Fusion power investment with some chance of actually working out
Disclosure: I have invested in this myself
An elegant fusion power concept that involves pulsed electric discharges to create a hot intense plasmoid that emits x-rays and an ion beam allowing conversion to electricity at about 90% efficiency. It is the most prospective concept i’m aware of and the only one that would work on the go eg in a car or aircraft. It also emits no neutrons ie no radioactivity problems. Might be useful after the crash
Please let us know when the first one is sold and operational.
…Once we get past the stigma of nuclear energy.
China has a program to develop thorium molten salt reactor technology for sale worldwide. Why in the world would they do that?
What are the advantages?
1. Vastly safer operation without melt down risk.
2. Thorium mining has rare earth byproducts necessary for advanced electronics. The US may have trouble obtaining the rare earths needed for our defense industry if China shuts us off. (If China controls the TMSR industry that continues to cut the US off.)
3. Does not produce plutonium. Limits nuclear weapons proliferation.
4. Radioactive waste can be managed much more easily.
So why hasn’t it been adopted in the US? Good question. As a matter of fact a congressional committee was looking favorably on TMSR technology at one time and was shut down by the DOD. No reason was given. If the DOD won’t tell us why we should not have this technology is there anyone out there who can give us an explanation?
Nuclear energy could potentially capture carbon and provide carbon-based fuels for those few operations that would need it in the future. There are those who say that solar and wind technologies use more energy in production than they save.
Why hasn’t it (LFTR) been adopted in the US?
For the same reason that Big Pharma created and funded the War On HCQ. Follow the money from it’s source to it’s tentacles in the political system.
‘Civilian” nuclear power using the Westinghouse/Fukushima pressurized light water reactor grew from the Navy’s desire to build nuclear powered aircraft carriers and Nixon’s desire to create jobs (and buy votes) in his southern California district. Nationally its hidden purpose was to produce plutonium for use in building hydrogen bombs. Using nuclear reactions to boil water has never been about logical engineering, public safety, or producing electricity that is “too cheap to meter.” It is all about building facilities with massive cost overruns that require fuel rods that are supplied as total monopolies from the same company that designed the reactor. And of course the fact that the zirconium fuel rod cladding breaks down and the fuel rods must be replaced when 95% of the radioactivity is still present guarantees a long term monopoly market. (And that the general public will eventually bear the burden of nuclear waste disposal.)
Alvin Weinberg formulated the basic design of the conventional light water reactor and the molten salt reactor at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1968. The prototype LFTR ran successfully for a year before Weinberg became the victim of political infighting. It’s technical superiority, absolute cold shutdown safety, limited radioactive waste volume, and cost advantages were irrelevant in the face of an alternative that could produce 10,000 nuclear bombs for the Military-Industrial System and billions of dollars in graft for the companies that built the reactors.
Ironic that the Chinese LFTR project that employs 400+ research engineers had it’s origins at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The story goes that a top Chinese nuclear engineer was being given a visitor tour of the Oak Ridge site a decade or so ago. He asked if he could speak with somebody who had worked with Weinberg back in the day, perhaps on the molten salt project. His tour guide responded that somewhere in the archives there were some mimeographed copies of that experiment, but nobody currently on staff had any knowledge about it. It didn’t take long for our Chinese friend to recognize the potential of the abandoned American design.
If LFTR reactors are produced on an assembly line at a fraction of the cost of contemporary civilian reactors and marketed worldwide it won’t be the US that is doing so.
neat ideas we should be looking at again. The corrosion aspect is something I would be pretty interested in seeing more information about.
this paper is also interesting. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1687850713000101
You’ve chosen to share a paper about Nuclear Energy written by a group of first year graduate students that happens to have the word Thorium in its header. A ten minute Google search will greatly add to your understanding.
A few years ago I was at a dinner party in Idaho Falls that included a number of nuclear engineers who worked at the INEL. I fell into a conversation with a guy in his late 40’s who had worked with the INEL attempt to use molten salt reactors as part of their high energy breeder reactor program. When asked what he knew about the early Thorium MSR test reactor program run by Weinberg it was apparent that he had never even heard of it.
Fusion reactor designs are great for their intended purpose: Absorbing endless amounts of research dollars.
1- Molten salt reactor designs allow continuous refueling with no fuel rods to be weakened by radiation.
2- Room temperature operation–no highly pressurized water cooling system that absolutely must not fail and causes a hydrogen explosion when it does.
3- Automatic shut down, regardless of whether the plant is being operated by bored alcoholic engineers, free ranging monkeys, or simply abandoned.
4- Nuclear waste volume only 5% of a conventional reactor, and with a half life of under 300 years instead of tens of thousands.
5- Capable of burning up existing nuclear waste produced by conventional nuclear plants.
6- Thorium mining is a synergistic bi-product of rare earth mining necessary for the future electric age.