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Thorium

Posted Sep 22, '12 at 11:50am

sensanaty

sensanaty

862 posts

Let's talk about Thorium fusion for a while.
Why are there no Thorium reactors being made, when we are perfectly capable of making it with our current technology?

Why, you may be asking, should we make Thorium reactors?

Well, to list some pros of thorium as opposed to Uranium reactors:
We have enough Thorium to power the earth for centuries to come
The radioactive waste only lasts a few hundred years
It can't melt down
Almost all of the 232 Th is used, whereas only 2% of the 238 U is used
Most nuclear waste can be burned in Thorium

But, what are the cons?
The word nuclear, and oil companies.

People are frightened of anything that is in any way nuclear. Most people immediately think Chernobyl or Hiroshima the moment they hear the word nuclear. People don't realize all the advantages of nuclear energy.

And, oil companies practically control the government. If this new source of energy were to be used around the world, Oil companies would quickly fail.

Discuss?

My sources: college

 

Posted Sep 22, '12 at 11:56am

nichodemus

nichodemus

11,854 posts

Knight

We're already reducing the number of reactors, Germany and Japan spring to mind, let alone undertake the construction of newer kinds of reactors. I do support nuclear energy though. Unfortunately my nation is too tiny to house one in case of a meltdown.

 

Posted Sep 22, '12 at 12:21pm

HahiHa

HahiHa

4,962 posts

Knight

If what you say is true, Thorium looks like a great alternative to Uranium, especially considering the nuclear waste issue that is as of yet unresolved.

The thing is, as nicho said, that people are looking for alternatives to nuclear energy, not just to Uranium. Not only the disasters like Tchernobyl or ***ushima, but also many medium and smaller events and accidents occuring in nuclear plants show that the nuclear companies aren't keeping to the necessary strict security and condition norms, raising the risks and stirring mistrust from the population.

I agree that nuclear energy can be useful, but I also think we need to be able to live without; and Japan has shown that it is possible even at short terms.

 

Posted Sep 22, '12 at 12:24pm

nichodemus

nichodemus

11,854 posts

Knight

I agree that nuclear energy can be useful, but I also think we need to be able to live without; and Japan has shown that it is possible even at short terms.

Japan was the world's role model for nuclear energy actually. It depended heavily upon it post 1979 oil shock crisis.

 

Posted Sep 22, '12 at 12:40pm

HahiHa

HahiHa

4,962 posts

Knight

Didn't realize that. But it doesn't matter, Japan was still able to shut down all their nuclear plants and get away relatively well with it. I guess after 1979 the tried to replace their energy expenses instead of cutting them?

 

Posted Sep 22, '12 at 12:51pm

nichodemus

nichodemus

11,854 posts

Knight

I guess after 1979 the tried to replace their energy expenses instead of cutting them?

Well, prior to the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, and the nuclear disasters that resulted from it, Japan generated 30% of its electrical power from nuclear reactors and planned to increase that share to 40%. Not sure how they're going to replace all of it after the shut down though.

 

Posted Sep 22, '12 at 1:36pm

Alpha791

Alpha791

651 posts

I think that this would be a great alternative to using only Uranium232, but everyone thinks that anything nuclear is going to detonate and kill everything in a 200 mile radius, so almost every country that has and uses nuclear reactors is trying to either downsize them, or remove them completely so I doubt this will ever be truly pursued to the point that it can replace fossil fuels in producing energy.

 

Posted Sep 22, '12 at 4:14pm

HahiHa

HahiHa

4,962 posts

Knight

so almost every country that has and uses nuclear reactors is trying to either downsize them, or remove them completely

Don't be so sure, there may be an increasing awareness of the risks of nuclear energy but the support for them is still quite strong (not even speaking of the over-powered nuclear lobby). People are angry because accidents happen, fissures appear, old nuclear plants are still run despite them being way too old. But many more think that it would be ruinous to hasten into alternative energies, and I can guarantee you that we haven't heard of nuclear energy for the last time. I actually think that people are more angry about the way the nuclear energy is handled, than about the energy itself. If all nuclear plants were to be renovated to the newest standards and Uranium replaced by Thorium, the opposition might loose significant power (no pun intended).

 

Posted Sep 22, '12 at 4:31pm

Alpha791

Alpha791

651 posts

Don't be so sure, there may be an increasing awareness of the risks of nuclear energy but the support for them is still quite strong (not even speaking of the over-powered nuclear lobby). People are angry because accidents happen, fissures appear, old nuclear plants are still run despite them being way too old. But many more think that it would be ruinous to hasten into alternative energies, and I can guarantee you that we haven't heard of nuclear energy for the last time. I actually think that people are more angry about the way the nuclear energy is handled, than about the energy itself. If all nuclear plants were to be renovated to the newest standards and Uranium replaced by Thorium, the opposition might loose significant power (no pun intended).

Well, could you name a few specific groups who have real interest in the renovation of nuclear energy? (Not being smart, being serious)

 

Posted Sep 22, '12 at 5:15pm

HahiHa

HahiHa

4,962 posts

Knight

Well, could you name a few specific groups who have real interest in the renovation of nuclear energy? (Not being smart, being serious)

Hmm.. I don't know, honestly. The question is, would lobbies be more interested in investing into such a renovation in hopes that they can go on with the nuclear business, or do they want to keep their current system because it probably shoves more money up their ***? I know that the French company Areva, world-wide active in the nuclear business, are making huge profits from selling their dirty Mox. There'd be some resistance to just give up on that, I'm sure. But maybe they'd see the long-term profits from such a change?

France as a country would certainly have interest in keeping their 50-60 nuclear plants, instead of having to replace them with alternative energies (mission near-impossible). And I'm sure every citizen in favor of nuclear energy would be interested in that Thorium alternative.

 
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