Thursday, August 25, 2005

India Unveils Thorium Reactor

Indian scientists today unveiled a revolutionary design for a thorium breeder reactor (ATBR) that can produce 600 megawatts of electricity for two years with no refueling and practically no control maneuvers:

ATBR is claimed to be far more economical and safer than any power reactor in the world.

Most significantly for India, ATBR does not require natural or enriched uranium which the country is finding difficult to import. It uses thorium -- which India has in plenty -- and only requires plutonium as "seed" to ignite the reactor core initially.

... The uniqueness of the ATBR design is that there is almost a perfect "balance" between fissile depletion and production that allows in-bred U-233 to take part in energy generation thereby extending the core life to two years.

This does not happen in the present-day power reactors because the fissile depletion takes place much faster than production of new fissile ones.
Technorati tags:

2 comments:

John Anderson said...

Thorium: Energy Source of the Future and Replacement for Uranium

***Investment Thesis For A Proliferation-Proof Nuclear Fuel---Thorium

Utilizing Thorium based nuclear fuels has many important societal benefits, such as safety benefits, environmental benefits, and non-proliferation benefits. Thorium is more abundant, more efficient and safer to use as a reactor fuel than uranium. Also important, Thorium reactors leave behind very little plutonium, meaning less material available for making nuclear weapons.

Thorium (Th) is considered the key to long term sustainability of Nuclear Energy.

Heightened concern about nuclear proliferation has once again attracted the attention of scientists and policymakers to the possibilities of thorium.

Thorium/weapons-grade plutonium disposing fuel offers the fastest, cheapest, and most effective means to dispose of plutonium stockpiles

***Support

IAEA Endorses Thorium Fuel

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a United Nations organization, submitted an official report on Thorium utilization in May of 2005. On July 6, 2005 we issued a press release commenting on this report. The IAEA is publicly promoting the significant benefits of Thorium utilization as a source of nuclear energy. In addition, on page # 91 of this report, the IAEA recommended that companies augment the exploration and mining of Thorium to insure the availability of sufficient supplies of reactor grade Thorium.

The report cites the following advantages of thorium fuels over conventional uranium fuel:

1)Thorium is easily exploitable and is 3 to 4 times more abundant than uranium in nature
2)Thorium fuel cycle is an attractive way to produce long term nuclear energy with low radio-toxicity waste
3)The transition to thorium could be done through the incineration of weapons grade plutonium (WPu) or civilian plutonium
4)Th–based fuels and fuel cycles have intrinsic proliferation-resistance
5)For incineration of WPuor civilian Pu in ‘once-through’ cycle, (Th, Pu)O2 fuel is more attractive, as compared to (U, Pu)O2
6)The high degree of chemical stability and the low solubility of thoria make irradiated thoria based fuels attractive as waste forms for direct geological disposal

Issue #1: Weapons-grade Plutonium

1) Nuclear weapons nations have accumulated an estimated 250 tons of weapons-grade plutonium, most of it in the United States and Russia
2) In 2000, the United States and Russia each agreed to dispose of 34 tons of this excess weapons-grade plutonium
3) Thorium/weapons-grade plutonium disposing fuel offers the fastest, cheapest, and most effective means to dispose of this plutonium
4) These advantages were independently reviewed and verified by Westinghouse Electric Company

Issue #2: Reactor-grade Plutonium

1) Over the decades, civilian nuclear power plants have produced nearly 1,700 tons of reactor-grade plutonium, of which about 274 tons have been separated and the rest is stored at reactor sites embedded in spent fuel
2) Crude nuclear weapons could be made from reactor-grade plutonium
3)Thorium/reactor-grade plutonium disposing fuel is expected to offer a more economically viable way to dispose of separated reactor-grade plutonium than the MOX process currently used in a number of nuclear power plants in Europe and Japan


Issue #3: Thorium/Uranium Fuel for Commercial Nuclear Power Industry

1) Presently, there are 444 commercial nuclear power plants in operation worldwide
2)Approximately 225 are suitable candidates for Thorium Power’s thorium/uranium fuel
3) Thorium/uranium fuel is expected to offer high proliferation resistance, significantly reduced volume, weight and radio-toxicity of spent fuel, lower total fuel cycle costs
4) Commercial opportunities exist for use of proliferation resistant thorium/uranium fuel in small reactors

The advantages of the fuel are even more compelling in view of the need to keep dangerous nuclear material from
terrorists:

1) Uranium byproducts of a thorium reactor are far less useful to rogue regimes, terrorists or black marketers than
are plutonium byproducts from a uranium breeder reactor. 2) Thorium and its primers produce 10 to 10,000 times less long-lived radioactive waste than conventional fuels. 3) Thorium stops reacting when its primers are withdrawn,
making an accident all but impossible.4) Three times more plutonium can be consumed in a thorium fuel assembly than in mixed-oxide fuels, disposing of far more weapons-grade plutonium. 5) Existing reactors need little adaptation to burn thorium fuel assemblies. 6) Thorium conducts heat better than uranium, allowing an easier release from thorium fuel rods. 7) Thorium melts at 500.25oC. higher than uranium. That means it can tolerate more extreme conditions in a reactor and so is less dangerous during emergencies. 8) Thorium dioxide, which is the form the element takes in the reactor, is more stable than uranium dioxide, and is much less likely to interact chemically with other materials it encounters

***Investment Vehicle

Novastar Resources Ltd. (NVAS)

Novastar Resources in Formal Negotiations to Merge with Thorium Power, Inc.

http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/060110/20060110006119.html?.v=1

In a reverse merger Thorium Power will be merged into NVAS and change its name to Thorium Power with a new ticker symbol.

"We expect the merger to allow for the production of nuclear power with enhanced proliferation resistance and the ability to produce electricity through the elimination of existing plutonium stockpiles. We also expect the merger to enhance the value of our existing mining properties."

Thorium Power strives to be the world's leading developer of proliferation resistant nuclear fuel technologies. Thorium Power designs nuclear fuels, obtains patent protection on these fuels, and coordinates fuel development with large entities and governments. In all its activities Thorium Power is guided by the principles non-proliferation. The Company’s goal is driving public awareness and lobbying government officials as to the societal benefits of Thorium utilization.


About Thorium Power, Inc.

Thorium Power, Inc. was founded in 1992 to develop technology invented by Dr. Alvin Radkowsky, the first chief scientist of the U.S. Naval Reactors program under Admiral H.G. Rickover from 1950-1972 and head of the design team of the first commercial nuclear power plant in Shippingport, Pennsylvania. The Company was formed to develop and deploy nuclear fuel designs developed by Dr. Radkowsky to stop the production of weapons suitable plutonium and eliminate existing plutonium stockpiles. Thorium Power, Inc. has been collaborating with nuclear scientists and engineers at Russia's prestigious Kurchatov Institute since 1994. Thorium Power, Inc., a privately-held Washington, DC area-based company develops and deploys Thorium based nuclear fuel designs developed to stop the production of weapons-suitable plutonium and eliminate existing plutonium stockpiles.

Website: www.thoriumpower.com

About Novastar Resources

Novastar Resources Ltd. is a publicly traded company within the commercial mining sector and is a significant commercial mining source of Thorium, a naturally occurring metal that can be used to provide nuclear energy, with non-proliferation, waste, and economic advantages, in comparison to standard Uranium fuels.

The acquisition of Thorium Power would strengthen the Novastar Resources business model by combining the intellectual property assets of Thorium Power with the mineral properties of Novastar Resources and the benefits of being a publicly-traded company. In addition, upon closing of the proposed merger, Seth Grae will be named the CEO of the combined company.

Plutonium and highly enriched uranium can be used to end the world as we know it. Thorium Power is dedicated to developing the most effective nuclear fuel technologies in the world for stopping the production of weapons-suitable materials in nuclear power plants, and for burning the existing stockpiles of these materials. Thorium Power will cooperate with political and diplomatic efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons-suitable materials and to eliminate their stockpiles.

Contact:
Novastar Resources Ltd.
David J. DiRicco
Investor Relations
(877) 995-0992

Information sources:

http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=22110217

Satish Burnwal said...

I want to know how much thorium is required to produce 1 Kwh of electricity. I am looking for the commercial figure - one that is in place in a thorium based reactor plant (and not a lab figure).