Thorium power generation - again

#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:

Mr Jiang says China's energy shortage is becoming "scary" and will soon pose a threat to national security. It is no secret what he means. Escalating disputes with with India, Vietnam, the Philippines, and above all Japan, are quickly becoming the biggest threat to world peace. It is a resource race compounded by a geo-strategic struggle, with echoes of the 1930s.
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.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
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.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
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.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
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.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
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.
I was under the impression that there was loads of it all over the place... slag from coalmining, for instance, amongst other things.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
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.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
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.
 
#10
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.
As I say, what's not to like?

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

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
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.
 
#12
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.
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.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
#16
Seems a no-brainer so either its far more difficult than we are let on, there are significant drawbacks OR the currrent energy providers have such a strong pull they have spent 50 years shutting this tech down.
 
#17
Haven't we heard all this before? Dustbin sized reactors, cheap limitless power? 'Electricty too cheap to meter'

Bollocks. We'll still be paying a ****ing fortune to the likes of EDF to heat our homes or watch the telly.

Isn't thorium found in bananas? That means Costa Rica will be a world power soon.

I'd prefer the bananas.
 
#18
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.
Energy security "may" revolve around the physical security of the resource needed to produce energy. Thro I don't see a direct threat as I don't think the Chinese are that keen on overseas adventures. I do see cause for concern if the wheels start coming off the Chinese expanision into Africa in search of resources they can own outright........
 
#19
Seems a no-brainer so either its far more difficult than we are let on, there are significant drawbacks OR the currrent energy providers have such a strong pull they have spent 50 years shutting this tech down.

I think it's a case of the main players went down the route of Uranium for weapons production in the begining. With the complete and utter farce that has been "policy" on reactors the private companies will not waste money on research when the final product doesn't create weapons grade stuff and they cann't get permission to build anything without wasting a mint on public hearings against idiots who fail to work out that the NHS creates more low level waste......
 
#20
Energy security "may" revolve around the physical security of the resource needed to produce energy. Thro I don't see a direct threat as I don't think the Chinese are that keen on overseas adventures. I do see cause for concern if the wheels start coming off the Chinese expanision into Africa in search of resources they can own outright........
If the report is correct then Thorium is widespread throughout the world, which means that they'll have ample within their own borders "to power (their) electricity needs for '20,000 years'" and would be able to go to any one of the many other countries who'd be selling it on the open market if they needed more.

Whatever other resources they might crave, something as plentiful as Thorium isn't going to be the cause of any dramas.
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
BIPOLAR77 Current Affairs, News and Analysis 6
P Aviation 13
M The Training Wing 4

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top