IT IS HIGH TIME TO RE-THINK THORIUM AS THE NUCLEAR FUEL OF THE FUTURE
20 Jun 2011
Why is Thorium not being considered as a nuclear fuel? – Because the URANIUM CARTEL PUSHED IT ASIDE; THAT IS WHY! In 2008, Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced the “Thorium Energy Independence and Security Act of 2008″, which would have mandated the U.S. Department of Energy (DOD) to examine the commercial use of Thorium in U.S. Nukes. The bill, however, “DIED ON ARRIVAL” and never reached a full Senate vote. Thorium, with its potential for breeding fuel without fast neutron, holds considerable potential long-term benefits. It is abundant in nature, but more importantly, Thorium produces one to two orders of magnitude fewer LONG-LIVED TRANSURANICS (Iodine, Cesium, Strontium, and Plutonium, etc.) than Uranium fuel-cycles; The only glitch here is that long-lived Protactinium-231(half-life 34,500 years) may be produced, and is an undesired intermediate product in Thorium-based Nukes; it is therefore removed from the active zone of the Nuke during the breeding process.
The primary fuel of the HT3R Project near Odessa, Texas, USA will be ceramic-coated Thorium beads.
INDIA IS AT THE FOREFRONT OF THORIUM POWER GENERATION India’s Kakrapar-1 Nuke, is the world’s first Nuke which uses Thorium rather than depleted Uranium to achieve power flattening across the Nuke core. India, which has about 25% of the world’s Thorium reserves, is developing a 300 MW (compared to 1,300MW for many Uranium Nukes) prototype of a Thorium-based “Advanced Heavy Water Reactor(AHWR)”. The prototype is expected to be fully operational by 2011, following which, five(5) more Thorium-fueled Nukes will be constructed.
Their new Thorium Nuke is a “fast-breeder” Nuke, and uses a Plutonium core rather than an accelerator to produce neutrons”. Accelerator-based systems can operate at sub-criticality, and they could be developed too, but that would require more research, time and money. India currently envisages meeting 30% of its electricity demand through Thorium-based Nukes by 2050. IT IS TROUBLING that India’s Thorium Nuke project proposes the use of Plutonium; It is not nice to mess with Plutonium. Remember the Fukushima #3 Nuke? It used a 9% Plutonium (MOX ) with Uranium fuel mix, and now has the Nuclear community very worried, and with good reason. I feel certain India will reconsider their design.
URANIUM CARTELS WORLDWIDE ARE UNITED IN PROTECTING THEIR RICH TURF. All one has to do is to read the news about their “whistling past the cemetery” They are running scared – about time! In normal times, It would be impossible to break their dominance given their political clout; However, these are not usual times; The Fukushima Incident is causing a worldwide rejection of Uranium Nukes; now is the best of times to break away from Uranium as Nuke fuel. It could be done given sufficient public opposition to Uranium-fueled Nukes. IT IS HIGH TIME TO RE-THINK THORIUM – FUEL OF THE FUTURE. “There is more than one way to skin a cat”!
So where is Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Dr. Steven Chu on this issue?. Wish we knew. President Obama gave him a mandate to investigate this issue as part of the “Blue Ribbon Committee” tasking; which he quickly organized as a $7 million sham. He does not like to buck the “Powers of “B”, he does love giving “Stimulous” funding away (not necessarily wrong). Everyone loves a generous friend with lots of money to give away; so he receives lots of invites, and recognitions from “wanabee” recipients. But…We are not well served, and neither was President Obama’s mandate. I never cease to be amazed at Pres. Obama’s patience with him, even though he recently said 2011 would be the year for energy concerns, I cannot recall any action taken on that concern.