Taking the Easiest Course of Action
It would be very difficult to make a weapon from LFTR fuels because the gamma rays emitted by the U-232 in the fuel would harm technicians and damage the bomb’s electronics.
Uranium could be stolen during enriching, production of pellets, delivery to the reactor, and for long-term storage, but LFTRs only use external uranium to start the reaction, after which time uranium is produced within the reactor from thorium.
A 1 GW LWR [Light Water Reactor] requires about 1.2 tons of uranium per year, but a 1 GW LFTR only needs a one-time “kick-start” of 500 pounds [225 kg] of U-235 plus 1 ton of Thorium per year during its 60 year lifespan.
The half-life of Thorium 232 is 14 billion years, so it is not hazardous due to its extremely slow decay.
[When Thorium 232 takes up a neutron, the subsequent decay takes two paths: mostly U233 and some U232. The U233 provides most of the useful energy production by Fission. U232 provides protection against proliferation as several decay daughters are high energy gamma emitters – meaning they burn out silicon chips. For example the gamma spike coming from Thallium 208 is 2.6 MeV. ]
[Shielding using advanced materials and methods, such as distance (air), lead, and water can reduce radiation energy to levels where dosages are at recommended levels around 10 microSiverts per hour or 100 milliSiverts per year.
Note that there have been many examples of doses much higher than this causing no concern, such as 350 microSiverts per hour received by Albert Stevens for over 20 years.
Radiation shielding is a mass of absorbing material placed between yourself and the source of radiation in order to reduce the radiation to a level that is safer for humans.
This is measured by using a concept called the halving thickness – the thickness of a material required to halve the energy of the radiation passing through it.
Remember also, that Radiation decreases with distance in accordance with the inverse square law.]
Radiation Halving Thickness Chart
|Material||100 keV||200 keV||500 keV|
|Air||3555 cm||4359 cm||6189 cm|
|Water||4.15 cm||5.1 cm||7.15 cm|
|Carbon||2.07 cm||2.53 cm||3.54 cm|
|Aluminium||1.59 cm||2.14 cm||3.05 cm|
|Iron||0.26 cm||0.64 cm||1.06 cm|
|Copper||0.18 cm||0.53 cm||0.95 cm|
|Lead||0.012 cm||0.068 cm||0.42 cm|
Russia Investigates Thorium for Power Generation
Coming up next week, Episode 22 – The Pros of LFTRs. Why are they So Cool?
Links and References
- Next Episode – Episode 22 – The Pros of LFTRs. Why are they So Cool?
- Previous Episode – Episode 20 – Got a LFTR? What’s Under the Hood
- 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
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