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Subject: Thorium - A better source of energy rss

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Frank F
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http://ThoriumRemix.com/ Thorium is an abundant material which can be transformed into massive quantities of energy. To do so efficiently requires a very different nuclear reactor than the kind we use today- Not one that uses solid fuel rods, but a reactor in which the fuel is kept in a liquid state. Not one that uses pressurized water as a coolant, but a reactor that uses chemically stable molten salts.

Such a reactor is called a "Molten Salt Reactor". Many different configurations are possible. Some of these configurations can harness Thorium very efficiently.

This video explores the attributes of Molten Salt Reactors. Why are they compelling? And why do many people (including myself) see them as the only economical way of fully harnessing ALL our nuclear fuels... including Thorium.
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Andy Leighton
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You don't need MSRs to use thorium though. A number of different reactor types can use thorium as the main fuel - they just need a small amount of uranium or plutonium in the mix (but so does a MSR).

For example the Norweigians are looking at a Th-MOX LWR. There are many people looking at PHWR reactors using thorium. HTRs can also use thorium and there have been a number of pebble bed reactors.
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David Dearlove
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Cooling is difficult before the salts become molten. You need to ensure all the heat melts the salts. Or you need secondary cooling.
People wanted liquid metal reactors as well but the engineering was difficult. If the coolant is in the same phase during the whole operating range it's much easier.
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Lynette
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Sadly in the USA current political climate, nuclear research gets shut down rather than explored.

Heck we had a fantastic research reactor in operation that was shut down prematurely due to political pressure trumping science. Now we have to get our rare medical isotopes from dirtier reactors in other nations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_Flux_Test_Facility
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Khalid Shabazz
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I'm an environmentalist but (or therefore?) support the construction/research of generation IV reactors. It would be interesting to develop a breeder reactor for commercial use, which generates significantly less waste.
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Andy Leighton
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Meerkat wrote:


Sadly in the USA current political climate, nuclear research gets shut down rather than explored.


The UK is still investing (in a small way). They are currently investigating the best designs for small modular reactors which involves US companies. Some of those look really interesting and if proven should see wider uptake as they provide passive safety. SMRs can be deployed far more quickly, and cheaply, than the larger reactors which are being designed and built in the UK.
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Frank F
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http://www.businessinsider.com/thorium-molten-salt-reactors-...

A forgotten war technology could safely power Earth for millions of years. Here's why we aren't using it
 
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David Dearlove
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LightRider wrote:
http://www.businessinsider.com/thorium-molten-salt-reactors-...

A forgotten war technology could safely power Earth for millions of years. Here's why we aren't using it

Because the engineering is very hard and solar and wind engineering is easy.
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Frank F
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I remember when we did things because they were hard.
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LightRider wrote:
I remember when we did things because they were hard.

This is just verbiage. I realise that you are refering to the moon program. This was done for very complex reasons.
I am all for scientific/engineering research, which isn't suprising given my background, but thorium reactors have significant disadvantages, and are unlikely to be a major breakthrough. The capital costs of large reactor programs are very high, whereas solar and wind is much lower.
Thorium reactors present enormous technological problems which the article explains.
The main energy problem at the moment is storage, which is being attacked. Once we can store energy economically, then the uneveness of renewables becomes less of a problem and the baseload required goes down, reducing the main advantage of nuclear.
Of course one day we might have fusion but I doubt if it will be economic in my lifetime.
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Breeder reactors are another tech we ignoring to our detriment. Also Morocco is doing solar by shining mirrors on a tank of water. Why isn't Nevada or California doing that? We are being harmed by a perfect storm of nuclear fear and energy company bribery.
 
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BFoy wrote:
Breeder reactors are another tech we ignoring to our detriment. Also Morocco is doing solar by shining mirrors on a tank of water. Why isn't Nevada or California doing that?


The US is doing it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivanpah_Solar_Power_Facility
Output is not as high es expected. Simply installing solar panels will likely prove to be the more cost-effective solution.
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Nuclear energy is dumb outside of submarines and spacecraft where there isn't any other viable choice. We already have easy access to energy produced by a fusion reactor larger and more powerful than it is even possible to build on this planet, that will be able to provide energy for the entire planet until well after Earth is no longer habitable, which doesn't produce nuclear waste that we have to dispose of, and has no possibility of blowing up and killing lots of people (well, in any case, if it does there is nothing we can do about it anyway).

The only limitation is improving battery technology and/or the will to build a better electricity grid to overcome the primary weakness of this energy source, which is that at a local scale it is somewhat unreliable. Stop listening to people in the nuclear industry with huge incentive to over promise on what it can do. We have decades of experience with nuclear and the primary thing that is very clear is that it always, in every case, ends up costing vastly more than its adherents claim it will.
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I am not convinced the complexity of a boiler with turbine etc etc is more efficient than a solar panel a ray. I doubt they are heating water directly as it lacks the heat capacity of say salts. Then the heat exchanger water has to be cooled without losing much to evaporation. Lots of expensive pipework.
As to energy company bribery who is bribing who and to what end?
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BFoy wrote:
Breeder reactors are another tech we ignoring to our detriment. Also Morocco is doing solar by shining mirrors on a tank of water. Why isn't Nevada or California doing that? We are being harmed by a perfect storm of nuclear fear and energy company bribery.

Using concentrated solar energy to heat water directly doesn't work very well. That is what Ivanpah is doing and it is just too unreliable. A few minutes of cloud cover can completely shut the system down or at minimum greatly reduce output.

Ivanpah is eventually going to add salt to store heat to get around the short term storage problem and as far as I know all new concentrated solar plants beign built today will heat up salt and then use the salt to heat water. Using salt has quite a few advantages, including the ability to continue to supply power during the peak power usage times in the early evening as people return home from work, cook, crank up the a/c, do their laundry, etc.
 
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sfox wrote:
Nuclear energy is dumb outside of submarines and spacecraft where there isn't any other viable choice. We already have easy access to energy produced by a fusion reactor larger and more powerful than it is even possible to build on this planet, that will be able to provide energy for the entire planet until well after Earth is no longer habitable, which doesn't produce nuclear waste that we have to dispose of, and has no possibility of blowing up and killing lots of people (well, in any case, if it does there is nothing we can do about it anyway).

The only limitation is improving battery technology and/or the will to build a better electricity grid to overcome the primary weakness of this energy source, which is that at a local scale it is somewhat unreliable. Stop listening to people in the nuclear industry with huge incentive to over promise on what it can do. We have decades of experience with nuclear and the primary thing that is very clear is that it always, in every case, ends up costing vastly more than its adherents claim it will.

If you are referring to pure solar energy, it's hard to foresee a near future that has solar as the primary form of energy. Yes it's great for daytime usage, but the inability to respond to shifting demand is a problem. You can't just ramp up and down solar power like you can fuel based systems.
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Nautik wrote:
sfox wrote:
Nuclear energy is dumb outside of submarines and spacecraft where there isn't any other viable choice. We already have easy access to energy produced by a fusion reactor larger and more powerful than it is even possible to build on this planet, that will be able to provide energy for the entire planet until well after Earth is no longer habitable, which doesn't produce nuclear waste that we have to dispose of, and has no possibility of blowing up and killing lots of people (well, in any case, if it does there is nothing we can do about it anyway).

The only limitation is improving battery technology and/or the will to build a better electricity grid to overcome the primary weakness of this energy source, which is that at a local scale it is somewhat unreliable. Stop listening to people in the nuclear industry with huge incentive to over promise on what it can do. We have decades of experience with nuclear and the primary thing that is very clear is that it always, in every case, ends up costing vastly more than its adherents claim it will.

If you are referring to pure solar energy, it's hard to foresee a near future that has solar as the primary form of energy. Yes it's great for daytime usage, but the inability to respond to shifting demand is a problem. You can't just ramp up and down solar power like you can fuel based systems.

Hence the need for power storage.
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You're missing the point. We need thorium energy if we want to colonize space. And in so developing the technology we can significantly improve things here on earth.
 
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LightRider wrote:
You're missing the point. We need thorium energy if we want to colonize space.


You forgot the green font.
 
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LightRider wrote:
You're missing the point. We need thorium energy if we want to colonize space. And in so developing the technology we can significantly improve things here on earth.

Why do you think thorium reactors would help us colonise space? Liquid metal coolant reactors won't work.
The shielding required for fission reactors that produce significant amounts of power if people are involved will be massive.
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odie73 wrote:
BFoy wrote:
Breeder reactors are another tech we ignoring to our detriment. Also Morocco is doing solar by shining mirrors on a tank of water. Why isn't Nevada or California doing that?


The US is doing it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivanpah_Solar_Power_Facility
Output is not as high es expected. Simply installing solar panels will likely prove to be the more cost-effective solution.


Don't assume that plant with its natural gas usage and light pollution is the optimal engineering solution.
 
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sfox wrote:
BFoy wrote:
Breeder reactors are another tech we ignoring to our detriment. Also Morocco is doing solar by shining mirrors on a tank of water. Why isn't Nevada or California doing that? We are being harmed by a perfect storm of nuclear fear and energy company bribery.

Using concentrated solar energy to heat water directly doesn't work very well. That is what Ivanpah is doing and it is just too unreliable. A few minutes of cloud cover can completely shut the system down or at minimum greatly reduce output.


That's why deserts are the optimal environment for them. Very little cloud cover.

You see solar panels as the ultimate solution. And for Texas they might be. But solar panels have problems too. My panels don't meet all my energy needs in January. Darn Snow! I see a bunch of different technologies meeting the everyone's needs, including geothermal.
 
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DavidDearlove wrote:
LightRider wrote:
You're missing the point. We need thorium energy if we want to colonize space. And in so developing the technology we can significantly improve things here on earth.

Why do you think thorium reactors would help us colonise space? Liquid metal coolant reactors won't work.
The shielding required for fission reactors that produce significant amounts of power if people are involved will be massive.


If you bothered to watch the video it would be explained to you.
 
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BFoy wrote:
sfox wrote:
BFoy wrote:
Breeder reactors are another tech we ignoring to our detriment. Also Morocco is doing solar by shining mirrors on a tank of water. Why isn't Nevada or California doing that? We are being harmed by a perfect storm of nuclear fear and energy company bribery.

Using concentrated solar energy to heat water directly doesn't work very well. That is what Ivanpah is doing and it is just too unreliable. A few minutes of cloud cover can completely shut the system down or at minimum greatly reduce output.


That's why deserts are the optimal environment for them. Very little cloud cover.

You see solar panels as the ultimate solution. And for Texas they might be. But solar panels have problems too. My panels don't meet all my energy needs in January. Darn Snow! I see a bunch of different technologies meeting the everyone's needs, including geothermal.

You completely missed my earlier comments regarding building a better electrical grid. Power can be transmitted pretty close to 3000 miles fairly efficiently if the grid was built to do it, which is easily enough to go from the southern US to the northern US.

That isn't even counting the possibility of building superconducting power lines. None have been built for more than a few miles, much less for thousands of miles, but certainly they are technologically possibile, although not cost effective currently as far as I know. Still it may be cheaper to build such power lines rather than relying primarily on energy storage solutions. If the entire world was connected using superconducting power lines, solar would work for almost all energy needs, excepting extreme weather events.

The other possibility is to build huge PV arrays orbiting the Earth, but that isn't realistic any time in the next several decades, maybe not even for centuries. The point is, however, that we can get all the power we'll ever need from the Sun, at least for the next 800 million years or so.

I'm not so sure about geothermal, what would the effect on the amount of heat in the atmosphere be if we started moving heat from deep within the earth to the surface on an industrial scale? Sounds like it could be as big of a problem as dumping massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere is today to me, but I'm far from being informed enough to make a judgement on that.
 
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BFoy wrote:
sfox wrote:
BFoy wrote:
Breeder reactors are another tech we ignoring to our detriment. Also Morocco is doing solar by shining mirrors on a tank of water. Why isn't Nevada or California doing that? We are being harmed by a perfect storm of nuclear fear and energy company bribery.

Using concentrated solar energy to heat water directly doesn't work very well. That is what Ivanpah is doing and it is just too unreliable. A few minutes of cloud cover can completely shut the system down or at minimum greatly reduce output.


That's why deserts are the optimal environment for them. Very little cloud cover.

You see solar panels as the ultimate solution. And for Texas they might be. But solar panels have problems too. My panels don't meet all my energy needs in January. Darn Snow! I see a bunch of different technologies meeting the everyone's needs, including geothermal.

Why do you think that you should be able to meet your energy needs from your own property. Germany has a large percentage of the world's solar power and is pretty far north.
 
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