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August 30, 2010

UK Telegraph supports new Thorium Energy Amplifier Subcritical Accelerator Driven Reactor Project

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The UK Telegraph has written an article in support of new Thorium nuclear reactors based on the work of Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia, CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research).
A detailed study estimated that the Rubbia thorium energy amplifier (subcritical reactor) would be twice as cheap as current nuclear power.
Dr Rubbia says a tonne of the silvery metal – named after the Norse god of thunder, who also gave us Thor’s day or Thursday - produces as much energy as 200 tonnes of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coal. The Norwegian group Aker Solutions has bought Dr Rubbia’s patent for the thorium fuel-cycle, and is working on his design for a proton accelerator at its UK operation.

Victoria Ashley, the project manager, said it could lead to a network of pint-sized 600MW reactors that are lodged underground, can supply small grids, and do not require a safety citadel. It will take £2bn to build the first one, and Aker needs £100mn for the next test phase. Aker is looking for tie-ups with the US, Russia, or China.
Aker solutions web page for its novel thorium reactor
Here is a 2009 presentation on the Rubbia reactor (18 pages_


Carlo Rubbia published a proposal for a power reactor based on a proton cyclotron accelerator with a beam energy of 800 MeV to 1 GeV, and a target with thorium as fuel and lead as a coolant. an energy amplifier is a novel type of nuclear power reactor, a subcritical reactor, in which an energetic particle beam is used to stimulate a reaction, which in turn releases enough energy to power the particle accelerator and leave an energy profit for power generation. The concept has more recently been referred to as an accelerator-driven system (ADS).

A Preliminary Estimate of the Economic Impact of the Energy Amplifier - An in-depth review of the Energy Amplifier

The estimate is that the thorium energy amplifier (subcritical reactor) would be twice as cheap as current nuclear power.

Brazil considered the Rubbia energy amplifier in 2003

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