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      CommentAuthorTrim
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2011
     
    Well at the time physicists didn't take much heed of chemists straying into 'their patch' and thought thorium would need a great atomic smasher to be made to work and initially the military controlled the purses strings and wanted an atomic reactor for submarines, aircraft carriers and even bombers. And the physicists were the blue eyed boys of the military not the chemists after giving the brass such a lovely bomb to play with.
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      CommentAuthorTrim
    • CommentTimeMar 8th 2011
     
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      CommentAuthorTrim
    • CommentTimeMar 8th 2011
     
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      CommentAuthorTrim
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2011
     
    If only.

    If only we had gone the thorium route forty years ago.
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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2011
     
    Posted By: TrimIf only.

    If only we had gone the thorium route forty years ago.


    Good to see you back Trim.

    Y U NO WIN again yet?
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2011
     
    Well, we don't know what that would do, do we?
    • CommentAuthorenginerd
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2011
     
    Actually, it's a shame we haven't even exploited the uranium route effectively. Why would we think we would do well with thorium?
    • CommentAuthorjoshs
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2011
     
    Posted By: enginerdActually, it's a shame we haven't even exploited the uranium route effectively. Why would we think we would do well with thorium?
    Because thorium lends itself to molten salt reactors which are readily constructed ( and have been ) in a passively safe configuration. The requirement for active cooling to prevent runaway does not exist.
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    You can build a passively safe uranium reactor.
    • CommentAuthorjoshs
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2011
     
    Posted By: hairykrishnaYou can build a passively safe uranium reactor.
    I didn't say that you could not. There are uranium designs on the books that are passively safe. They are still very big and very expensive, and there is a certain threat of proliferation. The LFTR promoters tout that LFTRs are better on each count.

    The thing I fear will happen because of this: People will revolt against nukes, and the result will be unnecessary life extension of the older more dangerous plants.
    • CommentAuthorenginerd
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2011
     
    My point is that many of the design considerations for nuclear reactions: where to build them, when to build them, what type and level of safety requirements and emergency response capabilities to include, how to operate them, etc have become social policy decisions rather than decisions based mostly on tecnical analysis and risk assessment.

    This leads me to expect that we would not develop effective and efficient nuclear power systems regardless of the technology employed.

    Some things might turn out better than others, but you never know what will happen when policy makers go to work.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2011
     
    Posted By: joshsThere are uranium designs on the books that are passively safe.


    Heavy water moderated (CANDU)?
    • CommentAuthorjoshs
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2011
     
    I wouldn't consider a CANDU really passively safe.
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      CommentAuthorTrim
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2011 edited
     
    The only trouble with LFTR is that it needs the waste product uranium 233 to run that's good in one way it utilising a waste but I wouldn't like Iran to have a load of U233 as it can in theory be turned into a very inefficient atomic weapon.
    • CommentAuthorjoshs
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2011
     
    they can buy all the U233 they want for ORNL on e-bay.
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2011 edited
     
    People will revolt against nukes, and the result will be unnecessary life extension of the older more dangerous plants
    I think manufacture of new nuclear power plants is now dead for decades. A whole new technology will have to be developed and proven inherently safe without the possibility of doubt, thanks to this "Mark 1" debacle. But keep in mind that the problem of spent fuel storage is as bad or in some way much worse than that of keeping reactors from meltdown. A major problem in this instance is due to that spent fuel. This problem will have to be cleverly mitigated as well before we get new plants. Look at the PDF file previously posted. The process of handling and processing that waste is immensely complicated and extremely expensive. I suppose it can be safe but people are people and as soon as you take something out of the realm of exotic technology and try to scale it up to consumer size, it gets less and less safe. The airlines may be the only exception. Medicine certainly isn't one as dumber and less capable people get to treat more and more patients for economic reasons.

    they can buy all the U233 they want for ORNL on e-bay.
    Uh... ????

    And someone who knows pls define "passively safe". Does that mean you can remove all coolant and not have a runaway situation? How about if all the control rods are disabled -- as by some external calamity or multiple system failures? As we now know, almost no failure mode can be considered "impossible".
    • CommentAuthorjoshs
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2011
     
    The e-bay comment was a joke referring to a bunch of U-233 that ORNL has. They had put out a general call looking for anyone who might want the store.
    • CommentAuthorjoshs
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2011 edited
     
    Passively safe means that no active systems are required to maintain the equipment in a state that has no risk of unintended radioactive release.

    Look into pebble bed reactors, and liquid salt reactors. PBRs if they lose active cooling flow reach a safe equilibrium temperature. PBRs use gas state, and not liquid state materials. There is no huge pressure shift due to phase change.
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2011 edited
     
    And how would it deal with control rod failure? (or sabotage)
    • CommentAuthorjoshs
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2011
     
    Posted By: maryyugoAnd how would it deal with control rod failure? (or sabotage)
    There aren't any control rods.