Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

ken_ichikawa

China To Go Thorium?

Recommended Posts

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWUeBSoEnRk?



Can somebody explain this.... I mean if thorium is so good then why are we not already using it?

The video states that it is sort of like disposible razors.... Uranium nuclear power means masses of infrastructure and contracts to store the waste and process the fuel and mine the fuel is required. This puts more money into the hands of vested interests.

Much like it is more profitable to treat AIDs/Cancer than to cure it. Since you have some poor sap who has to buy your conveniently overpriced drugs for a life time vs a one time cure.

Btw China just annouced it is going thorium

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/02/china-thorium-power/

Remember this ONE fact, All of China's leaders are Engineers Hu Jintao for example is a Chemical engineer. Our leaders are just lawyers.... China can throw masses of money at building thorium reactors and curing their problems.

So its dry in Beijing? They spent £80bn (so far) in building a gigantic gravity based aqueduct type system 1000s of miles across China. In the UK they'd just stick water meters in our homes or tax water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Thorium fuel cycle is very attractive.

Thorium is abundant - more so than uranium.

Thorium neutron cross section is bigger than uranium 238 - more likely to get hit. So breeding ratios are better (=more fuel)

It is actually not that good from a weapons perspective - the main weapons grade element generated is U233 (not used in weapons for a long time) and it is contaminated with U232 which is very unpleasant indeed.

We started with Uranium as a fuel because there is sufficient fissile material to make it work. Thorium has very little in nature (mostly Th232), so you breed fuel using a conventional reactor - once you have fissile thorium (233), you're off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Thorium fuel cycle is very attractive.

Thorium is abundant - more so than uranium.

Thorium neutron cross section is bigger than uranium 238 - more likely to get hit. So breeding ratios are better (=more fuel)

It is actually not that good from a weapons perspective - the main weapons grade element generated is U233 (not used in weapons for a long time) and it is contaminated with U232 which is very unpleasant indeed.

We started with Uranium as a fuel because there is sufficient fissile material to make it work. Thorium has very little in nature (mostly Th232), so you breed fuel using a conventional reactor - once you have fissile thorium (233), you're off.

So why aren't we using it then?

You know the last bit breeding fuel kinda sounds like a perpetual motion machine :o

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So why aren't we using it then?

You know the last bit breeding fuel kinda sounds like a perpetual motion machine :o

Not quite, but it certainly expands the potential nuclides you can use, a lot. You still have to stick in something to be breed from though, which gets used up in the process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So why aren't we using it then?

You know the last bit breeding fuel kinda sounds like a perpetual motion machine

We started with Uranium because there is a percentage of U235 (the fissile one) that can be separated by mechanical means (centrifuges in the old days). With Thorium, there is chuff all fissile isotope - it is pretty much all Th232. Thorium is just metal...until you lob it in a running reactor and it absorbs neutrons to become Th233 - which is fissile. Thus your process needs a working reactor, so we started with Uranium. Uranium also makes nice things like Plutonium under neutron bombardment, so it was immensely attractive for dual purpose (civilian and military) reactors.

Roll forward 50 years and we've invested crap loads in Uranium designs, we know it well and we have re-processing capability. So we use it. Thorium would be an investment over an above Uranium.

The Chinese on the other hand have no heritage in this patch, so will go to Thorium. They will **** things up like we did in the early days of a fuel cycle, but in the end they will be in a better place.

It isn't perpetual motion: it is turning one isotope into another. From a chemical perspective it looks like magic "heat from nothing", but old Albert can explain it all...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So why aren't we using it then?

You know the last bit breeding fuel kinda sounds like a perpetual motion machine :o

With the 1950s-era fuel cycle in use today, basically all you can use is the 0.7% of uranium that is U-235 (the rest, U-238, mostly ends up as depleted uranium battlefield ordinance).

With proper fuel cycles, you can either:

- Burn U-238 directly in a fast reactor

- Breed U-238 to Plutomium-239. which is a good reactor fuel.

- Breed Thorium-232 to U-233, which is again a good fuel.

So instead of only having 0.7% of natural uranium to use, you can use 100% of natural uranium PLUS 100% of natural Thorium, meaning you have 240 times more fuel available. You will run out eventually; but not this side of the year 3000; indeed given natural cycling of the elements through ocean water you may never run out; U and Th would be replenished in the oceans as fast as you could extract them.

Hence my occasional role as an (unpaid) nuclear shill..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At its current and reasonable projected growth china has a problem very soon.

It will mine all its stated coal reserves in 20 years. It has MASSIVE amounts of coal but its use of the stuff is unimaginably large! Sometime around 2025 its coal consumption will peak around 9,000 million tonnes which is equivalent to approx 90 million barrels per day of oil!

So it either has understated them quite a lot (perhaps likely) or it will need to change from coal generation to something else pronto. The only option for china is nuclear or a huge expansion of gas production perhaps from shale.

It is unconceivable that china can import enough coal and or gas to run itself via imports.

It could be done, Russia could potentially feed the monster but china would probably not accept that dependence although it would be a HUGE benefit to both countries.

The only realistic option for china is to expand nuclear and expand it FAST.

To this end it has goals of building 100GW by 2020 and some 250GW by 2030.

If its coal reserves are to be believed it has to do better than that. It would need in the region of 700GW of nuclear by 2035 along with 300GW of hydro.

China has no choice, and this talk of peak oil is nothing compared to peak coal in china. Now that will be a real big problem (thankfully they seem to understand this and hence why they want to build a nuke a month for 30 years)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At its current and reasonable projected growth china has a problem very soon.

It will mine all its stated coal reserves in 20 years. It has MASSIVE amounts of coal but its use of the stuff is unimaginably large! Sometime around 2025 its coal consumption will peak around 9,000 million tonnes which is equivalent to approx 90 million barrels per day of oil!

Erm there is a land north of China, called Russia and specifically Siberia. Outside Tynda is a gigantic cube of coal. Which took nearly a day to ride past. Further north near Yakutsk there are gigantic mines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Erm there is a land north of China, called Russia and specifically Siberia. Outside Tynda is a gigantic cube of coal. Which took nearly a day to ride past. Further north near Yakutsk there are gigantic mines.

I don’t think you quite understand the magnitude of their coal consumption.

They think they have about 115,000 million tonnes. By comparison Russia thinks it has 157,000 million tonnes. Both huge amounts of coal.

China will probably reach a consumption rate of about 9,000 million tonnes a year sometime in the mid 2020s. That means even if they have double what they think they do it will just last another 13 years extra.

China has no choice. It already is the worlds largest energy consumer and it will at least double from here perhaps triple. It either needs to find many new super gigantic gas and coal deposits or it has to go nuclear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Erm there is a land north of China, called Russia and specifically Siberia. Outside Tynda is a gigantic cube of coal. Which took nearly a day to ride past. Further north near Yakutsk there are gigantic mines.

Have a look at this:

http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/6700

China now consumes half of all the coal mined in the world.. imagine a cube 1 kilometer to a side.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.