PowerSwitch Main Page
PowerSwitch
The UK's Peak Oil Discussion Forum & Community
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

M King Hubbert predicted breeder reactors that eat waste!

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    PowerSwitch Forum Index -> Nuclear Power
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Eclipse



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 11
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:43 am    Post subject: M King Hubbert predicted breeder reactors that eat waste! Reply with quote

M King Hubbert himself foresaw the nuclear era lasting thousands of years into the future! He starts talking about nuclear on page 28 of the following PDF, and breeder reactors breeding "fertile" nuclear products up to "fissile" on page 30.
https://web.archive.org/web/20080527233843/http://www.hubbertpeak.com/hubbert/1956/1956.pdf
That turns the 'problem of nuclear waste into today's energy solution.

There are Molten Salt Reactors that *cannot* melt down because they are *already* a liquid. Everyone knows they can eat nuclear waste and warheads. Because it is a liquid and constantly moving through pipes, the MSR also doesn't need to stop to refuel on new fuel rods. They just add the new fuel as it circulates. Because they eat the nuclear 'waste', breeding 'fertile' material into 'fissile', they get so much more energy out of each bit of uranium and thorium that just the uranium particles floating in our oceans could last for billions of years! That makes nuclear power renewable! https://tinyurl.com/y89fsymo

There's a specific kind of Molten Salt Reactor called the Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactor. If you've met the LFTR before in one of Kirk Sorenson's videos, hold onto your hats because this one is even better! It's a fast reactor, so the wastes can stay in there for decades before cleaning them out. That avoids expensive waste removal and plumbing. It can also burn more fuel types than the LFTR. We can just throw old spent fuel rods — including the zirconium cladding! — straight into the radioactive soup without the 7 stage pyrpoprocessing that generated some proliferation fears. This avoids an expensive 'blanket', the extra plumbing around the reactor core that converts fertile waste into fissile fuel. We get plutonium from old nuclear bombs, new natural uranium and thorium and just throw it all into the soup! It requires extra fuel than the LFTR to start up but after a few years is so much more efficient it pays that extra effort back. It's just a simpler, better reactor than the LFTR, and I thought LFTR was the next best thing to fusion! Half hour youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqVt8cxx-44 More here: http://www.elysiumindustries.com

Finally, the real waste (called fission products) can be vitrified into ceramic blocks and buried in little bunkers under the reactor-park for just 300 years, and then they're safe. A human lifetime will only produce about a golf-ball of waste. Australia has about 25 million people. That would be 25 million golf balls of waste every 70 years — filling just 1 and a quarter Olympic swimming pools every 70 years. (That's the total volume for the whole country, but the waste would actually be stored in *much* smaller bunkers in each state.) This 4 minute video looks at another type of waste-eating breeder reactor, but has a great video covering the waste disposal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlMDDhQ9-pE
_________________
http://eclipsenow.wordpress.com
Just another burnt out peak oil activist...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
kenneal - lagger
Site Admin


Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Posts: 11379
Location: Newbury, Berkshire

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only problem that I have heard of is that no one has ever been able to build one that is safe, that actually works and that produces sufficient net energy at the end of the process to be worthwhile. All three conditions are essential at the same time but seem to have been unobtainable so far.
_________________
Action is the antidote to despair - Joan Baez
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Eclipse



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 11
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:
The only problem that I have heard of is that no one has ever been able to build one that is safe, that actually works and that produces sufficient net energy at the end of the process to be worthwhile. All three conditions are essential at the same time but seem to have been unobtainable so far.


An experimental MSR has been built, and here's JFK standing next to it with Weinberg, the inventor. Check the wiki for more. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten_salt_reactor


China is working on them.
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/602051/fail-safe-nuclear-power/

We know the physics works, but there are some issues with salt corrosion they are still working out. Although Ed Pheil, engineer behind the MSCFR, says that corrosion won't be an issue because the salts don't have the right amounts of oxygen and water around them to enable the normal corrosive chemistry.

Why don't we have them yet? It's an accident of history. Kirk Sorenson explains that Nixon diverted thorium funding to the Integral Fast Reactor for jobs. Politics stuffed it up, as well as the military wanting abundant uranium to plutonium reactions from fast reactors. I like the Integral Fast Reactor, a technology that would have easily prevented the melt-downs at Chernobyl and Fukushima. But I *love* the thorium reactor, a Molten Salt Reactor that *cannot* melt down because it is already a liquid! Here it is: 36 minutes that has actual audio of Nixon discussing diverting funds for politically expedient jobs. If only history had gone the other way, we might have an MSR powered world, no deaths by coal-pollution and no climate change!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbyr7jZOllI[/img]

Oh, and lastly, the EROEI of BREEDER reactors? Have you read how much energy is consumed in the mining and refining of uranium? It's vast. When we have breeder reactors that can just EAT nuclear waste, getting 60 to 90 times the energy out of each bit of uranium, I've seen EROEI studies suggesting breeder reactors could have energy profits in the HIGH HUNDREDS, maybe even THOUSANDS! Today's nukes only have an EROEI of about 40 to 60, depending on the assumptions of the paper. But when you eliminate the truly awe inspiring levels of fuel and energy used in mining and refining uranium from the second and third through to the 50th time the fuel is being recycled through the breeder, the EROI implications are mind-boggling. The UK ALREADY has enough nuclear 'waste' to run her for 500 years and America has enough to run her for 1000!
_________________
http://eclipsenow.wordpress.com
Just another burnt out peak oil activist...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
BritDownUnder



Joined: 21 Sep 2011
Posts: 602
Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It'll be nice when it works. From what I understand the radioactive stuff will have to slush around in molten fluoride salts for about 120 years. I am not sure how long the container holding it all will last.

As for Thorium, does it not have to go into a reactor first to turn it into fissile U233 and then go into another reactor to generate power.

I am all in favour of nuclear power in Australia but I think the time for it has passed. John Gorton was probably the last best chance of getting it.
_________________
G'Day cobber!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Eclipse



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 11
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BritDownUnder wrote:
It'll be nice when it works. From what I understand the radioactive stuff will have to slush around in molten fluoride salts for about 120 years. I am not sure how long the container holding it all will last.

I've not heard that, as 1/ the molten salt will be used in the next reactor and 2/ the fission products can be electrochemically removed and stored in vitrified ceramic blocks under the reactor park for 300 years.

Quote:
As for Thorium, does it not have to go into a reactor first to turn it into fissile U233 and then go into another reactor to generate power.

Yes and no! Yes if in one of Kirk Sorenson's LFTR's, but not in Ed Pheil's MCSFR. The MCSFR is a FAST reactor. The LFTR is a slow thermal reactor, where if you imagine aiming a neutron at a U233 atom (what thorium decays into) being a bit like a game of golf. Imagine it's putt-putt golf with a really big slope down to the hole! Hit it gently, and the neutron just slides into the hole. But it needs a specific isotope of thorium and reprocessed waste to work in the thermal spectrum going 'slow' like that.

Now, the revolution in Ed Pheil's Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactor is that it's FAST! Surely, that means we lose the big beautiful downward slope of the slow putt putt hole? Hit it too fast, and the ball misses the slope and shoots on past! Yes, that's true. The nuclear engineers I've spoken to assure me the 'cross-section' per reaction shrinks as you go faster. The neutrons miss the slope! (I'm not a physicist or scientist, but have just learned all this watching videos and asking lots of questions!) So how do they fix this? Put a LOT more fuel in, like adding a bunch of extra golf-holes! It's got about 5 times more fuel, but the MCSFR runs so efficiently that eventually it saves time and money on the LFTR. So you can actually chuck in cut up old fuel rods WITHOUT removing the zirconium cladding, and it all just goes into the soup and melts and bubbles around and WHAM! Get's hit by a bunch more golf balls (neutrons) travelling a whole bunch faster and just hitting everything. Does that make sense? If you need more detail, I can't really help as my humanities brain had to learn all that in metaphors.

Quote:
I am all in favour of nuclear power in Australia but I think the time for it has passed. John Gorton was probably the last best chance of getting it.

Yes! Sadly, I can see dozens of solutions for our compounding energy and environmental crisis, but the politics of climate denial etc just astonishes and confounds me. Who the hell wants to continue burning coal when it KILLS so many people?
_________________
http://eclipsenow.wordpress.com
Just another burnt out peak oil activist...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
kenneal - lagger
Site Admin


Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Posts: 11379
Location: Newbury, Berkshire

PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eclipse wrote:
............2/ the fission products can be electrochemically removed and stored in vitrified ceramic blocks under the reactor park for 300 years.
..................


I thought you said that there weren't any waste products?
_________________
Action is the antidote to despair - Joan Baez
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Eclipse



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 11
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where did I say that? If so, I apologise.

HOW DO BREEDER REACTORS BURN NUCLEAR WASTE?
Breeder eat nuclear waste. Years ago that sounded crazy to me. I used to think there was something called 'uranium' and then after fissioning, something bad called 'nuclear waste'. But it's much more complicated than that with a split uranium atom decaying through 12 or 14 changes before it finally, in 100,000 years or so, ends up a lump of inert lead. But there's a better way to get more energy out if it and shrink the storage time.

THE CAMPFIRE
Let's explain the *basic* physics (as I understand it) with the metaphor of a big bonfire that gets rained on. The uranium 'logs' were burning away, but when they got rained on we see ash and some unburned logs all mixed in together. (The 'rain' in this metaphor is the fact that nuclear poisons build up in the fuel rod after 14 months, shutting down the reactions.) That mix of ash and wet logs is what we call nuclear waste today, locked up in the used fuel rods. They have so much energy left in them we have to store them for 100,000 years!

Instead we should take these 'logs' and wash the 'ash' off and bury the 'ash'. Then because the logs are 'wet' we need to place them carefully around our campfire to 'dry out' for a year or so. That's a breeder reactor, right there.

Logs = actinides mixed in with all the fission products and poison.
Ash = fission products, broken atoms that get in the way of the fission process.
Bathtub = pyro-processing, an electro-chemical radioactive bathtub that melts the fuel rods down into a soup. Anodes and cathodes then separate out the actinides and fission products, 'washing' the nuclear fuel clean.
Drying out = the fertile actinides are placed in a nuclear blanket around the core to absorb spare neutrons for a year, and then the fertile 'waste' becomes fissile fuel.
We melt down the 'ash' (fission products) into ceramic bricks and bury them under the reactor-park for 300 years, and then they're safe, as this 4 minute Argonne Labs video shows. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlMDDhQ9-pE
_________________
http://eclipsenow.wordpress.com
Just another burnt out peak oil activist...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    PowerSwitch Forum Index -> Nuclear Power All times are GMT + 1 Hour
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group