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So have you two decided yet?

 

Meanwhile back at the ranch

A second, and what some Indian experts say is a more important hurdle, is Washington’s refusal to allow India to reprocess US - origin spent fuel.

India has negligible uranium of its own and the country’s nuclear programme is pursuing an ambitious plan to eventually switch to using thorium — another nuclear fuel of which India has nearly a third of global reserves, according to latest reports.

However, the thorium cycle needs to use small quantities of plutonium, extracted from reprocessing spent fuel rods. Plutonium can also be used to make bombs and Washington ostensibly doesn’t want to allow that.

But with the potential of India’s nuclear market seen at $100bn, some Indian experts said they suspect Washington is more keen to ensure India does not become independent of US uranium supplies and technology.

India wary of US pressure on N-deal

Gulf Times - Doha,Qatar

 

India has negligible uranium of its own and the country's nuclear programme is pursuing an ambitious plan to eventually switch to using thorium-another nuclear fuel of which India has nearly a third of global reserves. However, the thorium cycle needs to use small quantities of plutonium, extracted from reprocessing spent fuel rods.

The Peninsula On-line: Qatar's leading English Daily

 

Thorium occurs in thorite and in thorianite. Large deposits of thorium minerals have been reported in New England and elsewhere, but these have not yet been exploited. Thorium is now thought to be about three times as abundant as uranium and about as abundant as lead or molybdenum. Thorium is recovered commercially from the mineral monazite, which contains from 3 to 9% ThO2 along with rare-earth minerals.

Uses

 

The metal is a source of nuclear power. There is probably more energy available for use from thorium in the minerals of the earth's crust than from both uranium and fossil fuels.

Uses

 

The principal use of thorium has been in the preparation of the Welsbach mantle, used for portable gas lights. These mantles, consisting of thorium oxide with about 1% cerium oxide and other ingredients, glow with a dazzling light when heated in a gas flame. Thorium is an important alloying element in magnesium, imparting high strength and creep resistance at elevated temperatures. Because thorium has a low work-function and high electron emission, it is used to coat tungsten wire used in electronic equipment. The oxide is also used to control the grain size of tungsten used for electric lamps; it is also used for high-temperature laboratory crucibles. Glasses containing thorium oxide have a high refractive index and low dispersion. Consequently, they find application in high quality lenses for cameras and scientific instruments. Thorium oxide has also found use as a catalyst in the conversion of ammonia to nitric acid, in petroleum cracking, and in producing sulfuric acid.

Isotopes

 

Twenty five isotopes of thorium are known with atomic masses ranging from 212 to 236. All are unstable. 232Th occurs naturally and has a half-life of 1.4 x 1010 years. It is an alpha emitter. 232Th goes through six alpha and four beta decay steps before becoming the stable isotope 208Pb. 232Th is sufficiently radioactive to expose a photographic plate in a few hours. Thorium disintegrates with the production of "thoron" (220Rn), which is an alpha emitter and presents a radiation hazard. Good ventilation of areas where thorium is stored or handled is therefore essential.

Cost

 

Thorium metal (99.9%) costs about $150/oz.

Thorium

 

Great web site

Los Alamos National Laboratory's Chemistry Division Presents:

Periodic Table of the Elements

A Resource for Elementary, Middle School, and High School Students

A Periodic Table of the Elements at Los Alamos National Laboratory

 

Norway has rich deposits of thorium, and the country now has a unique opportunity to both secure revenues as an energy nation and to help to introduce safe nuclear power technology as a leading provider of development assistance, which would benefit the entire planet without it generating any fear concerning nuclear weapons.

 

“Recovering thorium is expensive”.

Reply: This is completely and utterly wrong. There is three times more thorium in the ground than uranium. All the raw materials in thorium can be used as fuel, which does not apply to uranium. Financial studies show that a thorium reactor would be more profitable than a uranium reactor.

 

Facts: Safe nuclear power

• The greatest problem associated with conventional nuclear power plants is that they use fissile fuels. This means that the fuel is capable of sustaining a nuclear reaction on its own. There is then always a danger of the reaction spinning out of control.

 

• In an accelerator-driven nuclear reactor based on thorium, the fuel in itself is not fissile. The thorium would have to be bombarded by a proton beam in order to produce a nuclear reaction. The thorium nuclei which are hit, are converted into uranium-233. The energy which is produced when this uranium is split is enough to drive the particle accelerator and at the same time create a solid energy surplus which can be converted into power. If the proton beam is stopped, the nuclear reaction immediately stops. The reaction cannot therefore spin out of control as in an ordinary nuclear power plant.

 

• The thorium reactor is also unsuitable for the production of material for nuclear weapons, in contrast to conventional nuclear power plants, mainly because it can only produce small amounts of uranium-232. Uranium-232 is highly radioactive and very difficult to handle. This is not a problem in connection with the small amounts produced in the reactor, but the use of this technology to produce uranium for the production of weapons would not be practicable.

 

• Nor can the thorium reactor be used to produce plutonium. Plutonium-239 is one of the constituents of the nuclear waste from conventional nuclear power plants, and can be used to produce nuclear weapons.

 

• The thorium reactor could also provide a solution here, because the proton beam that drives the reaction can be used to transmute plutonium nuclei: when they are bombarded with protons, they transmute into heavier atomic nuclei, which have different properties. This is exactly how uranium-233 is formed when thorium is hit by proton beams in the proposed thorium reactor. It has therefore also been proposed to build new thorium reactors next to the old, more dangerous uranium reactors, so that the plutonium waste can be got rid of simultaneously.

UiB - English News
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Its not just that the spent fuel cant be used for weapons, Thorium is much more abundant in nature than Uranium and can be put through a cycle of uses that ends up producing much less nuclear waste.  

All of this is very interesting and relevant, especially for the U.S. But as far as I know there are no plans at any U.S. national laboratories or energy sites for building thorium reactors and putti

I'm sorry but you are silly silly people quoting a whole lot of nuclear industry spin media trying to sell "safe" breeding technology. Australia and India have both been trying hard to spin "safe th

So have you two decided yet?

I would suppose that silverslith is amenable to thorium nukes for power, or at least willing to compare its risks across the board with other power technologies.

 

Sadly, however, it will take a very long time in America to switch from coal/oil produced electricity to a much greater share coming from nuclear power. The way we Yanks probably will handle it over here will be by retro-correction, following desperately on the heals of another national crisis. That's the way we learn and evolve. Hey, we're Darwinian! I think the spectacular eruption of this pending crisis is only a few years off, maybe less than ten, and then we'll fix what's wrong and move foreward. Thorium reactors will probably not be on-line soon enough to make a difference. (btw: there is a Fourth Turning forum for people who estimate the timing and magnitude of this pending crisis. Their interests focus around Strauss & Howe's generational theory.)

 

—Larv

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  • 2 weeks later...

Look, this discussion is beyond me.:goodbad:;)

 

I will just keep slipping in the odd news report.

When the experts have decided please send me an email so I will know what to think. :beer:

“Modern nuclear power stations do not produce anything that can be easily used to make nuclear weapons. If nuclear power generation changes from uranium to thorium, the problem is eliminated entirely.

 

“If the Green Party really care about nuclear proliferation, they should strongly support the joint Russian/US efforts to build nuclear reactors that can generate power from the 200-plus tonnes of surplus weapons grade plutonium that continue to be a prime terrorist target.

 

“If Al Quaeda - or anyone else - wanted to paralyse New Zealand's electricity system there are much easier and effective ways of doing it than attacking a nuclear power station. It is much easier - and more effective - to destroy a chain of hydro power stations than a nuclear station.”

 

Mr Leyland said that "pebble bed" reactors, which are one very promising candidate for nuclear power generation in New Zealand, cannot meltdown, produce waste that cannot be reprocessed (for weapons or anything else) and come in unit sizes between 200 and 400 MW. They are expected to produce base load electricity for less than 8 c/kWh. If the cost of the backup stations needed when the wind doesn't blow are included, New Zealanders would pay much more than that for power from wind farms.

 

ENDS

Scoop: Greens co-chair accused of “abysmal ignorance”

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:hihi:

Norway has rich deposits of thorium, and the country now has a unique opportunity to both secure revenues as an energy nation and to help to introduce safe nuclear power technology as a leading provider of development assistance, which would benefit the entire planet without it generating any fear concerning nuclear weapons.

No! thorium is only useable as fission fuel if converted to u233 in a breeder reactor, a far easier material to make bombs out of than u235 or pu239.

“Recovering thorium is expensive”.

Reply: This is completely and utterly wrong. There is three times more thorium in the ground than uranium. All the raw materials in thorium can be used as fuel, which does not apply to uranium. Financial studies show that a thorium reactor would be more profitable than a uranium reactor.

No because it is at best as expensive as a pu breeder reactor, 100+ times as expensive if an accelerator is used to achieve a sustained reaction. U238 is stockpiled already and a known factor with all emergent problems understood in its breeding. No mining and separation from the 10x as much radioactivity in thorium decay chain products in the ore to be left to fly around the enviroment and generate further indirect expense through health spend is neccesary to breed from u238 stockpiled in over 1 billion kilograms of ready material. (less a few thousand tons causing Iraqi cancer and mutant babies to go 20X)

The decay chain elements from this uraniums ore are already out there. Eg 83g of polonium 210 with as much radioactivity as 1 billion kilos of U238. You would not believe how little it takes to alexander you.

 

Facts: Safe nuclear power

• The greatest problem associated with conventional nuclear power plants is that they use fissile fuels. This means that the fuel is capable of sustaining a nuclear reaction on its own. There is then always a danger of the reaction spinning out of control In an accelerator-driven nuclear reactor based on thorium, the fuel in itself is not fissile. The thorium would have to be bombarded by a proton beam in order to produce a nuclear reaction. The thorium nuclei which are hit, are converted into uranium-233. The energy which is produced when this uranium is split is enough to drive the particle accelerator and at the same time create a solid energy surplus which can be converted into power. If the proton beam is stopped, the nuclear reaction immediately stops. The reaction cannot therefore spin out of control as in an ordinary nuclear power plant.

No reaction is possible without breeding to u233 with neutrons. The accelerator scenario will simply not be done because of major extra expense ofver straight breeders and is only being suggested as a top up to the neutron budget via spallation. It is entirely possible for a portion of the reactor to go above critical and cause a runaway cascade even if the proton beam is stopped. Thorium is not turned into 233 when hit by protons

• The thorium reactor is also unsuitable for the production of material for nuclear weapons, in contrast to conventional nuclear power plants, mainly because it can only produce small amounts of uranium-232. Uranium-232 is highly radioactive and very difficult to handle. This is not a problem in connection with the small amounts produced in the reactor, but the use of this technology to produce uranium for the production of weapons would not be practicable.

Exactly the same as pu239 breeders making some pu238. great! we can have more snap reactors to fall on us.:hihi: No problem at all for bomb making. Hells bells, give me a piece of 4 inch steel pipe, couple kilos of potassium permanginate and aluminium powder, 15 kg of u233 in two pieces, a mickey mouse clock and a handgun, I'll make you one in 10minutes.

• Nor can the thorium reactor be used to produce plutonium. Plutonium-239 is one of the constituents of the nuclear waste from conventional nuclear power plants, and can be used to produce nuclear weapons.

actually they are only considering composite systems that also use and breed pu

• The thorium reactor could also provide a solution here, because the proton beam that drives the reaction can be used to transmute plutonium nuclei: when they are bombarded with protons, they transmute into heavier atomic nuclei, which have different properties. This is exactly how uranium-233 is formed when thorium is hit by proton beams in the proposed thorium reactor. It has therefore also been proposed to build new thorium reactors next to the old, more dangerous uranium reactors, so that the plutonium waste can be got rid of simultaneously.

Nope. bombard them with high energy protons and you fission them.

Not a shred of sense or truth in that paragraph at all actually. Unless you mean old american ones. An engineer was telling me last week that they are the only countries ones he won't go near. You burn the Pu in ordinary current reactors anyway. we don't need it to make bombs anymore. we gonna be able to make 100x as many from thorium than all the pu we could ever make from uranium!:hihi:

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Modern nuclear power stations do not produce anything that can be easily used to make nuclear weapons. If nuclear power generation changes from uranium to thorium, the problem is eliminated entirely.

Sigh! completely wrong. more bombs easier bombs, smaller lighter dirtier bombs.

“If the Green Party really care about nuclear proliferation, they should strongly support the joint Russian/US efforts to build nuclear reactors that can generate power from the 200-plus tonnes of surplus weapons grade plutonium that continue to be a prime terrorist target.

Yeah, great stuff that Pu. 3 neutrons per fission so breeding more of it than you burn is easy! what a great idea! more and more Pu being trucked around and reprocessed by Homers

“If Al Quaeda - or anyone else - wanted to paralyse New Zealand's electricity system there are much easier and effective ways of doing it than attacking a nuclear power station. It is much easier - and more effective - to destroy a chain of hydro power stations than a nuclear station.”

I don't think so.

Mr Leyland said that "pebble bed" reactors, which are one very promising candidate for nuclear power generation in New Zealand, cannot meltdown, produce waste that cannot be reprocessed (for weapons or anything else)

Crush them and reprocess for weapons easy as. They just want the pebbles shipped to america for reprocessing and back again. Gotta get the bucks for america right mr Leyland good payola for serving up an energy monopoly I bet mr Leyland.

 

Politicians and media suck. They both think greasy *** licking is far better than truth or understanding anything.

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  • 2 months later...

A Nuclear Reactor in Every Home Monday, Oct 16 2006

futurism Michael Anissimov 11:51 am

Thorium reactors will be cheap. The primary cost in nuclear reactors traditionally is the huge safety requirements. Regarding meltdown in a thorium reactor, Rubbia writes, “Both the EA and MF can be effectively protected against military diversions and exhibit an extreme robustness against any conceivable accident, always with benign consequences. In particular the [beta]-decay heat is comparable in both cases and such that it can be passively dissipated in the environment, thus eliminating the risks of “melt-down”.

Thorium reactors can breed uranium-233, which can theoretically be used for nuclear weapons. However, denaturing thorium with its isotope, ionium, eliminates the proliferation threat.

 

Like any nuclear reactor, thorium reactors will be hot and radioactive, necessitating shielding.

The amount of radioactivity scales with the size of the plant.

It so happens that thorium itself is an excellent radiation shield, but lead and depleted uranium are also suitable.

Smaller plants (100 megawatts), such as the Department of Energy’s small, sealed, transportable, autonomous reactor (SSTAR) will be 15 meters tall, 3 meters wide and weigh 500 tonnes, using only a few cm of shielding. From the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory page on SSTAR:

Accelerating Future » 2006 »

A very long blog on the subject.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cleaner Nuclear Power?

 

Congress pushes for another look at thorium fuel, saying it could reduce the amount of high-level nuclear waste produced by reactors.

 

By Peter Fairley

 

Senators representing several Western states, including Utah's Orrin Hatch and Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, of Nevada, are working on legislation to promote thorium. They say it's a cleaner-burning fuel for nuclear-power plants, with the potential to cut high-level nuclear-waste volumes in half.

Technology Review: Cleaner Nuclear Power?

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Ran across and read an article on Wired's website on Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs) powered by thorium/uranium. Thought I'd post the link here. Comments thread on the article is probably more fascinating than the article because the researchers, pro and against, were writing there.

 

Uranium Is So Last Century — Enter Thorium, the New Green Nuke | Magazine

 

And this is even more relevant now that Obama has announced federal loans for new nuclear to be built. LWRs, from what I remember.

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