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Why isn't Thorium used for reactor fuel rods?

  1. May 12, 2016 #1
    Is THORIUM a viable alternative Reactor Fuel? Seems like URANIUM and PLUTONIUM are to easily weaponized.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 13, 2016 #2

    DrDu

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    Thorium itself isn't fissible. There were some breeding reactor concepts which produced U-233 from Th-232, but they required large quantities of U-235 and therefore also contained a large proliferation risk.
     
  4. May 13, 2016 #3

    mathman

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  5. May 13, 2016 #4

    Astronuc

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    https://www.gen-4.org/gif/upload/docs/application/pdf/2013-10/gif_egthoriumpaperfinal.pdf [Broken]

    Folks have been thinking about thorium fuel cycles for the last 6 decades. The idea gets revived periodically, and nations such as India, China and others with substantial thorium deposits have active programs.

    Thorium fuel was tested an Indian Point 1 starting around 1962, and on a limited basis in the Shippingport (LWBR) reactor in the late 1970s through early 1980s.
    https://inldigitallibrary.inl.gov/sti/2664750.pdf [Broken]

    MIT study (1999) - http://ltbridge.com/assets/15.pdf
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  6. May 13, 2016 #5
    In a light water reactor, thorium has less burnup per ton of fuel than uranium by a significant amount. It has a parasitic effect on its neutron economy which essentially wastes reactivity compared to uranium/plutonium.
     
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