Advantages of LFTRs
Many of these also apply to MSRs that use Uranium)
- No CO2 emissions.
- Proliferation resistant. Not practical for making bombs.
- Produce only a small amount of low radioactivity waste that is benign in 350 years.
- The liquid fuel, besides being at 700-1000 degrees C, contains isotopes fatal to saboteurs.
- Do not require water cooling, so hydrogen and steam explosions are eliminated.
- Don’t need periodic refuelling shutdowns because the fuel is supplied as needed and the by-products are constantly removed. (LWRs are shut down every 2-3 years to replace about ¼ of the fuel rods, but, LFTRs can run much longer.)
- Thorium 232 is far more abundant than U-235. Well suited to areas where water is scarce.
- Do not need huge containment domes because they operate at atmospheric pressure. Breed their own fuel.
- Can’t “melt down” because the fuel/coolant is already liquid, and the reactor can handle high temperatures.
- Fluoride salts are less dangerous than the super-heated water used by conventional reactors, and they could replace the world’s coal-powered plants by 2050.
- Are suitable for modular factory production, truck transport and on-site assembly.
- Create the Plutonium-238 that powers NASA’s deep space exploration vehicles.
- Are intrinsically safe: Overheating expands the fuel/salt, decreasing its density, which lowers the fission rate.
Also at play is Doppler Broadening
- If there is a loss of electric power, the molten salt fuel quickly melts a freeze plug, automatically draining the fuel into a tank, where it cools and solidifies.
- Highly efficient. At least 99% of a LFTR’s Thorium is consumed, compared to about 4% of the uranium in LWRs.
- Are highly scalable – 10 megaWatt to 2,000 MW plants. A 200 MW LFTR could be transported on a few semi-trailer trucks.
- Cost less than LWRs. Can consume plutonium.
Can thorium reactors dispose of weapons-grade plutonium? by Michael Irving
- Although our current LWRs are very safe and highly efficient, LFTRS are even more productive, and they cannot melt down.
- Data from the Australian Nuclear Society and Technological Organization of the Australian government:
+ Thorium fuelled molten salt reactors have an energy return ratio of 2,000 to 1. [Also called Energy Density]
+ Our current LWRs that are fuelled with uranium have an energy return ratio of 75 to 1.
+ Coal and gas have an energy return ratio of about 30 to 1. Wind has an energy return ratio of 4 to 1.
+ Solar has an energy return ratio of 1.6 to 1.
Phasing Out Coal Will Require Germany to Build New Gas Plants, by Jesper Starn, June 22, 2021
Germany 2021: coal generation is rising, but the switch to gas should continue, by Simon Göss, 23 September 2021
Coming up next week, Episode 23 – Can’t Afford a Model T? How About a LFTR?
Links and References
- Next Episode – Episode 23 – Can’t Afford a Model T? How About a LFTR
- Previous Episode – Episode 21 – No Big Noises Here. How a LFTR is Proliferation Proof
- Launching the Unintended Consequences Series
- Dr. George Erickson on LinkedIn
- Dr. George Erickson’s Website, Tundracub.com
- The full pdf version of Unintended Consequences
#UnintendedConsequences #GeorgeErickson #ClimateChange #FissionEnergy #NuclearEnergy #SpentNuclearFuel #MoltenSaltReactor #LFTR #TheThoriumNetwork #Thorium #Fission4All #RadiationIsGood4U #GetYourRadiation2Day #InvisibleFire