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Thorium salt reactors in emergencies

  1. Mar 16, 2011 #1
    Now that we've had another cooling incident / incidents, I'm curious how the Thorium flouride reactor would have faired. I've read that continous reprocessing of the salt would likely be part of the process. Does this imply that there would be less lag in the system should cooling become an issue?

    - Mike
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 18, 2011 #2
    IIRC the thorium fuel cycle cannot "meltdown". Could be wrong though.
  4. Mar 26, 2011 #3
    My understanding of the molten salt reactor is that there is a meltable plug that melts if the temperature gets too high, so that all the molten fuel material then drains out of the reactor core through that plug. This then averts any further reaction or heat buildup.

    Thorium itself cannot sustain any runaway reaction, because its nuclear cross-section is too low. It has to be exposed to a more potent neutron source, such as uranium or plutonium.
  5. Jun 27, 2011 #4
    Well, what they're really talking about is a 232Th --> 233U fuel cycle.
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