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This Thorium Reactor Has the Power of a Norse God
Gizmodo ^ | July 3, 2013 | Andrew Tarantola

Posted on 07/04/2013 12:17:13 PM PDT by Innovative

This stuff could very well revolutionize nuclear power. Thorium-MOX can be formed into rods and used in current generation (Gen II) nuclear reactor with minimal retrofitting.

Thor Energy is currently testing the new technology on the small scale. A prototype reactor will power a paper mill in the town of Halden, Norway for the next five years. If the fuel proves to be commercially viable during that test, we could see a sea change in nuclear power by the end of the decade.

(Excerpt) Read more at gizmodo.com ...


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: cleanenergy; energy; environment; fastbreeder; fission; fissionreactor; globalwarming; green; nuclear; nuclearenergy; nuclearpower; nuclearreactors; reactor; science; technology; thorium; thoriumreactor
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For additional information on Thorium reactors:

Thorium Energy Cheaper than coal with links to related information and scientific references. Quite interesting.

1 posted on 07/04/2013 12:17:13 PM PDT by Innovative
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To: Innovative

It just sounds too fantastic to be true. Hope so though.


2 posted on 07/04/2013 12:18:42 PM PDT by DManA
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To: Innovative

Cobalt Thorium-G?


3 posted on 07/04/2013 12:22:08 PM PDT by F15Eagle (1Jn4:15;5:4-5,11-13;Mt27:50-54;Mk15:33-34;Jn3:17-18,6:69,11:25,14:6,20:31;Ro10:8-11;1Tm2:5-6;Ti3:4-7)
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To: DManA; All

Big fan of LFTR (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK367T7h6ZY


4 posted on 07/04/2013 12:22:28 PM PDT by Kolath
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To: Innovative

Interesting.

(Also got a chuckle out of the annotation on the pic at the link.)


5 posted on 07/04/2013 12:23:23 PM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: F15Eagle

Why didn’t you tell the world, eh ?


6 posted on 07/04/2013 12:23:47 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (NRA Life Member)
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To: All

7 posted on 07/04/2013 12:24:43 PM PDT by F15Eagle (1Jn4:15;5:4-5,11-13;Mt27:50-54;Mk15:33-34;Jn3:17-18,6:69,11:25,14:6,20:31;Ro10:8-11;1Tm2:5-6;Ti3:4-7)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

The premier loves surprises!!

(those two lines always make me laugh)


8 posted on 07/04/2013 12:25:25 PM PDT by F15Eagle (1Jn4:15;5:4-5,11-13;Mt27:50-54;Mk15:33-34;Jn3:17-18,6:69,11:25,14:6,20:31;Ro10:8-11;1Tm2:5-6;Ti3:4-7)
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To: Innovative

Very clever. This would be a very interesting proposition.


9 posted on 07/04/2013 12:26:00 PM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder (Both parties are trying to elect a new PEOPLE.)
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To: All

There are quite a few articles posted on FR about this remarkable energy generation source:

http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/thorium/index


10 posted on 07/04/2013 12:27:19 PM PDT by Innovative ("Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." -- Vince Lombardi)
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To: Kolath

Interesting...


11 posted on 07/04/2013 12:34:00 PM PDT by Shady (Creed of the PC Police: You're guilty when we say you are...)
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To: ak267

Thorium ping


12 posted on 07/04/2013 12:36:12 PM PDT by EEGator
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To: Kolath

What’s the catch? Why aren’t these things being build by the hundreds around the world?


13 posted on 07/04/2013 12:40:33 PM PDT by DManA
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To: All

UPDATE: Former NE Senator Bob Kerrey Joins US Rare Earths.

Can Bob Kerrey’s gravitas in DC help solve the “Thorium Problem” which is holding back US rare earth mineral production?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyqYP6f66Mw

This is a good video....it also ties into Molten Salt Thorium Reactors (which is what China is working on....we worked on this technology in the 1960’s).


14 posted on 07/04/2013 12:41:45 PM PDT by Kolath
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To: DManA
Because they're scarey!


15 posted on 07/04/2013 12:46:34 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: Kolath
If we succeed in commercializing the liquid fluoride thorium reactor, the result could literally change the world.

Since thorium is so commonly available, we could build hundreds of 500 to 1,000 MW LFTR reactor installations and render the use of burning coal to generate power essentially obsolete. And we could generate so much electric power that all of our long-distance railroads could be electrified. The result is a dramatic drop in air pollution, since we won't have the pollution from coal-burning power plants or many thousands of diesel-electric locomotives.

16 posted on 07/04/2013 12:49:49 PM PDT by RayChuang88 (FairTax: America's economic cure)
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To: RayChuang88

We can also use the power for:

1. Desalination of sea water

2. Crack Hydrogen from water

3. Combine Hydrogen with atmospheric CO2 to make diesel, gas, and ammonia fertilizer

4. Eat up solid nuclear waste and convert it to secondary products and spare energy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyqYP6f66Mw


17 posted on 07/04/2013 12:55:54 PM PDT by Kolath
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To: RayChuang88

It can also power coal “gasification” plants.


18 posted on 07/04/2013 12:56:22 PM PDT by Kolath
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To: RayChuang88
I would also like to have our commecial shipping under nuclear power.

If we had a lot of Thorium reactors, we couls also electrify the highways and major traffic city roads, and drive electric cars with small batteries that never need recharging, because they would get their charge from the road.

19 posted on 07/04/2013 12:57:42 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: Kolath

One big advantage of molten-salt reactors is that spent uranium-235 fuel rods and plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons could be reprocessed and then dissolved in molten sodium fluoride salts to be used as reactor fuel. That right there eliminates a huge nuclear waste problem.


20 posted on 07/04/2013 1:02:35 PM PDT by RayChuang88 (FairTax: America's economic cure)
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To: Innovative

Thorium, the Norse Gods breakfast cereal choice. Hammers down.


21 posted on 07/04/2013 1:09:20 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi --)
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To: Kolath

Hey, wait! I thought the magic messiah was going to take care of all that!


22 posted on 07/04/2013 1:09:28 PM PDT by mrsmel (One Who Can See)
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To: DManA

“What’s the catch? Why aren’t these things being build by the hundreds around the world?”

Well, the big big big reason why uranium vs thorium is because in the 50’s and 60’s it became clear that weapons-suitable materials would not be produced by Th reactors. So that nugget is the fundamental germ, the fundamental synapse-switch by which the U-dominated nuclear industry arose and the Th route was discarded.

Th reactors have been known about since the late 50’s and early 60’s, indeed, a successful one was built at Oak Ridge and run for, I believe, a few years (including shutting it off for the weekends) before being abandoned. Th reactors have a lot of advantages but themselves present the specific challenge of irradiating their surroundings with gamma radiation and MUCH more intensely than U reactors. They produce much, much less “waste” but the waste they produce is very radioactive and very dangerous...from the exposure, not the bomb-making standpoint.

It should be pointed out that the article here is about an intriguing new hybrid concept which would allow mixing Th with MOX material in a way that would allow the use of Th in already existing reactors. (Th and U reactors are very very different in construction) No doubt, there would still be byproducts that would present engineering challenges as far as handling, but at least we could be getting rid of some of the nuclear “waste” that has been built up to the extent of hundreds of tons all over the world. A net positive, at least as far as I understand it so far. Add in the safety improvement of going to a lower-pressure system and eliminating a lot of the requirement for U-refining and it’s IMO a BIG, non-subtle net positive.


23 posted on 07/04/2013 1:09:49 PM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder (Both parties are trying to elect a new PEOPLE.)
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To: Innovative

24 posted on 07/04/2013 1:11:15 PM PDT by Bratch
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To: mrsmel

Thorium reactors could be used to turn the blades of wind turbines when there is no wind! You can have bird kills even when there is no wind! Problem solved...


25 posted on 07/04/2013 1:13:17 PM PDT by 17th Miss Regt
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To: Innovative

“Knowledge will increase.”
“Fill the earth and subdue it.”
“He created man in His own image.”


26 posted on 07/04/2013 1:16:11 PM PDT by Fester Chugabrew
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To: DManA

They cannot easily be weaponized, hence, governments had less interest in building them.


27 posted on 07/04/2013 1:18:42 PM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: RayChuang88

Electricity seems always in need of hard wiring/grid. I wonder whether future generations will find an alternative. I look for the day when homes are not held captive to a central source in order to enjoy what electricity provides; perhaps independent micro nuclear cells. Whoever can market such a thing in a manner to cut electric bills down substantially will have a profitable business.

But we will never totally eliminate economic disparity, injustice, grief, greed, and anxiety by our own efforts, no matter how slick the program. “Give us this day our daily bread.”


28 posted on 07/04/2013 1:30:13 PM PDT by Fester Chugabrew
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To: DManA

Anything using radioactivity of any kind is evil, dontchaknow.


29 posted on 07/04/2013 1:45:03 PM PDT by rlmorel (Silence: The New Hate Speech)
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To: Fester Chugabrew
totally eliminate economic disparity

Let's hope that you misspoke.

30 posted on 07/04/2013 1:45:50 PM PDT by Kennard
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To: rlmorel
Anything using radioactivity of any kind is evil, dontchaknow.

That's why British socialists oppose thorium research. Thorium reactors will consume nuclear waste and remove the biggest drawback to nuclear power. Therefore, thorium is the enemy. Look for upcoming U.S. opposition to thorium research.

Previously, the enemy became shale gas, since it would substitute for coal. Damage to aquifers was an issue invented after the fact, even though the industry had already put casing procedures in place to prevent damage: see MIT report commissioned by Obama's own DOE.

The object was/is to destroy capitalist society by starving it of energy.

31 posted on 07/04/2013 1:56:00 PM PDT by Kennard
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To: Kennard

But thorium has to be radioactive, too, for this to work, right? What makes it less dangerous than uranium?


32 posted on 07/04/2013 1:56:46 PM PDT by Future Snake Eater (CrossFit.com)
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To: Future Snake Eater
What makes it less dangerous than uranium?

Thorium reactors emit dangerous gamma rays, which must be shielded. The half-life of the radioactive material is short, however. I'm no expert, but there is lots of info on this on the Net.

33 posted on 07/04/2013 2:01:18 PM PDT by Kennard
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To: Kennard

Exactly. Liberal environmentalists are anti-human. (That they are anti-Capitalist goes without saying, since many are Marxists)


34 posted on 07/04/2013 2:01:25 PM PDT by rlmorel (Silence: The New Hate Speech)
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To: DManA

Only big problem is Thorium transmutates to U233 (fissionable) which is high gamma ray producer. Makes fueling dangerous.


35 posted on 07/04/2013 2:16:51 PM PDT by Zathras
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To: Zathras; Attention Surplus Disorder

Thanks for the info. You guys seem to know what yer talking about.


36 posted on 07/04/2013 2:25:10 PM PDT by DManA
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To: Zathras

Hulk SMASH!!! ;-)


37 posted on 07/04/2013 2:32:31 PM PDT by stevie_d_64 (It's not the color of one's skin that offends people...it's how thin it is.)
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To: Kennard
This article from 16 Feb 2012 looks to be a good primer on thorium vs. uranium.
38 posted on 07/04/2013 2:37:35 PM PDT by Future Snake Eater (CrossFit.com)
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To: 103198
Nuclear Engineering PING
39 posted on 07/04/2013 2:45:25 PM PDT by 103198 (It's the metadata stupid...)
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To: 17th Miss Regt
Thorium reactors could be used to turn the blades of wind turbines when there is no wind! You can have bird kills even when there is no wind! Problem solved...

Thank you, 17th Miss Regt!

Come on over to my house for drinks and barbecue. Just turn that way about a mile before you get to the big white Victorian farm house that burned down about ten years ago.

40 posted on 07/04/2013 2:48:09 PM PDT by Standing Wolf
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To: Innovative

I read the headline as “Thorazine.”


41 posted on 07/04/2013 3:21:31 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Innovative

Interesting.


42 posted on 07/04/2013 3:22:56 PM PDT by OldNewYork (Biden '13. Impeach now.)
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To: Kennard

Abudant,cheap energy means the people will have more freedom of choice.

Socialists NEED everything to be in short supply for control purposes.


43 posted on 07/04/2013 3:33:09 PM PDT by hoosierham (Freedom isn't free)
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To: Future Snake Eater

“But thorium has to be radioactive, too, for this to work, right? What makes it less dangerous than uranium?”

A number of things, which, if you consider the entire trail from mine to megawatt, tilts considerably towards Th.

First, the Th that comes out of the ground is, for the most part, ready to go pretty much as it is. Yes, of course it has to be cleaned up and concentrated, just like tin or lead or any other ore. Th, like U, is not very rare, there’s lots of it. Ahh, but the U used in reactors is the much feared U-235, which is only about .7 % of all naturally-occurring U. So, we have Th, about 3-4x as common as all U, but the U we are talking about is less than 1% of all U, so the relative occurrence of the salient material is about 500x as great in the case of Th. Furthermore, the chemical and physics processes needed to concentrate and isolate the U-235 from the more common U-238 are fairly nasty and generate lots of chemical wastes. And mining wastes, because so much more needs to be hauled out of the ground.

Now on to the reactor. These are heat generators that drive steam turbines. Most U-fired reactors run on U enriched only to a 3-5% level, the rest being less-desirable U-238. In subs, the U is enriched quite a bit more, to about 20%, I believe, because the whole thing has to take up less room. When that enriched U is “used up”, not that much of it has been used, it turns out. It’s like the gas tank is empty when the needle is still at 95%. At that point, the fuel stops being efficient and is generally replaced. That which is pulled out of the reactor remains fiercely radioactive, both with the remaining U, but some has also been transmuted into Plutonium (U and Pu are alpha-emitters which are considered less dangerous, but they remain radioactive for hundreds of thousands or even millions of years. And the radioactive poisons co-created in the replaced fuel are also quite dangerous, and toxic, and all that. Generally, most reactors operate at very high pressures, and thereby are vulnerable to leaks.

Th reactors, in most designs, do not operate at very high pressures, indeed they run at atmospheric pressures. So that is a piece of safety. Secondly, Th reactors have to be fed with an external neutron source, AND, must have a moderator (surrounding liquid) to run. So, shut off the neutron source and the reactor stops, right now. Most Th designs have a refrigerated “plug” much like a plug in your car’s oil pan at the bottom. Lose power, and the plug melts, and the moderator liquid runs out into some sort of collection pool and the reactor stops. So Th reactors are much, much less vulnerable to these high-pressure, overheating scenarios blowing the guts sky-high; whether by pure operational pressures or by hydrogen generation (which blew up Fukushima)

Now the bad news: Th reactors produce intense gamma radiation which has the tendency to irradiate everything and make it radioactive. The handling has to be done with sophisticated robotics. The building housing the Th reactor ultimately gets to be radioactive. And this is dangerous radiation, whereas the alpha radiation from U or Pu, while dangerous, can be shielded literally by cardboard. It tends to not be penetrating. Th reactors also use rather corrosive molten salts in their innards, and these require fairly exotic (but known) alloys to deal with.

To sum up: Th reactors can eat all the rotten, only partially consumed U/Pu fuel rods out there. That means all those filled-up fuel rod storage pools out there can be emptied, and that gets rid of a serious hazard (as seen w/Fukushima) and a proliferation risk. They eliminate much of the mining and refining effort req’d for U. They do not produce weapons-useful byproducts. They are massively less vulnerable to overpressure, overtemperature events. When they fail, the failure tends to shut off the reactor, vs when a pressurized U reactor fails, it tends to move towards thermal runaway, overpressure, and catastrophe.

But they produce fiercely radioactive byproducts. The thing about “fiercely radioactive”, though, is that such items decay much more rapidly, in decades vs tens of thousands of years. Nothin’s free.


44 posted on 07/04/2013 3:56:07 PM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder (Both parties are trying to elect a new PEOPLE.)
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder

Your post is very informative and balanced. But it opposes the One’s push to eliminated nuclear power. And therefore it is just another racist Republican attack on the Black Man in the White House (TM).


45 posted on 07/04/2013 4:13:44 PM PDT by 17th Miss Regt
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To: Future Snake Eater
This article from 16 Feb 2012 looks to be a good primer on thorium vs. uranium.

As the Forbes article implies, in twenty years, India and China will have left us in the dust in both uranium and thorium-fueled reactors: in research, design, construction and operation. The U.S. might be best served to concentrate its energies solely on Thorium.

This capital-intense field requires massive government research sponsorship.

46 posted on 07/04/2013 4:17:59 PM PDT by Kennard
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To: 17th Miss Regt

Yup, I’m not optimistic about Th development prospects in the US. It will likely occur in India and China. Ironically, all this nat gas we are finding through fracking will probably produce a 30-year delay in moving towards Th power in the US.


47 posted on 07/04/2013 4:35:14 PM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder (Both parties are trying to elect a new PEOPLE.)
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder

Good rundown, I appreciate that. Your description matched pretty closely the Forbes article I linked to upthread, but it was a tad easier to understand.

My remaining questions are:

1) How do you generate the heat to melt the salt?

2) How do you generate the external neutron source?

It sounds to me that a significant outside energy source would be needed not just to start a reaction but to sustain it as well. Or could a Th reactor just be “jumpstarted” and then self-sustained with a portion of the resultant generated energy?


48 posted on 07/04/2013 4:38:40 PM PDT by Future Snake Eater (CrossFit.com)
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder

That as a very useful description. Thank you.

How can the irradiated material from a thorium rector be stored? Do you, for example, surround the thorium with liquid mercury, then pump the mercury out and store it underground once it has reached a given level of radioactivity? Whether the half-life is a thousand years or a million may be inconsequential when there is a deadly risk today.


49 posted on 07/04/2013 4:45:07 PM PDT by Kennard
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To: Innovative

we need to advance any means of “mini” nuke technology and technology and materials science to make the “containment” vessel for such devices able - in the case of a spaceship unable to continue and land safely, to either survive a fall to earth from the upper atmosphere, or self-destruct after being jettisoned above the atmosphere - and then nuclear power for space flight


50 posted on 07/04/2013 4:57:03 PM PDT by Wuli (qu)
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