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China blazes trail for clean nuclear power from thorium

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posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 05:15 PM
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China blazes trail for 'clean' nuclear power from thorium



Princeling Jiang Mianheng, son of former leader Jiang Zemin, is spearheading a project for China's National Academy of Sciences with a start-up budget of $350m.

He has already recruited 140 PhD scientists, working full-time on thorium power at the Shanghai Institute of Nuclear and Applied Physics. He will have 750 staff by 2015.

The aim is to break free of the archaic pressurized-water reactors fueled by uranium -- originally designed for US submarines in the 1950s -- opting instead for new generation of thorium reactors that produce far less toxic waste and cannot blow their top like Fukushima.

"China is the country to watch," said Baroness Bryony Worthington, head of the All-Parliamentary Group on Thorium Energy, who visited the Shanghai operations recently with a team from Britain's National Nuclear Laboratory.

"They are really going for it, and have talented researchers. This could lead to a massive break-through."


I have been following the development around thorium reactors (LFTRs) for some time now, and things are really starting to get moving now, especially in the past two years. And now this - the Chinese seems determined to make the LFTR a reality.
Were we born just in time to witness the birth of the thorium age?

More about thorium and LFTR:

Energy From Thorium



en.wikipedia.org...




posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 05:19 PM
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reply to post by Maslo
 


Sounds all good...

But there have been some strange dead's and dissapearences surrounding thorium batteries e.d.

More Info

More
edit on 7-1-2013 by EartOccupant because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 05:34 PM
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My understanding is that thorium is great, easy to handle and efficient but impossible to get at. Unlike uranium it is spread thin and doesn't occur in deposits that you can mine. Maybe China can make use of the stuff though. It usually occurs around rare earth metals and China has cornered that market.



posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 06:32 PM
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reply to post by bowtomonkey
 


Actually thorium is found in far greater quantities (about 3x-4x) than uranium. Thorium is buried all over the world and is a 'by-product' after extracting rare earth metals. US only has burried thorium in quantities that could power US for hundreds of years. China has 95% of all the deposits of rare earth metals so it's not a problem for them to get some



posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 06:57 PM
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reply to post by baburak
 


I know there is a lot of it but it doesn't appear in viable deposits like uranium. It has to be separated from a lot more ore. The ppm is far lower which is why it isn't being mined. I can't remember the exact figures but the issue is with mining it, because it is spread out thin and not in deposits.



posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 09:15 PM
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reply to post by bowtomonkey
 


They dont have to mine it at least for another few centuries since they burried it undergound as radioactive waste. Thorium is a by-product after extracting rare earth metals. Even US as importer of rare earth minerals burried a lot of Thorium underground. They just have to dig it up.



posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 09:57 PM
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reply to post by baburak
 


I'm not too sure about it being available in necessary quantities, well enough to power a few reactors for say 50 years, but what do I know. The report I read was quite convincing though.

I'm open to it, lol. We have enough nuclear weapons. Let's move on.



posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 10:32 PM
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the best part of thorium reactors is they can burn material not deemed as fissable by conventional reactors.

eg.. they can burn depleted uranium waste... and turn it into power

how is that not something we all shoudl have done by now.



posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 11:37 PM
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Originally posted by okamitengu
the best part of thorium reactors is they can burn material not deemed as fissable by conventional reactors.

eg.. they can burn depleted uranium waste... and turn it into power

how is that not something we all shoudl have done by now.



That can be done by any fast neutron reactor, of which some are thorium powered.

There is a huge, tremendous engineering problem with some of the thorium reactors being designed, in particular, anything with liquid salts.

I don't think people realize what this means: the fissile fuel, and hence many years of high-level radioactive waste is dissolved in a very very hot thick liquid. Every single nuclear plant also has to be the equivalent of Savannah River, a separation plant which can do large scale chemical engineering on exceedingly radioactive LIQUIDs. For human factors and engineering, that's a disaster.

A leaky valve on an oil refinery means "problem, shut down, cleanup and restart in a few days." A leaky valve which is processing this stuff means, possibly, permanent shutdown or abandonment. Remember, humans cannot even conceive of going near the equipment for years.

What if the salts happen to cool and solidify when it's all in the tubes? What happens if there's some accident and, oh something like rain gets in?

In its form in the LFTR, the very radioactive waste products are very water soluble. Think of what happened in Fukushima---but there the waste was SOLID. What if it had been liquid and water soluble?

The lesson is that we want passive safety, natural physics means that if stuff goes wrong and it is left alone, things get better on their own.

You can knock conventional pressurized water reactors, but they have one thing really going for them: all the really nasty stuff is well contained in SOLID materials encased in extremely tough zirconium steel. Waste processing is "Get it the XXX out of here and hold it far away". The liquid does the heat transfer, but the solid contains the fissile energy source.

If you have to pick up after you dog, would you prefer the rear waste material to be solid, or the same thing in a more liquid form?

daryanenergyblog.wordpress.com...

bravenewclimate.com...

Personally, I believe that the best way forward is efficient, but smaller and modular, reactors which use solid fuel, and are manufactured with high quality control in a factory assembly line, not on-site and not custom for many billions.

Smaller is better---a generating station should have 20 smaller reactors instead of 2 huge ones. The central disaster problem with conventional reactors is that they stay physically hot from residual radioactivity even after shutdown, and without continued active cooling they will self destruct and melt down.

This is clearly a surface area vs volume issue, because passive cooling depends on surface area and heat generation is proportional to volume. So physically smaller cores are safer.

And larger quantity built inside a factory results in better quality and lower price, which is the biggest problem now.

www.babcock.com...



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posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 03:29 AM
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reply to post by mbkennel
 




There is a huge, tremendous engineering problem with some of the thorium reactors being designed, in particular, anything with liquid salts.


ORNL developed a special alloy, Hastelloy-N with niobium adition, that is inert in the molten salt environment.




I don't think people realize what this means: the fissile fuel, and hence many years of high-level radioactive waste is dissolved in a very very hot thick liquid.


No, thats in fact another advantage of a LFTR. The fuel salt loop in a LFTR is continously reprocessed and purified, so contrary to current reactors, there is never "many years" of radioactive waste in the fuel.

See LFTR - removal of fission products



Every single nuclear plant also has to be the equivalent of Savannah River, a separation plant which can do large scale chemical engineering on exceedingly radioactive LIQUIDs. For human factors and engineering, that's a disaster.


Contrary to traditional solid fuel reprocessing, the reprocessing of the liquid salt in a LFTR uses relatively simple processes already proven in other chemical industries - namely fluorination an high temperature distillation. There is no need to use sensitive solvents and manufacture precise fuel rods, the main problems of current solid fuel reprocessing.



A leaky valve on an oil refinery means "problem, shut down, cleanup and restart in a few days." A leaky valve which is processing this stuff means, possibly, permanent shutdown or abandonment. Remember, humans cannot even conceive of going near the equipment for years.


You are exagerrating. Besides, due to the low pressure operation and low pressure differences, the potential for large leaks is greatly reduced.



What if the salts happen to cool and solidify when it's all in the tubes? What happens if there's some accident and, oh something like rain gets in?


You heat them up to liquify again.

The hot fluoride salts do not react violently with air or water, this is not sodium coolant.



In its form in the LFTR, the very radioactive waste products are very water soluble. Think of what happened in Fukushima---but there the waste was SOLID. What if it had been liquid and water soluble?


The fluoride salts of radioactive actinides and fission products are generally not soluble in water at lower temperatures.



You can knock conventional pressurized water reactors, but they have one thing really going for them: all the really nasty stuff is well contained in SOLID materials encased in extremely tough zirconium steel.


Except in the event of an accident, they dont stay solid for long. If you have a reactor designed for hot molten fuel, its not a problem. In pressurised water reactor, it is.

Zirconium is a bad idea, it produces hydrogen with water, and that leads to explosions and spreading of radioactive products all over the area.

In LFTR, there are no rapid violent reactions with water and air possible. There is no combustible hydrogen production that water coolants have. The molten fluoride coolant has no significant chemical reactions with any of the materials present in the reactor system, or any possible contaminants. Fluoride salt ionic bounds are very strong and stable.



If you have to pick up after you dog, would you prefer the rear waste material to be solid, or the same thing in a more liquid form?


I would prefer the liquid form, so I can quickly drain it into dedicated subcritical waste heat rejection facility if problems arise:

LFTRs can include a freeze plug at the bottom that has to be actively cooled, usually by a small electric fan. If the cooling fails, say because of a power failure, the fan stops, the plug melts, and the fuel drains to a subcritical passively cooled storage facility. This not only stops the reactor, also the storage tank can more easily shed the decay heat from the short-lived radioactive decay of irradiated nuclear fuels. Even in the event of a major leak from the core such as a pipe breaking, the salt will spill onto the kitchen-sink-shaped room where the reactor is in, which will drain the fuel salt by gravity into the passively cooled dump tank.



posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 03:33 AM
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reply to post by mbkennel
 




daryanenergyblog


Not a credible source. He is an anti-nuclear propagandist and his blog is full is mistakes. Rebuttals:
The D A Ryan MSR/LFTR critique: Not ready for Prime Time

The D A Ryan MSR/LFTR critique: Not ready for Prime Time, Part II

Very strange technical critique of the molten salt reactor -- by a PhD engineer, supposedly

and this reddit post




ersonally, I believe that the best way forward is efficient, but smaller and modular, reactors which use solid fuel, and are manufactured with high quality control in a factory assembly line, not on-site and not custom for many billions.

Smaller is better---a generating station should have 20 smaller reactors instead of 2 huge ones. The central disaster problem with conventional reactors is that they stay physically hot from residual radioactivity even after shutdown, and without continued active cooling they will self destruct and melt down.

This is clearly a surface area vs volume issue, because passive cooling depends on surface area and heat generation is proportional to volume. So physically smaller cores are safer.


I can only agree with this. Small modular factory produced reactors offer many advantages over large benemoths. This is true whether the fuel is solid or liquid, and whether its thorium or uranium.

Aim High! plan for factory mass produced small LFTRs



posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 05:13 PM
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hey maslo, long time no see (:

you always come to my rescue on post that i have the most emotional connection too ... i think we are twins lol




posted on May, 13 2013 @ 07:14 PM
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edit on 13-5-2013 by Foppezao because: (no reason given)


Here's the whole video, it amazes me how simply, safe and clean these reactors work, everyone should see this video.
edit on 13-5-2013 by Foppezao because: (no reason given)





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