TWO IRISH FILMMAKERS want to know if thorium could be the answer to the world’s energy woes – and they have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to finish a documentary on the topic.
Frankie Fenton and Des Kelleher want to raise £40,000 ($51,640) so that they can finish post-production on The Good Reactor, their documentary looking into the alternative nuclear fuel and whether it can generate clean, safe energy.
Recently, thorium-based nuclear energy has experienced renewed attention as nations investigate new methods of meeting their growing energy supply requirements. Consideration of thorium as a potential energy source has reached the U.S. Congress, where in 2008 there are plans to introduce the Thorium Energy Independence and Security Act (Geotimes, v. 53, no. 6, p. 17). If India or another country proves successful in generating electricity safely and efficiently from a thorium-based nuclear power plant, then considerable interest and activity could focus on thorium exploration across the globe.
and discover and spread the truth about potentially revolutionary energy sources.
Is Thorium the Biggest Energy Breakthrough Since Fire? Possibly.
Lightbridge Corporation, a pioneering nuclear-energy start-up company based in McLean, VA, is developing the Radkowsky Thorium Reactor in collaboration with Russian researchers. In 2009, Areva, the French nuclear engineering conglomerate, recruited Lightbridge for a project assessing the use of thorium fuel in Areva’s next-generation EPR reactor, advanced class of 1,600+ MW nuclear reactors being built in Olkiluoto, Finland and Flamanville, France.
Like that the high level radioactive waste is very hot, in a water-soluble liquid.
Every reactor has to be a reprocessing plant (nasty nasty nasty).
Most of the load of the waste products from years of operation will still be circulating.
There Will Be Leaks.
Current reactors have waste products encased in zirconium steel in structurally sound tubing. Solid.
Stable coolant. Molten fluorides are chemically stable and impervious to radiation. The salts do not burn, explode, or decompose, even under high temperature and radiation. There are no rapid violent reactions with water and air that sodium coolant has. There is no combustible hydrogen production that water coolants have. However the salt is not stable to radiation at low (less than 100 C) temperatures due to radiolysis.
Low pressure operation. Because the coolant salts remain liquid at high temperatures, LFTR cores are designed to operate at low pressures, like 0.6 MPa (comparable to the pressure in the drinking water system) from the pump and hydrostatic pressure. Even if the core fails, there is little increase in volume. Thus the containment building cannot blow up. LFTR coolant salts are chosen to have very high boiling points. Even a several hundred degree heatup during a transient or accident does not cause a meaningful pressure increase. There is no water or hydrogen in the reactor that can cause a large pressure rise or explosion as happened during the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.[unreliable source]
Leak Resistance. Due to the low pressure operation and low pressure differences through the primary heat exchangers, the potential for large leaks is also greatly reduced.
No pressure buildup from fission. LFTRs prevent pressure buildup due to gaseous and volatile fission products. The liquid fuel allows for online removal of gaseous fission products, such as Xenon, for processing, thereby these decay products would not be spread in a disaster. Further, fissile products are chemically bonded to the fluoride-salt, including iodine, cesium, and strontium, capturing the radiation and preventing the spread of radioactive material to the environment.
Fail safe core. 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.
Originally posted by Echotebarknwhale
Thorium was scrapped in the US because it had no weapons potential, unlike uranium/plutonium.