Posts Tagged ‘liquid fluoride reactor’
Between 1957 and 1964, the US Department of Defence National Stockpile Centre procured 3215 tonnes of thorium from French and Indian sources – thinking that, hey, that stuff will probably prove useful some day.
Recently, due to “lack of demand” for it, they buried this entire inventory of thorium nitrate at the Nevada Test Site. (It is designed, however, so they can dig it up in future if they want, thankfully).
Assuming 50% overall efficiency in the utilisation of the thorium in a nuclear reactor (preferably an elegant, safe, economical, efficient and technically sweet molten liquid fluoride reactor) and the thermal energy conversion (efficiency of 50% is quite do-able using an efficient Brayton cycle system) and annual US electricity consumption of 3.717 trillion kWh, that thorium contains enough energy to meet the entire current electricity needs of the United States for ten years just by itself.
3215 tonnes * (200 MeV / 232 amu) * 50% / 3.717 PWh per year = 10 years.
No mining is needed – it’s just sitting there, pure thorium nitrate packaged in drums, waiting to not be considered “waste”.
Nuclear “waste” is not a substance. Nuclear waste – wasting nuclear material – is something that some stupid governments do.
10 years, with no mining of anything – fossil fuels or nuclear fuels – no reliance on foreign fossil fuels for stationary energy generation, and no dangerous discharge of the dangerous waste of fossil fuel combustion straight into the environment.
It’s a good place to start, isn’t it?