Thorium power generation - again

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Cold_Collation, Jan 8, 2013.

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  1. Cold_Collation

    Cold_Collation LE Book Reviewer

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  2. The ban on dual-use technology transfers means they're on their own on this one.

    Incidentally, it's nice to see the Torygraph up to its usual tricks:

    That's a nice juxtaposition of 'threat to national security' and 'threat to world peace'. Everything that Jiang Mianheng has put in the public domain about his portfolio makes it clear he's talking of energy security and its economic implications, not physical security.
     
  3. It would have been nice if the UK could actually have invented something, made some money out of flogging the technology etc, but as ever, it's not to be. Even if UK researchers had come up with a workable production reactor, funding would have been cut and they'd all have gone off somewhere else. Used to be America, probably China now that America seems only to want academics with credentials in postmodern theory.
     
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  4. Cold_Collation

    Cold_Collation LE Book Reviewer

    P_F, you mentioned thorium in a previous thread, which sent me scurrying to look out the previous Telegraph articles. They stated that the EU looked at the idea but asked the French (as Europe's 'experts' on nuclear power generation) what they thought. Unsurprisingly, given that they have a large sunk cost, they recommended sticking with uranium. (I responded thus at the time.)

    But the more I read on it - the relative safety of the process, especially when compared with uranium; the cleanliness; the HUGE amounts of cheap, available fuel - it looks to be a no-brainer.

    I know that wind farms certainly aren't the solution. And, in fewer years than many policy-makers care to admit/realise, uranium won't be either.
     
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  5. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    westinghouse had a group looking at this apparently - shame we sold them to toshiba.

    if they crack the tech you could power trains and ships with thorium reactors the size of a dustbin. einstein and co looked at thorium and uranium but thorium reactors didn't make plutonium which is what they wanted. we came up with the power station idea to hide the fact that we were making more bombs.

    750 is a lot of boffinery, we used less to build bombs and reactors in the 50's. I bet the breakthrough comes from a science lab in cambridge as usual but sponsorship and lack of interest will see we get none of it.
     
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  6. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    considering what was spend to produce the bomb in ww2 with graphite reactors allmost being a by product thorium will have to come from somewhere where labour is cheap and demand is high.
     
  7. Cold_Collation

    Cold_Collation LE Book Reviewer

    I was under the impression that there was loads of it all over the place... slag from coalmining, for instance, amongst other things.
     
  8. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    thorium is everywhere mainly in granite apparently so the scots could export it but its harder to collect than the yellowcake uranium lying all over south africa and australia.

    once working then theoretically commercial units could burn off existing low and high level nuc waste inc plutonium which would do sellafield out of a job.

    thorium salt reactors wouldn't need the same cooling system to prevent runaway reactors like fukajima - the idea is that a hot reactor would scram itself by melting a base plug and dropping the salts.
     
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  9. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    if we went for existing nuc technologies they reckon seawater can provide the cheapest source of uranium yet once the technology is proven. allthough I wonder if it comes from all the french sea dumping.
     
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  10. Cold_Collation

    Cold_Collation LE Book Reviewer

    As I say, what's not to like?

    Okay, there's a sleepless night right there...
     
  11. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    I went with 2 troops of scouts to the sellafield visitor centre and died of boredom - they couldn't understand why I wouldn't go paddling in st bees or why I wasnt surprised that the water was 'warm'.

    thorium is probably the future of space travel but I'm not sure how we blow up our alien infested ship with a salt reactor.

    part of the chinese push for it is for remote power, a dustbin sized reactor could provide heat and power for a large block of flats or factory. cant remember where I read a huge article on it but they want something they can churn out in small modules where you can just add more when required.

    at the moment they are building towns in africa like the shoe town in eithiopia which has factories, power plants and accomodation for 10000 workers and families. if they can chuck cheap non dangerous power supplies around the globe as aid packages they will really take over the planet. africa desperately needs non fossil fuel power to be able to improve itself which leaves more oil for china to swallow up now the US is stepping back.
     
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  12. That would certainly fit with their preference for local CHP systems, although that itself is partly driven by the unreliability of centrally-generated power. Industry always gets priority over domestic use and the weather, earthquakes, flood, etc. disrupt supplies on a regular basis.

    Sent from my HTC Sensation using Tapatalk 2
     
  13. Even if you can crack the engineering problem, you are still envisaging a huge proliferation of radionucleide sources, usually in shitholes with no oversight. I can see most of them being pilfered, or showing up in dirty bombs, within short order.

    The Soviets used large numbers of isotope powersources for remote locations, and have now forgotten where they are. They normally only find out about them now when the casings (highly radioactive) show up in scrapyards, along with the metal thieves who are gently glowing in the dark.
     
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  14. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

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