We will also get some of our water supply from coal creek that’s nearby. The reactor doesn’t really need much though, since it is a closed system, it should be pretty self sufficient after the first time water is put in.
This design is a fairly simple single liquid molten salt reactor. Now, if that sounded like gibberish, that’s ok. It only means that the Thorium being reacted in a mixture of superheated salt. This is not the common table salt, but a 232UF4 solution that helps regulate the reaction as a whole, making it safer. This reaction continues to heat the salt during a heat transfer. When the 500’ C or so salt passes by the water in the second half of the reaction, it evaporates into steam and passes through the turbines, and turns the generator.
First and foremost, the reactor is cost effective ◦ It costs roughly $50,000 to build, since the body of the reactor can be Stainless Steel and it BREEDS fuel ◦ It would produce roughly $500 million in power every year ◦ That is for a traditional 1000 MW reactor There are no carbon emissions, there is no combustion Incredibly safe ◦ The reaction will freeze if it is too cold (345’C) and will melt freeze plugs blocking the emergency dump tank if it gets too hot (550’ C)
◦ The byproducts can not be used to make weapons, it is actually impossible ◦ Toxic wastes in the long term (actinide wastes) are lower than any of the other types of nuclear reactors, and it becomes a 500 year long problem instead of multi-million year long problem. ◦ The reaction can only run at low temperature and relatively low pressures (no 3-mile island explosions) There is a lot of flexibility with the design that can even use different types of setups of reactors, salts, and circumstances under which the reaction takes place
Completes the Thorium Cycle ◦ This pretty much means that once the thorium is used in the reaction, that it changes to another fissile element. It continues to be used in the reactions until it becomes U236.
There are two main issues regarding a Thorium MSR ◦ Removing fission products from the salt Bubbling fluorine or helium through the salt and that reacts with volatile materials, which are processed out as the reactions continue and H2 is added later to convert them back into their original form, such as what happens with Xenon, and prevents spikes in energy and explosions ◦ Removing the Pa This is slightly unavoidable with a single liquid reactor, but it is easily fixed, the Pa is an element that occurs in the process of thorium turning into uranium, it has a short half-life, and can build up for about 20 years before it has to be removed
The only fuel we would need would be a little bit (1500 kG) to start it up. Other than that, there is actually a 8% production rate. This basically means that the Thorium reactor not only breaks even in the amount of fuel used, but in 20 years it will have made enough to start another reactor and fuel it too. This fuel, Thorium is abundant all over the heartland of America, and there are also HUGE reserves in Southern Wyoming. The US has 16% of the entire world’s supply, only second to Australia's 18%.
We choose a thorium reactor because it produces more energy than a standard uranium reactor. The waste is also easier to dispose of afterwards, and less radioactive. The thorium used in the reaction also last’s longer so we could produce more energy. It turns into a fissile isotope of Uranium, and can burn that, and requires no control rods either, although they can be used.
Not only is little waste to the Thorium reactor, but the waste of other traditional pressurized water reactors using Uranium or Plutonium can be burned up in a single liquids molten salt thorium reactor. This design is very versatile, so it can use any of them, really… What few actinide wastes there were, they would be harmless isotopes after 500 years, and those could be essentially stored until then, and it is so much less than any of the regular reactors that are being used now.
Arguably, these thorium reactors could completely replace the uranium business in a short amount of time while also cleaning up what they left behind, and creating cheap, clean, and efficient energy. So it would only make sense that the US would be looking to these as an answer to the energy crisis, especially since this information is almost completely discovered in the 50s! Most global powers are looking into developing this type of nuclear reactor, but the US had not picked up interest again until 2002
This is simply because of the fact that when this information was being developed in Oak Ridge, the United States were in the middle of a cold war and in an arms race, so anything that was incapable of making weapons grade material was somewhat useless.
Siouxsie Downs and Tyler Menger A thorium reactor could generate as much as 1000 MW per year, making energy as cheap as $2.00 per KW hour. The startup costs are as low as $50,000 and it can generate a tremendous amount of energy without ANY greenhouse emissions. Indeed, it is the future of green energy.