Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Harpreet, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. Harpreet

    Harpreet New Member

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    Thorium is a naturally occurring, mildly radioactive element. To use it in a nuclear reactor, thorium must absorb neutrons, a process that eventually converts it to an artificial isotope of uranium, uranium-233. U-233 is fissile, and when it absorbs a neutron it generally fissions, releasing two or three neutrons plus a million times more heat (energy) than burning an equivalent mass of fossil fuel. It takes two neutrons to release energy from thorium and U-233 can supply them, which means it is theoretically possible to sustain energy release from thorium indefinitely.
    From the early 1950s to the mid-1970s, an active R&D program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tenn. came up with a promising way to use thorium for making large amounts of energy cleanly and safely. It was based on a revolutionary kind of nuclear reactor that uses liquid rather than solid fuel. Liquid fuel has significant theoretical advantages in operation, control, and processing over solid fuel, but a basic question had to be answered: “Will it work?”[​IMG]

    To that end, Oak Ridge engineers built four liquid-fueled reactors. Two used water-based liquids, and two were based on liquid fluoride salts. The water-based reactors had to operate at high pressures to generate the temperatures needed for economical power generation. They could also dissolve uranium compounds, but not those containing thorium, which made fuel reprocessing as complicated for the water-based rectors as it is for solid-fueled versions.

    [​IMG]
    The fluoride reactors had neither of these drawbacks. They could operate at high temperature without pressurization. They could also dissolve both uranium and thorium in their fluoride-salt mixtures, and the mixtures were impervious to radiation damage due to their ionic bonds. Therefore, Oak Ridge engineers opted to concentrate on the technically superior liquid-fluoride-salt approach in future R&D.
    In the late 1960s, however, the director of Oak Ridge National Lab, Alvin Weinberg, was fired by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission for his advocacy for this type of reactor and his efforts to enhance the safety of conventional light-water reactors, a design he had patented. With Weinberg’s departure, the AEC squashed research in liquid-fluoride reactors in favor of liquid-sodium-metal-cooled fast breeder reactors, which were based on converting conventional uranium to plutonium. Technical overlap between the two programs was almost nonexistent, so after cancellation, research into liquid-thorium reactors faded away.
    [​IMG]
    Recent efforts to resurrect the thorium-fluoride reactor technology has focused on a new variant of the concept called the Liquid-Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR, pronounced “lifter”). In a LFTR, the reactor vessel contains two types of liquid-fluoride salts. One, the fuel salt, holds the fissile fuel (U-233) that sustains the nuclear reaction. The other, the blanket salt, has enough thorium to absorb about half of the neutrons from fission and produce more U-233.


    The blanket salt also shields the reactor vessel from neutron damage and gamma-ray irradiation. As thorium in the blanket converts to U-233, it is physically transferred to the fuel salt, where it fissions, releasing neutrons and heat. Heat moves to a coolant salt outside the core, then to the working fluid of a closed-cycle gas-turbine engine to generate electricity. Waste heat can be rejected to either air or water, depending on the availability of cooling water. Waste heat could also be used to, for example, desalinate seawater, letting it profitably produce potable water.
     
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  2. Harpreet

    Harpreet New Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
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  3. Harpreet

    Harpreet New Member

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  4. Harpreet

    Harpreet New Member

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  5. Harpreet

    Harpreet New Member

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    India still not going for this technology and wasting time and money on a less efficient solid core approach,even they develop advanced reactor in this or next decede ,it will only generate its 60 70 % energy from thorium on the other hand lftr uses 100% thorium
     
  6. Harpreet

    Harpreet New Member

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  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    In this article it says India is using LFTR??

    2011 - Not Nuclear Fusion but Thorium Power, by Rolf Witzsche

    The LFTR is presently the cleanest, safest, and most efficient nuclear power reactor ever developed. It operates at high temperatures and at ambient air pressures, and can be scaled to any size required. India expects to supply 1/3rd of its entire electricity needs with thorium reactors in the near future.

    I think a nuclear deal with the Chinese maybe a better idea than with USA if they have progressed to this point??
     
  8. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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  9. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR), a Possible Contendor for Nuclear Propulsion Systems | Propulsiontech's Blog

    The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR), a Possible Contendor for Nuclear Propulsion Systems


    The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR) are purportedly safer (no harmful radioactive wastes produced), less expensive, smaller in size, does not use weapons-grade radioactive fuels and run on thorium-232, which is apparently an abundant heavy metal. The nuclear reactions in an LFTR can be started and stopped easily. The fuel does not have to be refined or enriched or made into pellet shapes. The reaction products are supposedly less harmful and have short half-lives.

    Thus, I feel that the above qualities make LFTRs a potential fit for nuclear propulsion applications. LFTRs can be made smaller to fit an air/space vehicle. The controllability of the reactions gives us the ability to throttle power output on a vehicle. The reactors can be designed to withstand explosions. At present, aircraft black boxes are made tough and rugged, and designed to withstand crashes and submersion in water. So is the case with nuclear warheads on missiles. In the event of an explosion, the fuel is in such small quantities and the fission products are short-lived that there may not be the danger of contaminating radioactive fallout as is the case with Plutonium-239/241 or Uranium-235/238 reactors.

    LFTRs could be used to power scramjets, since scramjets require massive amounts of energy to accelerate the working fluids to hypersonic speeds. But LFTRs could also find use in subsonic (bombers, freighters, fuel-tankers, etc.) and supersonic aircraft or even the single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) aerospace planes.
     
  10. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Very Interesting..
    Thanks for Sharing !
     
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  11. Harpreet

    Harpreet New Member

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    Its says that india expect to produce its 1/3 energy with thorium but sadly there is no R&D in liquid form of thorium in india,they have taken a another path .currently india is developing a advanced reactor in the third stage which will use Pu Th Un mixer and will obtain its 60 70% power from throium, this is a very difficult work because many products are formed during fission like xenon which is a great neutron absorber.there is also a small scale research in india about Sub-critical Reactors Driven by a Accelerator which requires a 1Gev photon beam but according to my knowledge there is no accelerator having power more than 20 Mev, even if a accelerator is developed in future it will consume 1/3 of the power produce by the reactor for its own action

    therefore LFTR is the most efficient reactor and also easy to develop from a solid core reactor ,,,,,,,There are some people like NOBLE prize winner Carlos Rubbia which claims that Thorium can serve the sourse of energy for next 10000 years..

    China just start the moltan salt reactor research just few months ago. India is still in better postion than china ,If you have watched the video which i have posted earlier ,the Nasa scientist Kirk Sorensen thinks that India is the most logical country that should go for LFTRs
     
  12. Harpreet

    Harpreet New Member

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    Its says that india expect to produce its 1/3 energy with thorium but sadly there is no R&D in liquid form of thorium in india,they have taken a another path .currently india is developing a advanced reactor in the third stage which will use Pu Th Un mixer and will obtain its 60 70% power from throium, this is a very difficult work because many products are formed during fission like xenon which is a great neutron absorber.there is also a small scale research in india about Sub-critical Reactors Driven by a Accelerator which requires a 1Gev photon beam but according to my knowledge there is no accelerator having power more than 20 Mev, even if a accelerator is developed in future it will consume 1/3 of the power produce by the reactor for its own action

    therefore LFTR is the most efficient reactor and also easy to develop from a solid core reactor ,,,,,,,There are some people like NOBLE prize winner Carlos Rubbia which claims that Thorium can serve the sourse of energy for next 10000 years..

    China just start the moltan salt reactor research just few months ago. India is still in better postion than china ,If you have watched the video which i have posted earlier ,the Nasa scientist Kirk Sorensen thinks that India is the most logical country that should go for LFTRs
     
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  13. Harpreet

    Harpreet New Member

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    Liquid fluoride reactor was developed by Alvin Martin Weinberg(father of american nuclear program,manhattan project) and his team for an long range aircraft becuase in cold war nobody wanted the reactor for electricity they all wanted bomb and how bomb can be delivered to long distance countries . But Alvin weinberg was so impressed by liquid core reactor that suggested that america should not build more LSRs and should go for Liquid core reactor,but nobody listened to him because they wanted Pu which cant be created by LFTR. So with small funding Weinberg continued its research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory ,Usa .They built 4 Liquid core reactors which almost ran for 15 years but due to lake of funding it was shut down and This great idea lost in time .
     
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  14. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Harpreet I agree with you if we can be completely self reliant on thorium and we would not need uranium at all, we should pursue this avenue instead of a mixed thorium-uranium program. In your opinion is the thorium-uranium mixed program a stepping stone to a possible 100% thorium program in the future??
     
  15. Harpreet

    Harpreet New Member

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    Currently the only non CO2 energy source which can be used on large scale is nuclear fission. geothermal,fussion,solar,wind ,tidal & wave these all energy source looks very good on paper but reality is that we don't have technology to use these energy sources on large commercial scale, the technology we have is very expensive.Out of all the energy sources coal oil gas fussion fission ,,Solar energy is destined to be the winner but today we don't have the right technology ,we can't store the heat for electricity generation in the night(there is small group which is developing a system in which heat can be stored into salts which than will be contained in isolated chambers) .Thorium is the answer for India and even for the world until solar energy takes its rightful place
     
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  16. Harpreet

    Harpreet New Member

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    The solid core approach which india has taken is very very less efficient ,70% energy from thorium don't means that it will burn 70% of the thorium. Very small portion of thorium will be used (perhaps <1%) .So 70% it means the reactor will obtain 70%power from thorium and rest of the thorium will be wasted and in solid core you can't burn thorium 100% because other products are formed like protectinium(which have a half life of 1 month)and decays to uranium233 but in solid core you can't separate protectinium from uranium hense it will absorb another neutron and will form another product not Uranium on the other hand in liquid core the protectinium is formed it can be chemically saparated from unranium and can be stored in a vessel where after month it will be converted into uranium(**energy**) and if throium is fully converted than 1 tonne of thorium mined is equivalent to 200 tonnes of uranium mined, which is equivalent to 3.5 million tonnes of mined coal .and there is 3times more thorium than uranium on earth.

    Introduction to the LFTR
     
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  17. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Is it possible to send an RTI to BARC requesting information on this topic. Is BARC covered under RTI?
     
  18. Harpreet

    Harpreet New Member

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    dont know about BARC under RTI ,even if it is covered under RTi ,i m not sure that they can tell anything about this topic because there is no research on liquid form of thorium in INDIA .On the other hand other countries are going big on thorium ,the head of Chinese research is son of former president of china Jiang Zemin(1993-2003).http://www.itheo.org/articles/china-announces-thorium-energy-project( many other interesting articles on this site)
     
  19. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    ^^ Thanks !
     
  20. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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