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

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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. 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. 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. 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.

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. This makes thorium a more cost efficient and less environmentally damaging fuel source.

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.

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

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. Now they are more interested because of smog," said Professor Li Zhong, a scientist working on the project. Though named thorium high temperature reactor, mostly U was fissioned. The THTR was a helium-cooled high-temperature reactor with a pebble-bed reactor core consisting of approximatelyspherical fuel compacts each 6 centimetres 2.

India[ edit ] India has one of the largest supplies of thorium in the world, with comparatively poor quantities of uranium. They estimated the reactor could function without an operator for days. It is the "only country in the world with a detailed, funded, government-approved plan" to focus on thorium-based nuclear power.

As of July the major equipment of the PFBR had been erected and the loading of "dummy" fuels in peripheral locations was in progress. The reactor was expected to go critical by September The original cost of the project was Rs.

Thereafter thorium is to be the only fuel. The earliest the reactor would become operational was Benefits of Nuclear Energy. Nuclear energy is a secure, dependable source of power for the United States.

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

It is not subject to unpredictable weather or climate conditions, and consumers benefit greatly from the fact that nuclear fuel costs fluctuate less often than other fuel sources. Globally 60 more reactors are under construction.

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 .

Here is a rundown on the main advantages of nuclear energy: Reliable; Nuclear reactors offer impressive based-load electricity and operate and produce power over 90% of the time.

Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. What is Nuclear Energy and. Mar 28,  · 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.

Nuclear powers America’s cities and towns more reliably than any other energy source.

Assessing the costs of nuclear power

It holds the key to our high-tech future and drives our highest hopes for a brighter world. It creates thousands of jobs and adds billions to our economy.

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.

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