Molten-Salt Thorium Nuclear Reactors

This page is a sub-page of our page on Physics and its models

ABSTRACT:

This page is about thorium-based nuclear power. As I state below, I voted “no” to nuclear power in the Swedish referendum that was held in March 1980, as a result of the Three Mile Island accident about a year earlier because I considered nuclear power to be accident-prone, storage-perverse, weapons-prone, expensive, and environmentally destructive.

Decision making, John Kay’s way.
List of nuclear power accidents by country, at Wikipedia.
Apocalypse soon by Robert McNamara, 2004.
Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity act.
Dangers and Effects of Nuclear Waste Disposal.
• Environmental impact of nuclear power, at Wikipedia.
Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor at Wikipedia.
Thorium Debunk by Gordon McDowell, 2016.
Thorium – myths versus facts, by Kirk Sorensen at EnergyFromThorium.
China prepares to test thorium-fuelled nuclear reactor, Nature, 10 Sept 2021.
•  The work of Alvin Weinberg at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, YouTube.
Quotes from Alvin Weinberg’s autobiography.
• A video from a recent congressional testimony on downblending of U-233
was published at Energyfromthorium.com on 2 May 2022.
Kathy Huff confirmed by the Senate to lead the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, 5 May 2022,
by Kirk Sorensen at EnergyFromThorium.
Thorium Energy Security Act released, 18 May 2022,
by Kirk Sorensen at EnergyFromThorium.
Overdue Homework for the Department Of Energy, 26 May 2022
by Kirk Sorensen at EnergyFromThorium.
Thorium Energy Security Act” released, 18 May 2022,
by Kirk Sorensen at EnergyFromThorium.
PNAS: SMR waste study.
Rebuttal, 1 June 2022
by Kirk Sorensen at EnergyFromThorium.

EARLY NUCLEAR REACTORS (their types, characteristics and accidents)

NUCLEAR REACTOR DEVELOPMENT

///////

The (partial) meltdown of the the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor in Harrisburg on March 28, 1979 resulted in a referendum in Sweden (in March 1980) on whether or not the country should invest in a future of nuclear power. I (Ambjörn Naeve) voted ‘no’ – as did almost 40 percent of the voters. The main three reasons behind my ‘no’ was that:

1. I did not believe that cores of the type of highly pressurized light-water reactors that were prevalent at the time (and which are still prevalent today), one of which was the the Three Mile Island reactor, would not melt down again in the future. This belief was later confirmed by the meltdown of the reactor in Chernobyl in 1986 and the reactor in Fukushima in 2011, both of which were of the same type (pressurized, light water, fast reactor) as that of the Three Mile Island reactor in Harrisburg.

2. In spite of the fact that a law requiring safe, long-term (100,000 years) storage of nuclear waste (Villkorslagen) had been passed in Sweden in 1977, I did not believe that a viable solution would be reached regarding the problem of storing, for such an unimaginably long time, such massive amounts of highly radioactive nuclear waste that the management of a uranium-235-to-plutonium-based nuclear economy would require. This belief has been reinforced by the fact that today, 42 years after the referendum, the safety of the proposed long-term storage method for nuclear waste is still hotly debated.

3. I was acutely aware of the social dangers inherent in the plutonium-based energy system outlined by the Atoms for Peace program that was initiated by Eisenhower‘s speech in 1953. These concerns were later forcefully expressed by Robert McNamara, who served as the U.S. Secretary of Defense during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, in a talk titled Apocalypse soon, which he delivered at the Center for International Security and Cooperation in Stanford on Oct. 18, 2004.

========

However, last year I came across the work of Kirk Sorensen and his blog The future of energy, and I was shocked to learn that there seems to exist a safe, low-waste, and peaceful form of nuclear power that can be realized as a LFTR, often called a “Lifter”, that is, in addition, substantially cheaper to build and operate that equivalent forms of traditional nuclear reactors.

An LFTR is a form of breeder reactor that is based on thorium and which produces (“breeds”) uranium-233, an isotope of uranium that does not occur in nature and that is physically impossible to use for military purposes. An LFTR addresses the three points above in the following way:

1. As opposed to the dominant form of nuclear reactor, which uses solid fuel (of type uranium-235), and which is cooled with (highly) pressurized light water at a very high temperature (in the so-called “fast-spectrum”, an LFTR uses liquid thorium as its fuel, is cooled by molten salt (often sodium fluoride) at a relatively low temperature (in the so-called “thermal spectrum”) – with no gases being produced. Moreover, an LFTR makes use of a chemical process called a “kidney”, which continually transports new fuel into the fuel tank and at the same time continually removes used fuel from the system.

When the cooling system of a pressurized light water reactor malfunctions, the solid fuel rods of the reactor keep producing energy. Therefore, the pressure of the gases of vaporized-water (i.e., oxygen and hydrogen) builds to a point where the reactor tank is blown to pieces. This is what happened in the disasters at Chernobyl in 1986 and at Fukushima in 2011, leading to a so-called meltdown of the reactor core, and which almost happened in Harrisburg in 1979, leading to a so-called partial meltdown.

In the case of an LFTR, there is no solid core and there are no high-pressure gases that need to be kept under control. Moreover, if the reactor tank malfunctions, the liquid fuel is simply drained out of the tank (by gravity), and the fission process stops automatically.

2. In the case of a pressurized light water reactor, the fuel is solid, and there is no “kidney-like” process that automatically transports the used fuel out of the system. Therefore the fuel is less efficiently used than in an LFTR and the fuel rods have to be mechanically replaced, which leads to enormous amounts of nuclear waste that have to be stored over eons of time.

As mentioned above, the chemical kidney system of an LFTR continually transports the used fuel out of the system, thereby eliminating the need to mechanically exchange the fuel of the reactor’s core. This leads both to more efficient use of the fuel as well as to a much lower level of waste.

Moreover, thorium has two additional advantages with regard to accessibility:
I) It is more than 400 times as abundant in nature as the equivalent fuel uranium-235.
II) It does not have to be mined, since it mostly appears at the surface layer, or as a waste product of other mineral-extraction processes and therefore in fact needs to be removed.
Together with the advantages under point 2. above, this makes an LFTR much cheaper to operate than a pressurized water reactor fueled by uranium-235 with the same energy output.

3. Maybe the most powerful argument for the LFTR type of nuclear reactor is that it’s fuel cycle is based on thorium which breeds (= produces) uranium-233. This is an isotope of uranium which does not occur in nature, and that is physically impossible to use for military purposes.

Unfortunately, this highly desirable property seems to be the major reason why the LFTR has been (and continues to be) so vehemently opposed by the “atoms-for-war” establishment. The scientific disinformation campaign carried out against the LFTR has been brilliantly documented in the video Thorium Debunk by Gordon McDowell, which is transcribed below for reference purposes.

========

This form of Molten Salt Nuclear Reactor was invented by Alvin Weinberg at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and an experimental version of such a reactor, a Molten Salt Reactor was started at the ORNL on 8 October 1968. Indeed, Weinberg and others had very high hopes for the future of thorium after the U-233 start of the MSRE. But unfortunately, it was not meant to be.

Based on the success of the nuclear reactor that powered the Nautilus submarine, which went into operation in 1954, the Atomic Energy Commission had funded a very public, very expensive effort to develop a uranium-235-to-plutonium-based Liquid-Metal Fast Breeder Reactor, and the existence of the Molten Salt Reactor program was viewed somewhere between a distraction and an embarrassment for that program. Therefore, on 24 December 1969 the AEC Director of the Reactor Division, Milton Shaw, ordered the shutdown of the MSRE, (see the video Thorium Debunk (19 min, 22 sek) and in 1972, three years after the reactor was shut down, the entire Molten Salt Reactor program was cancelled.

However, the Molten Salt Reactor ideas turned out to be difficult to stamp out by the representatives of the “Atoms for war” establishment. In fact, a Molten Salt Reactor has proved to be commercially viable:

The Shippingport Atomic Power Station reached criticality on December 2, 1957, and made use of three different cores during its lifetime. Aside from stoppages for two core changes, it remained in operation for 25 years until October 1982. The last of its cores consisted of a mixture of thorium and uranium-235, although it was not an LFTR. It went into operation in 1977, and successfully produced electrical power for the Duquesne Light Company until 1982. [3]

But the military establishment was not easily convinced – especially not by scientifically grounded arguments.

/////// Quoting Kirk Sorensen from his entry on Save U-233 (posted 2 May 2022):

In fact, back in the 1990s, the Office of Nuclear Energy at the United States Department of Energy made a decision that they didn’t see any value for U-233 in their future programs. They’ve never asked industry whether they saw a value for it, and they’ve never reconsidered this bad decision. But it set in motion a series of events that the proponents of peaceful nuclear energy are still attempting to undo.

Once DOE-NE said U-233 was “no-good”, the problem got turned over to the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management, the “garbage-men” of DOE. And they have been working extremely slowly and at titanic expense ever since to destroy the U-233 in an irreversible way called “downblending,” which involves mixing the U-233 with natural U-238 until the U-233 is at very, very low concentrations in the “downblended” material. Once this downblending is completed, they plan to dispose of the material in Nevada.

Now, here’s the thing: downblending U-233 doesn’t change its radiological characteristics at all. It’s still got a 160,000-year half-life, and will continue to decay for the next few million years. But downblending does make U-233 worthless for any use in a thorium reactor such as the LFTR. And that is no accident. That’s what they *want* to happen.

The DOE is intentionally closing the door forever on a straightforward restart of thorium reactor development in the United States. It is nothing less than a crime against our future.

The hypocrisy of the DOE position is called into even-sharper contrast by their determination to go forward with their strategy for high-assay, low-enriched uranium or HALEU. This is uranium enriched to 20% that is needed for the fast reactors and TRISO-fueled reactors that DOE chose for their Advanced Reactor Development Program. In the solicitation for that project, DOE-NE assured developers that HALEU would be available, but many of us were skeptical, because we knew that the only commercial source for HALEU was Russia. That was back in 2020. Now Russia is at war with Ukraine and Russian HALEU is off-the-table permanently.

/////// End of quote from Kirk Sorensen.

A video from a recent congressional testimony on downblending of U-233 was published at energyfromthorium.com on 2 May 2022.

Kathy Huff confirmed by the Senate to lead the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, 5 May 2022, by Kirk Sorensen at EnergyFromThorium.

Thorium Energy Security Act” released, 18 May 2022, by Kirk Sorensen at EnergyFromThorium.

Overdue Homework for the Department Of Energy, 26 May 2022 by Kirk Sorensen at EnergyFromThorium.

PNAS SMR waste study rebuttal, 1 June 2022 by Kirk Sorensen at EnergyFromThorium.

============

The Thorium Debunk video by Gordon McDowell (see transcribation below) comes across as a true-crime report on how to effectively discredit LFTRs as a viable way forward. If this is true, my question is WHY ???

Thanks largely to Kirk Sorensen’s archeological efforts, in recent years several LFTR startups have appeared. However, they all seem to be short of funding – maybe with the exception of Dual Fluid Energy Inc., a Canadian startup from 2021 which draws on earlier German research and know-how, and which claims to combine the safety of an LFTR with the efficiency of a liquid-metal cooled reactor

The present focus in nuclear reactor development seems to be on Generation IV reactors. These are a set of nuclear reactor designs currently being researched for commercial applications by the Generation IV International Forum.[1] They are motivated by a variety of goals including improved safety, sustainability, efficiency, and cost.

The most developed Gen IV reactor design, the sodium fast reactor, has received the greatest share of funding over the years with a number of demonstration facilities operated, as well as two commercial reactors, operating in Russia. One of these has been in commercial operation since 1981.[2] The principal Gen IV aspect of the design relates to the development of a sustainable closed fuel cycle for the reactor. The molten-salt reactor, a less developed technology, is considered as potentially having the greatest inherent safety of the six models.[3][4]

The very-high-temperature reactor designs operate at much higher temperatures. This allows for high temperature electrolysis or for sulfur–iodine cycle for the efficient production of hydrogen and the synthesis of carbon-neutral fuels.[1]

The first commercial plants are not expected before 2040-2050,[4] although the World Nuclear Association suggests that some might enter commercial operation before 2030.

Reactor types (that are under consideration).

1. What is going on in the nuclear development community in Sweden?

Lately there has been a lot of talk (from the “moderates” (= right-wing) about Small Modular Reactors, while the environment party (= miljöpartiet) and the left-wing party (= vänsterpartiet) seem to be fundamentally against any kind of nuclear power. At the same time everybody seems to want wind power – but only if it is located somewhere else, which usually means “way up north” where there are a lot of windy places but not a lot of people.

Moreover, during the last decade, we have closed down much of our predictable electrical power production, including two of our nuclear reactors, we have created a commercial “electrical market” and divided our country into 4 different “energy-zones”. In doing so, we expected commercial developers to focus their efforts on those zones where there is a lack of electrical power, but, in fact, the development has been the exact opposite.

So, today we have an abundance of electrical power in the north (zone 1 and 2), and an embarrassing lack of electrical power in the south (zone 3 and 4) where new companies (that everybody claims to want) are finding it increasingly difficult to establish themselves. At the time of writing this, the price of electricity in zone 2 is 0.17 SEK/kWh while in the neighboring zone 3 the price is close to 7 SEK/kWh.

To make matters worse, it is estimated that it will take 10-15 years to upgrade the power grid so that it can transfer enough electricity from the north to the south, not to mention the fact that the “green revolution” that takes place in the north (the SSAB green steel production and the NorthVolt electrical car battery factory) is planning to use about 4 times more electricity that what is presently available there.

•  Elchocken och ministerns omöjliga löften. Kaliber, 16 maj 2022.

Varför har vi så höga elpriser idag? Det blir inte bättre utan snarare sämre i framtiden. Göran Magnusson och Peter Ruding, 20 Maj 2022.

Since we do not seem to be prepared to change our present life style of luxury consumption, it is obvious to anyone with some knowledge of physics that wind- and solar power will not be enough to sustain this. If – and that’s a big if – there is a type of nuclear reactor that satisfies the requirements of the three + one points above: safe, low-waste, peaceful and cheap, I am prepared to support the development of such reactors.

However, there seems to be a lot of Small Modular Reactors that do not fulfill these points, and Sweden seems to be investing in the development of prototypes of such SMRs. So my question to the Swedish nuclear community is this:

2. Is there any Swedish development of Liquid Fuel Thorium Reactors, in particular
of the Dual Fluid Reactors developed by the Dual Fluid Energy Inc. company?

The two tables that are presented below are a result of my efforts to create a background for enabling an informed discussion around this question, without having to delve into a lot of detailed information that is largely incomprehensible without a degree in nuclear physics.

However, since there is an immense amount of money to be made in being part of our energy future, and hence a lot of commercial interests that are fighting for funding, there is a big risk that such a discussion will turn into an “advertisement war” between the different agendas involved. I am hoping that the scientific community can be engaged in safeguarding against such a distortion. The scientific misinformation campaign that has been trying to discredit LFTRs for more than half a century (see the transcribed Thorium Debunk video below) is a sad example of what is liable to happen otherwise.

Ambjörn Naeve,
Stockholm, May 20, 2022

P.S: In the Thorium Debunk video (at 26 min, 32 sek) the following list is presented:

Return on energy invested (for different kinds of energy):
• Solar cells return 7 times the energy invested in them.
Natural gas returns 10 times the energy invested in it.
Wind returns 18 times the energy invested in it.
Coal returns 80 times the energy invested in it.
• Hydropower returns 100 times the energy invested in it.
• A Water-cooled nuclear reactor returns 80 times the energy invested in it.
• A Thorium-powered molten-salt reactor can return 2000 times the energy invested in it.

How were these numbers computed? It is extremely important to start presenting the basis for such calculations of emergy, which will be of fundamental importance for assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of the emerging circular economy.

=============================================

EARLY NUCLEAR REACTORS (their types, characteristics and accidents):

NameTypeFuelCoolantSpectrumRiskWasteWeapons
MSRE LFTRliquidthoriummolten saltthermalnolittleno
Nautilussoliduraniumlight waterfastnomuchindirectly
Shippingport1soliduraniumlight waterfastyesmuchyes
Shippingport2soliduraniumlight waterfastyesmuchyes
Shippingport3solidtho+uralight waterfastyesmuchyes
…………..
Harrisburg-1979soliduraniumlight waterfastmeltdownmuchyes
Chernobyl-1986soliduraniumlight waterfastmeltdownmuch yes
Fukushima-2011soliduraniumlight waterfastmeltdownmuchyes
Early nuclear reactors (their types, characteristics and accidents)

============

NUCLEAR REACTOR DEVELOPMENT (with a focus on LFTRs):

TimelineIndiaChinaUnited StatesSweden
1943 – Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is created.
1953Eisenhower: Atoms for Peace speech.
1957 – ??Shippingport1.
1968
1969
Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (with U-233).
1972India’s three stage
nuclear power program
The MSR program
at ORNL is terminated.
???? – 1974Shippingport2.
1977 – 1982Shippingport3.
1979Harrisburg partial meltdown
1980Swedish Referendum on Nuclear Power.
1986 – 2006NP research
is made illegal in Sweden
.
2002 The MSRE documentation is rediscovered.
2002 The MSRE documents
are scanned to PDF
by Kirk Sorensen.
2004MSR research results are sent to policy makers, national labs, and universities.
Robert McNamara:
Apocalypse soon.
2006MSR research results are uploaded to Kirk’s website.
2008MSR lectures are started at GooglePlex
and hosted on YouTube.
2009The first conference on thorium is held.
2010International thorium conferences begin.
Web logs show that Chinese students
are downloading MSRE PDFs from Kirk’s website.
2011China announces
its intention
to build a Thorium-based Molten-Salt Reactor
.
Thorium startups:
• Flibe Energy
Transatomic Power
2012Kun Chen visits Berkeley California, telling us that 300 Chinese are working full-time on Molten Salt Reactors.
2013 – Thorium startup:
• Terrestrial Energy.
2014 –Thorium startups:
ThorCon.
• Moltex.
• Seaborg Technologies. • Copenhagen Atomics.
2015India reveals their new facility for molten salt preparation and purification.China announces that now 700 engineers are working on their Molten Salt Reactor program.
2016Oak Ridge National Laboratory discovers actual film footage of the the Molten Salt Reactor itself.
2017Thorium disadvantages.
2018Thorium Debate at the Molten Salt Reactor Forum @ ThEC2018.
2019 Small Modular Reactors.
2020Russia has first SMR:
• Akademik Lomonsov
Canada startup:
Dual Fluid Energy Inc.
SMRs in Sweden:
Uniper.
Swedish Uniper
2021China’s Molten Salt Reactor Program and the Thorium Fuel Cycle/U233
………………..
China SMR prototype
starts construction:

LingLongOne
SMR startups:
Kärnfull next
LeadCold
2022LFTRDepartment of Energy continues to destroy
U-233 by downblending
.
Funding for demonstration of Swedish SMRs.
2022Generation IV reactor
Safety risks
Table of designs
PNAS: SMR waste study.
Rebuttal, 1 June 2022
by Kirk Sorensen at EnergyFromThorium.
Thorium Energy Security Act” released, 18 May 2022.
…………………..
Generation IV
International forum
.
Småskalig
kärnkraft kan vara
på plats i Sverige
före 2030
.
TimelineIndiaChinaUnited StatesSweden
NUCLEAR REACTOR DEVELOPMENT (WITH A FOCUS ON LFTRs)

============

REFERENCES:

Swedish:

Kärnkraftens historia

Villkorslagen 1977.

• Rådrumslagen 1979.

Folkomröstningen om kärnkraft i Sverige 1980.

Kärnkraftsfrågan i Sverige.

Slutförvaring av radioaktivt avfall i Sverige. En anläggning för slutförvaring kräver i Sverige tillstånd enligt kärntekniklagen från regeringen och enligt miljöbalken från domstol. I januari 2022 lämnade regeringen tillstånd till en anläggning i Forsmark som planeras av Svensk Kärnbränslehantering (SKB).
1977 tillkom den så kallade villkorslagen. Den innebar att inga nya reaktorer fick tas i drift utan att kärnkraftsbolagen kunde visa att hanteringen av det högaktiva avfallet i kärnbränslecykeln kunde ske på ett säkert sätt. I samband med villkorslagens tillkomst gick kärnkraftsföretagen samman och bildade Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB, med uppdrag att ta hand om det svenska radioaktiva avfallet.
En anläggning för slutförvaring kräver i Sverige tillstånd enligt kärntekniklagen från regeringen och enligt miljöbalken från domstol. I januari 2022 lämnade regeringen tillstånd till en anläggning i Forsmark som planeras av Svensk Kärnbränslehantering (SKB).

Tankeförbudet om kärnkraft syftar på en svensk lag som infördes efter Tjernobylolyckan 1986 av regeringen under Birgitta Dahls tid som ansvarig minister för energi- och miljöfrågorna.[1] Lagen innebar att det blev olagligt att förbereda uppförandet av en kärnreaktor i Sverige, utöver det förbud som infördes mot själva uppförandet. Tankeförbudet avskaffades år 2006.

Fjärde generationens reaktor

Torium – En möjlig råvara för framtida kärnbränsle

Radioaktivt mirakelmedel ska ge oss energi för årtusenden, Illustrerad Vetenskap, 25 maj 2020

Små reaktorer kan ge kärnkraften nytt liv, Tidningen Energi, 17 januari 2022

Den svenska elektricitetsmarknadens funktionshaveri:

•  Elchocken och ministerns omöjliga löften. Kaliber, 16 maj 2022.

Varför har vi så höga elpriser idag? Det blir inte bättre utan snarare sämre i framtiden. Göran Magnusson och Peter Ruding, 20 Maj 2022.

Om elmarknaden, på Svenska Kraftnät.

Om kraftsystement, på Svenska Kraftnät.

Kontrollrummet, på Svenska Kraftnät.

Höga elpriser ingen slump – de är skapade: ”Politik har gjort svenskarna fattigare” – Om de gigantiska elprojekten utan tillgång till el, Prof. Jan Blomgren i SwebbTV 30 maj 2022.

• Elsa Widding om elkrisen: Därför kandiderar jag för Sverigedemokraterna, Elsa Widding på YouTube.

Vindkraftsblåsningen – The Wind Power Sting, Henrik Jönsson på YouTube.

Putin-priser – Klimatrörelse + Krig = ekonomisk armageddon?, Henrik Jönsson på YouTube.

Kärnkraftskuppen – Hur politiker förstörde det svenska energisystemet, Henrik Jönsson på YouTube.

Kärnkraftsmyter – Klimatlobbyns lögner, Henrik Jönsson på YouTube.

Kärnkraft – varför ignoreras det?, Henrik Jönsson på YouTube.

• Energikris – till kärnkraftens försvar, Henrik Jönsson på YouTube.

• Energibråk i Di Debatt: “Din politik är inte att vara klimatsmart”.

English:

LFTR (Liquid Fuel Thorium Reactor), Wikipedia.

China’s Molten Salt Reactor Program and the Thorium Fuel Cycle/U233, 2021.

The Shippingport Atomic Power Station

The future of energy. Kirk Sorensen.

The Future of Nuclear Power after Fukushima. Stuart Farrimond, 24 March 2011.

Congressional testimony to save U333. Kirk Sorensen, 2 May 2022.

Will US or China Hold Keys to the 2nd Nuclear Era? Kirk Sorensen, 1 May 2022.

Thorium conference: is this the nuclear renaissance? TUDelft, 19 July 2019

Thorium Energy Alliance is a non-governmental, non-profit 501(c)3, educational organization based in the United States, which seeks to promote energy security of the world through the use of thorium as a fuel source. The potential for the use of thorium was studied extensively during the 1950s and 60s,[1] and now worldwide interest is being revived due to limitations and issues concerning safety, economics, use and issues in the availability of other energy sources.[2][3][4][5][6][7] TEA advocates thorium-based nuclear power in existing reactors and primarily in next generation reactors. TEA promotes many initiatives to educate scientists, engineers, government officials, policymakers and the general public.[8]

50th anniversary of U-233 start of MSRE, Kirk Sorensen, 8 October 2018.

•   50th anniversary of MSRE shutdown. Kirk Sorensen, 24 December 2019.

China says it’s closing in on thorium nuclear reactor.
Prachi Patel at spectrum.ieee.org, 4 August 2021.

China Is Building a Thorium Molten Salt Nuclear Reactor – Here’s Why It Matters.
Anton Petrov on YouTube, 31 July 2021,

Richard Martin on Wired, Dec 21, 2009:
Uranium Is So Last Century – Enter Thorium, the New Green Nuke

• Kaianders Sempler, Ny Teknik, 21 September 2010: Så fungerar en toriumreaktor

Kirk Sorensen on TED, April 2011: Thorium – an alternative nuclear fuel

Kirk Sorensen, at Business Insider, 25 February 2017: A forgotten war technology could safely power Earth for millions of years. Here’s why we aren’t using it 

Kirk Sorensen on YouTube, 22 Dec 2011: The Thorium Molten-Salt Reactor: Why Didn’t This Happen (and why is now the right time?):  

• The work of Alvin Weinberg at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, YouTube 17 Febr 2016

• An interview with Alvin Weinberg on the Molten Salt Reactor Question, YouTube, 2004

Quotes from Alvin Weinberg’s autobiography

Remote Maintenance of Molten Salt Reactors, YouTube 2016

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Gordon McDowell on YouTube, 2016: Thorium Debunk
a true story of scientific disinformation

Transcript of the video:

Thorium Debunk at 0:12: A new paper has just come out on comparison of thorium and uranium fuel cycles. …

Thorium Debunk at 0:46: Thorium reactors are economically totally out of the question …

Thorium Debunk at 1:11: (Hyman Rickover): The Shippingport reactor …

Thorium Debunk at 1:43: (Roger Tilbrook): The Shippingport reactor …

Thorium Debunk at 2:33: ( ): Trying to shoehorn different nuclear physics into an existing system […] We have a separate naval reactor system here in this lab …

Thorium Debunk at 2:55: ( ): The story of the Nautilus is legend …

Thorium Debunk at 2:57: ( ): Because of its success, the Nautilus was used as a starting-point of an advanced design reactor for Shippingport. It’s name is PWR (Pressurized Water Reactor)

Thorium Debunk at 3:14: (Thom Mason): The navy was prepared to pay the first-mover costs to make one work …

Thorium Debunk at 3:30: (Alvin Weinberg): I became, really, quite friendly with Rickover …

Thorium Debunk at 3:54: ( ): You know, the Navy had reactors and so the Air Force had to have reactors too …

Thorium Debunk at 4:13: ( ): The dirty little secret was that most of the people involved in it knew from the get-go that it really wasn’t practical.

Thorium Debunk at 4:30: (Alvin Weinberg): Most of us did not think that the Aircraft reactor really could work. But we did feel that there is a very interesting technology there that someday could be applied …

Thorium Debunk at 4:42: (Kirk Sorensen): And I would maintain that Weinberg was absolutely right in his assessment of the situation …

Thorium Debunk at 5:39: (Alvin Weinberg): God smiles on young chemical engineers …

Thorium Debunk at 5:50: ( ): The Navy program that led to the Light Water Reactors we have now was well optimized to the needs of the Navy, but it actually wasn’t very well optimized to the need of power production …

Thorium Debunk at 6:05: ( ): The reactor category advocated by Avin Weinberg for civilian power production, the Molten Salt Reactor, is covered in only 2 of the 3 reports dismissing thorium …

Thorium Debunk at 6:16: (Helen Caldicott): Thorium? […] Yeah, they are idiots. These people are mad […] Should I say it? It’s about erection and ejaculation!

Thorium Debunk at 7:05: ( ): So let’s dismiss that third report by the anti-nuclear organization IEER …

Thorium Debunk at 9:20: ( ): Does the OECD report evaluate Alvin Weinberg’s concept of the Molten-Salt Breeder Reactor? […] Of the 11 pages in the 133 pages report, only 1 sentence does so: “This 1GWe was a thermal reactor with a graphite-moderated core that required a heavy chemical fuel salt treatment with removal time of approximately 30 days for soluble fission products; a drawback that could potentially be eliminated by using a fast spectrum [reactor] instead.

Thorium Debunk at 9:55: ( ): The remaining 10 pages molten salt [discussions] are entirely dedicated to a different Molten Salt Reactor concept: a fast-spectrum Molten Salt Reactor.

Thorium Debunk at 10:25: It is only in Alvin Weinberg’s thermal-spectrum Molten-Salt Breeder Reactor that thorium’s advantages become clear …

Thorium Debunk at 10:32: (Kirk Sorensen): And this is what I think is really worthy of consideration …

Thorium Debunk at 11.30: ( ): The OECD report evaluates thorium based ONLY on solid fuel reactors and fast-spectrum Molten Salt Reactors …

Thorium Debunk at 11:44: (Kirk Sorensen): When the idea of the breeder [reactor] was first suggested in 1943, the rapid and efficient recycle of the partially spent core was regarded as the main problem. Nothing has happened in the ensuing 25 + 40 years that has fundamentally changed this. Weinberg nailed the basic idea.

Thorium Debunk at 12:14: ( ): … No mention of the buried sentence in the 133 pages report. Let’s reword it for clarity:

THIS GWe DESIGN WAS A THERMAL REACTOR WITH GRAPHITE-MODERATED CORE THAT AVOIDED THE DRAWBACKS OF FAST-SPECTRUM [REACTORS] BY [INSTEAD] REMOVING SOLUBLE FISSION PRODUCTS THROUGH THE USE OF A CHEMICAL FUEL SALT TREATMENT [A SO-CALLED “KIDNEY”].

Thorium Debunk at 12:35: ( ): The successful breeder [reactor] will be the one that can deal with the spent fuel most rationally.

Thorium Debunk at 12:55: (Alvin Weinberg): The second breeder [reactor] actually operated very well, that was the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE).

Thorium Debunk at 13:55: (Sid Ball): I started out at the ORNL in 1957 and got onto the MSRE …

Thorium Debunk at 14:36: (Kirk Sorensen): After they had completed the MSRE they went to the Atomic Energy Commission and said, “Hey G can we have some more money? We’d like to go and build the real thing. […] They felt like they’d shot the Moon. But the AEC, unfortunately, did not share their zeal to continue with the technology. In addition to being a thorium guru, Weinberg was also the original inventor of the Pressurized Light Water Reactor. He had invented it and gotten his patent for it in 1947. It was a little bit of a tricky thing to have the inventor of the Light Water Reactor advocating for something very, very, very different. Weinberg didn’t like the fact that the LWR had to run at really high pressure, he just, saw that as a risk. …

Thorium Debunk at 15:26: (Alvin Weinberg): But as long as the reactor was as small as the submarine intermediate reactor, which was only 60 megawatts, the containment shell was absolute. It was safe. But when you went to 1000 megawatt reactors, you could not guarantee this.

Thorium Debunk at 15:42: (Kirk Sorensen): He figured there would be an accident someday where you were not able to maintain the pressure or keep cooling the reactor.

Thorium Debunk at 15:50: (Alvin Weinberg): In some very remote situation, conceive of the containment being breached.

Thorium Debunk at 15:56: ( ): Does any of this sound familiar? …

Thorium Debunk at 16:00: (Kirk Sorensen): Weinberg was making enough of a stink about this that the Congressional leader named Chet Hollifield told Alvin Weinberg: If you’re so concerned about the safety of nuclear energy, it might be time for you to leave the nuclear business. And Weinberg was really horrified that they would have this response to him, because he wasn’t questioning the value or the importance of nuclear energy. If anything, he was far more convinced about that than anyone else. What he was questioning was whether the right path had been taken in the development of nuclear reactors.

Thorium Debunk at 16:30: (Kirk Sorensen – question to Sid Ball): Do you feel that the [MSRE LFTR] program had a sound technical basis, or do you feel that technical problems were the basis for cancellation?

Thorium Debunk at 16:38: (Sid Ball – answer): Some of the technical reasoning that I hear for the cancellation was that there was a corrosion problem.

Thorium Debunk at 16:45: ( ): Tritium was raised as another issue. [However,] we made no effort on MSRE to do anything with tritium.

Thorium Debunk at 16:54: (Kirk Sorensen – question): Did the people on the program feel that tritium was an insurmountable problem?

Thorium Debunk at 16:57: ( – answer): We recognized that tritium would have to be captured, but most people thought that that’s something that we should be able to do.

Thorium Debunk at 17:05: (Kirk Sorensen – question): Did the people on the program, particularly the chemists or the material scientists feel that corrosion was an insurmountable problem on the program?

Thorium Debunk at 17:12: ( – answer): No. And some of the subsequent experimental work seemed to bode very favorably for an ability to solve that issue, by the way, because we did do some tritium experiments.

Thorium Debunk at 17:29: (Kirk Sorensen – question): Were either of you present when the molten-salt reactor program was cancelled in the early seventies?

Thorium Debunk at 17:37: (Sid Ball and ???? – answers): (Sid Ball): Yea, we were still working there. (????): We were still working on the system. We were still finalizing reports on the performance of the MSRE. (Sid Ball): I didn’t see it coming.

Thorium Debunk at 17:47: (Richard Nixon): Since you missed our meeting on breeder reactors, we sent the message today, Craig. I told Ziegler to tell the press that it was a bipartisan effort. This has got to be something that we play very close to the vest but I am being ruthless on one thing: Any activities that we possibly can should be placed in Southern California. So, every time you have a chance, needle them. Let’s push for California. Can you do that?

Thorium Debunk at 18:12: (Jobs to California): Nixon was from California, Hosmer was from Southern California, Chet Hollifield, who ran the Joint Committe on Atomic Energy, was also from California.

Thorium Debunk at 18:20: (Kirk Sorensen): It doesn’t lead me to believe that the President was seriously considering alternatives to the fast breeder reactor and other paths that could have been taken. It was a focus on “what can we do right now to get jobs.”

Thorium Debunk at 18:34: (Richard Nixon): Now, don’t ask me what a breeder [reactor] is. All this business about breeder reactors and nuclear energy and this stuff is over my … Science was one of my poorer subjects. …

Thorium Debunk at 19:00: (Kirk Sorensen): The fellow on the phone call that we heard earlier said that “if cost targets were missed, I for one don’t intend to scream and holler about it.” In that same month, the Atomic Energy Commission issued the report Wash-1222. It almost completely ignored the safety and economic improvements possible through the use of Molten-Salt Breeder Reactor technology.

Thorium Debunk at 19:22: (????): Milton Shaw, who was the head of reactor development in Washington called up. He said to stop that MSRE reactor experiment, fire everybody, just tell them to clear out their desks and go home. And send me the money for fast breeders.

Thorium Debunk at 19:41: ( ): In any other place as an organization you’re abandoning this route and going another, well, it just gets lost. It’s amazing how much they documented.

Thorium Debunk at 19:50: ( ): Enormous amount of details about the work that had been accomplished and how they had developed the technology

Thorium Debunk at 19:58: (Kirk Sorensen): Almost all of the nuclear power we use on Earth today uses water as the basic coolant. It’s a covalently bonded substance. The oxygen has a covalent bond with two hydrogens. Neither one of those bonds is strong enough to survive getting smacked around by a gamma or a neutron. And sure enough they knock the hydrogens clean off. Now, in a water-cooled reactor you have a system called a recombiner that will take the hydrogen gas and the oxygen gas that is always being created from the nuclear reaction and put them back together. It’s a great system as long as it’s operating and the system is pumping. Well, at Fukushima Daiichi the problem was that the pumping power stopped.

Thorium Debunk at 20:37: ( ): At high temperature H2O can also react with the cladding to release hydrogen. Or damage the cladding, releasing radioactive isotopes. These two accidents illustrate the need for a coolant which is more stable than H2O.

Thorium Debunk at 21:26: ( ): At Three Mile Island water couldn’t be pumped into the core, because some of the coolant water had vaporized into steam. The increased pressure forced coolant water back out, contributing to a partial melt-down.

Thorium Debunk at 21:40: ( ): At Chernobyl, the insertion of poorly designed control rods caused core temperature to skyrocket. The boiling point of the pressurized water coolant was passed, and the water flashed into steam. It was a steam explosion that tore the 2,000 ton lid off the reactor casing, and shot it up through the roof of the building.

Thorium Debunk at 22:00: ( ): At Fukushima, loss of pump power allowed coolant water to get hotter and hotter until it boiled away.

Thorium Debunk at 22:09: ( ): These 3 accidents illustrate the need for a coolant with a higher boiling point than water.

Thorium Debunk at 22.16: ( ): When you put water under extreme pressure, like anything else, it wants to get out of that extreme pressure.

Thorium Debunk at 22:20: (Kirk Sorensen): Almost all of the aspects of nuclear reactors today that we find most challenging can be traced back to the need to have pressurized water.

Thorium Debunk at 22:30: ( ): Watercooled reactors have another challenge. They need to be near large bodies of water so that the steam they generate can be cooled and condensed. Otherwise they can’t generate electrical power.

Thorium Debunk at 22:41: (Kirk Sorensen): You see I had the good fortune to learn about a different kind of nuclear power that doesn’t have all these problems for a very simple reason: It’s not based on water cooling and it doesn’t use solid fuel. Surprisingly, it’s based on salt.

Thorium Debunk at 22:52: ( ): Science allows you to look at everyday objects for what they really are. Chemically and physically. And it really makes you look twice at the world around you. Your table salt is frozen. That’s a really strange thing to think about – your table salt on your kitchen table. It’s frozen.

Thorium Debunk at 23:10: (Kirk Sorensen): But once they melt, they have 1,000 degree C [Celsius] liquid range. And they have excellent heat transfer properties. They can carry a large amount of heat per unit volume, just like water can. Water is actually very good from a heat transfer perspective. It’s good at carrying heat per unit volume. Salts are just as good at carrying heat per unit volume. BUT SALTS DON’T HAVE TO BE PRESSURIZED !! And that, If you remember nothing else I say tonight, REMEMBER THAT ONE FACT !!

Thorium Debunk at 23:37: (Kirk Sorensen): A nuclear reactor is a rough place for normal matter. The nice thing about a salt is that it is formed from a positive ion and a negative ion. Like sodium is positively charged and chlorine is negatively charged. And they go: “we’re not really going to bond, we’re just going to associate one with another. And that’s what’s called an ionic bond.
Yea, you’re kind of friends you know […] Alright, well it turns out this is a really good thing for a reactor because a reactor is going to take those guys and smack them all over the place with gammas and neutrons an everything. And the good news is that these ions don’t really care who they are next to – as long as there is an equal number of positive ions and negative ions, the big picture is happy.

Thorium Debunk at 24.17: (Kirk Sorensen): A salt is composed of the stuff that is in this column, the halogens, and the stuff that is in this column, the alkali and alkaline. Flourine is so reactive with everything, but once it’s been turned into a salt, a flouride it is incredibly chemically stable and non-reactive.

Thorium Debunk at 24:37: ( ): Sodium cloride = table salt, or potassium iodide, they have very high melting points. And we like the low melting points of fluoride salts.

Thorium Debunk at 24:46: ( ): Human mechanical energy is so amazing. Why can’t we use that to create energy? You will never run out of electricity. You never generate any pollution. So half the world is never going to generate pollution. We call it Free Electric.

Thorium Debunk at 25:04: ( ): Solar Freekin’ Roadways – replaces all roadways, parking-lots, sidewalks, driveways, tarmacs, bike-paths and outdoor recreation surfaces with smart, microprocessing, interlocking, hexagonal solar units!

Thorium Debunk at 25:20 ( ): Maintaining a nation of solar highways. Manufacturing bicycle-battery generators for every home. An extremely ambitious idea to replace our national roads with solar panels. The Department of Transportation has licked in $850,000. People are actually taking this seriously.

Thorium Debunk at 25:37: ( ): Despite the media attention they’ve received, I think these ideas are flat-out crazy. But they’re par for the course in today’s energy landscape.

Thorium Debunk at 25:49: ( ): The Keystone XL Pipeline extension! For a while the entire national energy discussion revolved around a single pipeline. Sometimes it seem that the more difficult an energy source is to harness, the more attention it receives.

Thorium Debunk at 26:07: (Bill Clinton): If you’ll give me a chance to serve, I’ll bring the EPA and the Agriculture Department and all the people together, and we’ll use Ethanol as a part of our nation’s energy-security future!

Thorium Debunk at 26:19: ( ): Even Al Gore, who was a key proponent of Corn Ethanol, acknowledges that the subsidy was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are, at best, very small.

Thorium Debunk at 26:32: ( ): How does Corn’s 1.3 times compare against the conversion rates of other energy sources?

Return on energy invested (for different kinds of energy):
• Solar cells return 7 times the energy invested in them.
Natural gas returns 10 times the energy invested in it.
Wind returns 18 times the energy invested in it.
Coal returns 80 times the energy invested in it.
• Hydropower returns 100 times the energy invested in it.
• A Water-cooled nuclear reactor returns 80 times the energy invested in it.
• A Thorium-powered molten-salt reactor can return 2000 times the energy invested in it.

Thorium Debunk at 27:03: ( ): Let’s take a peek at a future powered by nuclear! This is a little weird. We can radically cut climate-change emissions and leave a safe, clean world for the future. We don’t need to invent anything new! We just need to stop wasting time with distractions like nuclear power. Come on! Let’s build the future we all want to see!

Thorium Debunk at 27:20: (Kirk Sorensen): To understand why nuclear power has so much potential requires some effort. It requires you to exercise a little bit of study. Which part of this is doable, and could be safe, and could be acceptable in our society – and which part of this is not? And there is a collage of images that the anti-nuclear movement will throw at you, usually of nuclear weapons.

Thorium Debunk at 27:44: (Kirk Sorensen): I hate nuclear weapons. I never want to see nuclear weapons used.
I have no interest in that. But I do want to see nuclear power used to make my life, and my children’s lives, and your children’s lives safer and better.

Thorium Debunk at 27:56: (Carl Sagan): Think of the sun’s heat on your upturned face on a cloudless summer’s day. From 150,000,000 kilometres away we recognize its power.

Thorium Debunk at 28:08: ( Question to Kirk Sorensen): When was the last time you watched Cosmos with Carl Sagan?

Thorium Debunk at 28:14 (Kirk Sorensen Answer): Recently, actually. I showed it to my kids a couple of years ago. Empire strikes back and Cosmos were probably two of my formative influences of the age of 6.

Thorium Debunk at 28:25: ( ): The Sun is our nearest star – s glowing sphere of gas. The ordinary visible light we see at the surface is at 6,000 degrees centigrade. But in its interior, super-hot gas pushes the Sun to expand outward. At the same time, the Sun’s own gravity pulls it inward to contract. A stable equilibrium between gravity and nuclear fire.

Thorium Debunk at 28:52: ( ): Atoms are made in the inside of stars. The atoms are moving so fast that when the collide, they fuse. Helium is the ash of the Sun’s nuclear furnace. The Sun is a medium-sized star, its core is only luke-warm: 10,000,000 degrees centigrade. Hot enough to fuse hydrogen but too cold to fuse helium. There are many stars in our galaxy more massive yet, that live fast and die young in cataclysmic supernova explosions. Those explosions are far hotter than the core of the sun. Hot enough to transform elements like iron into all the heavier ones, and spew them into space. Long before the Earth, our home, was built, stars brought forth its substance. Our planet, our society, and we ourselves, are built of star stuff.

29:50: (Kirk Sorensen): Now, two of the things that were created in supernovae are thorium and uranium. These were different because they kept some of that energy from the supernova explosions stored inside their nuclear structure. And some of this thorium and uranium were incorporated into our planet, sinking to the center of the world and heating our planet.

Thorium Debunk at 30:06: ( ): Liquid iron, circulating around the solid part of the core as the Earth rotates – acts like a wire carrying an electric current. Electric currents produce magnetic fields, and that’s a good thing. Our magnetic field protects us from the onslaught of cosmic rays.

Thorium Debunk at 30:22: (Kirk Sorensen): A bigger deal is that the magnetic field is deflecting the solar wind. If you don’t have a magnetic field deflecting the solar wind, your planet ends up like Mars. Because the solar wind will strip off a planet’s atmosphere – without the protective nature of the magnetic field. So, if we didn’t have the energy from thorium [and uranium] inside the earth, we would be on a dead planet.

Thorium Debunk at 30:45: ( ): The decay of radioactive elements in the core [of the Earth] keeps it moving.

Thorium Debunk at 30:50: (Kirk Sorensen): Let’s talk about radioactivity. Because I had an erroneous notion of what radioactivity was. I though that if you had something that had like a half-life of a day, and you had something that had a half-life of a million years, it meant that the dude that was radioactive for a day is like brr-r-r-r-r-r for a day and then, oooop, I’m done. And the dude with a half-life of a million years is like brr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r for a million years, and then it’s done.
OK, so you go, which one is more dangerous? Well, definitely the one that has a half-life of a million years, because that’s got to be, like, radioactive forever, and the dude that is radioactive for a day, that’s not a big deal, right?

Thorium Debunk at 31:21: (Kirk Sorensen): Completely wrong! OK! Utterly backwards. The dude who is radioactive for a day is really, really radioactive! The dude who is radioactive for a million years is hardly radioactive at all. Which one of those two is more dangerous? The one who is radioactive for a day. By a long shot! OK. So:
YOUR LEVEL OF RADIOACTIVITY IS INVERSELY PROPORTIONAL TO YOUR HALF-LIFE.

Thorium Debunk at 32:01: (Helen Caldicott): And I want to tear my hair out because of what I haven’t mentioned is radioactive waste …

Thorium Debunk at 32:18: (Kirk Sorensen): What is green energy? And they go – “geothemal is green energy” …

Thorium Debunk at 33:12: ( ): A song by Women’s Action for New Directions …

Thorium Debunk at 33:58: (Kirk Sorensen): Coal and gas plants are able to release radioactive material to the environment in much greater amounts than nuclear plants would even possibly be able to, because the emissions from coal and gas plants are considered to be N.O.R.M. (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material)

Thorium Debunk at 35:00: (Carl Sagan): Modern physics and chemistry have reduced the complexity of the sensible world to an astonishing simplicity …

Thorium Debunk at 38:18: (Kirk Sorensen): Thorium has only one isotope, Thorium-232. It has a 14 billion year halflife …

Thorium Debunk at 39:32: ( ): Fission (1939 …

Thorium Debunk at 40:18: (Heinz Hab) Disney: Nuclear fission simulation (with 2 emitted neutrons).

Thorium Debunk at 40:30: (Kirk Sorensen): Somebody wondered one time …

Thorium Debunk at 40:40: (Helen Caldicott): UNTRUE STATEMENT: When you generate electricity from nuclear power, you make 200 new elements that never existed before we fissioned uranium …

Thorium Debunk at 40:48: (Kirk Sorensen): We found in Africa, at a place called Oklo in the Gabon, that 2 billion years ago there were scores of natural reactors there …

Thorium Debunk at 41:35: (Helen Caldicott): Your uranium in Saskatchewan is so rich that you don’t even have to enrich it. It’s extremely powerful …

Thorium Debunk at 41:43: ( ): CALDICOTT IS WRONG

Thorium Debunk at 42:53: (Jimmy Carter): About 35 years worth of oil is left …

Thorium Debunk at 42:58: ( ): As a natural resource, the appeal of thorium over uranium is that thorium has zero environmental cost to acquire. We can power our civilization on thorium without opening a single thorium mine …

Thorium Debunk at 43:16: ( ): We need thorium and he needs somebody to help him get rid of thorium …

Thorium Debunk at 43:25: (Kirk Sorensen): Only one of the metals in nature is naturally fissile and that is Uranium-235 […] Alternative fuel processes: Uranium238 —> Uranium235 […] Thorium232 —>Uranium233 …

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Thorium Debunk at 52:19: ( ): What process do we run chemically based on solids? We don’t. In every process we run we use liquids or gases, because we can mix them completely.

Thorium Debunk at 52:25: (Kirk Sorensen): You can take a liquid and you can fully mix it. You can take a gas and you can fully mix it. You can’t take a solid and fully mix it, unless you turn it into a liquid or a gas.

Thorium Debunk at 52:33: (Baroness Bryony Worthington): You know, the people that build Light-Water Reactors are physicists and engineers. And this is a whole lot of chemistry that they’re maybe not so comfortable with. So it’s the chemistry of it that makes it so special, but its also the bit that existing nukes kinda go – You know, oooh, we’re going into realms I don’t feel, perhaps, so comfortable with.

Thorium Debunk at 52:50: (Bill Gates): In the nuclear space there are other innovators. You know, we don’t know their work as well as we know this one, but the modular people – that’s a different approach. There’s a liquid-type reactor which seems a little hard, but maybe they say that about us. Ah, and so there are different ones.

Thorium Debunk at 53:07: ( ): Although Bill Gates’ Traveling Wave Reactor is still advertised to the public as a mechanical device shuffling natural uranium fuel rods around, TerraPower sought and received a research grant from the Department of Energy in 2015. It is for the study of a uranium-fueled, fast-spectrum, Molten-Salt Reactor.

Thorium Debunk at 53:28: (Dr. Lyons) Uh, can you make them work? Yes, you can make them work.
Is there an advantage to doing this? I haven’t seen it.

Thorium Debunk at 53:45: ( ): Unless you are using slowed down, thermal-spectrum neutrons, thorium breeding offers no advantage over uranium breeding. Doctor Lyons report’s investigation of Molten Salt Reactors ONLY INCLUDES FAST-SPECTRUM, NOT THERMAL-SPECTRUM. That is why he sees no thorium advantage over uranium.

Thorium Debunk at 53:55: ( ): Alvin Weinberg knew the kidney would be required. His team knew it even before they started the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment. So it’s a bit disappointing to see Weinberg’s chemical kidney dismissed, as “a drawback that could be potentially eliminated.

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Thorium Debunk at 54:21: ( ): The last operational Molten Salt Reactor shut down in the United States in 1969. It ran in a remote location. Research documents were kept in a walk-in closet. For 3 decades we didn’t even know this was an option.

Thorium Debunk at 54:36: (Gordon McDowell): Then, in 2002, ORNL’s Molten Salt Reactor Experiment documentation was scanned into PDF and made accessible to some NASA employees.

Thorium Debunk at 54:44: (Gordon McDowell) 2004: Kirk Sorensen delivers CD-ROMs full of Molten Salt research to policy makers, national labs and universities. Dr Per Peterson at Berkeley receives a copy.

Thorium Debunk at 54:57: (Gordon McDowell): 2006: Kirk moves the scanned research onto his website.

Thorium Debunk at 55:01: (Gordon McDowell) 2008: Molten Salt Reactor lectures begin at the GooglePlex, and are hosted on Google’s YouTube channel.

Thorium Debunk at 55:08: (Gordon McDowell): 2009: The very first thorium conference is held. Wired Magazine runs a feature story on Thorium.

Thorium Debunk at 55:16: (Gordon McDowell): 2010: American Scientist runs a feature on Thorium. International thorium conferences begin. Server logs show Chinese students downloading Molten Salt Reactor PDFs from Kirk’s website.

Thorium Debunk at 55:28: (Gordon McDowell): 2011: China announces its intention to build a Thorium Molten-Salt Reactor. In the U.S. Flibe Energy is founded. Transatomic Power is founded.

Thorium Debunk at 55:38: (Gordon McDowell): 2012: Baroness Bryony Worthington tours ORNL’s historic Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, which has never been made open to the public. Kun Chen visits Berkeley California, telling us that 300 Chinese are working full-time on Molten Salt Reactors.

Thorium Debunk at 55:56: (Gordon McDowell): 2013: Terrestrial Energy is founded.

Thorium Debunk at 55:59: (Gordon McDowell): 2014: ThorCon is founded. Moltex is founded. Seaborg Technologies is founded. Copenhagen Atomics is founded.

Thorium Debunk at 56:08: (Gordon McDowell): 2015: A flood of technical details and technology assessments are released by Molten Salt startups. India reveals their new facility for molten salt preparation and purification. China announces that now 700 engineers are working on their Molten Salt Reactor program. Bill Gates’ TerraPower receives a grant to investigate Molten Salt.

Thorium Debunk at 56:30: (Gordon McDowell): 2016: Just as this video is about to be released, Myriam Tonelotto releases a feature length documentary about Molten Salt Reactors called: “Thorium – The Far Side of Nuclear Power.” Dr James Hansen tells Rolling Stones magazine that we should develop Molten-Salt Reactors powered by thorium. And Oak Ridge National Laboratory discovers actual film footage of the Molten Salt Reactor itself. Produced in 1969 it was forgotten in storage for over 45 years. It offers up our first and only glimpse of an operating Molten-Salt Reactor. As a communication asset, this is utterly invaluable and will be fully incorporated into future videos.

Thorium Debunk at 57:18: (Gordon McDowell): In 2017 I think Just about anything could happen.

Thorium Debunk at 57:22: ( Alvin Weinberg): The Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment was one of the most important, and I must say, brilliant achievements of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. And I hope that after I’m gone, people will look at the dusty books that were written on molten salts and will say, “Hey! These guys had a pretty good idea, let’s go back to it.”

Thorium Debunk at 57:47: (Gordon McDowell): Back in the 1960, Alvin Weinberg saw the Molten-Salt Reactor as a means of addressing energy pollution, and the need for clean water. Desalination would turn the Middle East into farmland. Power centers would co-locate energy intensive manufacturing and Small Modular Reactors. Surplus power would be sold to nearby communities. He knew that energy was the ultimate raw material … the more energy you have, the easier it is to recycle and use virgin materials more efficiently. Given enough power we can pull carbon right out of the atmosphere or ocean. One day, on our path to such a future, they’ll be talking about putting a Molten-Salt reactor in your home state. It will create manufacturing jobs, and produce electricity for your home. It will charge your electric car at night. […] You’ll do things with energy that we can’t even imagine. And you’ll be kept safe by a chemically stable choice of coolant, and gravity-powered passive safety systems. I don’t know when we’ll get to that point. Everyone’s design is different. Everyone’s path to market is different. I suspect that one will succeed. Before they do, I want everyone to know what Molten-Salt Reactors are, and WHY they are.