The benefits of nuclear reactors as a cheaper and more efficient energy source

If it succeeds, it would create a cheaper, more efficient, and safer form of nuclear power that produces less nuclear waste than today's uranium-based technology. China is building uranium-based nuclear power plants to combat air pollution and reduce reliance on oil and coal. But it is also is researching molten-salt reactors that run on safer thorium. Such accidents could become a thing of the past if the nuclear industry can wean itself off of uranium and embrace thorium, which is more abundant, less melt-prone, and therefore safer to use.

The benefits of nuclear reactors as a cheaper and more efficient energy source

These were similar to the reactor designs that produced material for nuclear weapons. During that period, the government of the United States also built an experimental molten salt reactor using U fuel, the fissile material created by bombarding thorium with neutrons.

InNobel laureate and discoverer of plutoniumGlenn Seaborgpublicly announced to the Atomic Energy Commissionof which he was chairman, that the thorium-based reactor had been successfully developed and tested. Inhowever, the US government settled on uranium technology and largely discontinued thorium-related nuclear research.

The reasons were that uranium-fueled reactors were more efficient, the research was proven, and thorium's breeding ratio was thought insufficient to produce enough fuel to support development of a commercial nuclear industry.

As Moir and Teller later wrote, "The competition came down to a liquid metal fast breeder reactor LMFBR on the uranium-plutonium cycle and a thermal reactor on the thoriumU cycle, the molten salt breeder reactor. But it was apparent to me that my style, my attitude, and my perception of the future were no longer in tune with the powers within the AEC.

Weinberg realized that you could use thorium in an entirely new kind of reactor, one that would have zero risk of meltdown. Uranium reactors had already been established, and Hyman Rickoverde facto head of the US nuclear program, wanted the plutonium from uranium-powered nuclear plants to make bombs.

The benefits of nuclear reactors as a cheaper and more efficient energy source

Increasingly shunted aside, Weinberg was finally forced out in Stengerfor one, first learned of it in It came as a surprise to me to learn recently that such an alternative has been available to us since World War II, but not pursued because it lacked weapons applications. It is therefore an important and potentially viable technology that seems able to contribute to building credible, long-term nuclear energy scenarios.

It is difficult to make a practical nuclear bomb from a thorium reactor's byproducts. According to Alvin Radkowskydesigner of the world's first full-scale atomic electric power plant, "a thorium reactor's plutonium production rate would be less than 2 percent of that of a standard reactor, and the plutonium's isotopic content would make it unsuitable for a nuclear detonation.

The benefits of nuclear reactors as a cheaper and more efficient energy source

Separating the uranium from the uranium proved very difficult, although newer laser techniques could facilitate that process. Other reactors require additional fissile material, such as uranium or plutonium.

In addition, the transition to thorium could be done through the incineration of weapons grade plutonium WPu or civilian plutonium.

Comparing the amount of thorium needed with coal, Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia of CERNEuropean Organization for Nuclear Researchestimates that one ton of thorium can produce as much energy as tons of uranium, or 3, tons of coal.

Jan 10,  · The sources of energy that power the grid to charge electric car batteries matter just as much as vehicle emissions. Nuclear power is a clean and efficient power source, but its availability is at. Electricity generation emits more carbon dioxide in the United States than does transportation or industry, and nuclear power is the largest source of carbon-free electricity in the country. Nuclear power generation is also relatively cheap, costing less than two cents per kilowatt-hour for . Find reports, studies and briefs on the top issues around nuclear energy including regulations, legislation, economics and benefits.

A plug at the bottom of the reactor melts in the event of a power failure or if temperatures exceed a set limit, draining the fuel into an underground tank for safe storage.

Thorium's ore monazite generally contains higher concentrations of thorium than the percentage of uranium found in its respective ore. This makes thorium a more cost efficient and less environmentally damaging fuel source.

Advantages of Nuclear Energy

Thorium mining is also easier and less dangerous than uranium mining, as the mine is an open pit which requires no ventilation, unlike underground uranium mines, where radon levels can be potentially harmful.

Thorium nuclear reactors are unlikely to produce cheaper energy, but the management of spent fuel is likely to be cheaper than for uranium nuclear reactors. The feasibility of reprocessing is still open. This irradiation process may be altered slightly by removing protactinium The irradiation would then make uranium in lieu of uranium, which can be used in nuclear weapons to make thorium into a dual purpose fuel.

All land and regulatory approvals are currently in process. Jiang Mianhengson of China's former leader Jiang Zeminled a thorium delegation in non-disclosure talks at Oak Ridge National LaboratoryTennessee, and by late China had officially partnered with Oak Ridge to aid China in its own development.

Now they are more interested because of smog," said Professor Li Zhong, a scientist working on the project.The real answers: risk, cost and time to build.

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#rewpage# Nuclear Takes Longer to Build and Costs More than Renewables Nuclear plants today are far more complex than the ones built decades ago. The AP is a new reactor, and both China and the U.S. are behind schedule with their reactors. Lamar Alexander: Nuclear Energy Is Cheap and Reliable 20 percent of U.S.

electricity comes from nuclear reactors on about square miles.

A small, modular, efficient fusion plant | MIT News

Read why investing in more nuclear energy is. By definition, nuclear energy is not a renewable energy source. As I mentioned above, there is a limited amount of fuel for nuclear power available. On the other hand, you could argue that nuclear energy is potentially sustainable by the use of breeder reactors and fusion reactors.

Noting Lockheed's 60 years of research on nuclear fusion as a potential energy source that is safer and more efficient than current reactors based on nuclear fission. which can generate nearly 10 million times more energy than the same amount of fossil fuels.

To estimate the total CO2 emissions from Nuclear Power we take the work of the Swedish Energy Utility, Vattenfall, which produces electricity via Nuclear, Hydro, Coal, Gas, Solar Cell, Peat and Wind energy sources and has produced credited Environment Product Declarations for all these processes.

Jan 10,  · Surprise: Nuclear Power Maximizes Environmental Benefits Of Electric Vehicles Nuclear power is a clean and efficient power source, markets do not properly credit nuclear energy for the.

Nuclear Power Education - The Benefits of Nuclear Power