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molten salt reactor

PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2015 11:04 am
by Logan Savage
Aardvark's Sci-Tech News was last updated 18 June 2013 so i was delighted when dilbert started a "top tech" column.

The latest one mentions http://www.transatomicpower.com/ who have gone back to the beginning of the nuclear industry to explore another path, the molten salt reactor. The Oak Ridge Molten Salt reactor ran in the 1960s, but everyone jumped on the Light Water Reactor design instead.

Basically the molten salt reactor simmers liquid fuel at atmospheric pressure. It doesn't need rods changing every few years so it produces much less waste than a LWR. It fact it can run on the waste produced by a LWR! And in the event of a power cut the molten salt simply drains into a holding tank and solidifies.

This is AWESOME

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:13 pm
by Logan Savage
40 views and not a single reply? Really? Ok, let me put it another way...

This is AWESOME!

So what are the main reasons for hating nuclear power? I reckon Sting summed it up nicely when he sang
One day in a nuclear age
They may understand our rage
They build machines that they can't control
And bury the waste in a great big hole


1) They build machines that they can't control.
Imagine a nuclear industry that hadn't had the disasters at Sellafield, Three mile island, Sellafield, Chernobyl, Sellafield, & Fukashima. These all use solid fuel that require active cooling. If something goes wrong and the cooling stops then look out! :shock:

2) And bury the waste in a great big hole
A typical large nuclear reactor produces 25–30 tons of spent fuel per year. it has to go somewhere, but where? The US NRC admits that "at this time there are no facilities for permanent disposal of high-level waste" http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/radwaste.pdf :oops:

Now imagine a reactor that didn't irradiate an entire hemisphere in a power cut, but simply turned itself off safely.
Lets go further and imagine a reactor that didn't produce all that high level waste. Crazy right?
Well while we're imagining, why not wave a magic wand and imagine a reactor that not only doesn't produce all that High Level Waste, but can actually get rid of all the High Level Waste that is currently sitting around waiting to be disposed of.

Sounding pretty good?

Now imagine that this isn't a pie in the sky theory, but that such reactor had been built and run, and was shown to be as safe as claimed. Wouldn't that be almost too good to be true? Is your bullshit dector tingling by now? :roll:

Mine was, so I started investigating further. It turns out that the 1960s Oak Ridge Molten Salt reactor had two insurmountable problems: they couldn't fit one in a submarine and it was no good at producing weapons grade plutonium and uranium for the military. So the project got the chop.

Unbelievable!

Funnily enough, the inability to produce weapons which was such a problem for the 1960's US Goverment could actually turn out to be a major benefit today. Forget trying to derail Iran and N.Korea's nuclear program with the likes of stuxnet, Duqu, and Flame. We could even stop car-bombing their civilian nuclear scientists (who, US? Couldn't be!). Just GIVE them a molten salt reactor and tell them to help themselves. We could even provide them with free waste to use for fuel. After all, we have enough to share around... :lol:

Re: molten salt reactor

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:18 pm
by phill
my no reply was not because i disagreed with it
rather more
wow wtf hasnt this been done
i could almost support nz having a reactor with this
almost
fault lines being what they are

Re: molten salt reactor

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:28 am
by Screw
Likewise Phil. The main reason why it hasn't been done is that it doesn't produce weapon grade plutonium. That is the priority, you see.

Thorium is even better.

Re: molten salt reactor

PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 2:26 pm
by Logan Savage
So you're saying your replies and the 60 extra views were not a result of my adding 3 exclamation marks, 4 smilies and large red text?

Re: molten salt reactor

PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 11:03 pm
by Screw
Yup!

Re: molten salt reactor

PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:55 am
by phill
Screw wrote:Likewise Phil. The main reason why it hasn't been done is that it doesn't produce weapon grade plutonium


i thought they had ( 6 X ) enough of that now

Re: molten salt reactor

PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:39 pm
by Logan Savage
The molten salt reactor was designed with thorium in mind. A good neutron economy makes the MSR attractive for the neutron poor thorium fuel cycle. However even in a MSR a thorium cycle still needs a kickstart from uranium or plutonium. But making weapons was the flavour of the day, not getting rid of them! So Alvin Weinberg, the director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was fired by Nixon because he continued to advocate molten salt reactors and increased nuclear safety. I read once that he was told if he was that concerned about safety he shouldn't be in the nuclear industry. :roll:

Meanwhile Chinese scientists have been urged to develop new thorium nuclear reactors by 2024, not the 2039 they were given originally!

Image

Re: molten salt reactor

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:31 pm
by Jetboy
been there done that. if this stuff was so good Airbus would be flying it now.
http://www.realclearscience.com/blog/20 ... craft.html

Re: molten salt reactor

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:00 pm
by phill
hmm
rather than using the hot air i would be more inclined nowadays to use straight electrical generation to power electric wing mounted turbo fans
the rest seems doable but dont expect to be able to fly over many land masses
which might make nz a favorable test bed for such things
dam ... cheap fast transport from me to aliexpress .. oops i mean nz to china .. just imagine the benefits

just finding something to deal with
https://news.yahoo.com/moment-truth-nea ... nance.html
these problems would be a bonus