A group for those interested in science from the vast expanse of the universe or technology.
Unfortunately thorium reactors are doomed to fail since, unlike uranium, thorium, can't be used to make nuclear bombs. Thanks 'Merica.
Incorrect, they can be weaponized, it is harder and is PART of the reason the Thorium fuel cycle lost to Uranium, but it's not the whole picture.
I can say that the guy is selling his product, pointing out pretty much every drawback of todays light water reactors. There are over many solutions to these, but energetics is very conservative branch of technology and will rather stick with older technology, proven and modernized to best level, than experimenting with new stuff.
There are many teams working on promising designs of nuclear reactors, all of them having issues of acquiring money to bring their project to life. No investor would give money to something he can't sell to power companies when it's finished and no power company would buy a reactor that is so different without having somebody else run and test it for at least 15 years.
To the weird chart of Thorium and Uranium availability: I can't imagine burning platinum or silver for energy, but Uranium costs is several times lower.
So, to this project: there isn't much experience with use of Thorium yet. It is different than Uranium, or MOX fuel. One of the greatest issue of molten salts, or liquid metal reactors is the need to heat up the whole primary circuit every time you start it. Pipes with heating are considered too complex to be reliable. Second is, that LFTR converts 232Th to 233U, which is the actual fuel. This conversion is complicated by higher half-life of 233Pa and it's high absorption cross-section (probability of absorption of another neutron), turning it to quite useless 232U.
@ElfFriend - Thorium 232 is not fissionable, but you can convert it to Uranium 233, which is a good bomb material. I wouldn't look for the cause in this.
Take your +1 :) I have plans on studying Nuclear Engineering after graduating on my actual carrer which is Chemical Engineering
Funny thing, I will do it vice versa. I'm getting my bachelor of nuclear engineering this year and I will probably go on Chemical Engineering, or Energetics.
You're lucky! I want to be in front of a reactor already, whatever decision you take, you will never regret on studying an Engineering carrer :D
Actually, a reactor in powerplant is more like mechanical engineering than nuclear. This made me a bit sad when I found out, since I was always more interested in chasing neutrons than thermodynamics.
Hmm, I'll need to decide before I graduate :P
The US government is in a unique position to take charge of new generation nuclear plants via massive subsidies to programs like LFTR. They did this back in the 1950's and 1960's, there is no reason that they could not do it today.
What the government can get out of it is party publicity which is worth its own weight in gold these days. The political party that says "hey I have a pretty darn good green energy solution for our country that is impressively safe" gets to take the cake.
On top of that there are byproducts from the fission cycle that can be used medically as well as other additions that could be implemented later that could help generate new emission free fuels. Kirk Sorensen talked about this at length multiple times, the Th-MSR idea is a winning one in my book.
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