguarding weapons-grade nuclear material, and the radioactive lifespan of much nuclear waste, which can extend far beyond 10,000 years. But a growing contingent of scientists believe an alternative nuclear reactor fuel—the radioactive metal called thorium—could help address these problems, paving the way for cheaper, safer nuclear power generation.


The primary source of the world's thorium is the rare-earth-and-thorium-phosphate mineral monazite.

Three to four times more plentiful than uranium, today's most common nuclear fuel, thorium packs a serious energetic punch: A single ton of it can generate as much energy as 200 tons of uranium, according to Nobel Prize-winning physicist Carlo Rubbia. In the mid-twentieth century, some U.S. physicists considered building the nuclear power landscape around thorium. But uranium-fueled reactors produced plutonium as a byproduct, a necessary ingredient for nuclear weapons production, and uranium ended up dominating through the Cold War and beyond.


www.popularmechanics.com...


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If Thorium is the answer opposed to uranium that is the way we should go. Nuclear power and plants can be very dangerous as evidenced by Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. We were very lucky with the melt down at Three Mile Island. The aftermath of Chernobyl is a disaster today, the area has virtually been deserted and the deaths and long term illness is still ongoing.

If there is free energy technology out there which isn't dangerous and doesn't cause illness we should be using it, as long as big oil is controlling our power and the money it doesn't look like anything will change soon.




posted on Oct, 22 2010 @ 11:20 AM
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reply to post by Aquarius1
 


Nice post Very informative OP.


Thorium sounds like the way to go instead of uranium, but I still wonder, could there be a way to harness energy without having to deplete Planet Earth's natural resources?

Perhaps soundwaves and sacred geometry may help us to find the key mechanism that fuels creation in this Universe. Everything needs sound/vibration to move.



posted on Oct, 22 2010 @ 11:49 AM
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Damn. Wouldn't you know it? Thorium is a rare earth and guess who has the bast majority of the market of rare earths? Can you guess?.... CHINA!


Wonder what's going on here...



posted on Oct, 22 2010 @ 11:51 AM
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reply to post by Iamonlyhuman
 


Not China. I made a thread about this a while back.


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



posted on Oct, 22 2010 @ 12:13 PM
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reply to post by Hellmutt
 


Yeah, and a South African columnist identifies it as a potentially replaceable source for the Pebble Bed Reactor at Koeberg, Cape Town.

thoriummsr.wordpress.com...



posted on Oct, 22 2010 @ 01:14 PM
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reply to post by Hellmutt
 


Thanks for the information and link to your thread from 2006, surprised it didn't come up in my search. Will take the time to read it.

Thanks for posting.



posted on Oct, 22 2010 @ 01:19 PM
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Originally posted by TortoiseKweek
reply to post by Hellmutt
 


Yeah, and a South African columnist identifies it as a potentially replaceable source for the Pebble Bed Reactor at Koeberg, Cape Town.

thoriummsr.wordpress.com...



The energy conundrum and a home-grown solution

Talking at a public discussion in Johannesburg recently on the subject of this country’s future energy needs, Bobby Godsell was reported as saying he thinks as much as 20 000 megawatts of the estimated 40 000 megawatts required could come from nuclear energy. That was followed by a comment by Dipuo Peters, Minister for Energy, saying there was concern about the availability of a supply of enriched uranium – because it is said the Chinese are taking up increasing quantities of what’s available out of Africa.


Interesting article at your link, thank you fpr posting it. With the huge population in China I can understand why this would be a valuable resource for them and they would want it.

Thanks for posting.



posted on Oct, 22 2010 @ 01:26 PM
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Here are the problems with Thorium

There are no mines that produce solely Thorium

There are no exploration companies looking for Thorium

There are no reactors currently built, that could use Thorium


Also, when you read that there is more Thorium than Uranium, it is misguiding

Have you ever heard that there's more gold in the ocean than all of land...but it is so microscopic we do not have the technology to get it...

Same thing applies here, Thorium is abundant in the Earth's core, HOWEVER, it is NOT found in "Deposits"
that would make it feasibly possible to mine.

This is why Thorium is produced as a by-product to thing likes Uranium



posted on Oct, 22 2010 @ 01:33 PM
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China is planning to increase its nuclear capacity six-fold and India aims to add 20 to 30 new reactors by 2020, according to the WNA. In addition, demand from developed economies is also set to rise on “concerns over carbon-emission costs and energy-supply security,” according to the report.

Over the next decade there will be an additional 147 nuclear plants coming online, according to Morgan Stanley.

www.businessweek.com...


Canada will become a major supplier of uranium to China after Saskatchewan-based Cameco Corp. (CCO-T30.380.120.40%) secured long-term agreements with the Asian superpower to help feed its fast-growing fleet of nuclear reactors.

Cameco says two separate agreements it signed with Chinese corporations, among the lengthiest uranium deals ever struck by China, will help the country meet its aggressive goal of increasing nuclear capacity for electricity generation from about nine gigawatts to as much as 160 GW by 2030.

The Chinese leader pledged to double his country’s trade with Canada to $60-billion by 2015, as China looks to procure more resources to supply its rapidly expanding economy.

“This is a very important region from any supplier’s perspective,” Jerry Grandey, chief executive officer of Saskatoon-based Cameco, said in an interview Friday.

Cameco’s deals with China will help the uranium company reach its goal of doubling production to more than 40 million pounds per year by 2018.

Cameco said it will supply about 23 million pounds of uranium concentrate by 2020 to a division of China National Nuclear Corp., the country’s largest nuclear generator with seven operating reactors and 10 more under construction.

www.theglobeandmail.com...



posted on Oct, 22 2010 @ 02:07 PM
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Originally posted by Aquarius1
Thorium has nearly 200 times the energy content of uranium without creating plutonium—an ingredient for nuclear weapons. Is this the nuclear fuel of the future?

If there is free energy technology out there which isn't dangerous and doesn't cause illness we should be using it, as long as big oil is controlling our power and the money it doesn't look like anything will change soon.


Nice and informative thread.
You have hit the nail squarely on its head



posted on Oct, 22 2010 @ 02:09 PM
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Excelent thread OP but I doubt this will ever be realised, the corporations have invested to heavily in standard designs to 'lose' it and goverments will preserve the status quo to keep their nukes.



posted on Oct, 22 2010 @ 02:11 PM
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reply to post by ADUB77
 


Great information that you have provided here ADUB77, one of the questions I had was the availability and problems with Thorium, if it's limited at this time and they have teams looking for it what is the point.

Thanks for posting.



posted on Oct, 22 2010 @ 02:18 PM
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Originally posted by leira7
reply to post by Aquarius1
 


Perhaps soundwaves and sacred geometry may help us to find the key mechanism that fuels creation in this Universe. Everything needs sound/vibration to move.


You are talking about quantum fluctuations in vacuum aren't you



posted on Oct, 22 2010 @ 03:49 PM
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reply to post by Angelic Resurrection
 


I'm not sure, I just thought sound could help to create energy, when placed a certain way. I could see how a spiral might create a vacuum, opening gateways above and below. Luminescence, perhaps? But you would need water and sound together.



posted on Oct, 22 2010 @ 05:43 PM
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Originally posted by ADUB77
Here are the problems with Thorium

There are no mines that produce solely Thorium

There are no exploration companies looking for Thorium

There are no reactors currently built, that could use Thorium


Also, when you read that there is more Thorium than Uranium, it is misguiding

Have you ever heard that there's more gold in the ocean than all of land...but it is so microscopic we do not have the technology to get it...

Same thing applies here, Thorium is abundant in the Earth's core, HOWEVER, it is NOT found in "Deposits"
that would make it feasibly possible to mine.

This is why Thorium is produced as a by-product to thing likes Uranium


There are reactors that are currently built that CAN use thorium. CANDU reactors, which are canadian designed, can use thorium fuel with some modification.

Chinese Support Thorium and AECL

It is exciting times ahead and thorium is a feasible option. If not an alternative, a welcome addition to existing uranium based reactors.
edit on 10/22/2010 by porky1981 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 22 2010 @ 06:00 PM
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reply to post by porky1981
 



There are reactors that are currently built that CAN use thorium. CANDU reactors, which are canadian designed, can use thorium fuel with some modification.

Chinese Support Thorium and AECL

It is exciting times ahead and thorium is a feasible option. If not an alternative, a welcome addition to existing uranium based reactors.


Wouldn't it be great if all the countries of the World would work together to solve our energy problems, if that were the case I believe solutions would be found in short order, too much money and power involved is the problem and I don't see it happening.

Thanks for the link and posting.



posted on Oct, 23 2010 @ 05:39 AM
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reply to post by ADUB77
 


there are no problems with thorium, that aren't political in nature.

in fact thorium power has been demonstrated in a very conventional light water reactor at Shippingport in the late 1970s

see www.abovetopsecret.com...



t 12:30 am, on August 26, 1977, the operators at the Shippingport Atomic Power Station began lifting the central modules of the experimental breeder reactor core into the blanket section. At 04:38 am, the reactor reached criticality. During the next five years, the core produced more than 10 billion kilowatt-hours of thermal power - equivalent to about 2.5 billion kilowatt hours of electrical power - with a current retail value of approximately $200 million.


It showed no signs of approaching the end of its useful life. It was obvious from the core performance that the reactor was at least a very efficient converter with a long life core. However, in October, 1982, the reactor was shut down for the final time under budgetary pressures and a desire to conduct the detailed fuel examination needed to determine if breeding had actually occurred.

A report on the experiment was quietly issued in 1987. The core contained approximately 1.3% more fissile material after producing heat for five years than it did before initial operation. Breeding had occurred in a light water reactor system using most of the same equipment as used for conventional reactor plants.



even today, nuclear power companies are interested in Thorium, because of its obvious advantages, compared to low enriched uranium fuel, which i briefly adressed in the thread linked above.

www.world-nuclear-news.org...


The potential use of thorium nuclear fuel in Areva's pressurized water reactors will be investigated. An "initial collaborative agreement" towards that end was made between Areva and Thorium Power on 23 July which will see the French firm pay Thorium on a monthly basis to begin studies relating to its EPR design. If the "general results on evolutionary approaches to the use of Thorium" are up to scratch, the program will be worth $550,000 to Thorium, while Areva will be able to keep the resulting intellectual property. Following this, further agreements towards new products and technologies could be made.


in other words, there are no problems except anti.nuke sentiment and natgas & 'green' energy lobbying. the way things are developing, people will have two options, either use existing technology or sit in the dark while India and China (rightfully) do not. the amount of thorium in the world would last longer than millenia, because unlike Uranium, all of it can be used as fuel after breeding to U233, not just a tiny fraction, with the rest being discarded (including lots of unspent fuel) like they do it now.



posted on Oct, 23 2010 @ 11:18 AM
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Thorium-232 itself can not directly be used as nuclear fuel. Instead you need to hit it with a neutron forming Thorium-233 which has a half-life of 21.83 minutes. Eventually it beta decays into Protactinium-233 with a half life of 27 days, beta decaying into Uranium-233. Uranium-233 is the actual fuel. Each atom of Uranium-233 can release 192 million electron volts (MeV) of heat energy. In the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor, 99.9% of the fuel is burned up, thermal efficiency of the plant is just under 50% assuming a very high temperature Brayton cycle is used. The end result is a nuclear power plant that utilizes fuel almost 200 times as efficiency as existing reactors, waste heat is decreased by 50% (less cooling requirements), and only 750 kilograms of Thorium is required per gigawatt year. If you don't know what this means, it means that I could entirely power my country (Australia) with 21 metric of Thorium. We currently mine around 45,000 tons of Uranium per year, Thorium is a few times more abundant. Uranium makes up less than 4% of the cost of existing nuclear power, so the fuel for this reactor would be practically free.


Thorium has nearly 200 times the energy content of uranium without creating plutonium—an ingredient for nuclear weapons. Is this the nuclear fuel of the future?

Adding Thorium doesn't necessarily to an existing reactor doesn't make it any better than Uranium, you need a breeder to do it. A breeder is a reactor that converts non-fissile fuel into fissile fuel, at a rate equal or greater to the rate at which the fissile fuel is burned. You can also utilize Uranium-238 in breeders, which increases the usable energy by a factor of 100 or more. Current reactors don't use Uranium this way, instead they mostly burn Uranium-235 which makes up 0.7% of Uranium, which is inefficient.


If Thorium is the answer opposed to uranium that is the way we should go. Nuclear power and plants can be very dangerous as evidenced by Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. We were very lucky with the melt down at Three Mile Island.

Well, existing nuclear is one of the safer forms of energy (factually). It's also possible to design uranium fueled reactors that are impossible to meltdown, it depends on the design. We demonstrated this in the same month Chernobyl occurred. That reactor also utilized Uranium over 100 times more efficiently than existing reactors, and the waste lasted a couple hundred years (instead of hundreds of thousands).


The IFR was canceled in 1994 for political reasons.
edit on 23/10/10 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 23 2010 @ 12:27 PM
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reply to post by C0bzz
 





Well, existing nuclear is one of the safer forms of energy (factually). It's also possible to design uranium fueled reactors that are impossible to meltdown, it depends on the design. We demonstrated this in the same month Chernobyl occurred. That reactor also utilized Uranium over 100 times more efficiently than existing reactors, and the waste lasted a couple hundred years (instead of hundreds of thousands).


There seems to be a lot of controversy on how long the waste lasts, hard to know what is truth, if you remember they wanted to store Nuclear waste a few years ago at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, the State and people were up in arms over that, the big concern was leakage in the future from an earthquake or natural earth movement. I can understand that, wouldn't want it stored in my back yard.

Thanks for the information and video.



posted on Oct, 23 2010 @ 12:39 PM
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Originally posted by Aquarius1
reply to post by C0bzz
 





Well, existing nuclear is one of the safer forms of energy (factually). It's also possible to design uranium fueled reactors that are impossible to meltdown, it depends on the design. We demonstrated this in the same month Chernobyl occurred. That reactor also utilized Uranium over 100 times more efficiently than existing reactors, and the waste lasted a couple hundred years (instead of hundreds of thousands).


There seems to be a lot of controversy on how long the waste lasts, hard to know what is truth, if you remember they wanted to store Nuclear waste a few years ago at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, the State and people were up in arms over that, the big concern was leakage in the future from an earthquake or natural earth movement. I can understand that, wouldn't want it stored in my back yard.

Thanks for the information and video.

Generally the timespan of nuclear waste is measured the time it takes for the waste to reach the radioactivity of the ore that the fuel came from originally. For existing nuclear reactors this period is over a hundred thousand years, reprocessing decreases that hugely, and a breeder reactor (using thorium or uranium) combined with reprocessing gets that down to around 500 years. The spent nuclear fuel from existing reactors can also be used as the fuel for some breeders (or burners). The waste from the reactor in the video (which is impossible to melt down) lasts around 500 years.
edit on 23/10/10 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)





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