India's thorium-based nuclear dream inches closer

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posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 08:55 AM
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India's thorium-based nuclear dream inches closer


www.newscientist.com

Construction is finally set to begin on a reactor that will produce electricity from India's most convenient fuel for the first time.

generating 300 megawatts of power from thorium more safely than nuclear energy has ever done

Meanwhile, China has raced ahead. Not distracted by thorium, China built uranium reactors at a furious pace and its nuclear capacity now stands at three times India's, despite having only completed its first power plant in 1991
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 08:55 AM
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Interesting times ahead...
Thorium was once pushed in the U.S. as well and now the U.S. has a thorium problem in regards to monazite which gives China a monopoly on rare earth metals.

But only India's Dept. of Atomic Energy is allowing only IREL to extract Thorium so far it seems from monazite


Mumbai, Oct 19 — India's department of atomic energy Friday said it has not given licence to any private party for production of monazite, a beach sand mineral which contains thorium, one of the components used in nuclear plants.

The Indian Rare Earths Ltd (IREL), a public sector undertaking under the DAE, is the only company which is allowed to produce and process monazite and handle it for domestic uses and exports.

india.nydailynews.com...

And it will be rivaling China
India to Begin Exporting Rare Earths to Japan
rareearthinvestingnews.com...

So this news is not only about energy that's why I posted the above links.

It's about the Thorium solution to nuclear energy with less waste but it's also about extracting thorium from monazite AND the rare earth metals industry.

There is so much about this news from many angles.

The truth is Obama doesn't have to buy rare earth metals from China, the U.S. treats monazite as waste because of it's thorium content.

Now back to nuclear energy...
There are some issues with Thorium however it does seem to be the safest alternative as far as Nuclear energy is concerned.

www.newscientist.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 09:04 AM
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reply to post by ModernAcademia
 


Just reading that exact same article. Very interesting and potentially the nuclear breakthrough we have all wanted. Thorium was pushed out in favour of Uranium and Plutonium because you cannot make high grade weapons from it (nukes). At that stage in its development, more work was needed to perfect it for energy needs but the lack of weapons crossover meant it was kicked to touch. It is good to see that India has decided that energy is more important than weapons.

Not being a scientist, i love these subjects but sometimes struggle with them a bit. However, my understanding is that Thorium has a very short half life (for any nasty particles) and is actually a "clean" nuclear technology. Perhaps one of our scientifically minded members can tell me if this is true or not?



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 09:27 AM
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SOURCE


Thorium Fuel – No Panacea for Nuclear Power Thorium “fuel” has been proposed as an alternative to uranium fuel in nuclear reactors. There are not “thorium reactors,” but rather proposals to use thorium as a “fuel” in different types of reactors, including existing light-water reactors and various fast breeder reactor designs. Thorium, which refers to thorium-232, is a radioactive metal that is about three times more abundant than uranium in the natural environment. Large known deposits are in Australia, India, and Norway. Some of the largest reserves are found in Idaho in the U.S. The primary U.S. company advocating for thorium fuel is “Thorium Power”. [1] Contrary to the claims made or implied by thorium proponents, however, thorium doesn’t solve the proliferation, waste, safety, or cost problems of nuclear power, and it still faces major technical hurdles for commercialization.


here is a LINK to a PDF format fact sheet on the problems with thorium.
edit on 9-11-2012 by happykat39 because: forgot to add source link



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 09:34 AM
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reply to post by happykat39
 


Hmm, so the previous i have read (and barely understood!) was more about how clean it would be if a Thorium Reactor (rather than fuel) could be perfected? If so, c'mon scientists - get on with it........



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 03:39 PM
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posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 05:16 PM
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Originally posted by Maslo
reply to post by happykat39
 


Debunked here:
IEER/PSR Thorium “Fact Sheet” Rebuttal

and here:
Cannara’s Rebuke of PSR/IEER


I find no shame in being proven wrong by the truth. In fact, there would be more shame in trying to defend an untruth just to save face. Thank you for your links, they were very well written rebuttals of the study I posted. I leave this day a little more knowledgeable than when I entered it thanks to you. You have earned a star from me.



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 07:58 PM
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posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 08:55 PM
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reply to post by PuterMan
 


Do they have the same problems as normal nuclear energy generators?

Can they melt down?

How much more safer are they?

Are they more abundant compared to uranium?

We can use this to replace oil and coal.
edit on 9-11-2012 by John_Rodger_Cornman because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 10:38 PM
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Originally posted by John_Rodger_Cornman
reply to post by PuterMan
 


Do they have the same problems as normal nuclear energy generators?

Can they melt down?


Accelerator-driven thorium reactor (ADTR) can not melt down because when the accelerator stops the reaction stops.
en.wikipedia.org...

DU can also be mixed with the thorium to increase the output and get ride of all the DU we have in storage by using it for power.
Accelerator-driven reactors burn up a lot larger % of the fuel leaving a lot less waste to be stored.
www.world-nuclear-news.org...



posted on Nov, 10 2012 @ 02:22 AM
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There are two main types of thorium reactors being researched, a conventional solid-fueled thorium reactor (thats what they are developing in India) and a liquid fluoride thorium reactor (China is looking at that one). Solid fueled one is good, but it still has some of the problems of current reactors. LFTR is where its at.





Can they melt down?


The fuel is already molten during normal operation, and the reactor is passively safe (no cooling required).




Are they more abundant compared to uranium?


Current reactors utilise uranium-235. Thorium is around 4000 times more abundant, and it does not need to be enriched. In fact, thorium reactors could possibly run on ordinary granite rock or sea water, these still contain enough thorium to be viable sources. These schemes are reffered to as "burning the rocks" and "burning the sea". We are talking about billions of years worth of energy. It is theoretically possible that if humanity survives the demise of the Sun, we will continue to power civilisation with thorium. So in theory, thorium is more sustainable than renewables!
edit on 10/11/12 by Maslo because: (no reason given)
edit on 10/11/12 by Maslo because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 10 2012 @ 11:27 PM
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Originally posted by John_Rodger_Cornman
reply to post by PuterMan
 


Do they have the same problems as normal nuclear energy generators?

Can they melt down?

No. Reactors melt because they are self sustaining. They can not simply be shut up. The reaction, once started, can not be stopped. Thorium does not sustain itself, so once a reactor was turned "off" it stops completely. A meltdown is more or less impossible.



How much more safer are they?

Much? This is the same question you just asked isn't it?



Are they more abundant compared to uranium?

Much more abundant.



We can use this to replace oil and coal.
edit on 9-11-2012 by John_Rodger_Cornman because: (no reason given)

Yes, with the proper infrastructure.



posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 07:35 AM
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reply to post by ANNED
reply to post by Maslo
reply to post by OccamsRazor04
 


@ANNED, @Maslo, @OccamsRazor04:

Thanks for responding 'on my behalf'

Could not have put it better myself!




posted on Nov, 12 2012 @ 01:45 PM
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Originally posted by ANNED

Originally posted by John_Rodger_Cornman
reply to post by PuterMan
 


Do they have the same problems as normal nuclear energy generators?

Can they melt down?


Accelerator-driven thorium reactor (ADTR) can not melt down because when the accelerator stops the reaction stops.
en.wikipedia.org...




what about decay heat? that's what did the Fukushima 1 NPP in, after all. besides, accelerators can only contribute an extremely small fraction of the required neutrons, which implies that any accelerator driven design would still need all existing safeguards (positive void coefficient, etc.) against reactivity excursions, only the plant would cost a lot more.

the real difference with Thorium is that it can only be used in a breeder design, since it isn't fissile unless converted to Uranium 233, which costs a neutron. That kind of neutron economy is hard to achieve with solid fuels, which is why the real innovation will have to come with liquid fuel because it allows for the continuous extraction of harmful (to the neutron budget) fission products.

The reason the pathway from Th 232 to U 233 is in many ways preferable to the Uranium 238 - Pu 239 one is the former's ability to work with moderated neutrons (easier to control, less fissile material needed for startup) since U 233's neutron multiplication factor is roughly constant with different neutron velocities.

So, it's not risk free and 100% harmless, it's just what nuclear energy should have been without the atom bomb, fear and regulations getting in the way.
edit on 2012.11.12 by Long Lance because: (no reason given)





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