Feeds

China bets on thorium

Brand new nuclear programme within 20 years

Build a business case: developing custom apps

China has committed itself to establishing an entirely new nuclear energy programme using thorium as a fuel, within 20 years. The LFTR (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor) is a 4G reactor that uses liquid salt as both fuel and coolant. China uses the more general term TMSR (Thorium Molten-Salt Reactor).

The thorium fuel cycles produce almost no plutonium, and fewer higher-isotope nasties, the long-lived minor actinides. Thorium is much more abundant than uranium, and the reduced plutonium output eases proliferation concerns. The energy output per tonne is also attractive, even though thorium isn't itself a fissile material.

Thorium reactors are also safer, with the fuel contained in a low-pressure reactor vessel, which means smaller (sub-500MWe) reactors may be worth building. The first Molten-Salt Breeder prototype was built at Oak Ridge in 1950, with an operational reactor running from 1965 to 1969. Six heavy-water thorium reactors are planned in India, which has the world's largest thorium deposits.

The design has also had its champions in Europe, but planning restrictions and a continent-wide policy obsession with conservation and renewables have seen little commercial action. But that might change.

A private company founded by Kazuo Furukawa, designer of the Fuju reactor, called International Thorium Energy & Molen-Salt Technology Inc (iThEMS) aims to produce a small (10MW) reactor within five years. Furukawa is aiming for a retail price of 11 US cents per kWh (6.8p per kWh).

Just to put that into perspective, the UK's feed-in tariff ranges from 34.5p/kWh for a small wind turbine to 41.3p/kWh for a retro-fitted solar installation, making a personal LFTR much more attractive than an additional garage. Just tell them you've got an enormous solar panel.

There's a good 15-minute introduction to LFTR, here. WARNING: contains technical terms and scientific concepts. Renewable energy supporters may wish to meditate before and after viewing.

More on this at the Nuclear Green blog, and the Energy From Thorium site.®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's SHOCK DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck - boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.