Is there a thorium breeder reactor in the USA's Future?

In summary, the conversation discusses the development of thorium molten salt reactors in China and the lack of activity in the US in this area. The question is raised about the potential for the US to build next generation reactors in the next 10-15 years and the challenges faced by the nuclear power industry. The possibility of using thorium molten salt reactors to utilize fissile waste products is also mentioned. Additional resources are provided for further information on the topic.
  • #1
leprechaun0
12
0
I have been reading sporadically about China's development of a thorium molten salt reactor. I am not aware of much activity in the US.

Has anyone heard of the US building next gen reactors in the next 10-15 years? It seems nuclear power here is dead.

Also is it true that the thorium molten salt style reactors can utilize fissile waste products for extra neutrons? Thus rendering the waste products into less reactive waste?
 
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  • #2
You might be interested in the http://www.gen-4.org/Technology/evolution.htm. The US is involved with it. The MSR is just one of the reactor types begin studied.

There are still a couple of reactors being built in the US at different stages. From Wikipedia:
As of December 2011, construction by Southern Company on two new nuclear units has begun, and they are expected to be delivering commercial power by 2016 and 2017.[116][117] But, looking ahead, experts see continuing challenges that will make it very difficult for the nuclear power industry to expand beyond a small handful of reactor projects that "government agencies decide to subsidize by forcing taxpayers to assume the risk for the reactors and mandating that ratepayers pay for construction in advance". Mark Cooper suggests that the cost of nuclear power, which already had risen sharply in 2010 and 2011, could "climb another 50 percent due to tighter safety oversight and regulatory delays in the wake of the reactor calamity in Japan".[118]
 
  • #3
Hey thanks, I was just focusing on the MSRs because they are relatively new to me.
 
  • #4
leprechaun0 said:
I have been reading sporadically about China's development of a thorium molten salt reactor. I am not aware of much activity in the US.

Has anyone heard of the US building next gen reactors in the next 10-15 years? It seems nuclear power here is dead.

Also is it true that the thorium molten salt style reactors can utilize fissile waste products for extra neutrons? Thus rendering the waste products into less reactive waste?

you might be interested in http://www.ted.com/talks/kirk_sorensen_thorium_an_alternative_nuclear_fuel.html and http://energyfromthorium.com/
 
  • #5


I can provide a response to your questions about thorium breeder reactors in the USA's future. While there is currently no operational thorium breeder reactor in the US, there has been ongoing research and development in this area. The US Department of Energy has invested in thorium-based nuclear energy research, including the development of advanced reactor designs such as the molten salt reactor. However, the progress has been slow and there is currently no concrete plan for building a thorium breeder reactor in the near future.

On the other hand, China has made significant strides in thorium reactor technology and has plans to build a prototype reactor in the next few years. It is possible that this could drive more interest and investment in thorium reactors in the US in the future.

Regarding your question about utilizing fissile waste products in thorium reactors, it is true that these reactors have the potential to use nuclear waste as a fuel source. This could potentially reduce the amount of long-lived nuclear waste and make it less radioactive. However, this technology is still in the research and development stage and has not been implemented on a large scale.

In terms of the future of nuclear power in the US, it is a complex issue with many factors at play. While there has been a decline in nuclear power in recent years, there is still a strong need for clean and reliable energy sources. It is possible that thorium breeder reactors could play a role in the future of nuclear power, but it will depend on various economic, political, and technological factors. As scientists, we will continue to research and explore all potential energy sources, including thorium reactors, to find the best solutions for our energy needs.
 

Related to Is there a thorium breeder reactor in the USA's Future?

1. What is a thorium breeder reactor?

A thorium breeder reactor is a type of nuclear reactor that uses thorium as its primary fuel source. Unlike traditional nuclear reactors that use uranium, a thorium breeder reactor can produce its own fuel by converting thorium into uranium-233 through a process called nuclear transmutation.

2. Why is there interest in developing thorium breeder reactors in the USA?

There are several reasons why there is interest in developing thorium breeder reactors in the USA. First, thorium is a more abundant and safer fuel source compared to uranium. It also produces less waste and is less prone to nuclear proliferation. Additionally, thorium breeder reactors have the potential to produce more energy and operate at higher efficiencies than traditional nuclear reactors.

3. Is there currently a thorium breeder reactor in the USA?

No, there is currently no thorium breeder reactor in operation in the USA. However, there are ongoing research and development efforts to build and test thorium breeder reactors in the country.

4. What are the challenges in developing a thorium breeder reactor in the USA?

One of the main challenges in developing a thorium breeder reactor in the USA is the lack of infrastructure and regulatory framework for this type of nuclear technology. Additionally, there are still technical challenges to overcome, such as developing efficient and cost-effective methods for extracting and processing thorium fuel.

5. Are there any potential risks associated with thorium breeder reactors?

Like any nuclear technology, there are potential risks associated with thorium breeder reactors, such as the release of radioactive materials and the possibility of accidents. However, research and development efforts are focused on addressing and minimizing these risks through advanced safety features and protocols.

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