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chrisg

An interesting thought...

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It should be apparent that I have a deal of belief in the future of thorium based power generation at least until/if cold fusion finally gets real. Mostly that is because a thorium reactor is inherently fail-safe and can actually assist in burning waste from uranium cycle reactors.

 

So I'd ask a question:

 

Would it not be more sensible for countries that are intent upon developing nuclear energy capabilities to put their efforts into thorium rather than uranium which has the side effect of producing weapons grade material ?

 

Rather than sanctions and trying to put the nuclear genie back in the bottle you could have a situation of enthusiastic cooperation that could well bring the research side down to time-to-build.

 

I'm a dreamer, the primary objective of Iran and most particularly North Korea is definitely nuclear weapon wankerism but this would at least make them put up or shut up.

 

Worth thinking about.

 

Cheers

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Uranium won because countries wanted the weapons grade plutonium. It was never about the power generation alone.

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Yep,

 

It was basically always about plutonium even though you can build a nuke with enriched uranium, one of the two Japan bombs was uranium based.

 

What I'm asking is simple: if you need power and nuclear is the option why not go thorium ?

 

It could hardly be worse.

 

Cheers

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Which countries are actually building out new nuclear capacity, and have a lot of money to turn research level stuff into scalable commercial energy?

Why do you need Th rather than U cycle to run on waste?

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1 hour ago, chrisg said:

What I'm asking is simple: if you need power and nuclear is the option why not go thorium ?


Because Thorium still needs design work.  Modified standard breeders would be easy enough, but those are NOT fail-safe - they can boil themselves dry and melt just like Uranium.  Liquid Fluoride (molten salt) reactors, otoh, are as safe as it is possible to be, since the coolant is also what enables the reaction - lose the coolant and the pile goes cold.  Fluoride salts, otoh, are *nasty* stuff and eat all currently known seals in distressingly short order.

 

Don't get me wrong - I'm totally behind the idea of LFTR.  I'm really keen on OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) as well, but that also has some serious problems at the moment.

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Not quite the right questions, but no particularly unusual from you of late.

 

Iran is the most obvious, NK makes no pretense about enriching uranium for weaponry.

 

I'd suggest a different agenda:

 

The nations that do have reactors have in general had them for decades, they are aging out and they don't really know what the hell to do with them - the US has a rather scary quandary right  now, they need to decommission the Enterprise and they don't really know how.

 

Thorium cycle seems to offer an option, much safer and a means to consume the uranium waste.

 

Quite probably it needs more research but the potential is there to continue to provide power in increasing amounts and get rid of half a century's worth of wate accumulation.

 

So why not?

 

Better than keeping blindly on the path of uranium cycle.

 

Cheers

 

 

11 minutes ago, Cybes said:


Because Thorium still needs design work.  Modified standard breeders would be easy enough, but those are NOT fail-safe - they can boil themselves dry and melt just like Uranium.  Liquid Fluoride (molten salt) reactors, otoh, are as safe as it is possible to be, since the coolant is also what enables the reaction - lose the coolant and the pile goes cold.  Fluoride salts, otoh, are *nasty* stuff and eat all currently known seals in distressingly short order.

 

Don't get me wrong - I'm totally behind the idea of LFTR.  I'm really keen on OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) as well, but that also has some serious problems at the moment.

Yeah Cybes, but it is distressing to see nothing but pissing in the wind about both options compared to how rapidly the world moved to nuclear old-style back in the 50s.

 

It would be at least one step forwards to have reactors that eat waste and do not produce plutonium would it not ?

 

Cheers

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1 hour ago, chrisg said:

Yeah Cybes, but it is distressing to see nothing but pissing in the wind about both options compared to how rapidly the world moved to nuclear old-style back in the 50s.

 

Do you think it might just be a sign of the times? The nuclear boogey man and the fear of having to explain wasted research time in this climate of scrutiny on spending would be making a lot of decision makers nervous. In the 50s I think you could more easily announce big projects and have everyone onboard. 

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Hmm,

 

I COULD be, but I'm not, old enough to have 50s beliefs.

 

Never did, but the nuclear situation is a product of the mentality of those days that regrettably has extremely long term consequences with relatively much shorter term implications like wtf do you do with an aged out Enterprise ?

 

Thorium does offer an option and we might as well take it because we are getting to be out of options.

 

Cheers

 

 

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1 hour ago, fliptopia said:

In the 50s I think you could more easily announce big projects and have everyone onboard. 

Isn't that cos most did not know the full repercussions of most of what was being developed. Science dudes were aware to various extents sure, but not all were or wanted to know too much about the negatives ... pretty much how we still roll.

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1 hour ago, eveln said:

Isn't that cos most did not know the full repercussions of most of what was being developed. Science dudes were aware to various extents sure, but not all were or wanted to know too much about the negatives ... pretty much how we still roll.

 

I would say that's the case. Social media has given everyone a voice that can be heard and everything anyone tries to do has a group that opposes it, it seems. I think there was a time when you just got behind what your government were doing because you were patriotic. We're far more cynical these days and maybe not without good reason but also maybe to the detriment of getting things done. Balance is tricky nearly always.

 

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14 hours ago, fliptopia said:

In the 50s I think you could more easily announce big projects and have everyone onboard. 

 

Although the "Atoms for Peace" campaign was formally launched in 1957, corporate America began to promote peaceful uses of atomic energy as early as the first few months after Hiroshima. A Is For Atom, an artifact of this effort, takes this highly loaded and threatening issue straight to the public in an attempt to "humanize" the figure of the atom.


A Is For Atom speaks of five atomic "giants" which "man has released from within the atom's heart": the warrior and destroyer, the farmer, the healer, the engineer and the research worker. Each is pictured as a majestic, shimmering outline figure towering over the earth. "But all are within man's power subject to his command," says the narrator reassuringly, and our future depends "on man's wisdom, on his firmness in the use of that power."


General Electric, a long-time manufacturer of electric appliances, power generation plants, and nuclear weapon components, is staking a claim here, asserting their interest in managing and exploiting this new and bewildering technology. Its pitch: this is powerful, frightening, near-apocalyptic technology, but managed with firmness, it can be profitable and promising. This "Trust us with the control of technology, and we'll give you progress without end" pitch resembles what we've seen in films like General Motors' To New Horizons... But the automobile, of course, wasn't a weapon of mass destruction.

 

 

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Yeah,

 

Back in the 60s my parents used to buy us the in general very interesting Tim Life special edition books.

 

One issue covered peaceful uses for nuclear weapons and talked about project ploughshare. Among other proposals was one to blast a new Panama Canal using a few dozen pony bombs - kid you not.

 

Cheers

 

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Legendary marketing. It is something we' ve always done well.

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Hmm,

 

That's very true, including the zealots currently singing the praises of thorium cycle which I suppose includes me  🙂

 

I'd suggest though that we are not approaching an energy crunch , we are past one, the energy demands of the world exceed the supply capacity and it is getting worse.

 

Renewables demonstrably do not cut it, possibly never will. Like Cybes I have an interest in deep ocean energy conversion, sort of tapping the energy machine, but no one is doing much about it. Thorium right now is niche but I'm really struggling to understand why. I'm utterly certain there will be gotchas but we already know that there are in uranium cycle, they are called Chernobyl, Fukushima, Windscale, TMI and there are going to be more. No one ever wants to talk about the nuclear subs that have been lost, Thresher and Scorpion we know about, also Kursk although at least we recovered that one but there have been hints of a few others over the years and they are simply "lost at sea."  Except radiation has no respect for borders and very little for time dilution either.

 

Japan knee jerked post Fukushima but the plants are all coming back on line, nothing much has changed, the Russian plants continue under the old dogma and the plants in the U.K. France, especially, the U.S. etc all continue to get older.

 

We are walking blindly into a future of more waste than we can readily control on a finite planet that cannot keep soaking it up.

 

Thorium cycle offers an option, it does not completely solve the problem but it takes one very big step forward in actually using the waste and drastically reducing its quantity if it performs as the zealots claim it can.

 

I don't particularly see why we should even be hesitating.

 

Whilst I agree with Cybes not to muck around and just go straight to LFTR and accept the technical challenges nothing much really seems to be happening... Fiddling whilst Rome burns...

 

Cheers

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12 hours ago, chrisg said:

We are walking blindly into a future of more waste than we can readily control on a finite planet that cannot keep soaking it up.

 

Thorium cycle offers an option, it does not completely solve the problem but it takes one very big step forward in actually using the waste and drastically reducing its quantity if it performs as the zealots claim it can.

 

As someone who finds this whole discussion interesting but has no real knowledge about it, I also have to wonder why this hasn't become the new standard.

 

From what i can tell it's no better/worse than the current status quo in terms of safety,  BUT you get the option to use a good portion of the waste already piling up all over the place, and there's less, and less dangerous waste produced. For those reasons alone it seems like the smart thing to do. I'd also be surprised if over the years they haven't been able to create better safety protocols to counter potential issues.

 

But again, that's just a very superficial look at some of the info out there. I'm sure there's something that i'm missing.

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🙂

 

Welcome back, not seen you for a while  🙂

 

What is missing is a demonstrated system, or rather a persistently demonstrated system. Reactors have been shown to be viable but they for whatever reason have not attracted much in the way of investment interest.

 

India and China have shown interest but they are certainly hedging their bets with both countries also planning to deploy more uranium cycle reactors.

 

It is quite frankly very frustrating, uranium cycle has the edge purely because of the length of time it has been in existence but that whilst making it the lazy choice also means that waste continues to accumulate.

 

Thorium is not perfect, nothing ever is really, for example you do need a neutron initiator, basically uranium cycle, to trigger a  thorium reactor but it does not need to stay in the loop once the reactor goes critical. That in my view is a small price to pay compared to persisting with uranium.

 

In the end blame the Cold War, uranium cycle produces plutonium, the preferred core for thermo-nukes, thorium doesn't.

 

That's a damning way to look at it but it is the simplest truth, one the industry would like to dismiss but can't.

 

Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 26/06/2019 at 3:27 PM, chrisg said:

Not quite the right questions, but no particularly unusual from you of late.

 

Iran is the most obvious, NK makes no pretense about enriching uranium for weaponry.

And which of those has the money to burn to turn research reactors and designs into commercially viable bug-free rollouts? 

I'll help you answer that because you think a question can't be an answer: none of them.

 

Who can?  The US, UK, and France.  And as you said, they're not rolling out new nuclear plants anyway, they have a legacy fleet to maintain.
China and India are doing their own thing in their own time and hedging as many bets as possible, but I have NFI where they are on catching up let alone progressing reactor design and engineering.

 

 

On 28/06/2019 at 1:34 AM, chrisg said:

We are walking blindly into a future of more waste than we can readily control on a finite planet that cannot keep soaking it up.

 

Thorium cycle offers an option, it does not completely solve the problem but it takes one very big step forward in actually using the waste and drastically reducing its quantity if it performs as the zealots claim it can.

 

I don't particularly see why we should even be hesitating.

 

Whilst I agree with Cybes not to muck around and just go straight to LFTR and accept the technical challenges nothing much really seems to be happening... Fiddling whilst Rome burns...

We can't even build out new U based traditional design reactors in a lot of places because of politics - what on earth makes you think less proven reactors will just skip the red tape and concern from the nuclear-phobic?

 

 

Also, I'm really quite surprised noone has mentioned https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stable_salt_reactor

GL to it ever clearing regulatory hurdles.

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Hmm,

 

If it were not for crippling sanctions being imposed upon Iran to try, unsuccessfully, to force them to stop uranium enrichment I'd suspect they could well and truly afford the R &D. It would be a case of saying to them well if you are genuinely seeking to develop a nuclear capability to provide only power, which they have claimed in the past then put your money where your mouth is and we will fall over ourselves to help you.

 

There's a catch 22 at work I agree, but to keep on developing U based reactors when we have demonstrable proof that they are fallible, and disastrously so is no answer. As a prediction that approaches certainty there will be another reactor failure in the next decade or so, either through natural disaster as was the case at Fukushima or through human error exacerbated by the fact that many reactors are plain and simply getting old.

 

It does surprise me that Japan, usually an innovator, is not showing more interest as yet. They are pretty much totally locked into nuclear and just about all of their plants are scarily close to large population centres.

 

My point really is quite a simple one, the sooner we start the sooner we can begin to have reactors that if they are successful and there is no reason to think they won't be,  we can start burning the accumulating waste.

 

There is a bonus as well if your link on stable salt systems is in any way accurate. The cost of power would be much cheaper and with the amount of thorium in the world compared to uranium and how much easier it is to refine the cost of fuel would also be much lower with much more available to long into the future.

 

Regulatory issues are always going to be an obstacle but even the most skeptical do not claim that thorium is more dangerous than uranium so what's to lose ?

 

Cheers

 

 

 

 

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I've not even watched this but it should be relevant and the channel has sufficient credibility that I can trust an article without checking it first:

 

 

 

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Yes,

 

A very balanced overview that points out the advantages of thorium cycle without glamorising it in any way whatsoever.

 

Hopefully this a dialogue that won't go away, we really do need to be re-thinking the nuclear cycle, uranium is just too damned dangerous.

 

What I particularly like about this piece is that it does not shy away from the problems, leaves open the possibility, an unknown, of renewables and perhaps not incidentally mentions that coal plants actually leave behind low-grade nuclear waste.

 

Very well worth a look.

 

Cheers

 

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Why the hell is this malarkey still on the table now that renewable energy is cheapest? 

 

I understand we actually need reactors for niche purposes, but it's such a hornet's nest of nasty risks, not to mention potentially astronomical costs, it just doesn't rate consideration in general, IMO. 

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Renewable as in what Kimmo ?

 

The biggest problem with renewable is that it is not dependable, wind farms rely on it being windy which is not a global phenomenon, works pretty well in Holland, solar relies on it being sunny, it's also at the moment very low on the efficiency scale.

 

i totally agree with Cybes, there is one hell of a lot of energy out there in the endlessly flowing deep ocean currents, but no one and I do mean no one seems to want to put the money and effort in to developing ways to exploit it.

 

Part of the problem does lie in transmission losses, you can produce as much power as you like 500 miles out to sea but it does not help when most of it is lost on the journey to shore. That means two things I suppose, better batteries that you could charge right out there over your deep ocean turbine farm and then bring ashore, Tesla is working on that, or room temp superconductors. The latter we do keep making progress on but it is agonisingly slow.

 

i'd suggest you could almost and I do stress almost, regard thorium as renewable, at least in terms of getting rid of all that waste piling up.

 

Even if we could move tomorrow to a totally renewable energy society, which we can't, there would still be all the accumulated waste of the past 70 or so years to contend with that is going to be there for tens of thousands of years.

 

Thorium will not get rid of all of it, it will or could is probably more accurate, reduce it dramatically and thus make it manageable, at the moment quite frankly it isn't, it's a time bomb.

 

Power plants in a nutshell need to be predictable and reliable there is no extant renewable source that qualifies.

 

Cheers

 

 

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Here's an interesting thought

 

 

Oh wait, hang on, capitalist hegemony. The dominant executive paradigm is utterly bankrupt of merit; all the work goes into ruthlessly consolidating power with class war, and has thoroughly overpowered all opposition over the preceding decades.

 

In short, we're fucked; watching this movie is like gazing at the stars from the gutter.

 

 

Something something this is the mob who are in charge of how stuff gets done, and it's all a big scammy rort of a corrupt fucking shambles.

I wouldn't trust these cunts with a burnt stick, let alone nukes

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5 hours ago, Kimmo said:

Why the hell is this malarkey still on the table now that renewable energy is cheapest?

Because wind and solar prices may be plumetting, but batteries are still pretty expensive?

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