Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 2
dazdillinjah

Thorium

26 posts in this topic

Why do we not use Thorium based nuclear reactors for energy ???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know there's a startup company here in Alberta trying to get legislation to start one up. The idea is catching on, and the numbers they propose are impressive. Maybe we're just gun-shy of a new type of reactor-based power

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because the nuclear power infrastructure is based on uranium and it would cost billions to change it overnight.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting governments to acknowledge that nuclear energy can be good is like trying to get wet cats into a bag. It can be d-d-dangerous! D: Especially when they don't get inspected or maintained like they should. So trying out a whole new brand of nuclear reactor? That's a pie in the sky dream if I've ever heard one.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the benefits of Thorium as opposed to Uranium is that it's supposed to be much safer. The efficiency of the thorium reactors is supposed to be miles above what we can do currently with uranium as well.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the benefits of Thorium as opposed to Uranium is that it's supposed to be much safer. The efficiency of the thorium reactors is supposed to be miles above what we can do currently with uranium as well.

All the environmentalists need is that 1% doubt to wedge in the specter of nuclear disaster to fear monger everyone away from it.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All the environmentalists need is that 1% doubt to wedge in the specter of nuclear disaster to fear monger everyone away from it.

The disaster in Japan is not going to help Thorium's case :td:

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And such reactors would also serve as a way to dispose of much of the nuclear waste of present and decommissioned reactors.

The disaster in Japan is not going to help Thorium's case :td:

Just because of the word "nuclear?" Most people are smarter than that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And such reactors would also serve as a way to dispose of much of the nuclear waste of present and decommissioned reactors.

Just because of the word "nuclear?" Most people are smarter than that.

People are smart, but also paranoid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

India is investing a lot of money in Thorium reactors, so we are going to see them in the future.

But as long as uranium is cheap and plentyful it is going to be the preferred choice outside of India.

Thorium reactors provide less Waste and are much less useful in producing weapons grade uranium or plutonium, plus there are a lot more Thorium and it doesnt require enrichment (which is very difficult and expensive).

Im afraid paranoia is very big part of it too. People hear the word nuclear, and does not understand or care, about the differences.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And such reactors would also serve as a way to dispose of much of the nuclear waste of present and decommissioned reactors.

Just because of the word "nuclear?" Most people are smarter than that.

One would think.. but the original term for what we call MRI today was nuclear magnetic resonance - they changed it quickly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

China is also a major investor in nuclear energy, including thorium.

Thorium power was actively developed in the 1960s, but since you can't simultaneously use a thorium power plant to get some weapons-grade material for nuclear bombs, the US and USSR stopped funding the research. (Although to be fair, there are other advantages to uranium reactors as well.)

Alvin Weinberg, head of Oak Ridge national labs, actually built a working thorium reactor in 1965. His insistence that thorium power was better than uranium power lead to his eventual dismissal from his position in 1973. (See this excellent article from Wired magazine, in particular the 2nd last paragraph.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even if various Atomic Agencies do not see an immediate case for Thorium reactors for the purpose of providing grid power, there is a good case for their introduction as power-plants in marine vessels where weight/space concerns are much more of an issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The future of nuclear power is hopefully going to be fusion power.

I know there are many difficulties before it is ready, but potentially it could deliver almost limitless "clean" energy. There are radioactivity from a fusion reactor, but it is much less than fission, and in some types of reactors there is non at all.

If the resources were made available i think we could make it work, we have afterall done "impossible" things before (Apollo, the Manhattan Project and the pyramids)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a fan of Terrapower myself. It uses depleted uranium, which is about as dangerous as lead (the stuff you use when you go fishing). About the same price, too. We got literally thousands of tons of it that we can't get rid of.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thorium does have it's down side. Processing costs very nearly are triple that of uranium and you can't weaponize what's left over.

It's not a paneca, it's still radioactive, although not so much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really like the fusion idea. I'm thinking we would be foolish not to harness all we can from the fusion reactor that is currently online 93 million miles from us

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd love to see nuclear used more but the problem is that nuclear hasn't been redesign to include things like emergency shutdown. Fukashima should have driven that point home, hit a button, drop the control rods the reaction shuts all the way down. Earthquake, tsunami, tidal waves be damned.

Sadly most all nuclear accidents have been the result of human error.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd love to see nuclear used more but the problem is that nuclear hasn't been redesign to include things like emergency shutdown.

You're a little behind the times, man. Emergency shutdown has been in place since gen 1 nuclear plants. SCRAM was coined by Enrico Fermi when the first nuclear reactor was built. All the plants in Japan went into emergency shutdown, including one plant which was closer to the epicenter than Fukushima was. Of the three reactors that were still on-line at Fukushima, all three went into emergency shutdown immediately.

Fukashima should have driven that point home, hit a button, drop the control rods the reaction shuts all the way down. Earthquake, tsunami, tidal waves be damned.

You should read up a little more on a subject you evidently feel a bit of passion for. The rods were down. The problem is that the pumps were flooded, the water couldn't circulate, it began to evaporate, the rods became uncovered, and melted.

Sadly most all nuclear accidents have been the result of human error.

Almost all accidents of any kind have been the result of human error. Nuclear just has a better safety record than most.

And, of course, it isn't as if technological development ceased 30 years ago (well, perhaps in the US, since the nuclear boogeyman has resulted in all but a moratorium on nuclear electrical generation). Gen 4 reactors not only have active safety devices, such as SCRAM systems and mass flood shielded pumps, they also have passive devices, devices that work without computer control or regulation, just as a mechanical reaction to any incident.

For instance, there is a pumping system that used thermally reactive metals and gravity feeds to actually passively circulate water in a closed loop system. There is a collection pit filled with lead (I think?) within an hourglass-shaped ceramic well directly underneath the reactors, with a weak layer of concrete above it. In the event of a meltdown, the radioactive metal will melt down through the containment shielding, onto the floor, where it will melt through the weak concrete and into the well, mixing with the lead and dispersing its heat, as well as becoming less emittive. Really, the things they have come up with in regards to nuclear safety are absolutely fascinating.

But, again, the best solution is to avoid all those problems entirely. Really, folks, no love for Terrapower?

It doesn't use heavily emittive radioactive material. It uses depleted uranium, the stuff you can hold in your hand. The fuel canister is self-contained, never needs to be exposed, never needs to be opened (the reaction is internally contained). There is literally no way for meltdown to occur, as there is never a critical mass that is burning at any given time.

Give it a look: Terrapower

Edited by aquatus1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're a little behind the times, man. Emergency shutdown has been in place since gen 1 nuclear plants. SCRAM was coined by Enrico Fermi when the first nuclear reactor was built. All the plants in Japan went into emergency shutdown, including one plant which was closer to the epicenter than Fukushima was. Of the three reactors that were still on-line at Fukushima, all three went into emergency shutdown immediately.

You should read up a little more on a subject you evidently feel a bit of passion for. The rods were down. The problem is that the pumps were flooded, the water couldn't circulate, it began to evaporate, the rods became uncovered, and melted.

Almost all accidents of any kind have been the result of human error. Nuclear just has a better safety record than most.

And, of course, it isn't as if technological development ceased 30 years ago (well, perhaps in the US, since the nuclear boogeyman has resulted in all but a moratorium on nuclear electrical generation). Gen 4 reactors not only have active safety devices, such as SCRAM systems and mass flood shielded pumps, they also have passive devices, devices that work without computer control or regulation, just as a mechanical reaction to any incident.

For instance, there is a pumping system that used thermally reactive metals and gravity feeds to actually passively circulate water in a closed loop system. There is a collection pit filled with lead (I think?) within an hourglass-shaped ceramic well directly underneath the reactors, with a weak layer of concrete above it. In the event of a meltdown, the radioactive metal will melt down through the containment shielding, onto the floor, where it will melt through the weak concrete and into the well, mixing with the lead and dispersing its heat, as well as becoming less emittive. Really, the things they have come up with in regards to nuclear safety are absolutely fascinating.

But, again, the best solution is to avoid all those problems entirely. Really, folks, no love for Terrapower?

It doesn't use heavily emittive radioactive material. It uses depleted uranium, the stuff you can hold in your hand. The fuel canister is self-contained, never needs to be exposed, never needs to be opened (the reaction is internally contained). There is literally no way for meltdown to occur, as there is never a critical mass that is burning at any given time.

Give it a look: Terrapower

What you were saying about Fukushima, isn't that what happened at Three Mile Island also?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not...exactly.

In terms of meltdown, yes, of course, a meltdown is pretty much defined by the loss of coolant, be it due to not pump pressure, blocked circulation system, what have you. Anytime you have the core overheating, its going to be called, not too accurately, a meltdown.

Now, I'm not a nuke tech, but the following is my understanding: 3-Mile Island was what is called a "loss of pressure control incident". These means that the water was not transferring heat away from the rods fast enough, which has a bunch of physics reasons behind it, but can basically be boiled down to boiling, where the bubbles act as an insulator, decreasing the rate of heat transfer. In the case of 3-Mile Island, breaches in protocol, a hidden warning light, and a stuck valve, resulted in the coolant not flowing properly.

In Fukushima, it was what's called a "loss of coolant" incident, where the actual coolant goes missing, usually boiled away. When the rods are exposed, the core melts.

The difference between the two is basically that the first is an internal mechanical failure of the circulation system where there is little to no hope of restoring proper circulation without major maintenance, whereas the second is a matter of the coolant not circulating. In other words, had another set of pumps been available, had the pumps been installed on higher ground, like the engineers wanted, or had there even been power available to run the primary pumps, the coolant would have been circulated without a problem.

Edited by aquatus1
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Three Mile Island happened because a tag out tag was covering an indicator light and no one saw the pumps weren't on. Human error.

Fukashima's emergency shut down procedure took a minimum of an hour to complete because so many managers and officials were part of the shut down protocol. Boom, earthquake, then double boom, Tsunami and no time for anything to happen in between. Double human error in design and procedures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again, if you are going to be commenting on something, you need to read up on it.

Fukushima, like all modern nuclear plants, had a SCRAM system. The entire purpose of SCRAM is to work automatically, without waiting for human intervention. Eight minutes after the earthquake, all three active reactors had gone into shutdown. 50 minutes after the earthquake, the tsunami hit, flooding the diesel generators. The emergency back-up pumps started up, and a day later, their batteries ran out. That's when the real troubles began.

Seriously, at least read the Wiki page on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dude, I have three friends who were sent in to help at Fukashima. Trust me, Wiki is not the whole or true story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right, anyhow, educate yourself on the matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 2

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.