Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Aug 25, 2016 5:48 am 
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I thought this experiment was rather impressive. And rather surprising. It shows the explosive effect of molten salt (Sodium Chloride) being poured into water. It's rather dramatic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDRWQUUUCF0

I do not much recommend the safety clothing this guy chose to wear during his experiment. But all's well that ends well.


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PostPosted: Aug 25, 2016 4:42 pm 
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TerjeP wrote:
I thought this experiment was rather impressive. And rather surprising. It shows the explosive effect of molten salt (Sodium Chloride) being poured into water. It's rather dramatic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDRWQUUUCF0

I do not much recommend the safety clothing this guy chose to wear during his experiment. But all's well that ends well.


It had to be NaCl. No other salt he tried worked. It also had to be at a specific temperature. And it was in a bloody GLASS TANK. Of course it was dramatic.

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PostPosted: Aug 26, 2016 4:14 am 
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Those points are all true. However it is interesting that a physical effect induced purely by temperature created an explosion much larger than the impact from the chemical effect of Sodium hitting water. It really does show the need to test such things.


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PostPosted: Aug 26, 2016 12:39 pm 
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TerjeP,

On behalf of our host, Kirk Sorensen (Hi, Kirk!), welcome back to the forum. A funny thing happened on the way to the forum.

Thanks for this entertaining amateur science video that has 12,670,271 views. He made the dog bark! Spectacular, yes? This is a pretty high-visibility video that shows molten salt—of the Morton kind. Impressive to have a production budget. So average folks can see an example of "molten salt" after perhaps hearing a buzz about molten salt reactors?

Here's a not so entertaining video that received 282,403 views: Massive explosion at oil refinery in Mexico (MUST WATCH!).

This video received 16,075 views: Seconds From Disaster - Oil Fire In Texas—fewer viewers probably because it's 47 minutes long.

We drive cars and burn refined petroleum product to get around. These things have been tested and are still dangerous. The U.S. AEC/DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory Molten Salt Reactor Experiment ran successfully from 1965 to 1969 for almost five years. Had the AEC and the Nixon administration went forward with the MSBR together with the LMFBR, the MSBR would have proved the better safer design.

I'm not sure I understand the reason for your post. Are you in favor of molten salt reactors and the thorium fuel cycle?

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PostPosted: Aug 26, 2016 9:15 pm 
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Quote:
I'm not sure I understand the reason for your post. Are you in favor of molten salt reactors and the thorium fuel cycle?


It seems you are questioning my motive. Your entire tone seem rather defensive. But you seem new here so let me briefly introduce myself.

I'm an electrical engineer by training, although most of my 20 year career has been in IT. I spent five years working for a coal mining company. As head of IT I looked after the IT systems for five coal mines in NSW Australia. In Australia nuclear power plants are prohibited although we do mine a lot of uranium for export. I administer a modest Facebook group called "Atomic Australia". I do so with the express purpose of promoting rational discussion about nuclear technology. Personally I think molten salts are the most promising pathway forward for advanced nuclear reactors. And cheap plentiful, reliable and clean energy is exactly what the world needs.

Why did I post the video? Because it's interesting and it surprised me. And I figured it would be topical.

Why did it upset you?


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PostPosted: Aug 27, 2016 6:35 am 
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Salt reacting with water in large quantities can be rather dramatic, thanks to a steam explosion.

Mixing anything very hot intimately with water will cause this effect.


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PostPosted: Aug 27, 2016 7:21 am 
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I wonder why the other types of salt did not have the same explosive effect? Perhaps they were not as hot. It would be interesting to see how other hot substances like molten lead behave when they hit water.


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PostPosted: Aug 27, 2016 8:32 am 
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TerjeP wrote:
It seems you are questioning my motive. Your entire tone seem rather defensive. But you seem new here so let me briefly introduce myself. . . . Why did I post the video? Because it's interesting and it surprised me. And I figured it would be topical.

Why did it upset you?

Thank you for your introduction and for explaining your post, TerjeP. And for your facebook "Atomic Australia" page. That's good to know. I want to visit.

I am new here. December 2015. I see you've been here since November 2011. Your question about the tone of my reply to your post is interesting to me. Psychology has been a lifelong fascination of mine. What motivates people? Can a forum on what "seems" to be the highest stakes game on Earth avoid members getting into personal characteristics? I don't know. When I joined, I expected to see a members introduction area.

Hold. I'll check again . . . Board index » General Nuclear Discussion » Forum Policies and Posting Help. Nope. One policy could have been or could become "Member Introductions"? Some here expressly wish anonymity for very good reasons. Do you have a view on this personal stuff on that off-topic? Anyway.

Is it unusual to question motives? Is that a bad thing? I don't know about Australia beyond pop media and the few Australians I've met. Your experience with coal is rather important for this particular forum, yes?

When people call me out on defensiveness, I'm always puzzled. I believe in science and the scientific method for an unbiased attempt at understanding nature. It's used for learning about human origins. Are you familiar with the "monkey trials"? Guess where. Same U.S. state where you will find an oaken ridge. The rest is very lengthy. The point is that I'm fairly sure that about a million years ago, our species learned how to defend against man (and woman) eaters. I met a man eater at the club last night.

In the U.S. we have something called "The Department of Defense". I'm glad they didn't call it the "Department of Offense", do you agree?

In the PBS special, Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail, Dr. Derek Muller met with an Australian aboriginal man who was more than alarmed at the idea of disturbing certain grounds for fear of the consequences of waking the dragon. Do you have experience with and/or knowledge of this as an Australian?

Why did you dive in to want to talk about me and not this video that you posted?
Quote:
Personally I think molten salts are the most promising pathway forward for advanced nuclear reactors. And cheap plentiful, reliable and clean energy is exactly what the world needs.
Thank you for answering my question, TerjeP. Is that your real name "Terje" if I may ask? It's very interesting. My name is for Saint Timothy of the Christian New Testament when Saint Paul wrote to warn him about how the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. I wonder if that aboriginal man who Dr. Muller interviewed in that uranium-rich area would agree.

Morten Salt. Really? How about:
Image

Let's see. Molten. Morten. Not r but l. How dumb and stupid am I? Psycho-pathologically defensive? TheBackyardScientist. Aren't scientists people who notice little things? Aren't they the kind of irregular folks who tend to be really really smart? Do "smart" people do clever things? Yes. I found everything about this video in the context of this forum not particularly "kosher" if perhaps maybe you could try to see things differently from outside yourself. I believe my reaction is normal.

Morton company is not in the business of using "salt" (as in sodium chloride, forgive my background in chemistry) to produce chlorine to enrich it in Cl-37 for morten—oops—molten chloride fast reactors such as the one TerraPower is developing with help from ORNL for China. Why China? How about the U.S. where ORNL is located.

E. Ireland is right about pouring very hot substances in water. Duh! And you are right that TheBackyardScientist did NOT have sufficient protection for this dumb "experiment" that offered no context or value but received 13 million views, for heaven's sake! There's a very popular series called Jackass featuring people performing various dangerous, crude, self-injuring stunts and pranks. This backyard "scientist" has money to spend making videos exploring the dangers all around us in modern society. How about acetone and hydrogen peroxide? Are you feeling me? Is that being "defensive"?

There are folks online who "[sow] discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement."

As an electrical engineer by training with a 20-year career in IT and years as head of IT for five coal mines in NSW Australia, do some math. Yes, now I see questioning your motives for posting this particular video in Kirk's forum was worthy. I see you did not add anything on another video: "NASA" - THORIUM REMIX 2016 that is far better that "Pouring Molten salt into Water - Explosion!"

Pouring Molten salt into Water - Explosion!—12,684,670 views

"NASA" - THORIUM REMIX 2016—94,961 views

Wow. You know, Terje? Really? It would be nice if the view count were the other way around. Then maybe more people would begin to understand better the goals of the members of the forum on energy from thorium.

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Last edited by Tim Meyer on Aug 27, 2016 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Aug 27, 2016 9:00 am 
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I agree, TerjeP, that materials training videos are very cool and we initiated in the sciences want to encourage folks to get into science. Especially to learn about molten salt reactors burning thorium. Just think how much training it takes to explain the FE LFTR.

This video you posted fails. This dude melts some NaCl—gives the melt temperature—wow—pours it into a fish tank (stupid) to create a steam explosion as if to say "molten salts are dangerous" and to suggest for the take-away that when one hears "molten salt" be very afraid? That is the exact opposite of the pro-LFTR effort. Agreed?

Australia doesn't allow reactors? I wonder why. Kirk is frustrated? I'm frustrated with reality TV.

And so you know a little of my background, as 10-year chemist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—one of the world's largest public engineering, design, and construction management agencies, I happened to receive an up close, personal, broad, and hugely illuminating view of a department of the U.S. Department of Defense. I worked for military commanders like General Leslie Groves—who oversaw the construction of the Pentagon. General Groves, as you may know, was responsible for the Manhattan District in New York back in the good old days of fighting Hitler in Europe. They just don't make wars like they used to. General Groves succeeded in beating Hitler to "the bomb" as President Roosevelt was warned to build first. I was part of a multi-billion-dollar effort to clean up the U.S. environmental mess after years of war. I hate war.

What if General Groves' "Manhattan Project" had failed? It didn't. The Manhattan Project is the reason why Australians mine uranium. It's the reason why there became a nuclear age. Hitler's heavy water production was heroically destroyed. Thank God! The U.S. thought the horrible dictator was further ahead:
Quote:
August 2nd, 1939

F.D. Roosevelt
President of the United States
White House
Washington, D.C.

Sir:
Some recent work by E. Fermi and L. Szilard, which has been communicated to me in manuscript, leads me to expect that the element uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. Certain aspects of the situation which has arisen seem to call for watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action on the part of the administration. I believe therefore that it is my duty to bring to your attention the following facts and recommendations:

In the course of the last four months it has been made probable -- through the work of Joliot in France as well as Fermi and Szilard in America -- that it may become possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium, by which vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium like elements would be generated. Now it appears almost certain that this could be achieved in the immediate future.

This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable -- though much less certain -- that extremely powerful bombs of a new type may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory. However, such bombs might very well prove to be too heavy for transportation by air.

The United States has only very poor [illegible] of uranium in moderate quantities. There is some good ore in Canada and the former Czechoslovakia, while the most important source of Uranium is Belgian Congo.

In view of this situation you may think it desirable to have some permanent contact maintained between the Administration and the group of physicists working on chain reactions in America. One possible way of achieving this might be for you to entrust with this task a person who has your confidence and who could perhaps serve in an unofficial capacity. His task might comprise the following:

a) To approach Government Departments, keep them informed of the further development, and out forward recommendations for Government action, giving particular attention to the problem of uranium ore for the United States;

b) To speed up the experimental work, which is at present being carried on within the limits of the budgets of University laboratories, by providing funds, if such funds be required, through his contacts with private persons who are willing to make a contribution for this cause, and perhaps also by obtaining the co-operation of industrial laboratories which have the necessary equipment.

I understand that Germany has actually stopped the sale of uranium from the Czechoslovakian mines, which she has taken over. That she should have taken such early action might perhaps be understood on the ground that the son of the German Under-Secretary of State, Von Weishlicker [sic], is attached to the Kaiser Wilheim Institute in Berlin where some of the American work on uranium is now being repeated.

Yours very truly,

(Albert Einstein)


I'm not sure you're a good candidate for evaluating my "tone"—thank you. Nuclear materials are a very serious business and this forum is not for stupid jackass videos done for entertainment, agreed?

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PostPosted: Aug 27, 2016 2:40 pm 
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Tim - you've hit me with an absolute torrent of questions in those latest posts. Plus a lot of information that seems rather tangential. I post a video of some molten salt exploding and you're off talking about dragons and Hitler and some man eater you met in a club. I think you're reaction is a little over the top. Chill out.

If you actually want a conversation pick one question out of the multitude and I'll try and answer it.


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PostPosted: Aug 27, 2016 3:33 pm 
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I've heard LWR experts and Sodium proponents raise this issue, and it is certainly something that the regulators will focus on.

I think there are two areas for the PSA to focus on:
1. A failure of the salt / water heat exchanger. All MSR designs seem to have 3 or 4 loops, so this particular heat exchanger can be isolated from the fuel salt. Nevertheless, developers will need to prove that any explosion is contained in the secondary or tertiary loop.

This should be a high probability, low impact event.

2. Some more catastropic failure, where the water can mix with the primary fuel salt. On the designs published, this is most likely the emergency cooling water, which is perhaps 10m away from the core. Could some mixing be triggered by strong external impact - eg aircraft impact, deliberate terrorist act etc.

This could be a low probability, high impact event - which is perhaps a bit trickier to handle. Nevertheless, I'd expect the silo to contain this explosion rather better than a glass container. But what happens then?


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PostPosted: Aug 27, 2016 8:03 pm 
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While this experiment is interesting I do not believe it all that representative of the hazards that MSRs pose. What I believe would be more representative is doing this experiment in reverse, pour water onto molten salt.

In a loss of coolant/containment event the salt should flow into a dry container. If there is water in this container to the point it becomes an explosion hazard, then there are other issues of greater importance that have been ignored for a long time beforehand. An example would be a leak in the roof over the reactor, and the reactor doors were left open, and this condition existed long enough that rainwater accumulated in the reactor silo.

The value I do see in this video is encouraging people to experiment on their own. With the exception of the high speed camera, and the destruction of multiple fish tanks, the costs to perform this experiment were minimal. Videos like this might even show educators ways to demonstrate concepts in chemistry and physics in the classroom, at most any level of formal education. These may give ideas for those at colleges and universities on what might be something to investigate and how to do so inexpensively and (by counter example perhaps) safely.

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PostPosted: Aug 27, 2016 11:47 pm 
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In the case of a leak between the salt and water heat exchange the dynamics would likely be different. The salt is at atmospheric pressure so the water is going to want to flash to steam regardless which is a problem due to the increase in volume as it enters the salt circuit. On the flip side the temperature differential should not be as great.

I do recall asking Kirk once (on this forum) what would happen if the salt leaked into a flooded room. He suggested it would turn solid and sink and have a low propensity to dissolve. I'm pretty sure he was referring to FLiBe. After seeing this video I do question whether it is that simple. A small leak could quickly become a large leak if there is an explosive effect. However FLiBe is different to NaCl so maybe Kirk was on the money. I suspect he may have more knowledge of such things after the last few years of tinkering.

Of course lots of industrial processes have the risk of explosion if things go wrong. And none of this should be a show stopper. It just needs to be considered in the overall design and engineering process.


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PostPosted: Aug 28, 2016 12:31 am 
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TerjeP wrote:
Those points are all true. However it is interesting that a physical effect induced purely by temperature created an explosion much larger than the impact from the chemical effect of Sodium hitting water. It really does show the need to test such things.
Not true. The sodium was so violent it blew itself out of the tank before it could actually do anything.

What would be a more realistic test would be to get a large pool of each at ~500º and throw a bucket of water in.

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PostPosted: Aug 28, 2016 12:33 am 
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PS: STAND BACK!!!

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