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Topic Title: Thorium
Topic Summary: Great little article on thorium in the Telegraph
Created On: 21 August 2013 02:49 PM
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 21 August 2013 02:49 PM
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"Thorium put to the test as policymakers rethink nuclear"

By Szu Ping Chan

"Scientists are turning their attention to thorium, a cleaner and cheaper alternative to uranium."

"Thorium's biggest enemy is often its own supporters, Mr Asphjell [Chief Executive of Thor Energy] adds. "There have been a lot of loud voices in the UK that have taken a very evangelistic perpective on thorium - that it's a green fuel that solves every issue, it's employable tomorrow, there's no waste and absolutely no risk. This evangelistic view is diluting the proper message of thorium in many ways [and] from our perspective is the biggest obstacle for thorium introduction."

If anyone knows of such a person in the UK please will they point them out to me. I am not aware of any such person, unless it is people like me and 2035 can be considered to be tomorrow in nuclear development terms.

The general position for a Thorium advocate:
1. It a nuclear fuel we are going to have to extract anyway if we want more rare earth metals out of the ground, and we certainly do!
2. Molten Salt Reactors have been shown to work in principle.
3. We well need to bring together new inter-disciplinary teams of engineers, scientists, materials technologists etc if we are to build molten salt reactors once again.
3. If engineered well there can be much less long lived high level nuclear waste than existing third generation nuclear reactors. Everyone accepts this.
4. If engineered well there will be much lower risk of a major nuclear accident than in existing third generation nuclear reactors. Everyone accepts this.
5. In collaboration with international partners the UK should look to devise a plan that enables us and others to start rolling out factory built and assembled fourth generation molten salt reactors by the mid 2030's, whilst at the same time building up a UK nuclear supply chain and sufficient engineering (including chemical engineering) expertise to support this endevour. This is what we are starting to debate now.

To get molten salt reactors on-line by the mid-2030's lots of things (even little things that don't cost much, but take a long time) need to start happening in parallel early enough.

In particular we need to think about how we safely and cost effectively handle, process and store the nuclear waste stream; from the outset of the plan, not as an after-thought added on to the programme at the end. Maybe the UK is best placed to concentrate most on this aspect - we have a lot of existing waste to process - and hopefully much more cheaply than according to existing plans!

Going back to the telegraph article...

"For now, the world must look east for thorium developments, though Mr Asphjell is confident that slow and steady wins the race, despite the enormity of the task. "This is an elephant we're trying to eat," he insists. "We have to chew one piece at a time." "

I agree slow and steady does win the race, but there is more than one track to this race. We have to pick up all the necessary skills and technologies along the way, without leaving vast numbers of people waiting near the finish line because of some little thing we didn't start start thinking about early enough.

Some developments will benefit from lots of competition, other things won't. Who decides? and How do they Decide?

Actually the "Who Decides?" and How do they decide? are the biggest questions of all right now.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Thorium Energy has a website and an introductory report out on Molten Salt Reactors.

James Arathoon

James Arathoon
 24 August 2013 01:26 AM
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For those people opposed to generating energy from our uranium and plutonium "waste" stockpiles, using molten salt reactors, you can instead join the geological disposal experts at the Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD), and be paid a very good amount of public money (for at least the next 22 years it will take to build a molten salt reactor) helping waste more money (and more energy) than we have ever as a society been wasted before.

Those really interested in helping lead this nonsense of a policy can apply to be the head of engineering at the Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) (part of the NDA).

See the advert on this site.

The organisational diagram of the Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) is given below, just to show you how high up and influential in the organisation you will be as "chief engineer".

I do have to ask these questions....

Is that what engineers aspire to in the modern era?

Is the new role for "engineers" to sponge of the state in quiet servitude doing irrational and nonsensical work, for decade after decade without complaint, until retirement or the collapse of society?

James Arathoon

James Arathoon
IET » Energy » Thorium

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