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This material has been prepared by Dr. Joseph Bonometti and Mr. Kirk Sorensen and should not be reproduced or distributed without authorization ([email protected] or 256-828-6213).
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October 20, 2009
Dr. Joseph Bonometti
Aerospace, defense and power technology development manager
Energy consumption directly correlates to standard of living and for good reason…
It is estimated that at ~ 80 percent of a project’s life-cycle cost is locked in by the initial concept that is chosen.
In a similar manner, all benefits are locked in…
The conceptual design sets the theoretical limits.
The conceptual design has the least real-world losses quantified.
Therefore, there MUST be significant inherent advantages to avoid erosion of all the benefits.
“One can not figure to add margin and be assured an advantage over the existing concept, if there is no inherent, and thus untouchable, growth factor.”
High power-density source
Availability of massive amounts of energy
No green house emissions
Minimal transportation costs
Low $/kW baseload supply
High capital costs
Proliferation & terrorist target
Long term waste disposal
Unsightly, bad reputationConceptual Design Selection Criteria:Conventional Nuclear Technology
Inherently nuclear power produces essentially no CO2
~1/3 of CO2 comes from electricity production
cost of the land (lost opportunity for its use)
loss of natural environment
Flexibility in relocation
minimal infrastructure expense
lower transportation cost
recoup investment should site be closed
weather, temperature, under/over/no water, even seismic effects are easily minimize
lower cooling requirements (air or water)
multiple unit production
reduced material costs
effective human-size operations
less manpower intensive
minimal parts and size
It is not just for convenience, but essential to reducing costs
Recent increase in natural gas plants
Distance from end user, prime real estate, energy intensity, etc…
Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor or LFTR (pronounced “Lifter”) is a specific fission energy technology based on thorium rather than uranium as the energy source. The nuclear reactor core is in a liquid form and has a completely passive safety system (i.e., no control rods). Major advantages include: significant reduction of nuclear waste (producing no transuranics and ~100% fuel burnup), inherent safety, weapon proliferation resistant, and high power cycle efficiency.
The best way to use thorium.
A compact electrical power source.
Safe and environmentally compatible energy.
A new era in nuclear power.
What fusion promises someday…
“It is the melding of the nuclear power and nuclear processing industries; surprisingly, something that does not occur naturally.”
Level 2 and beyond are engineering driven
Fusion promised to be:
Thorium can be:
Think about the entirety of the global energy crisis:
Required Resource Intensity
Diminishing Returns (producing the next 10 Quads….)
Power Density relation to cost, applicability, flexibility, etc.
The speed to produce on the order of 100 Quads worldwide
Vulnerabilities (storms, attacks, environment)
Systems Engineering is the “next step”
What needs to be done
Order of tasks
Identify what is dominant
Not with thermal neutrons—need more than 2 neutrons to sustain reaction (one for conversion, one for fission)—not enough neutrons produced at thermal energies. Must use fast neutron reactors.
Yes! Enough neutrons to sustain reaction produced at thermal fission. Does not need fast neutron reactors—needs neutronic efficiency.
Liquid Reactor Core
Passive Heat Removal Container
Secondary Containment Drum
800,000 tons Ore
Uranium-235 content is “burned” out of the fuel; some plutonium is formed and burned
-disposal plans uncertain
Within 10 years, 83% of fission products are stable and can be partitioned and sold.
200 tons Ore
Fission products; no uranium, plutonium, or other actinides
Thorium introduced into blanket of fluoride reactor; completely converted to uranium-233 and “burned”
The remaining 17% fission products go to geologic isolation for ~300 years.
Bismuth-metal Reductive Extraction Column
Recycle Fertile Salt
Recycle Fuel Salt
MoF6, TcF6, SeF6,
RuF5, TeF6, IF7,
Molybdenum and Iodine for Medical Uses
Reduction in core size, complexity, fuel cost, and turbomachinery
Fluoride-cooled reactor with helium gas turbine power conversion system
GE Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (light-water reactor)
No pressure vessel required
Liquid fuel requires no expensive fuel fabrication and qualification
Smaller power conversion system
- Uses higher pressure (2050 psi)
No steam generators required
Factory built-modular construction
- Scalable: 100 KW to multi GW
Smaller containment building needed
- Steam vs. fluids
- No operational control rods
- No re-fueling shut down
- Significantly lower maintenance
- Significantly smaller staff
Significantly lower capital costs
Lower regulatory burden
No grid interfacing costs:
- Inherent load-following
- No power line additions/alterations
- Minimum line losses
- Plant sized by location/needs
Plant Size Comparison: Steam (top) vs. CO2 (bottom) for a 1000 MWe plant