Skip to comments.Can Reusing Spent Nuclear Fuel Solve Our Energy Problems?
Posted on 09/20/2016 12:38:38 AM PDT by Brad from Tennessee
Nuclear power, always controversial, has been under an especially dark cloud since Japans Fukushima disaster five years ago.
And in the United States, few new nuclear plants have been ordered since the 1979 partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, thanks to ongoing safety concerns, high capital costs, and the availability of lower-cost energy sources. But nuclear engineer Leslie Dewan believes that a safe, environmentally friendly, next-generation nuclear reactor isnt just feasibleit's commercially viable.
As cofounder and CEO of Boston-based startup Transatomic Power, Dewan and fellow Massachusetts Institute of Technology grad Mark Massie are working on commercial-scale development of a molten salt reactor first prototyped in the 1960s at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Weve changed the design to make it more compact, power dense, and able to run on spent nuclear fuel, says the 31-year-old Dewan, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer whose energy and hip style belies the public image of a nuclear scientist as a lab-coated, pocket protectorwearing middle-aged man. . .
(Excerpt) Read more at news.nationalgeographic.com ...
This is what the French have been doing for decades.
What do they mean “Our Energy Problems” ??
How is th7w go7ng to fill my Diesel tank no matter where I am?
National Geographic. Clueless. I couldn’t stand them fifty years ago. I still can’t. Should I apologize?
Thorium: Cleaner Nuclear Power?
Left out endless litigation and unpredictable regulatory actions, aka political risk.
Our energy problems can be solved by kicking environmentalists out of the country.
That is what killed off thorium research decades ago.
This article is very brief but it does point out that the early research was at Oak Ridge. It was killed in the early 70s by the hawks in Congress and the US military, led by Admiral Rickover who was head of the govt's nuke program, because you can't make nuclear weapons from thorium. The head of Oak Ridge, who was a supporter of Thorium, got fired from his job. Nobody else wanted to get fired so it was completely dropped.
All the data developed was stored away in a warehouse and forgotten.
In more recent times all the data was re-discovered at Oak Ridge because NASA needed a power source other than PV.
Some of it had already been destroyed but what they did find was open source published on the internet.
Thorium: The NASA Story -a 2 hour documentary
For those too old to remember, their rule against this bit of common sense came down from Jimmy a Carter. And, yes, the French have been recycling their nuclear fuel for decades with Carter era tech. The tech in this proposal probably is even safer. It also can recycle the nukes
Obama is proliferating.
The future is liquid fluoride thorium reactors.
Safe and tested in the 60’s, very little radiation. What is not to like except energy independence.
The tech is ready & waiting for the day.
Isn’t it a shame we didn’t spend those TARP funds on a thorium reactors in every state of the union? It would have been a gift that gives future generations energy independence.
Recycling 95% of that fuel is better than what we do now, mostly store it in sheds behind the reactor because we can’t send it to Yucca mountain.
Also a democrat decision. Not to store nuclear waste in the middle of a nuclear bomb test area.
But Carter (not Rickover) stopped the recycle nuclear fuel program because “it might lead to nuclear proliferation” if the fuels and residuals were stolen or taken by terrorists.
Oboma-Hillary-Kerry-Huma-Reid instead ACTUALLY FUNDS the terrorist nations that DO develop nuclear bombs with the nuclear programs HE SUPPORTS! So, why not recycle the nuclear waste now? /sarcahsm
The best part about all this is that you get to make armor penetrating depleted uranium ammunition with the by products.
That storage location isn’t an issue. It isn’t as if the stuff could get MORE radioactive.
Store it in SHEDS? Do you really have ANY idea what it is that you are talking about?
Thorium 232 can be processed in a reactor to produce Uranium isotope 233 which can make a bomb. More hassle than cooking Uranium 238 to produce Plutonium 239. Light water reactors are more amenable for the Plutonium breeding cycle as opposed to the molten salt reactor which Alvin Weinberg was supporting.
What if a different energy technology pops up, which makes reprocessing all the waste for fuel in a new reactor redundant, insofar as providing needed power? One proposal was to encapsulate nuclear waste in a form of glass for long term storage.
The proposed MSR would eventually consume 95%-97% of the fuel waste stored; and, would reduce the storage required for the remainder to about 300 years. The potential fuel currently available would possibly support the burn-up cycle in molten salt reactors for 3-4 decades.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.