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Nobel Physicist: Thorium trumps all other fuels

 
 
Reply Thu 7 Nov, 2013 04:30 am
http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/nobel-physicist-thorium-trumps-all-fuels-as-energy-source/33365

Quote:

GENEVA - It’s high time for the nuclear industry to overhaul its conventional technology and shift to radically different reactor designs based on thorium fuel, a Nobel Prize winning physicist said.

Carlo Rubbia, a former director of the CERN laboratory who shared the 1984 Nobel Prize in Physics, described thorium as having “absolute pre-eminence” over all other fuels including fossil fuels and uranium, the metallic element that has driven reactors since nuclear first started powering public grids in 1956.

“In order to be vigorously continued, nuclear power must be profoundly modified,” Rubbia said at the Thorium Energy Conference 2013, held on the CERN campus here last week.

Rubbia pointed out that thorium leaves less long-lived waste than uranium, is far more plentiful and is resistant to weapons proliferation, as I reported on my Weinberg blog. He also noted that thorium is effective at safely breeding more fuel, and that it has a much higher energy content than uranium or fossil fuels (see chart below), a characteristic that he said gives it “absolute pre-eminence…as a source of energy.”.........
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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 2,015 • Replies: 13
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monoman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Nov, 2013 07:17 am
@gungasnake,
Yes , Lise Meitner worked with Thorium nearly 90 years ago.
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Nov, 2013 08:20 am
@monoman,
Nobody wanted to hear about it in the 1950s because you can't make bombs out of it.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Nov, 2013 09:58 am
@gungasnake,
well, for once we agree.

I used to do a lot of "prospecting" for certain kind of monazite deposits , for the lanthanum metal. Monazite contains thorium and Uranium but the Th is easy to recover.
0 Replies
 
raprap
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Nov, 2013 07:28 pm
@gungasnake,
High assay thorium 232 is a strong gamma source. Handling is difficult because it is difficult to shield gamma.

Rap
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Nov, 2013 08:39 am
This was on the news last week. It's main disadvantage is that until the technology is in place it's a long term solution.

Quote:
Nuclear scientists are being urged by the former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix to develop thorium as a new fuel.

Mr Blix says that the radioactive element may prove much safer in reactors than uranium.

It is also more difficult to use thorium for the production of nuclear weapons.

His comments will add to growing levels of interest in thorium, but critics warn that developing new reactors could waste public funds.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24638816
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Nov, 2013 08:43 am
@izzythepush,
The technology for using remote handling for thorium rods has been in use for years. I live near the Peach Bottom nuke plant and one of its units WAS a Thorium reactor a (Super Hot) .
Its funny but the decay step that yields the fuel is actually generating U233.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Nov, 2013 08:52 am
@farmerman,
It seems something to be welcomed, let's just hope it's cost effective.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Nov, 2013 09:10 am
@izzythepush,
the only thing I ever saw in Th reactors was a heightened safety program and remote handling that was more extreme than for something like fast breeder reactor fuel
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Nov, 2013 11:42 am
@farmerman,
Another thing I've read, correct me if this isn't right, is that a thorium reactor would not need to be right next to water for cooling, i.e. you could build one at an elevation sufficient to prevent anything like Fukushima.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Nov, 2013 11:54 am
@gungasnake,
ASI recall, the Peach Bottom unit was a liquid salt fuel that used another liquid salt (t very high temps) to cool, instead of water. YET they still located the entire unit next to the Susquehanna River for their other units which used the standard solid fuel rods of U235'

I think this is more GeorgeOBs expertise since he captained a nuke flttop that was a molten floride salt reactor
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Nov, 2013 12:43 pm
@farmerman,
Haven't seen Georgeob in quite a while.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Nov, 2013 05:55 pm
@roger,
Hmm, my adversarial relationship with English forced me to make nother dumass mistake.

Georgeob's carrier was Powered by a molten salt reactor, it WASNT a molten salt reactor.
I assume you got that but it still sounded like BillRM (with whom Ive been confused for my crude writing skills and creative spelling)
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Nov, 2013 06:51 pm
@farmerman,
Most of us go for understanding - when we feel like it.
0 Replies
 
 

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