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from_thorium_to_fusion [2018/04/21 03:33] (current)
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 +====== From Thorium To Fusion ======
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 +<div style="​float:​ right; padding: 10px">​
 +<iframe width="​560"​ height="​315"​ src="//​www.youtube.com/​embed/​GQ9Ll5EX1jc?​rel=0"​ frameborder="​0"​ allowfullscreen></​iframe>​
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 +Does thorium bring safety to nuclear power? Can thorium provide the link between now and fusion?
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 +Apparently when research into breeder reactors was halted decades ago, we lost valuable time, and it is going to take many decades to  get the thorium fuel cycle where it needs to be. The oil people don't want it, and the global nuclear industry has interest in prolonging the life of currently operating nuclear reactors, as well as building new ones. Incidents like Fukushima spell the end for fission based reactors, so could feeder based reactors be the answer?
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 +Introducing element Thorium, thorium itself cannot be used to fuel a nuclear reaction. It must first be converted to uranium-233 by the addition of neurons. That process adds a significant safety feature: thorium cannot sustain a chain nuclear reaction like the ones at Chernobyl and Fukushima. Once the process of adding neutrons is cut off, nothing -- good or bad -- can happen.
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 +A breeder reactor is designed to create more fissile material (nuclear fuel) than it consumes. Depending on the breeding ratio of a reactor, it can produce new fuel at a greater or lesser rate. The breeding ratio represents the number of new fissile atoms created for each fission event. The theoretical upper limit for the breeding ratio is 1.8, while most breeder reactors are designed to produce close to as much fissile material as they consume. ​
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 +The greatest advantage is after an initial loading of enriched U or Pu, it can thereafter be powered just by periodic loadings of unenriched (natural) uranium or thorium. Thorium is about four times more abundant in the Earth’s crust than uranium, poses very little weaponization risk, and produces nuclear waste which decreases in intensity to background levels much quicker than the waste from a conventional plant. The radioactive waste produced by a reactor running on thorium lasts 10 to 10,000 times less time than the waste from traditional uranium reactors.
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 +Breeder reactors can produce bomb-ready nuclear fuel, such as plutonium. This problem is addressed by a stage in nuclear preprocessing where other elements such as curium and neptunium are added in tiny quantities to the plutonium. This form of processing has no effect on the use of plutonium as a reactor fuel, but makes it extremely difficult to use the material to create an atomic bomb, even if utilizing a very sophisticated design.
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 +[[hyperion_power_generation_accumulators]]
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from_thorium_to_fusion.txt · Last modified: 2018/04/21 03:33 (external edit)