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China Working On Uranium-Free Nuclear Plants In Attempt To Combat Smog

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http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/19/china-uranium-nuclear-plants-smog-thorium

China is developing a new design of nuclear power plant in an attempt to reduce its reliance on coal and to cut air pollution.

In an effort to reduce the number of coal-fired plants, the Chinese government has brought forward by 15 years the deadline to develop a nuclear power plant using the radioactive element thorium instead of uranium.

A team of researchers in Shanghai has now been told it has 10 instead of 25 years to develop the world's first such plant.

"In the past, the government was interested in nuclear power because of the energy shortage. Now, they are more interested because of smog," Professor Li Zhong, a scientist working on the project, told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

If they can crack this a massive boost to the global economy?

Can you really rush research like this?

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If they can crack this a massive boost to the global economy?

Can you really rush research like this?

Depends.. the research has been done already, to a certain extent. Guess which country did it.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/current-and-future-generation/thorium/

Quote..

High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors: Thorium fuel was used in HTRs prior to the successful demonstration reactors described above. The UK operated the 20 MWth Dragon HTR from 1964 to 1973 for 741 full power days. Dragon was run as an OECD/Euratom cooperation project, involving Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland in addition to the UK. This reactor used thorium-HEU fuel elements in a 'breed and feed' mode in which the U-233 formed during operation replaced the consumption of U-235 at about the same rate. The fuel comprised small particles of uranium oxide (1 mm diameter) coated with silicon carbide and pyrolytic carbon which proved capable of maintaining a high degree of fission product containment at high temperatures and for high burn-ups. The particles were consolidated into 45mm long elements, which could be left in the reactor for about six years.

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Depends.. the research has been done already, to a certain extent. Guess which country did it.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/current-and-future-generation/thorium/

Quote..

High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors: Thorium fuel was used in HTRs prior to the successful demonstration reactors described above. The UK operated the 20 MWth Dragon HTR from 1964 to 1973 for 741 full power days. Dragon was run as an OECD/Euratom cooperation project, involving Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland in addition to the UK. This reactor used thorium-HEU fuel elements in a 'breed and feed' mode in which the U-233 formed during operation replaced the consumption of U-235 at about the same rate. The fuel comprised small particles of uranium oxide (1 mm diameter) coated with silicon carbide and pyrolytic carbon which proved capable of maintaining a high degree of fission product containment at high temperatures and for high burn-ups. The particles were consolidated into 45mm long elements, which could be left in the reactor for about six years.

Thorium research was actually carried out in tandem with Uranium work. Since the military/government owned the research in the West they chose to continue Uranium refinement as it could be weaponized rather than Thorium which cannot. Thorium reactors also cannot overload a la Chernobyl or 3 mile island and use less radioactive material and produce less waste. But on the plus side we now have a healthy nuclear weapons industry. Yet another decision made my our "democracy" - In this day and age they should lay out a simple A4 side of facts with backed up research and then let a larger Quorum of the public have a 1/3 input into the decision.

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Thorium research was actually carried out in tandem with Uranium work. Since the military/government owned the research in the West they chose to continue Uranium refinement as it could be weaponized rather than Thorium which cannot. Thorium reactors also cannot overload a la Chernobyl or 3 mile island and use less radioactive material and produce less waste. But on the plus side we now have a healthy nuclear weapons industry. Yet another decision made my our "democracy" - In this day and age they should lay out a simple A4 side of facts with backed up research and then let a larger Quorum of the public have a 1/3 input into the decision.

There's also the fact that the PWR/BWR reactor designs in common use are very useful for military purposes - Nuclear carriers and submarines - because they are compact and have a high power density. The problem being that these reactors can melt down..

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