Forums > Social Discussion > Thorium, a safe nuclear fuel

Login/Join to Participate

Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Anyone know anything about Thorium?

Apparently it has the potential for use as a clean, green and safe nuclear fuel, and could revolutionise the nuclear power industry

smile

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200604/s1616391.htm
br>http://www.abc.net.au/quantum/scripts98/9820/thoriumscpt.htm


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

Delete Topic

TheWibbler
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

old hand
Location: New Zealand

Total posts: 920
Posted:Hmmm, i'd never heard of one of those.

It seems the original plans got dismissed but the it's under development again
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg15420761.800.html
br>
Once they make a bigger particle accelerator surely the best use for the old smaller one would be to add on a thorium reactor.

Very interesting stuff, thanks for that. Seems a lot more likely to work than the hydrogen fusion reactor being built. That thing is insanely complicated.
http://www.newscientisttech.com/channel/tech/dn9218.html


Spherculism ~:~ The Act of becoming Spherculish.

Delete

Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Apparently, the reason Thorium got dismissed was because it did not have any weapons potential :lol.


makes sense

cheers smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

Delete

simian


simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London

Total posts: 3149
Posted:Is it cleaner or greener or safer than other forms of nuclear power? how so?

 Written by: Stone

the reason Thorium got dismissed was because it did not have any weapons potential


Where did you get that from? confused

i found these criticisms a bit more plausible:
Problems of using Thorium as a nuclear fuel include the high cost of fuel fabrication due partly to the high radioactivity of Uranium 233 which is a result of its contamination with traces of the short-lived Uraniun 232; the similar problems in recycling thorium due to highly radioactive Thorium 228; some weapons proliferation risk of Uranium 233; and the technical problems (not yet satisfactorily solved) in reprocessing. Much development work is still required before the thorium fuel cycle can be commercialised, and the effort required seems unlikely while (or where) abundant uranium is available.


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

Delete

TheWibbler
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

old hand
Location: New Zealand

Total posts: 920
Posted:Found out that the fusion reactor itself becomes radioactive and there is some radioactive waste. hmm, and it may not work at all.

Uranium may be abundant but they cannot dispose of it, and have fudged the costings to make it seem cheap....

Back to solar power me thinks

m


Spherculism ~:~ The Act of becoming Spherculish.

Delete

simian


simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London

Total posts: 3149
Posted:It's hardly "fudging the costing" to point out the costs of development shrug

"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

Delete

Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Solar for sure mr wibbler. I heard thay are starting a big experiment with mirrors in central Australia. I will try and find out more about that later.

Simian, I got the bit about Thorium being dismissed because it did not have any "weapons potential" from a radio interview with scientists..

For sure, there are technical problems. But there are also huge benefits for everyone if this process is developed to its potential. They only need a small amount of uranium to get the reaction started and the Thorium waste is only active for 100 years.

Why are you so critical of a fuel that promises to revolutionise energy use, and save the planet?

The cost of development is immaterial if you consider the big picture. So, how about some positive comments. Like what would it take to get Thorium reactors working?


cheers smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

Delete

Dangerousmind66


Member


Total posts: 90
Posted:I still wouldnt want a thorium reactor in my backyard, Im much more comfortable with the current forms of solar power and wind power, but I guess we all have to learn to live with the thought of nuclear power, eh?

Delete

MiG
GOLD Member since Apr 2004

MiG

Self-Flagellation Expert
Location: Bogged at CG, Australia

Total posts: 3415
Posted:I think everyone's still a little worried about chernobyl. Perhaps that's understandable, but, statistically not such an issue.

there's been, what, 1 major and 1 minor meltdown in the past 20 years. out of the 400 odd reactors around now, i reckon we're at a point that it's pretty safe.

Had i the resources, i'd build my own reactor.


"beg beg grovel beg grovel"
"master"
--FSA

"There was an arse there, i couldn't help myself"
--Rougie

Delete

squarefish
SILVER Member since Sep 2002

(...trusty steed of the rodeo midget...)
Location: the state of flux, Ireland

Total posts: 403
Posted:Everyone's RIGHT to still be worried about Chernobyl.

The concrete which they used to cover it over is decaying and collapsing at an alarming rate, sturctural engineers have determined that the roof section could fall in just about any day now, exposing the interior of the reactor and producing even more radioactive dust and debris than the original incident!

MiG, if you want to know what happens when you build your own reactor please read this: the radioactive boyscout eek


Delete

MiG
GOLD Member since Apr 2004

MiG

Self-Flagellation Expert
Location: Bogged at CG, Australia

Total posts: 3415
Posted:that'd be the one that gathered all the bits from fire alarms, right? That he held together with duct tape and alfoil?

I've got those resources. What i was talking about was one a little bit more... proper. one that actually has concrete in it somewhere, for starters.


"beg beg grovel beg grovel"
"master"
--FSA

"There was an arse there, i couldn't help myself"
--Rougie

Delete

linden rathen
GOLD Member since Mar 2005

linden rathen

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 6942
Posted:im with the wibbler while a Thorium reactor is better than a uranium reactor (assuming they can make it work which is seems they will) its still nuclear.

nuclear enery may be cleaner and last longer than fossil fuels but i still leaves waste and is risky - there is more than enough energy directly from the sun - ok it hasnt all been harnesed yet but more money should be sunk in that direction than finding better nuclear reactors - like the article said its like being run over by a steam train as a opposed to a diesel - your still run over.

oh and the throium waste would still be significantly radion active after 500 years

the system is better than Uranium yes (assuming it works) but if money was put in the right places we wouldn't need it


back

Delete

linden rathen
GOLD Member since Mar 2005

linden rathen

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 6942
Posted:interestingly solar power (for the entire world) would be collosal....

from various sources

1m SQ of solar cell roughly = 3kWh (by my calculation)
global electricity demand (1998) = 14,000 billion kWh
so to meet global demand roughly 5,000 billion m SQ of solar cells are needed

available exposed land = 1.1E14 m SQ (110 billion m SQ - i think)

just a thought for you - please correct me if im wrong as this is a very hazy calculation done at 2 am.....


back

Delete

Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Linden, I think there is a place Thorium. At the present there are about 450 conventional nuclear power plants operating throughout the world. I think it would be an improvement if these were replaced with Thorium reactors. Thorium reactors produces less waste, it breaks down quicker (500 years vs. thousands) they cannot meltdown, and dont provide plutonium for weapons. Also, America could not object to countries like Iran having nuclear power.

Anyhow, heres a novel solution.

Solar-thermal power touted as energy solution

Australian scientists have developed a new way of producing electricity, which could provide all of Australia's electricity needs in 2020. It has been developed by mixing solar energy, heat and natural gas.

In the search to find a cleaner, more efficient form of power, scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have developed what is called solar-thermal energy. Two hundred mirrors track the sun, and focus the sun's rays towards a tower. The heat can reach temperatures of more than 1000 degrees Celsius, producing 500 kilowatts of power. This is then mixed with natural gas and water to produce a renewable energy.

Wes Stein from the CSIRO says the new development could provide for Australia's future energy needs.
"It would only require about 50 kilometres by 50 kilometres in the centre of Australia somewhere to provide all of Australia's electricity needs in 2020," he said. "That's not very much of Australia.""

ABC TV


cheers smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

Delete

Dragon7
GOLD Member since Oct 2003

Dragon7

addict
Location: Aotearoa (NZ), New Zealand

Total posts: 625
Posted:We dont have any nuclear generators in NZ. Proud of it to. But recently people have been talking about using Thorium instead. Its to much for some people to even talk about still. After what we went throught to be neclear free.



Hearing all the evidence, i was nearly convinced untill i realised why we dont have any. Because there will always be nuclear waste, regardless of how long its 1/2 life is. frown



I knows its unrealistic to want to shut down all the reactors in the world, but there must be some other way to produce the same amount of energy with no waste. We just havnt found it yet; (looks at post above) or maybe we have.



I think Thorium is good in theory; but i dont think Australia wants to take that path; as its one of the main countries that mines Uranuim.



 Written by:

available exposed land = 1.1E14 m SQ (110 billion m SQ - i think)



linden rathen. You think we should put solar pannels over the sea? wink



Any one see that doco where a guy invented an electric generator that produced way more energy than it used? eek


Delete

Patriarch917
SILVER Member since Oct 2005

Patriarch917

I make my own people.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Total posts: 607
Posted: Written by: Dragon7


Any one see that doco where a guy invented an electric generator that produced way more energy than it used? eek



No, I didn't.


Delete

mcp
PLATINUM Member since May 2003

mcp

Flying Water Muppet
Location: Edin-borrow., United Kingdom

Total posts: 5276
Posted:THORIUM!

The poison of choice according to: The Young Poisoners Handbook. ubbloco


"the now legendary" - Kaskade
"the still legendary" - Kaskade

I spunked in my friend's aquarium and the fish ate it. I love all fish. Especially the pink ones. They are my bitches. - Anon.

Delete

linden rathen
GOLD Member since Mar 2005

linden rathen

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 6942
Posted: Written by: Dragon7


ny one see that doco where a guy invented an electric generator that produced way more energy than it used? eek




umm i think you'll find that that is a violation of the second law of thermodynamics, no engine can have efficency greater than a carnot engine and not even that has 100% effiency. so greater than 100% efficeny is impossible you cant create energy from nothing tongue (unless ive misunderstood your comment wink

dragon 7 - we can put solar panels where ever we want - my general point was that to use solar for all our energy needs is unfeasible, until i saw this (sorry its not fully readable)


back

Delete

Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Some good points Dragon7. Unfortunately, our Prime Minister, Honest John Howard, has decided to follow Americas footsteps and go nuclear. There has been NO public discussion on this, just some leaked information from secret reports. True, we have a lot of Uranium, but we are also one have one of the worlds largest Thorium resources. As far as the waste goes, central Australia is one of the most stable places on earth.



Ive always been fascinated by the prospect of an electric generator that produced more energy than it used. I remember seeing a picture of an old Porsche, with each of it's wheels being wired up as a generator (dyno). Once you got the car mobile (big hill), the idea was it could generate its own power from the rotation of the wheels. You know, like a push bike dyno generating light.



Never heard what happend to the car, suspect the idea probably got brought by some multi-national oil company eek


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

Delete

linden rathen
GOLD Member since Mar 2005

linden rathen

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 6942
Posted:stone it wouldnt work unless you have an infinte hill with the car at the top.

if you could make sure it didnt loose any engery then yes it would power itself - but you cant frown

oh and it doesnt matter if each wheel is wired up or all of them - it will generate the same amount of energy - it just depends how its distributed (more dynos means more resistance which means the car moves slower so less electricity)


back

Delete

Patriarch917
SILVER Member since Oct 2005

Patriarch917

I make my own people.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Total posts: 607
Posted:As the car rolls downhill, you could capture that energy. In doing so, you would slow the car so that it wouldn't roll as far up the next hill.



You could then use that energy that you captured through the generators to push your way up the next hill. The problem is, you would lose a small bit of the energy you captured (usually through heat). Thus, you actually would have lost energy in the process of capturing it and reusing it.



In other words, you would have rolled further up the next hill if you had left off the dynamos altogether.



No generator "creates" energy. It just takes it from one place and puts it in another. Even if you had a perfectly effficient generator, the most you could get from the downhill motion of the car would be just enough to carry you back to your starting point.



A car rolling downhill is not powering itself. It is just releasing whatever energy was expended putting it on top of the hill in the first place.


Delete

Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:Wiring up the wheels of an electric car is a way to increase efficiency. Energy lost during braking is transferred, via the dynamos, back to the batteries that power the car. The same idea applies with the car going downhill., you gain some of what you lost on the uphills.

Electric cars have come a long way, the mileage isn't so pathetic and they go like stink too. Too bad there's no noise when you wind them out, but they could probably fake that


Delete

Patriarch917
SILVER Member since Oct 2005

Patriarch917

I make my own people.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Total posts: 607
Posted:The idea of capturing the energy used in braking is a very good idea, since that energy is wasted right now in simple friction and heat.

You can also brake going downhill. However, it would be more efficient to not brake and keep your momentum.


Delete

Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Perhaps Dragon7 was referring to LUTEC Electricity Amplifier (LEA)

Assume an LEA machine based on LUTECs existing prototypes, is only 200% efficient. That means it is 100% over unity, or put another way, produces a net 100% gain by having an output of 20 KWatts and an input of ten KWatts

Great Ideas Everyone smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

Delete

linden rathen
GOLD Member since Mar 2005

linden rathen

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 6942
Posted:hmmm im not sure how well that LEA thing would work - it sounds like it should (i just skim read the how it works) but it all depends on the permenance of the mangets and how quickly they loose their magnetism once they have to start producing power....

the problem with the car is that ultimatly it will loose energy. no matter how cleverly rigged up the dynos are energy is lost from the system

stone as for Oz using Uranium rather than Thorium the system has yet to be proven economically viable.

also uranium is a very good energy producer - you switch it on and leave it running. reactors are normally used to supply the 'base rate' of electical energy while fossil fuels (especially gas because of its short start up time) supply the surplus


back

Delete

Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Linden, Im sure if the coalition of the willing, were willing, then Thorium would be proved economically viable within a few years.

We seem to differ on what is a good source of energy. I dont consider Uranium to be a good source of energy because of the side effects. It has a high potential for melt downs (Three mile creek and Chernobyl spring to mind), it provides plutonium that can be used for nuclear weapons, and the waste remains radioactive of tens of thousands of years. Also many countries are denied energy because America fears uranium reactors will be used for nuclear weapon production.

Thorium overcomes all the drawback of using Uranium reactors.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

Delete

linden rathen
GOLD Member since Mar 2005

linden rathen

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 6942
Posted:stone im not saying that uranium is a perfect source of energy - just that it is good at what it does. in contrast thorium - while likely to be a better source of energy is still in its testing stages. also i imagine while oz has lots of it very little of it is commercially mined in the quantities to run a reactor. so it will be a few years at least before it is viable (i havnt had a change to check this so please correct me if im wrong)

as for high potential for meltdowns id have to disagree - there have been two severe meltdowns - chernobyl and three mile island and 6 other smaller cases that were contained (nb im talking about nuclear power plants not other nuclear reactors eg in submarines)

thats out of 441 since 1950 and the technology is improving

the main problem with uranium is the length of time that its waste is around. and the possibility of miss use of this.

yes throium is a better energy source potentially but it wont be ready for at least 5 years, and the it will take probably a further 5 years to build the reactor.

what i think the australian government should have done is used some more of that nice open sunny desert for solar power tongue


back

Delete