The need to develop Thorium based Nuclear Energy as the major electric energy supply. 6. Thorium based nuclear power is not suited for making nuclear bombs.a

 Thorium based Nuclear Power does not produce Plutonium239, which is the preferred material used in nuclear bombs. The higher Plutonium isotopes and other TRansUraniums are about as nasty as they get, and need expensive protection against terror attacks, and need to be stored for a very long time.

One anecdote from my youth. The time had come to apply to University, and to my delight I was accepted to Chalmers’ University in Sweden as a Technical Physics major. I felt, maybe I can do my part by becoming a Nuclear Engineer and help solve the energy needs of the future. The Swedes at that time championed the heavy water – natural Uranium program together with the Canadians. Sweden is a non-aligned country, so it was not privy to any atomic secrets, it had to go it alone. They settled on the heavy water moderated natural Uranium process because Sweden had an ambition to produce its own nuclear bomb. Officially this was never talked about, and I was not aware of it at that time. They could have gone with Thorium instead, but a Thorium based nuclear reactor  produces very little Plutonium, and what it produces is PU-238, not suitable for bomb making.

I was excited to learn about all the possibilities and signed up for a couple of nuclear classes. One lab was to design a safety circuit, then run the heavy water research reactor critical and hopefully watch the reactor shut down from the safety circuit before the system safety circuit shutdown. About that time the word came that U.S. will sell partially enriched uranium at bargain basement prices if Sweden agreed to abandon the heavy water project and sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, a treaty being formulated by U.N.

Sweden was in awe about U.N, all the problems of the world were to be solved through it, and it had such capable General Secretary in Dag Hammarskjöld, a Swede. I looked at the light water, partially enriched Uranium nuclear power plants being developed and decided to have no part with it, not due to safety concerns but it was the design that produced the most nuclear waste of any of the available designs. At that time there was still optimism that fusion would be ready by about the year 2010 or so. The cost of maintaining spent fuel in perpetuity was never considered, so light water reactors became the low cost solution.

India on the other hand refused to join the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, kept their heavy water program going and had by 1974 produced enough plutonium for one nuclear bomb, which they promptly detonated. They still use heavy water moderated reactors, but since India is low on Uranium but rich in Thorium they have now converted one heavy water reactor to thorium with a Plutonium glow plug. It went on-line in 2011.

They are also developing molten salt Thorium reactors, but full production is still a few years off.

There we have it. We could have gone with Thorium from the beginning, but the cold war was on, and the civilian peaceful use of nuclear energy was still all paid for by nuclear weapons research and development. Once all the bombs we could ever need were developed the greatest asset of nuclear power became its greatest liability.

 

The need to develop Thorium based Nuclear Energy as the major electric energy supply. 4. Thorium based nuclear power produces Pu-238, needed for space exploration.

A Thorium based nuclear power generator produces Pu-238 as one of the final TRansUranium products, which is in short supply and much in demand for space exploration nuclear power.

NASA relies on pu-238 to power long-lasting spacecraft batteries that transform heat into electricity. With foreign and domestic supplies dwindling, NASA officials are worried the shortage will prevent the agency from sending spacecraft to the outer planets and other destinations where sunlight is scarce. Thorium reactors produce PU-238 as a “free” byproduct.  In 2009 Congress denied a request to produce more Pu-238 by traditional means, instead relying on Russia to sell us the plutonium. (Remember the Russian reset?) Russia made their last delivery in 2010. PU-238 production has since been restarted by converting Ne-237 to Pu-238 at a cost of 8 million dollars per kilogram. The Ceres-Dawn spacecraft used over 22 Kg of Pu-238 as electricity generator.

The need to develop Thorium based Nuclear Energy as the major electric energy supply. 3. One ten-thousandth of the TRansUranium waste compared to a U-235 based fast breeder reactor.

 A Thorium based fast breeder nucear reactor produces much less TRansUranium waste, 0.01% waste products compared to a Uranium-235 fast breeder. The Thorium process has a much higher efficiency of fission than  the Uranium process. See the figure below.

Pu = Plutonium, Am = Americum, Cm = Curium, all TRansUraniums, nasty stuff.

With Thorium based Nuclear power, there are no real problems, with traditional U235 power long tern storage is an immense and urgent problem, and has been since the 1960’s. At that time Sweden had a heavy water  U-238 nuclear power program going, but abandoned it in favor of traditional U-235 power. U.S. promised to provide the material and take care of the reprocessing and final storage of all nuclear waste at cost if Sweden joined the nuclear proliferation treaty. Reprocessing was to be done in Washington State, and one of the final storage sites mentioned was Yucca Mountain in Nevada, having the ideal Geological properties.

Time goes by and in 1982 – Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, requiring the establishment of a deep geologic repository for nuclear waste storage and isolation. Yucca Mountain was high on the list out of of 9 possible sites.

Time goes by, and Congress is still not able to decide on a solution. Meanwhile, TRU’s from spent and reprocessed fuel is piling up in less than ideal locations. Thorium based nuclear power would go a long way to alleviate this problem.

The need to develop Thorium based Nuclear Energy as the major electric energy supply. 1. A million years supply at today’s consumption levels.

We live in challenging times with enormous environmental challenges. It takes a lot of energy to clean up the mess we have generated over the ages. It would be a shame to use up our remaining coal, oil and gas to produce the electricity needed to clean up. Oil coal and gas will eventually be depleted and we need to save some for our great grandchildren so they can enjoy flying like we have become accustomed to. Like the famous conservationist Sarah Palin once said: “for when it’s gone, it’s gone.”

The need to develop a Thorium based molten salt fast breeder nuclear reactor to develop our energy needs for the future can not be overstated. Lest anyone should be threatened by the words fast breeder, it simply means it uses fast neutrons instead of thermal neutrons, and breeder means it produces more fissible material than it consumes, in the case of Thorium the ratio is about 1.05.

 There is enough Thorium around to last for a million years at today’s worldwide electricity generation levels. Uranium is in short supply. The consumption exceeds production, and the worldwide major importer of Uranium is the U.S. (The fact that we sold 20% of  our uranium ore to the Russians did not help)

There are of course the sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, tidal and wave energy, and they should be pursued where economically and environmentally appropriate. These are a separate but important subjects.

One more reason to switch to Thorium as feed-stock for nuclear power.

Uranium is the feed-stock for nuclear power. It is also the material necessary to make nuclear bombs.

The United States has 138,200 tonnes of Uranium reserves recoverable at less than $260 per kilogram, 1.9% of the world total.

The United States has, as of 2014, produced 343,075 tons of Uranium, or about 13% of the world total.

The United States consumed in 2016 18,69 tons of Uranium, about 29% of the world total, about 90% of which was imported.

Which brings up the following question: Why did the Obama administration sell 20% of our proven reserves of this strategically important material to Russia?

It is of utmost importance to immediately restart the development of nuclear reactors that use Thorium as its feed-stock.

The other 22 reasons to switch to Thorium are listed here:

https://lenbilen.com/2017/07/14/twenty-two-reasons-to-rapidly-develop-thorium-based-nuclear-power-generation/

Obama okays Russian sales of Uranium to Iran, enough to make 51 nuclear bombs, a Limerick.

(AP): Iran is to receive a huge shipment of natural uranium from Russia to compensate it for exporting tons of reactor coolant, diplomats say, in a move approved by the outgoing U.S. administration and other governments seeking to keep Tehran committed to a landmark nuclear pact.

Two senior diplomats said the transfer recently approved by the U.S. and five other world powers that negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran foresees delivery of 116 metric tons (nearly 130 tons) of natural uranium.

U.N. Security Council approval is needed but a formality, considering five of those powers are permanent Security Council members, they said.

Let me see: 116 tons of natural Uranium,  contains 0.7% of U235, properly enriched translates to 812 kg of U235, from which you can make 51 nuclear bombs.  Since Iran sold their reactor coolant, it must be for making bombs.

Way to go, Obama! Your Iran agreement at work!

Obama did what to Iran?

From Russia with love to Tehran.

A Uranium load

to make nukes to explode,

but not on his watch. Kicked the can.

Hillary okayed sale of Uranium mine to Russia for a donation and a honorarium.

So Hillary sold our Uranium

for cash and a huge honorarium.

Putin sells to Iran

yellow cake, with no ban.

Is anything left in her cranium?

This sheds new light on her “Reset” with Russia.

A trip down memory lane from Geneva March 2009.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened her first extended talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by giving himperegruzka a present meant to symbolize the Obama administration’s vow to “press the reset button” on U.S.-Russia relations.

She handed a palm-sized box wrapped with a bow. Lavrov opened it and pulled out the gift: a red button on a black base with a Russian word peregruzka printed on top.

“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton asked.

“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said.

Instead of “reset,” Lavrov said the word on the box meant “overcharge.”peregruzkareset

Clinton and Lavrov laughed.

“We won’t let you do that to us,” she said.

It doesn’t say ПЕРЕГРУЗКА on the button, it says PEREGRUZKA. The mistranslation is bad enough, but using Roman letters instead of Cyrillic? What was going on? Didn’t anyone realize they use a different alphabet over there? There are two possible explanations: Ignorance, or arrogance on the part of the Hillary Clinton State Department. I know  Hillary Clinton has demonstrated plenty of both in statements such as: “What difference does it make?”

How has this reset worked out for us? Besides Iran, Syria, Turkey, Hezbollah, Libya, Pakistan, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and many other countries where U.S. and Russia have opposing interests, and Poland where we plainly sold out the missile defense, we are in a pickle on two fronts:

1. Space exploration.

Since Obama made it NASA’s highest priority to promote the contributions of Islam to science and the scrapping of the space shuttle program with no replacements in sight we are totally dependent on Russia to ferry our astronaut scientists to and from the space station.

Russia is doing the rational thing: Tripling the fees from $22 million to  $71 million to transport just one American astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard its Soyuz spacecraft in 2016. –

2. Uranium. By selling 20% of our Uranium to Russia via a Canadian Corporation in exchange for a large donation to the Clinton Foundation and a half million dollar speaking fee for Bill Clinton, this has left us vulnerable to extortion, since we are a net importer of Uranium for our electricity production. National security is at risk.

Maybe Hillary really meant “Overcharge” instead of reset? Hillary, as well as Obama seem to love to give money to our adversaries instead of caring about our economy at home.