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PostPosted: May 14, 2014 7:14 am 
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From "The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists": http://thebulletin.org/thorium-wonder-fuel-wasnt7156
This article seems to be quite disingenuous. How does one sort out the facts? It is not an article I would have expected this "group" to have published. What am I missing here?


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PostPosted: May 14, 2014 9:20 am 
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Alvarez is not much different from Ralph Nader or Helen Caldicott as far as I can tell, except he may have better "credentials" (?). About the only reason to read his material is to counter/challenge it. The article body does not stick to the title subject matter very much, and has a slew of half-truths and missing information. One example is the weapons proliferation myth - Alvarez makes it sound like the U233 is 100% isotopically pure and barely mentions U232, yet it is the U232 which makes the U233 extremely difficult to use as in a weapon. Another is the cleanup costs - that is due to the government deciding to not take care of the cleanup decades ago when it would be straightforward, cheaper, and easier. Yet Alvarez makes it seem like this is inherent to Th-U fuel cycle. There are more issues with the article, but thought I'd point these issues out.


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PostPosted: May 14, 2014 10:00 am 
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Jim L. wrote:
Alvarez is not much different from Ralph Nader or Helen Caldicott as far as I can tell, except he may have better "credentials" (?).

Here's a good read:

http://atomicinsights.com/why-does-anyo ... ar-energy/
Why does anyone trust Robert Alvarez’s opinions about nuclear energy?
Rod Adams • June 13, 2011
Quote:
He has no nuclear training and has an official record of deception and lawlessness that should disqualify him from any public commentary in a what should be a respected and moderated source of energy information.
Quote:
Alvarez attended college and majored in musical studies, but he did not graduate. (Note: The preceding sentence was changed on June 20, 2011 from the original statement that Alvarez held a PhD in musical studies. The change was based on information received from two people who worked with Alvarez while he was at DOE. He apparently joked about his failure to complete his studies – he told one of them that that his failure to graduate does not mean that he cannot carry a tune.) He served in a politically appointed role at the Department of Energy – at the same time that he was married to a professional antinuclear activist who was proud of her role in helping to organize “No Nukes” concerts. He was FIRED from his job when his daughter turned him and his antinuclear activist wife in for growing commercial quantities of marijuana in their home in Takoma Park WHILE he was serving in a high level government job, presumably with a sworn duty to uphold the laws of the land.

and
http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-618540.html
Quote:
Plea Deal for Parents Turned In by Daughter; Probation Likely in Marijuana Case
The Washington Post
November 20, 1999 | Fern Shen | Copyright

The Takoma Park couple whose teenage daughter turned them in to police for growing marijuana in the basement each will plead guilty to a single misdemeanor, according to a plea deal outlined in court records.

The agreement, which is scheduled to be reviewed in court next month, would mean probation and no jail time for Robert Jason Alvarez, 54, and his wife, Katherine Marie "Kitty" Tucker, 55.

But a number of issues remain unresolved for Alvarez, who lost a senior policy job at the U.S. Department of Energy over his August arrest, and Tucker, a nationally known anti-nuclear activist whose attorneys say she used the marijuana for medical purposes.

The family is fighting for the return of two computers confiscated by the FBI and to ensure that their sentences will not be on their criminal records. …


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PostPosted: May 14, 2014 11:17 am 
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I stopped reading when he lead with the Thorium Car garbage. Biggest red flag for a strawman argument.


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PostPosted: May 14, 2014 11:33 am 
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The article is highly contradictory. The fuel is bad for the government to produce weapons because it is costly and U232 issue but good for terrorist because they can steal the material.

No technical background and no fundaments. By the way, the article mix political issues with technical issues to confuse the reader.


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PostPosted: May 14, 2014 8:40 pm 
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There are certain problems in thorium as fuel, ignored by proponents and focused on by opponents.
It is only a fertile material. You have to find a fissile material to start the fission.
Proponents sometime talk about thorium not needing enrichment. The fact is that it has no fissile to enrich. You have to have a fissile feed or get neutrons or fast protons for conversion to fissile U-233.
The main plus points are
Higher/easier availability, mainly as by-product of rare earth production or from Monazite mineral.
Conversion to a superior fissile U-233.
Possibility of thermal breeding.
The easier path of using it as part fuel in existing reactors has always been downplayed by proponents, except the Indian DAE.
http://dae.nic.in/writereaddata/.pdf_38


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PostPosted: May 15, 2014 3:02 am 
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How much protactinium is lost to neutron capture before it decays to uranium in the Indian plan? ( I'm assuming it's manageable since the Fort St Vrain and German THTR reactors bred in situ )
Also Jagdish, do you think the change of government in India will have much effect on the development of nuclear power there?


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PostPosted: May 15, 2014 5:14 am 
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The loss of neutrons to Pa is not substantial and a substantial fraction of power can be obtained from fission of thorium. Net production of power as well as fissiles from same amount of uranium goes up. It may not amount to breeding. Fast reactors or molten salt fuel may be required for a breeder.
I expect that good sense will continue to prevail and the development of nuclear power will continue.


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PostPosted: May 15, 2014 9:48 am 
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Repeat of my comments there on May 12th. But better grill the author on the discussion board there, so the more general reader of the article can see its "mistakes" or downright prejudiced information.

----------------------

This article is filled with mistakes. All mistakes that put Thorium and Uranium 233 in a bad light.

The author very clearly has an anti nuclear bias. Or an anti Thorium bias.

If the US government lost track of some U-233, this doesn't make Thorium / U233 into a bad thing.

"After that a small fraction of the thorium then transmutes into a fissionable material—uranium 233—that does undergo fission and can therefore be used in a reactor or bomb."

All Th-232 that captures a neutron becomes Pa-233 that decays into U-233 (unless another neutron capture happens before U-233 is produced). the "a small fraction" is a attempt to make the less informed conclude less out of the process.
There are no known U-233 nuclear bombs in the worlds 70 thousand nuclear weapons, zero. Perhaps the main reason Thorium/U-233 never got much traction for nuclear power is it's undesirability for nuclear weapons production. The only known U-233 based nuclear explosions resulted in less than predicted yield.
It's extremely hard to produce U-233 without an U-232 contaminant, U-232 leads to Thalium production that generates hard gamma rays that are extremely hazardous to people trying to build a nuclear weapon from the U-232 contaminated U-233. Those gammas also degrade a nuclear weapon trigger and control mechanism, leading to lowering yields over time and eventually some weapons becoming duds, not a desirable nuclear weapon behavior.

The author should recognized that all ORNL works into Thorium were seriously underfunded. They managed to get a working U-233 / molten salt working for 22 thousand hours in the late 60s / early 70s with less than 1% of the US nuclear research budget of that time.

The bottom line is simple, Thorium / U-233 never got its fair chance. We need to save the little U-233 available instead of destroying it. In less than a decade the first molten salt reactors will come online, and their optimal startup fuel is U-233, let them use up the U-233 instead of destroying it.

Perhaps the real "problem" with Thorium is it has lots of extremely powerful enemies, if Thorium LFTR / DMSR reactors succeed they eliminate fuel manufacturing revenue, seriously reduce need for Uranium enrichment (Thorium is only Th-232, no other isotopes to separate), molten salt reactors offer high temperature operation, which provides for an optimal replacement for natural gas produced heat. The most credible effort to produce thorium reactors is slated to clean up tar sands oil production by eliminating burning natural gas to obtain steam used in the oil sands production process. It could also be used to free up natural gas burning in Oil refining and other heat sources for petrochemical, and other industrial processes.

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PostPosted: May 16, 2014 1:03 pm 
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malmros wrote:
From "The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists": http://thebulletin.org/thorium-wonder-fuel-wasnt7156
This article seems to be quite disingenuous. How does one sort out the facts? It is not an article I would have expected this "group" to have published. What am I missing here?
Why would you expect anything better from the BullShittin of Atomic "Scientists"?

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PostPosted: May 24, 2014 5:16 pm 
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The creation of 232U in the Th - U fuel cycle is the most important reason that is not used yet commercially.

The 232U issue is a much bigger challenge for a commercial use of Thorium - Uranium fuel than for making a very nice gadget.

For a commercial reactor with a high burn-up 232 U is a serious challenge for maintenance of the reactor and the primary circuit, the handling of used fuel and a potential reprocessing.

If you plan to make a nice gadget there are some options to reduce the 232U share in the 233U. The n - 2n inelastic scattering reaction requires neutrons of some MEV energy. Hence the fertile 232Th for this gadget is placed in areas of the reactor where most of the neutrons have lower energies. In a MSR the intermediate PA can be extracted to get pure 233U

If a government plans to make such a nice gadget it can increase the permitted radioactive doses to the workers & soldiers. Usually it is for the employees in the commercial nuclear facilities 20 mSv/yr. far below the doses that have a proven effects on health.

If a government plans to make such a gadget it does not care about costs and might make extensivly use of remote handling systems for some processes and steps.


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PostPosted: May 26, 2014 5:23 am 
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The US imports most of its nuclear fuel. It also has a lot of weapons surplus of HEU and plutonium.
Combined with thorium, they can be used to produce much more power than by down-blending or as MOX.
http://dae.nic.in/writereaddata/.pdf_38
Thorium and skilled manpower are cheap in India. It should be technically possible to use the fissile fuel available to produce fuel for the US as well as Indian reactors in IAEA supervision. Politically is another matter.


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