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China blazes trail for 'clean' nuclear power from thorium

 
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Lord Beria3



Joined: 25 Feb 2009
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Location: Moscow Russia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:15 pm    Post subject: China blazes trail for 'clean' nuclear power from thorium Reply with quote

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/9784044/China-blazes-trail-for-clean-nuclear-power-from-thorium.html

Quote:
Princeling Jiang Mianheng, son of former leader Jiang Zemin, is spearheading a project for China's National Academy of Sciences with a start-up budget of $350m.

He has already recruited 140 PhD scientists, working full-time on thorium power at the Shanghai Institute of Nuclear and Applied Physics. He will have 750 staff by 2015.

The aim is to break free of the archaic pressurized-water reactors fueled by uranium -- originally designed for US submarines in the 1950s -- opting instead for new generation of thorium reactors that produce far less toxic waste and cannot blow their top like Fukushima.

"China is the country to watch," said Baroness Bryony Worthington, head of the All-Parliamentary Group on Thorium Energy, who visited the Shanghai operations recently with a team from Britain's National Nuclear Laboratory.

"They are really going for it, and have talented researchers. This could lead to a massive break-through."

The Chinese are leading the charge, but they are not alone. Norway's Thor Energy began a four-year test last month with Japan's Toshiba-Westinghouse to see whether they could use thorium at Norway's conventional Halden reactor in Oslo.

The Japanese are keen to go further, knowing they have to come up with something radically new to regain public trust and save their nuclear industry.

Japan's International Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS) -- now led by thorium enthusiast Takashi Kamei -- is researching molten salt reactors that use liquid fuel.

Is this what Premier Shinzo Abe meant when he revealed before Christmas that he planned to relaunch nuclear power in Japan with "entirely different" technology? We will find out.

The Chinese aim to beat them to it. Technology for the molten salt process already exists. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee built such a reactor in the 1960s. It was shelved by the Nixon Administration. The Pentagon needed plutonium residue from uranium to build nuclear bombs. The imperatives of the Cold War prevailed.

The thorium blueprints gathered dust in the archives until retrieved and published by former Nasa engineer Kirk Sorensen. The US largely ignored him: China did not.

Mr Jiang visited the Oak Ridge labs and obtained the designs after reading an article in the American Scientist two years ago extolling thorium. His team concluded that a molten salt reactor -- if done the right way -- may answer China's prayers.

Mr Jiang says China's energy shortage is becoming "scary" and will soon pose a threat to national security. It is no secret what he means. Escalating disputes with with India, Vietnam, the Philippines, and above all Japan, are quickly becoming the biggest threat to world peace. It is a resource race compounded by a geo-strategic struggle, with echoes of the 1930s.

You can view it as a technology race or a joint venture in the common interest. It hardly matters which. If the Chinese can crack thorium, the world will need less oil, coal, and gas than feared. Wind turbines will vanish from our landscape. There will less risk of a global energy crunch, less risk of resource wars, and less risk of a climate tipping point.


Good luck to the Chinese! Thorium seems the most likely energy break-through in the next two to three decades to help us survive the 2030-2040 limits of growth Crunch.
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
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Location: Houǝsʇlʎ' ᴉʇ,s ɹǝɐllʎ uoʇ ʍoɹʇɥ ʇɥǝ ǝɟɟoɹʇ' pou,ʇ ǝʌǝu qoʇɥǝɹ˙

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's hope it can replenish aquifers, generate topsoil, bring back exterminated and endangered species, reforest, stop chemical pollution of the biosphere, sequestrate CO2, feed the hungry, eliminate inequality and help the obese lose their fat.
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