Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

It is currently Jun 29, 2017 7:40 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Nov 28, 2013 2:59 am 
Offline

Joined: Jun 05, 2011 6:59 pm
Posts: 1337
Location: NoOPWA
This is the "Fairewinds Energy Education" article on Thorium Reactors.

http://fairewinds.org/demystifying/thorium-reactors

This is my point by point rebuttal.
Comments?


** = Fairewinds
>> = me

** According to questions we have received, proponents claim that thorium reactors produce less waste and its half-life is “only” a few hundred years rather than thousands. That still means hundreds of years of waste. However, contrary to proponent’s claims
If the spent fuel is not reprocessed, thorium-232 is very long lived (half-life: 14 billion years) and its decay products will build up over time in the spent fuel. This will make the spent fuel quite radiotoxic, in addition to all the fission products in it.

>> This seems an odd statement from an organization that lables itself to be educational. One would think that an educational organization would understand that generally speaking, the longer the half life, the lower the radiotoxicity. Thorium has a VERY long halflife meaning that it is darn near stable. The radioactivity of thorium is very low, and it is prevelent throughout the whole earth.

===============

**It should also be noted that inhalation of a unit of radioactivity of thorium-232 or thorium-228 (which is also present as a decay product of thorium-232) produces a far higher dose, especially to certain organs, than the inhalation of uranium containing the same amount of radioactivity. For instance, the bone surface dose from breathing an amount (mass) of insoluble thorium is about 200 times that of breathing the same mass of uranium.[1]

>> I have looked for a scientific basis for this statement which I find in most anti-thorium literature but cannot find it. The anti-thorium literature alway references some other hit piece (this reference) or anti-thorium blog or anti-nuke rally powerpoint. Not a real good source. (Whether the item is true may not be an issue anyway if the "bone surface dose" is always small no matter what. No level is actially given.)

==============

** And there is still no geologic repository for the waste in the USA and most of the world, and even if there was, the encapsulation process designed to hold the waste has recently been shown to last only 100 years.

>> False, false, and false.
- WIPP exists in the US.
- Several repositories exist in Europe and more are on the way.
- But in truth, this is a red herring. If the material is reprocessed as proposed, the need for a repository will effectively vanish. You don't need a repository for a 300 year issue.

===========

**On the question of safety, here is how the Union of Concerned Scientists in its Statement on Thorium Fueled Reactors, answers:
Some people believe that liquid fluoride thorium reactors, which would use a high-temperature liquid fuel made of molten salt, would be significantly safer than current-generation reactors. However, such reactors have major flaws. There are serious safety issues associated with the retention of fission products in the fuel, and it is not clear these problems can be effectively resolved.

>> This is an odd statement coming from "scientists". Do they not know that the fission products in a LFTR salt solution are in their most stable chemical condition? This isn't like LWRs where the Cesium is in metallic form that has a low boiling point and will vaporize during a meltdown. All fission products are generated in known amounts and known forms and are appropriatele handled for safety as soon as created. They don't sit in the fuel salt for long periods unless they are stable in those salts.

===========

** Such reactors also present proliferation and nuclear terrorism risks because they involve the continuous separation, or “reprocessing,” of the fuel to remove fission products and to efficiently produce U-233, which is a nuclear weapon-usable material.

>> Misleading in a bunch of ways, but the real test is... current uranium based weapons = ~19,000. Thorium based weapons... ZERO.

===========

** Moreover, disposal of the used fuel has turned out to be a major challenge. Stabilization and disposal of the remains of the very small “Molten Salt Reactor Experiment” that operated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1960s has turned into the most technically challenging cleanup problem that Oak Ridge has faced, and the site has still not been cleaned up. 2

>> I am surprised that even "Fair"ewinds would stoop to bolluxing this one up. When the program MSRE was canceled, the program requested $50,000 to remove the uranium from the salt. Their request was declined. As a result, the fuel salt solidified. During the next decades, some fission products decayed and lost valance states. This released some of the fluoride that was bonded to it. The fluoride attached to the UF4 bcoming UF6 and volatilized. No commercial facility would ever do that. It takes a special kind of thinking (government or NGA) to do that sort of thing.

===========

** Another claim thorium proponents make is that a thorium reactor is nearer to closing the nuclear fuel cycle. In an interview discussing that topic, Arnie Gundersen said,
The French, and actually the Japanese bought into this. No one has really what we call closed the nuclear fuel cycle. The Japanese tried for years and spent trillions of yen or hundreds of billions of dollars in trying to reprocess fuel and it failed every time. My point is if we had spent that money on alternative energy sources, we would be much more likely to have a solution right at hand that is really cheap. And instead we put all our money on the wrong horse in this race.3

>> For being a "nuclear engineer" AG really kerfuffled that one. Neither the French nor the Japanese have EVER tried to close the fuel cycle for a LFTR. Condemning LFTRs for possible flaws in other designs should be below even AG.

===========

** Following a review, even the U. S. Department of Energy has concluded placed Thorium Reactors in the same category as all other nuclear power reactors.
The choice between uranium-based fuel and thorium-based fuel is seen basically as one of preference, with no fundamental difference in addressing the nuclear power issues [of waste management, proliferation risk, safety, security, economics, and sustainability]. Since no infrastructure currently exists in the U.S. for thorium-based fuels, and the processing of thorium-based fuels is at a lower level of technical maturity when compared to processing of uranium-based fuels, costs and RD&D [research, development and deployment] requirements for using thorium are anticipated to be higher. 4

>> Use of thorium in solid fueled reactors is not vastly different than using U235/U238 except the bred fuel is better in a LWR. Thorium needs a liquid fueled reactor to truly shine. But the author seems determined to confuse the reader by condemning LFTRs with solid fuel issue. It is just ... sneaky.

===========

** Thorium 232 is not fissile, that means it can’t split and create power. Thorium 232 needs a uranium reactor to get it started by sending out neutrons that the thorium 232 can absorb. When that happens, the thorium 232 changes to U233, which is fissile. So behind every thorium reactor there still is uranium and plutonium that must be disposed of.

>> Wow, this is a truly awsome display of bone-headedness. The LFTR burns the starter fuel charge. If started with plutonium, the plutonium burns up and goes away. It is converted into fission products with a ~300 year dangerous life. The reactor is what disposes of the plutonium. I mean REALLY? They got that wrong? Oh my.

===========

** To date, Fairewinds has seen no evidence that Thorium Reactors are ready for prime time. Thorium Reactors face the same environmental risks as the current fleet of nuclear power plants. And as Hurricane Sandy has proven, those issues will be even more challenging as global warming and its subsequent impact on weather patterns throughout the world continues to impact energy production. Nuclear power plants like Thorium Reactors need a stable geological location as well as long-term storage solutions.

>> First, the current fleet of nuclear plants, even with the occasional low probability accident, are still the cleanest safest energy source around. And they are getting cleaner and safer all the time. But LFTRs will be a quantum step forward in safety.
Oe nice thing is that LFTRs can be air cooled so location near shorelines or rivers/lakes is not needed. And the stated need for long term storage solutions is false. LFTRs produce ~300 year waste, not mega-year waste. It is not a problem.

===========

** As climate change becomes impossible to ignore, the nuclear industry is attempting to market itself as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels. While nuclear reactors do not generate sooty particles that wind up in the atmosphere, the heavy dependence on cooling water for nuclear power plants makes nuclear power unfeasible as water temperatures rise around the globe. Additionally, mining and transporting uranium are carbon heavy activities. Finally, studies in Sweden have shown that the ceramic encapsulation, the anticipated solution to keep waste secure for hundreds of years will not even last 100 years, so there currently is no long term viable storage solution for nuclear waste.

>> Again, condemning LFTRs for the issues with other reactors. This is getting to be a pattern of disengenuousness.

------------------------
Edited to improve readability.

_________________
DRJ : Engineer - NAVSEA : (Retired)


Last edited by KitemanSA on Nov 30, 2013 2:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Nov 28, 2013 10:22 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mar 22, 2013 1:50 pm
Posts: 266
oh no no!

very, if not impossibly difficult to read.

must use better method of separating the quotes


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Nov 28, 2013 2:01 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sep 01, 2009 1:01 pm
Posts: 51
Excellent rebuttal!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Nov 28, 2013 2:53 pm 
Offline

Joined: Dec 16, 2011 7:27 am
Posts: 262
Very informative I found.

People have been living in close contact with thorium as long as there have been people, it's kind of silly to go on about how radiotoxic it is when residents of Kerela India and some places in Brazil are often healthier than their neighbours.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvgAx1yIKjg

Monazite sands can have 10% or more of thorium.

I also question Arnie Gundersen's claims of being an expert in nuclear power, according to Ron Adam he was only ever licensed to operate a 100 Watt reactor.

http://atomicinsights.com/was-gundersen ... -licensee/

While Gundersen is skilled, his real expertise seems to be in advocating for a political lobby group that is staunchly anti-nuclear.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Nov 28, 2013 3:46 pm 
Offline

Joined: Dec 16, 2011 7:27 am
Posts: 262
Wow, look at some of the stuff he's claiming on this video that Ron Adams has posted on his blog. At the time Gundersen was claiming that the Fukushima accident was as bad as Chernobyl, even though no core was exposed and no one died. The top of containment was lost at Chernobyl and a fire helped transport about 5% of the core material into the region around Chernobyl. With Fukushima it was intentional venting of radioactive gas that presented some of the most significant releases and no one was killed. There were army emergency response teams on site close to #3 reactor building I think when it exploded from the build up of hydrogen and no one was killed there and I have yet to hear anything about Japanese personnel with ARS. Over 100 people at Chernobyl were diagnosed with Acute Radiation Syndrome and about 30 died within a couple months of the accident.

http://atomicinsights.com/arnie-gunders ... ima-event/

Gundersen also claims that about 1,000,000 people will get cancer in Japan as a result of the accident, where is the evidence supporting that. With much greater exposure in the Ukraine it's still impossible to determine there how many people have developed cancer because the additional risk factor is so small compared to the overall risk unassociated with Chernobyl. There are some claims being made that Chernobyl has killed 985,000 people, but that was determined by assuming that all increased deaths in the region were the result of Chernobyl.

George Monbiot found Helen Caldicott was also doing this.

http://www.monbiot.com/2011/04/04/evidence-meltdown/

Quote:
Like John Vidal and many others, Helen Caldicott pointed me to a book which claims that 985,000 people have died as a result of the disaster(14). Translated from Russian and published by the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, this is the only document which looks scientific and appears to support the wild claims made by greens about Chernobyl.

A devastating review in the journal Radiation Protection Dosimetry points out that the book achieves its figure by the remarkable method of assuming that all increased deaths from a wide range of diseases – including many which have no known association with radiation – were caused by the accident(15). There is no basis for this assumption, not least because screening in many countries improved dramatically after the disaster and, since 1986, there have been massive changes in the former eastern bloc. The study makes no attempt to correlate exposure to radiation with the incidence of disease(16).


There's a significant amount of intellectual fraud going on on the part of the anti-nuke lobby.

It's likely that the most significant health effect from Fukushima and probably Chernobyl as well is the stress and mental distress that is caused by the kind of hysteria created by people who aren't even qualified to comment on the actual risk.

Quote:
Of course, no matter how prepared a country is a massive disaster is devastating for individuals. People who lost their homes, villages and family members, and even just those who survived the quake, will likely continue to face mental health challenges and the physical ailments that come with stress, such as heart disease. “Much of the damage was really psychological—the stress of not knowing, of being relocated,” U.C. Berkeley’s McKone says.
Experts on the ground in Japan agree. “Mental health is the most significant issue,” notes Seiji Yasumura, a gerontologist at Fukushima Medical University’s Department of Public Health. Stress, such as that caused by dislocation, uncertainty and concern about unseen toxicants, has been linked to increased risk for physical ailments, such as heart disease. So even if radiation risks are low, “people are still worried,” he says. And that can also lead to unhealthy behavioral changes, “including dietary choices, lack of exercise and sleep deprivation”—all of which can have long-term negative health consequences. Many of the survivors are elderly, whom either lost a partner or even an entire family. As after the Kobe earthquake of 1995, the Japanese government has created housing for these disconnected older adults. But, as Garfield notes, “the government can’t buy you a new family.”
There are also what Garfield calls, “the immeasureable, imponderable” effects of the disaster. Those who relocated from the prefecture report having experienced discrimination and, especially immediately following the accident, were considered somehow “contaminated.” Traditional Japanese values also prize stoicism, which means that people who are suffering mental or even physical distress might be less likely to seek the care they need.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Nov 30, 2013 7:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: May 15, 2011 12:06 am
Posts: 225
Nice job, Kiteman. Now we just need a way to get your rebuttal as much or more exposure as the article it rebuts.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Dec 01, 2013 11:45 am 
Offline

Joined: Jun 05, 2011 6:59 pm
Posts: 1337
Location: NoOPWA
Russ wrote:
Nice job, Kiteman. Now we just need a way to get your rebuttal as much or more exposure as the article it rebuts.
Do you visit the Facebook Pages and rebut? It everyone who comes here were to do so...

_________________
DRJ : Engineer - NAVSEA : (Retired)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Dec 01, 2013 5:19 pm 
Offline

Joined: Nov 28, 2009 9:38 am
Posts: 38
DougC wrote: "There's a significant amount of intellectual fraud going on on the part of the anti-nuke lobby."

A favorite tactic is to ignore the scientific disclaimers about the LNT hypothesis. Most authoritative scientific sources says that very low doses of radioactivity should not be used to forecast future excess cancer deaths. For example, the UNSCEAR 2012 interim report said,

Quote:
the Scientific Committee does not recommend multiplying very low doses by large numbers of individuals to estimate numbers of radiation-induced health effects within a population exposed to incremental doses at levels equivalent to or lower than natural background levels (p. 10)

... but that is exactly what antinuke organizations and academics do. They multiply a very small dose by tens or hundreds of millions of people, then apply LNT in a way that is not recommended by most experts, and wind up with thousands or tens of thousands of forecast cancer deaths.

Some examples are Lisbeth Gronlund of UCS and Ed Lyman of UCS.

Every time I hear one of these advocates repeating "there is no safe level of radiation," I want to say "Really? No safe level at all? You realize we all have naturally occurring radiation in our bodies, right? Every one of us. Natural radiation in the food we eat, the water we drink, the earth we walk on. The radiation dose almost everyone receives from nuclear power, including accidents, is less than the natural fluctuation of natural radiation levels. If there's no safe level, then nothing and nowhere was safe even before nuclear energy was discovered. Is that what you believe?"


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group