“To generate electricity for a city of 1 million people for 1 year
One would have to
“Mine 3,200,000 tonnes of coal”
“Emit 8,500,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases and particulates” –
“landfill 900,000 cubic metres of toxic/radioactive fly-ash”
OR using NORMAL Uranium Nuclear Power Reactors
“Mine 50,000 tonnes of uranium ore”
“Emit no greenhouse gases”
“Produce 24 tonnes of radioactive ‘waste’
“Mine 50 tonnes of equivalent thorium ore
“Emit no greenhouse gases”
“Produce 0.8 tonnes of Radioactive ‘waste’. “
More Facts I have found
“Thorium is an element about 3 to 4 times more abundant than Uranium. ”
“Th is “fertile”. This means it is not “fissionable” like some isotopes of Uranium but it can, when exposed to neutrons, decay into something that is fissionable, and therefore of practical energy use in power reactors.
“In this regard, it’s similar, in some respects, to Uranium 238 which is also fertile, but not fissionable. However, the difference is that Uranium 238 decays into plutonium 239, also a very good fuel for power reactors, but also used in weapons of mass destruction. ”
“Thorium can NOT be used to make Nuclear Weapons.”
“The use of Thorium has taken on a new life of late. While a Thorium power reactor was in fact up and running at Oakridge National Laboratory, the powers that be (The old Atomic Energy Commission) saw no interest in Thorium power reactors since uranium was plentiful and one could use the byproducts of using Uranium as fuel to build WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) with certain types of power reactors fuel by Uranium.
Not so with Thorium.
“Plus, the huge industrial infrastructure organized around uranium was omnipotent at that time. The “Uranium-Industrial Complex” killed Thorium as a viable alternative to uranium…until now!” ”
In other words, people could make lots of money off the industry around Uranium Nuclear Plants where the profit margin around Thorium based power reactors (LFTR Power Reactors) is much smaller. They’re bad for big business (good for saving tax payer money.)
“The Russians, Indians, Canadian and others have various projects employing Thorium as fuel.”
“The salt is what is used in it’s liquid state to suspend and hold the atomic fuel. It also transports the high energy in the form of heat to a heat exchanger. The Thorium power reactors use their energy to turn substance into a gas that is used to drive a turbine-generator set. This is why the LFTR power reactor is a very specific, albeit increasingly more popular, form of the Gen IV reactors.
“The amount of Thorium used to generate one GW year (the amount of power about 1 million homes use for one year is 1 ton.) A currently advanced Light Water Reactor under construction in countries today takes about 35 tons of enriched uranium to accomplish this. This amount in Thorium fuel is approx. 7lbs a day. That is all. To put in more stark terms: 4 people with shovels on ONE day, between 9 am and 12 noon, can dig up enough Th to power an entire city for a year. Not to shabby.”
“The Thorium used is ‘natural’ in that it is only Thorium dug out of the ground and milled to remove rocks and soil. It can then be used directly in the LFTR power reactors. Uranium, by contrast, has to be chemically enriched to bring usable levels up to a percentage that will allow a critical reaction. It is an expensive process but necessary to make uranium fuel.” In other words its almost ready for use when you dig it out of the ground.”
“Because the process of the LFTR uses the fuel in a liquid, not solid, state, chemical processing of the fuel stream can take place continually, removing the nasty stuff that is considered so dangerous.”
“Waste from an LFTR Power Reactors are only dangerous for 300 years opposed to 10,000 for Uranium power reactors, and it is a small .1% of that produced by a Uranium power reactor.”
They(LFTR Power Reactors) can literally use the SNF (Spent Nuclear Fuel) from current Uranium Power Reactors and even the depleted uranium from the enrichment process of the fuel from Uranium Power Reactor fuel making as fuel.
LFTR Power Reactors are much smaller than standard Uranium Nuclear Power Reactors. They also do not run under pressure. Therefore, No huge pressure vessel is necessary to contain them. They CANT GO BOOM!
They can be placed underground or in water for increased security and to lower engineering cost. Not to mention placing them underground would help in placing them in the same space profile as existing coal fire plants.
“Because the hot molten salt used in LFTR Power Reactors goes through a heat exchanger at high temperatures, current designs envisions using an inert gas, like helium or nitrogen as the heat-transfer fluid, and running it through a high-efficiency closed-cycle “Brayton” cycle gas turbine. These too can be built smaller since they have a much better thermal efficiency that currently used steam turbines.” In other words they can be made more efficient than standard nuclear power reactors, and by using Brayton cycle turbines they can produce energy with better efficiency than lots of existing coal fire plants.
“Water usage for once-through cooling of the turbine can be less because the Brayton cycle gas turbines don’t need a large a temperature drop as steam driven “Rankine” cycle turbines.”
LFTR power reactors end up costing less than half that of standard Nuclear power reactors if being built from scratch. By reusing the infrastructure of coal plants, this cost is further reduced.
“It will be an international effort, of course, as there are no real secrets to commercial nuclear power reactor technology.”–In other words since it consumes depleted Uranium to kick off its reaction, it can’t be used to make bombs, so no one cares about keeping it a secret except in the respect of competitiveness in the world market which is solvable through payments or trade for the technology “secrets”.
Their operation can be used to make synthetic fuels from atmospheric CO2 and to make desalination plants which can turn out hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of potable water for cities, industries and irrigation from their waste heat.
“A mixture of small, medium and large power reactors can be made to fit the size of existing coal fire plants and to provide energy in locations with no existing coal plants.”
“First, there will be a large ‘market’ for small, under 100MW power reactors. I mentioned the could be sited right in transmission and/or distribution sub-stations (where operators control voltage on the system, among other tasks). The can be used as peaker units since LFTRs can have fast and rapid load changes unlike their bigger LWR cousins. These “Sub-100 LFTRs” also have a huge place in the overall Thorium Power Reactor Economy. 50 MWs of ‘heat’…it’s often written like this: “75MWt” with the little ‘t’ meaning temperatures can be used to provide valuable process heat to an synthetic fuel refinery making Dimethyl ether. This is a carbon neutral (because you can use CO2 from the air) that is created by combing the carbon in the CO2 and hydrogen. Both compounds can be garnered using energy and heat from a LFTR. Costs are estimated at $2/gallon. Such a “refinery” would run completely on the LFTR energy, providing most of the heat for these processes and some to power the electrical needs of the complex.”
“These smaller LFTRs, because component size is can be so small can be assembled whole in factories, along the lines of large aircraft manufacturing and automotive assembly, perhaps even in the same factories of the rapidly shrinking aerospace and automobile manufacturing capacity in the United States.”
“But there will also be needs to vast amounts of centralized electrical generation. LFTRs can power the largest of generators out there: the Alstrom 1800 MW water-cooled generator (60hz). In theory, one can have a LFTR that can produce easily 10GWt for at least 3600MWe. You could put 2 generators on either side of a massive Brayton cycle turbine and run both generators off the one turbine and one reactor. The waste heat, if located on an ocean, can be used in a flash-distillation desalination device to create millions of gallons of water a day. Large clusters of safely built large power LFTRs could use the ocean for cooling and transmit vast amounts of power via HVDC into a “smart-transmission” grid.”
“Additionally, many of the new technologies currently under development can be applied most easily to a Thorium Economy. Consider Molten Salt Storage. This technology is being developed for the Concentrated Solar Thermal industry where vast tracts of land focus thousands of mirrors on a single spot. This heats up an oil, hot salt or even water to created steam to run a conventional turbine. Some or all of this thermal energy can be diverted to “molten salt storage” and used later after the sun goes down to provide dispatchable MWs into the grid. No one has done this on an industrial scale yet, but if it should come about, the direct thermal heat from a LFTR would be an even more ideal application of this technology. LFTRs cold ‘over-produce’ heat during the day, store the excess in molten salt assemblies, then use it to power the same turbine at night after peak or during peaking times.”
“The Thorium Power Reactors Economy would see all transportation powered by a combination of electric vehicles for individuals and small company vehicles and dimethyl ether as a diesel substitute for larger transport. Dimethyl ether can be used in airplanes as well since it’s essentially jet fuel. Methanol (as opposed to the food-consuming ethanol), anther carbon-neutral fuel, can also be synthesized with the process heat of an LFTR.”
“Ultimately, small LFTRs can be used to power a large condominium complex or office building if tying into to grid is too expensive.”
All conventional LWR reactors run about 550F. The IFR comes in at about 900F. But it, in turn, is outclassed by the 1,300F LFTR. (Higher temperature means higher efficiency which means better use of energy in laymen’s terms)
“The 1,200 largest of the world’s 30,000+ fossil fuel power reactors are where more than 30% of ALL Global Warming is coming from now.”–Jim Holm 18th November 20011 at 10:41 AM.