March 12, 2008

Large reserves of Thorium

Charles Barton reports that the US Geological Service will be announcing huge new reserves of Thorium in the United States.

Charles also discusses the needs and issues of a comprehensive national energy policy.

This information is crossposted at thoriumenergy

"Thorium Power, Inc. has told me that they already have the technology to “switch over” from uranium to thorium more than 60% of the reactors in use today in the world."

"They said that a switched over or built from the ground up thorium powered reactor has for the “blanket” a total of three times the life of a uranium powered reactor. This would mean that the savings during the first fuel cycles will pay for the changeover in the case of a “retrofit.” The core can be used to burn fissionable grade plutonium to non weapons grade material while the blanket will be made from thorium and uranium-233, not 238, so that no weapons grade plutonium-239 can be produced in the reactor."

U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory, in partnership with three other science and engineering powerhouses, reached a major domestic milestone relating to nuclear fuel performance on March 8.

The research to improve the performance of coated-particle nuclear fuel met an important milestone by reaching a burnup of 9 percent without any fuel failure. The team has now set its sights on reaching its next major milestone -- achievement of a 12-14 percent burnup* expected later this calendar year. [2008]

Burnup rates in most commercial nuclear reactors is 0.7-2% of the fuel that is put into the reactors.

TRISO burnup

Maximum capsule burn-up > 18 % FIMA (172.8 GWd/t) Fuel Stack
134.5 GWd/t 14%

GWd/t is Gigawatts per day per ton of fuel. 14% burnup is about 134.5 GW days per ton of fuel.

Most current reactors are in the 20-50 GWd/t range.

India has finished the design of thorium nuclear reactor and expect to start building it this year (2008).

144 page pdf on using thorium in nuclear reactors. Year 2000 study from the IAEA

Technical publications related to Thorium Powers fuel technology.


Charles Barton said...

Actually I cross posted the information on the thorium find and the essay on United States energy policy to Kirk's blog. - Charles Barton

bw said...

sorry Charles, I will makethe correction

Charles Barton said...

Thank you!

Al Fin said...

Safe nuclear fission is vital for conversion to electric transportation. Thorium "fertile fission" sounds good. I just hope it can work on the scale that we need.

Lobo7922 said...

Could that ring shaped fuel be aplied at thorium reactors as well? or this works only in uranium reactors?

bw said...

I think surface area improvement would still apply but making molten salt reactors or other reactors that exploit thorium to its full extent would be better.

The annular fuel is not ready to be placed into commercial reactors for uranium yet either. So thorium power inc is just trying to make directly swappable fuel rods.