Thorium Reactor Tests
Since this month, the Nuclear Research and Consulting Group (NRG) has been testing a Thorium Molton Salt Reactor (TMSR) in Petten, the Netherlands. It is the start of the first of several experiments in a test reactor with the goal to produce data that will support the TMSR development.
Since the early seventies, the NRG researchers have been the first to investigate the possibilities of a molten salt reactor with Thorium instead of Uranium.
Thorium Energy World in a press release:
The SALt Irradiation Experimental, or SALIENT, has been prepared in cooperation with the European Commission Laboratory Joint Research Center-ITU, Karlsruhe, and is seen as a series of experiments, each building on the previous step, rather than a single exploration.
Creating cleaner reactor fuel
The first phase of SALIENT will focus on creating cleaner reactor fuel. This is achieved by removing the noble metals from the thorium fuel as it transmutes to uranium and undergoes fission. In the second phase, researchers hope to test the resilience of commonplace materials that go into the construction of Thorium Molten Salt Reactors (TMSR).
If they are found to be sufficient against corrosion and high temperature, it could drastically reduce costs of nuclear power. Future phases are expected to test new or special materials that have shown greatest promise similar experiments in the past, such as hastelloy, an alloy of nickel, and TZM – a titanium-zirconium-molybdenum alloy.
Promising results at Petten would take the world one step closer to achieving the commercial mainstreaming of thorium molten salt reactors. These reactors are significantly safer than the most advanced present reactors in terms of safety and nuclear weapons proliferation risk as well as much simpler in design, making them faster to construct and therefore cheaper.
TMSRs also virtually eliminate the problem of long-lasting nuclear waste. The exponentially more efficient technology generates only a fraction of the waste of a conventional reactor with none of the persistent radioactive substances. This makes waste storage and disposal much more manageable.
Last year, MIT Technology Review published a long thread on thorium nuclear power stations. This article outlines the history of the American research and also extensively addresses the Chinese plans.
Documentary about Thorium from Vice Motherboard:
A year ago, the Dean Thomas Jam Pedersen gave a Ted Talk on the subject. Pedersen is said to be a former skeptic who is currently director of Copenhagen Atomics, an organization that intents to start a Thorium plant in Denmark:
Studium Generale Delft reported a meeting with experts talking about the operation of molten salt reactors with Thorium and the state of research and innovation in this area:
- Nuclear Energy? Thorium! a documentary (in short clips)
- Students chose nuclear
- Yet nuclear fusion?
- Power Storage: the options
- Smart Grid Battery: Molten Salt Battery
Have you seen this?
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