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4 months 4 weeks ago #6637 by Simomax
Alright, fair enough. I'll humour you. For what it it worth I am not against nuclear for energy production. I honestly think it would be amazing if they could actually get their shit together and make reactors that were safer and more efficient. It would solve a lot of global problems. What I have great issue with, is the lunatics are running the asylum. The people building and running the reactors are not trustworthy, in my humble opinion. We have seen time and time again accidents, corners cut and over running old equipment. I was using chatgpt to compare date ranges of nuclear accidents from 1980-2000 and 2000-2021. I expected there to be less in the latter years. I was wrong. So despite 20 years they are still messing up. But, putting that aside, I am all for nuclear that can be done properly and safely, with minimal waste and maximizing recycling. It would be good for the economy, good for jobs and good for the planet, if done properly. Sadly, they can't do it properly. At least not yet. So until such time as they can do it properly I will continue to slate their fuck ups and faults.

Maybe  copenhagen atomics  can do it with their thorium reactor? I wish I could say otherwise, but I doubt it. I have had a real good look at that video. Three times in fact, twice with subtitles. And I have read the transcript in places, for clarification. They seem like a bunch of muppets. Great ideas, but so far little delivery. It smells like a kickstarter. If you look at the available jobs and descriptions, it looks like they are missing some key personnel. Such as nuclear engineers, pump specialist (I suspect this is because pumping molten salt at 600 degrees hasn't often been done before and requires a pump guru), a safety case manager to document all the hazards and pit falls for the reactor, among other things, a uranium and thorium lab manager, to build and run the lab, and a hacker? I'm not quite sure why they want a hacker. Of maybe they are trying to be trendy instead of asking for a hardware and software engineer? I dunno. But it seems reading between the lines that they don't have any kind of lab for handling any kind of nuclear fuel, or a person to do so. No safety documentation about their reactor(s), nor someone yet to write it, and no, or few nuclear engineers. All of the staff look fairly young too going from the group photo. I would expect older people in white lab coats, maybe some grey beards too. Or am I being too stereotypical? Or is it they are the people they haven't hired yet?

Seriously, they look like, feel like, talk like a kickstarter startup and they are looking for investment. Their video was an investment opportunity PR thing, regardless of how it is dressed up. They are looking for investment. He even says it in the video. 'So if you're interested, either as an investor or as a potential employee please come and talk to us because we we need all the support we can get to bring this technology to Market.' I don't think I need to even comment about that line. He said it. If they are what I think they are, they are literally doing this to gain investment to give themselves a job. I have seen this too many times with kickstarter, the Theranos scam (that one is mind blowing), even SpaceX are at it; their heavy rocket will never succeed for what they have said it would. 100 people to mars? It isn't even large enough inside for 100 people for 6 to 9 months. And he expects to launch 3 per day and send a million people . To their doom? I'll believe it when I see it, just as with this bunch of muppets and their reactors. You realiaze their plan is to just make the heat and then it is some other person's problem? All they are doing is the reactor. They pipe molten salt to other buildings, where the end user has to convert it into electricity or steam to run the machines. Steam powered machines again? I actually wouldn't mind. It's not a very feasible idea pumping molten radioactive salt off site into end user buildings. What when the end user messes up? The whole thing is fraught with problems. I guess these can be overcome, but their (almost) motto is they want to make cheap energy... Nah, this thing will be expensive as hell. They are complicated machines. Way more complicated than a conventional reactor. And besides all of that there is U-233. The daddy of radioisotopes. U-233 is over 4000x times more radioactive than U-235. This isotope requires very special handling and equipment. Very very, massive in fact, shielding. It has about the same energy as plutonium, but plutonium is an alpha emitter, U-233 is an alpha, beta and gamma emitter along with neutrons inside a reaction. They plan to keep this stuff above ground for 300 years in casks and then reuse it. Sounds like a great plan. I really can't stress enough that U-233 is probably the hottest, most dangerous (common) isotope on this planet. U-233 is easily weapons grade, so may fill the military industrial complex's needs for warheads, but I doubt that due to it's special handling needs. There is a hell of a lot not said in that video. A hell of a lot. But that is typical of these startup investor opportunities.

OK, on to your comments.

I was talking about waste from breeder reactors being only radioactive for 300 years, not your typical reactors like we see today.
If you watch the video above you will hear him saying the same thing about the 300 year span of the waste.

Hmm, yeah, nah... This isn't what was said on the video. U-233 has a halflife of 159,200 years, so no matter how you wrap it up, put a bow on it, it will always be 159,200 years. What he was actually referring to was the waste is processed. 95% of U-238 is removed by chemical process (and creates a metric shit-ton of acidic radioactive liquid and sludge waste) leaving the plutonium, U-233 and other isotopes, which are then stored, above ground, for 300 years, and then........ [tumblewweed] He actually doesn't say. He just says it is stored for 300 years and then moves on. For sake of argument I will assume he means, stored for 300 years, above ground, and then reprocessed and shoved back into a reactor. That's fine, if they have the equipment to handle U-233, and as long as there are no natural disasters causing the casks to fail and spew U-233 throughout the local ecology. So he doesn't say it is only radioactive for 300 years at all. There is no getting past the rock solid scientific fact that U-233 has a halflife of 159,200 years. It will always be that. And it is more than 4000x more radioactive than U-238. Nasty nasty stuff. I would love a sample!

This is the actual transcript from the video (I added punctuation):

What do we do about the waste from classical nuclear energy and do we generate waste from the thorium reactors? Well first of all let's talk about the waste from classical nuclear reactors.

So the symbol up there in the left hand side is the drum, it represents the waste from classical nuclear reactors and if you look inside that drum 95% of that is natural uranium. It's the exact same uranium as with dug out of the ground many years earlier, it hasn't changed at all. The problem is that it's mixed with these last five percent, which is sort of a radioactive and a problem, so if you can separate those two then you get basically natural uranium and you could sell that uranium back to the uranium Market but the problem was in the past it was not economically viable to make this separation but it is now, and this is why things are changing in these years.  

So what we can do with the last five percent after it has been separated? We can take those last five percent, those are two things those fission products. Fission products are radioactive and they need to be stored safe for 300 years and above ground so not this very expensive deep geological storage, but you can store them above ground for 300 years. And then there's the last part, the orange part, there it's the transuranics and the plutonium and those are the reason why nuclear waste usually people say that it needs to be stored for 100,000 years underground. But we can actually take that and use it as a Kickstarter fuel inside thorium reactors and when we do that we can generate 10 times more energy out of the material. Both the thorium and and those transuranics and plutonium than the amount of energy we got out of the fuel in the first place so it's it's sort of an upgrade. It becomes a very very valuable Fuel and that's also why I believe that in a few years from now you will see people sort of paying the same as for gold and diamonds for nuclear waste. It's going to be a very very valuable resource on this planet.

It sounds like something Elon would say. All the glitter and gold, with none of the rocks.

You mention Pandora's Promise. I haven't seen it, but found it on youtube ( here ). It's in potatovision, but I'm not too bothered as long as it is watchable, so I will give it a watch. Thank you for the heads up. And I really have no idea what it is about. I'll have to see if I watch it to the end.

it also talked about half lives and length of time waste stays radioactive and how dangerous they are, the video was explaining why Hiroshima is save to live today, because of the decay of the isotopes in the fallout etc.

No worries, I will give it a look at. I am sceptical because halflives can not be changed, unless the elements/isotopes are transmuted into other elements and isotopes, as happens inside a reactor. Waste generally decays over many years as it transmutates into other elements and isotopes. Hence, it's halflife and activity. 

As I said before, uranium 235 for example has a ridiculously long half life, but it decays so slow that its not emitting very much radiation compared to a short lived isotope such as cesium-137 which has all mostly decayed within about a century.

Fair enough, but I still want to know why tritium, with less than half the life of strontium 90 isn't more readioactive, or generally bad. The point you are making is that something that has a short halflife is more dangerous than something that has a long halflife, but that isn't the case, not always.

I dont consider myself a troll, but I am pro nuclear, our energy needs are ever increasing and I cant see any option long term, Fusion is the ultimate goal for sure, but in the mean time Thorium and breeder reactors are the future.
Not only are they safer, but they produce low level waste.

Erm, yeah, nah... again.... U-233 is nasty. Nasty nasty nasty....... Really nasty. And that is (according to the slide in the video) 4% of all waste from a thorium molten salt reactor. If they reporcess it and reuse it all, great, and that will be at a much larger cost than reprocessing regular spent fuel into MOX, or refine back into it's original isotope. Very very costly to handle U-233. That's kinda why they don't use it in weapons, especially when plutonium is available. Plutonium is a pussy cat compared to U-233.

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4 months 4 weeks ago - 4 months 3 weeks ago #6638 by Simomax
A couple of doozies I forgot to add to my previous post. (This is from the transcript)

What we want to do is we want to mass manufacture molten salt reactors, and it is a type of nuclear reactor but it's not like old classical nuclear, it's a different type of nuclear reactor that can convert this thorium into energy and this is what we're developing right here in Copenhagen, and we want to mass manufacture it on assembly lines where we can make at least one reactor every day. Of course in the distant future many reactors every day, and you heard that right, you know normally we think about nuclear reactors as something that takes 10 years to build but we actually want to build one every day on an assembly line and when we then install it in a nuclear power plant.

One a day.... That's 365 reactors per year. That's 3,650 per decade. That's 3,650 time the speed of a regular reactor. Absolutely inconceivable. A pipe dream. Much like SpaceX to mars, for 1,000,000 people at 300 per day...... And that also means that end users will be taking them up on this and installing hundreds of steam engine machines and generators in their premises, every day..... They been smoking something, I'm sure.

We also Finance the power plant so it's a completely different model than the classical model of nuclear energy that we've known for so many years. So what we make is the Heat and we we export that heat or sell that heat through molten salts and then the customer is sort of in the buildings in the background they will convert that heat into electricity or Steam for industrial use I also show this chart a lot of  times because it tells us the history of humans.

Erm, yeah, nah, yeah, nah.......

ETA: Tha point I am getting at, is do these seem like a credible company and people, actually capable of creating a revolutionary new source of energy, cheaper, safer and more reliable, with the governments' of the world blessing? I don't.
Last edit: 4 months 3 weeks ago by Simomax.
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4 months 2 weeks ago #6701 by nzoomed
Sorry for the late response, ive been busy.
Good points you make, but I feel the biggest issues still revolve around reactor design.
You need an idiot proof design so if things are let to run away, that the chain reaction stops.
In an essence thats what molten salt reactors are supposed to achieve.
The fuel is already molten and in theory the reaction cant run away on its own, and can only be sustained if it passes through a neutron moderator such as graphite, if anything the big issue is if the reactor stopped, the fuel goes solid and needs to be heated up again to be pumped around the reactor.
Ive been watching copehnagen atomics videos and the science looks solid, obviously its their side of the story, but I should note there is a large number of environmentalists that are pro nuclear.
No doubt you have finished watching pandoras promise, that film was what settled my mind on the future of Nuclear.

We dont need to rely on reactors that were primarily designed on a fuel cycle to make nuclear bombs and have a wasteful fuel cycle that doesnt make full use of the fuels potential energy, hence why a breeder reactor produces the next type of fissile fuel down in the chain.
Reprocessing the waste some claim is easier with molten salt reactors, but I have no idea on the process compared to conventional fuel.
Since no fuel assemblies requiring dismantling are involved, I would feel it could be easier as its a liquid fuel and then solidifies once it cools down. The U233 certainly would be reused as its a very fissile material.
This was a video I had also watched on the issue of nuclear waste in general, not specific to molten salt/breeder reactors.
Another article worth reading was this here.

Regarding half life around tritium, it does surprise me how long it lasts, even if its only 10 years.
I have one of those tritium vials in a flashlight, it glows on its own, I have no idea how many tritium atoms are inside it, or how many are decaying at once, but obviously there is enough to decay at a rate high enough to excite all the phosphors on the glass for the best part of a decade, its incredible.
I guess this would have a huge impact on the shelf life of thermonuclear bombs also, given its all largely gone after a decade. Also costs alot to produce.

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4 months 2 weeks ago - 4 months 2 weeks ago #6702 by Simomax
I still don't think you are seeing the bigger picture. It's not about reactors, it's about people. I'll try and explain. I have had a chance to do some more reading on all of this since my last post and that has only bolstered my opinions, but I have learned a little more about Thorium reactors. Some quite important details regarding U233.

Good points you make, but I feel the biggest issues still revolve around reactor design.

There have always been and always will be issues with reactor designs, whether conventional Uranium/MOX or Thorium molten salt reactors, and there probably always will be. There is no such thing as a perfect reactor, or perfect anything really. We work within tolerances of the known physics, available parts, budget, the ability to put the things together, and the ability to operate the thing safely. All of these things aside budget are limited by the ability of mankind. We only know so much and we can only do so much. We are limited. We have a fair understanding of the physics, we are able to mostly put together a reasonably safe reactor, and generally we can run them. But not always, and that has be proved time and time again. Pretty much every accident, large or small, was caused by people. We are still getting it wrong, and until such a time as we can do it right I will probably always err on the side of caution. If we can't get it right with conventional reactors we aren't going to be able to do it right on new Thorium reactors, or other reactors, maybe fusion. What happens when we cock that up? Create a black hole or something? 

One of the biggest reasons we get it wrong, is money. People are willing to cut corners to save a few pennies. People aren't willing to buy something at a price over a competitor's lesser price. Budgets and shareholders set the direction, rarely the scientists. You only need to look at Tesla's wireless electricity (if that ever was to be a thing.) J.P. Morgan pulled funding when it was realized it couldn't be metered (as in electricity meter.) There was no profit in it for J.P. Morgan, so he cut funding and the project was shut down. And that same reason still stands today(if it would have worked, I don't know). We don't have it because it can't be metered, so there is basically no profit in it and investors won't invest, and will always be like that until we live in a Star Trek type utopia. People make money from oil and gas and nuclear, they don't make money from something they can't charge for.

In just over the past 30 years there have been these 30 accidents and incidents at NPPs (in no particular order):
  1. Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster (2011) - Japan
  2. Chernobyl Disaster (1986) - Ukraine (Note: This is just outside the 30-year window)
  3. Three Mile Island Accident (1979) - USA (Note: Also outside the 30-year window)
  4. Tokaimura Nuclear Accident (1999) - Japan
  5. Goiânia Accident (1987) - Brazil (Note: Just outside the 30-year window)
  6. Marcoule Nuclear Site Explosion (2011) - France
  7. Browns Ferry Fire (1985) - USA (Note: Just outside the 30-year window)
  8. Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station Incident (2003) - USA
  9. Sellafield (Windscale) Fire (2005) - UK
  10. Oconee Nuclear Station Transformer Fire (1995) - USA
  11. Forsmark Nuclear Incident (2006) - Sweden
  12. Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant Incident (2002) - Russia
  13. Indian Point Energy Center Transformer Explosions (2007) - USA
  14. Krško Nuclear Power Plant Cooling System Leak (2008) - Slovenia
  15. Flamanville Nuclear Reactor Explosion (2017) - France
  16. Palisades Nuclear Plant Leak (2005) - USA
  17. Tsuruga Nuclear Power Plant Leaks (1999) - Japan
  18. Saint-Laurent-des-Eaux Nuclear Power Plant Flood (2003) - France
  19. Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station Incident (2002) - USA
  20. South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant Fire (1995) - Ukraine
  21. Ascó Nuclear Power Plant Fire (2003) - Spain
  22. Arkansas Nuclear One Turbine Explosion (2013) - USA
  23. Fukushima Daini Nuclear Plant Incident (2011) - Japan
  24. Kalinin Nuclear Power Plant Fire (2017) - Russia
  25. Limerick Generating Station Cooling Tower Collapse (2007) - USA
  26. Brunsbüttel Nuclear Power Plant Incident (2007) - Germany
  27. Peach Bottom Nuclear Generating Station Incident (2008) - USA
  28. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant Fire (2010) - USA
  29. North Anna Nuclear Generating Station Earthquake (2011) - USA
  30. Crystal River Nuclear Plant Containment Building Crack (2011) - USA
They are just the notable events. Other smaller events are generally not publicized from what I can tell. And then just over the past week we have this in the media:
(They are all from the same media outlet which I chose on purpose as they are generally against nuclear anything, so if it is happening to a plant somewhere, it will be on that site. They generally do cite sources.)
They are all from the past 7 days. Do you think we have it right yet? I don't. Never a week goes by, sometimes days, where there isn't something, somewhere that some person actually caused, either directly or indirectly. Until we fix ourselves we are destined to accidents and incidents. Accident after accident, burocracy, money, shareholders, investments. The root of it all is money. Get money out of NPPs and we may have a chance, but do you think that is likely to happen? Copenhagen Atomics are looking for investment for their reactors. That's fair enough, but once the shareholders get together at board level, they are going to want to see a return for their investment. That's when the money becomes a pivital key element in building and running reactors. Investors are going to want to go for the cheaper option, always, as they want their monies. The scientists, the actual brains behind them probably want to go for the expensive option, the safer option generally. It doesn't matter whether conventional, Thorium, or even a spaceship, or a bus. Cheap out and things will happen. I just don't think we, as a race of humans, can actually crack this one. We are either still too young as a race to get it right, or there is external influence causing all of these issues all over, and generally that is money, people and greed. Until something happens and we don't use money any more I think there is little chance for anything working in the future. We are already seeing it (at least I am) everywhere, where things are a lower quality, or more expensive. The world is falling apart and people are still going to war with each other. We are a barbaric civilization, and honestly I wish we weren't, but those are the cards we have been dealt. Until people change, there will be little going forward. But there will be a new iPhone, and a new Galaxy, and games, and TV and films and all the stuff to keep us distracted from the real world.

This isn't nuclear related, but again, proves my point that people are the real issue. This one is about a supplier selling fake aeroplane engine parts. Wouldn't be anything to do with greed?  https://www.thedrive.com/news/supplier-caught-distributing-fake-parts-for-worlds-top-selling-jet-engine

You need an idiot proof design so if things are let to run away, that the chain reaction stops.

There is only a certain level of simplicity that can be adhered to for any project. Complexity will be an issue if someone can't handle the complexity. And I agree, the design of the molten salt reactor does have that feature. However, (and I suspect you are not) it sounds like you are advocating idiots to run the reactors. 'Give the idiots something they can't mess up.' I'd rather have very professional people running reactors rather than idiots. The designed in safety of the molten salt reactor is great in that if it overheats the reaction becomes less, kind of self regulating. The salt has a higher boiling point than water. And if the reaction stops the whole thing solidifies. I wouldn't go as far as idiot proof though. I have had the displeasure of dealing with idiots in the past, and the one thing I can guarantee is that idiots will do the last thing you ever think they will. An idiot will most likely be able to ruin a molten salt reactor. There is also a caveat if the salt solidifies; to get the reactor going again every single part, pipe, pump, valve, everything has to be externally heated to over 425 degrees centigrade in order to make the salt a liquid again. That is a massive downside for the efficiency of shutting down and restarting a reactor. It could take days/weeks/months to do such a thing and it has never (to my knowledge) been tried, proved or tested, yet. It's no good having an unplanned shutdown of a molten salt reactor without having backup capacity elsewhere as they could take a very long time to restart. It may even be faster to start ripping the reactor apart and replacing the clogged up parts with unclogged up parts, which in turn allows for changes to what was a proved working system. It would have to be proved again after changing parts, if they do. So whilst it is a very good design in safety, it has knock-on effects. 

Ive been watching copehnagen atomics videos and the science looks solid

The science in MSRs (molten salt reactors) does seem solid, albeit with some caveats. They as a company, I'm unsure about. They are looking for investment, and lack key personnel. They seem like a startup/kickstarter kind of thing. They want investment, monies, so they can make reactors and make wages. Once there are a board of investors, they will be calling the shots, not the staff. Which again comes back to people. And people that have paid money into something want more money out. That is how investment works. People don't invest in things if there is no, or even little ROI. A MSR will most likely cost more than conventional at first, so maybe a couple of billion to make one that is capable of replacing a modern conventional NPP. It looks they to be the way they are going is to make small modular reactors (SMRs) and Copenhagen Atomics don't even mention anything about generating electricity, only the heat will be transferred and used by other businesses. So that is going to take some more development in making the SMRs/MSRs useful to businesses. Businesses are in the market of making money, so they aren't going to be developing ways of converting the heat to other energy unless it is something they really need. And thus will slow development of the whole thing. I haven't watched any other videos from them as the one I watched set off alarm bells. I have been around long enough that I have seen this kind of thing come and go. Not necessarily reactors, but other things. Look at EVs now, people generally don't want them and are going back to petrol and diesel. At least here in the UK. Sales are down over 30% on last quarter. There isn't the charging infrastructure to support all of the EVs. There is already a new buzz phrase: 'charger rage'. People are fighting over chargers and charging their vehicles. There have been too many EV battery fires of late and the general public are really starting to shun EVs. I think their days are numbered if their goal was to completely replace ICE cars. There will always be some stragglers that keep EVs, and probably those that don't drive long distances and those that can charge at home. EVs are heavier than their ICE counterparts and so are causing greater degradation of the roads and multi-storey car parks may (some will) have issues with too much weight from the EVs. People are also starting to learn that their production emissions are far greater than that of an ICE car, and that charging them is simply shifting the emissions from the road to the power plant.

I guess time will tell. New inventions are not always better.

but I should note there is a large number of environmentalists that are pro nuclear

Of course they are. They have been told lies and believe that climate change is man made. I'll let you into a secret, it isn't. No matter what we do to try and combat climate change it will never work because the amount that we actually cause on this planet is something like 0.03% of the total CO2 (which is 0.04% of the atmosphere. That's like a 0.0012% increase that is man made.) There are many massively stronger natural forces at play that contribute to climate change, and even if we stopped emitting CO2 tomorrow, everywhere around the world, it would hardly change a thing. The whole narrative is BS and used to control people and get more money from them. Not greed? No....? If you are interested it is worth researching it, but stay away from the main stream media (or legacy media as I like to call them) as they are all in the pockets of the deep state and elites etc. so you are only ever going to hear one side from them. And generally very vague too.

No doubt you have finished watching pandoras promise, that film was what settled my mind on the future of Nuclear.

Yes. I thought it was crap. I didn't learn one single thing from it. It's just a bunch of people that (they say) used to be against nuclear that are now ok with it. I haven't researched who wrote/produced it but I suspect it has ties to the nuclear industry. It stunk of propaganda. I see straight through the bullshit these days, I have seen so much of it over the years. I wouldn't at all be surprised if these people were compensated for their efforts in the video somehow.

We dont need to rely on reactors that were primarily designed on a fuel cycle to make nuclear bombs and have a wasteful fuel cycle that doesnt make full use of the fuels potential energy, hence why a breeder reactor produces the next type of fissile fuel down in the chain.

Agreed. But try telling that to the governments of the world. Try getting the military industrial complex to 'just do without your warheads'. Ain't gonna happen anytime soon that I can see.

Reprocessing the waste some claim is easier with molten salt reactors, but I have no idea on the process compared to conventional fuel.

From what I gather it is about the same. It will be the same nitric acid used to dissolve all the fissile material, and the same level of waste, dependant on how much is reprocessed. That nitric acid, once used is horrible, nasty nuclear waste. I have read that filtering could be used, but again, this has never been done so it's hard to say. I was struggling to find how MSR waste would be reprocessed so ended up asking ChatGPT. This is what ChatGPT said:

Me: how is nuclear fuel recycled and reprocessed in a conventional nuclear reactor?

Nuclear fuel recycling and reprocessing typically refer to the process of extracting valuable materials from spent nuclear fuel and preparing them for reuse in conventional nuclear reactors. The main goal of recycling and reprocessing is to reduce the amount of high-level nuclear waste and to utilize the remaining fissile material more efficiently. The process can vary depending on the specific technology and regulations in place, but I'll provide an overview of the general steps involved in a conventional nuclear fuel recycling and reprocessing cycle:

  1. Spent Fuel Collection: Spent nuclear fuel, which is no longer efficient for power generation in a reactor, is removed and collected.
  2. Cooling and Storage: The spent fuel is initially stored in water-filled pools or dry cask storage to allow for radioactive decay and cooling. This cooling period can last for several years to reduce radioactivity.
  3. Dismantling and Preparation: After cooling, the spent fuel assemblies are dismantled to access the fuel rods or fuel pellets. They are then prepared for reprocessing.
  4. Chemical Separation (Reprocessing): This is the heart of the recycling process. Various chemical methods, such as solvent extraction or aqueous reprocessing, are used to separate the fissile material (e.g., uranium-235 and plutonium-239) and other valuable materials from the radioactive waste. This step is crucial for recycling and using the fissile material in new fuel assemblies.
  5. Waste Management: The waste products generated during reprocessing, including highly radioactive materials, are securely stored and managed. These waste products require long-term isolation and management due to their radioactivity.
  6. Product Recovery: The separated fissile material and other valuable materials are recovered and prepared for reuse. This can involve additional processing to create fresh fuel assemblies.
  7. Fabrication of New Fuel: The recovered fissile material and other components are fabricated into new fuel assemblies. This may include blending the fissile material with enriched uranium to achieve the desired fuel composition.
  8. Reinsertion into Reactors: The new fuel assemblies are loaded into conventional nuclear reactors, such as pressurized water reactors (PWR) or boiling water reactors (BWR), for power generation.
  9. Power Generation: The reactors use the recycled fuel to generate electricity. This step can be repeated multiple times as long as the fuel maintains its efficiency and safety.
  10. Repeat Cycle: The recycling and reprocessing cycle can be repeated several times until the fissile material is no longer suitable for use in reactors, at which point it becomes high-level nuclear waste.
It's important to note that not all countries or nuclear facilities engage in fuel recycling and reprocessing. Some nations opt for once-through fuel cycles, where spent fuel is simply stored as waste, while others pursue recycling for the benefits it offers, such as reducing nuclear waste and extending the supply of fissile materials. Additionally, the specific methods and technologies used in reprocessing can vary, and some processes are more proliferation-resistant than others, which has implications for international security.

And then for MSRs:

Me: how is nuclear fuel recycled and reprocessed in a thorium molten salt nuclear reactor?

Nuclear fuel recycling and reprocessing in a thorium molten salt reactor (TMSR) involves a different process compared to conventional solid-fueled reactors, as thorium fuel cycles have unique characteristics. Thorium reactors are often designed to use liquid fuel in the form of a molten salt mixture, which allows for certain advantages in terms of fuel recycling and reprocessing. Here's an overview of how nuclear fuel is recycled and reprocessed in a thorium molten salt reactor:

  1. Fuel Preparation: Thorium fuel in TMSRs is typically in the form of a molten salt mixture, which includes thorium tetrafluoride (ThF4) and other fluorides. The reactor starts with a fresh fuel charge.
  2. Fissile Material Production: In a TMSR, thorium-232 (Th-232) is not directly fissile. It must be converted into fissile uranium-233 (U-233) through neutron capture. Neutron irradiation of thorium-232 converts it into uranium-233, which can sustain the nuclear chain reaction. This conversion process occurs in the reactor during normal operation.
  3. Online Fuel Recycling: TMSRs can perform online fuel recycling, where the molten salt fuel passes through a processing unit that extracts fission products and adds fissile material (e.g., U-233) to the fuel stream. This online recycling can help maintain the desired fuel composition and extend the fuel's efficiency.
  4. Removal of Fission Products: Fission products are byproducts of nuclear reactions in the reactor. They are continuously removed from the molten salt through various means, such as chemical processing or filtration, to prevent the buildup of unwanted materials and maintain reactor efficiency.
  5. Recovery of Valuable Materials: Valuable materials, such as fissile U-233 and other potentially reusable components, are recovered from the fuel stream and separated from the waste materials.
  6. Waste Management: The waste products from the reprocessing step are securely stored and managed. This includes long-lived radioactive waste that must be isolated for safety reasons.
  7. Fuel Reinsertion: The purified and enriched fuel, containing U-233 and other components, is reinserted into the reactor, allowing for continued power generation.
  8. Repeat Cycle: The recycling and reprocessing cycle can be repeated several times to utilize the fissile material efficiently and reduce waste.
Thorium molten salt reactors have several advantages, including the potential for reduced long-lived radioactive waste, increased fuel utilization, and improved proliferation resistance. They also operate at lower pressures than conventional solid-fueled reactors, which can enhance safety. However, they come with their own set of technical challenges, such as materials compatibility with high-temperature molten salt, corrosion issues, and the need for online reprocessing, which can be complex to implement.It's important to note that thorium molten salt reactors are still in the research and development stage, and no commercial-scale reactors of this type are currently in operation. While they hold promise for a more sustainable and efficient nuclear energy future, practical implementation and regulatory approval remain significant challenges.

So it looks like MSRs do have the ability for less waste and better reprocessing there is still going to be a high level of waste. Maybe not as much as the conventional reactors, but the nuclear waste isn't going away.

U233 - The MSR does have an advantage in that it can reuse pretty much all of the U233, but if in the future all conventional reactors are swapped for MSRs there will be no precious plutonium for the military industrial complex. So what happens then? They build conventional or specific breeder reactors just for nukes? Probably. Reprocessing U233, as I have mentioned, is way way harder and more dangerous than other isotopes of Uranium. Just the shielding alone would have to be something like 10x that of U235 or U238. So that immediately makes handling and transport an issue.

Since no fuel assemblies requiring dismantling are involved, I would feel it could be easier as its a liquid fuel and then solidifies once it cools down

Do we know that? Is there proof of this? Documentation? I don't know. I haven't looked into it. But one piece of advice; don't 'feel it could be easier', research and prove it one way or another. Feeling are a human trait that leads to accidents, disasters, wars and poverty. When ever feelings, thoughts, what may be, what may not, then emotions are running the show. I deal in cold hard facts and evidence. I could feel like MSRs will change the world, end all poverty and turn the planet into a Star Trek like utopia, but in reality we have a handful of experimental MSRs in their very early stages of development. Has anyone done a fuel change on one of these things yet? Do we know what effects the salt will have on the spent fuel and reprocessing? Copenhagen Atomics haven't even started playing with the atomic bit yet from what I understand from their website. Just pushing molten salt around... 

Another video... Yeah I have watched that some time ago. Cleo Abram is just a youtuber. Nothing more than that. All of her past jobs were in video production or marketing. She went to some place, her head was filled with biased information from one source and she made a video about it. It is very one sided. Have you ever considered the 'other' nuclear waste? The concrete from decommissioned NPPs. The PPE worn that is considered as nuclear waste, the parts of machinery at plants making the fuel, reprocessing it, and the reactors themselves. The pipework, pumps, valves, lumps of metal. The containers used for transportation. All of that is nuclear waste. Its not just the fuel itself. And all of that 'everything else' waste can be 100's if not 1000's of times more waste in terms of weight than waste fuel. As fuel is dense, very heavy for it's size that means that the 'everything else' waste will take up a massive amount more actual space than the fuel. Nuclear waste is a massive problem. The 'everything else' waste won't go away with MSRs. It may become a little less, but if there are processes for any of the radioactive anything, this will produce other waste. Imagine what to do with 100's or 1000's of gallons of radioactive nitric acid? Nice.

I looked at your link and scanned over it. I don't think it is telling me anything I haven't read or heard before. Except the writer of the article thinks that Tritium has a half-life of only 14 days.... 'Tritium is a low energy beta emitter that has a relatively short half-life of ~14 days' No. Nah, nope, absolutely not. 12.32 years. If the writer can't get that right I'm not even going to bother reading it properly. Completely duff information. I just realized this was submitted for coursework for the PH241 'Introduction to nuclear energy' university course by the writer. I wonder if he failed his course? And if that information did come from his reference, he should have done his homework to verify the claim. I guess he didn't as that still stands on that paper.

I have three vials/tubes of Tritium. One is a new one I got form ebay or something and the other two are in a military defile marker (that I got from Hack Green in UK) designed to glow in the shape of an arrow. Like this one here:  https://d1f7geppf3ca7.cloudfront.net/origin/441851/sam_0907.jpg
Sadly, it is from 1988 so doesn't really glow anymore except under UV light. And yes, they are quite neat. Still, a nice example for my collection.
Last edit: 4 months 2 weeks ago by Simomax.
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4 months 1 week ago #6731 by Juzzie

 One could be forgiven for thinking (even briefly) that China's decision to ban Japanese seafood was not only politics. The whole site oozes radioactive sludge continuously, with no end in sight.

Owner and operator of "southofhobart" monitoring stations.
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4 months 1 week ago #6732 by Simomax
Not sure if you saw this link from my previous post:  https://nuclear-news.net/2023/10/09/1-b1-repeated-malfunctions-reveal-safety-issues-in-fukushima-discharge/

The ALPS has failed to remove isotopes adequately, with the adsorbents used to remove radioactive isotopes being replaced less often than they were supposed to be. As a result, 70 percent of the water in the storage tanks still contains non-tritium radionuclides at a concentration that exceeds the regulatory standards applicable for discharge into the environment.

They are really doing a good job. Getting it right every time!
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