On 9/18/2012 9:44 AM, John Clark wrote:
On Sun, Sep 16, 2012 at 1:59 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:



> I think most reactors using Hastelloy plumbing (one of several nickel alloys). The containment vessels are steel and concrete. They differ a lot depending on
    whether they are pressurized water reactors, boiling water reactors, sodium
    cooled,...  One advantage of molten-salt reactors is that they aren't 
pressurized.


True. In the last operating thorium reactor on this planet, the MSRE at Oak Ridge that was shut down in 1969, even with tough Hastelloy plumbing there was some damage to the metal in the pipes of the MSRE caused by neutrons and other forms of radiation, however in a full sized production reactor the pipes would be largely protected by the Thorium blanket that breeds the U233.

I think its a scandal that a extraordinary promising technology like liquid fueled Thorium reactors has been frozen like a fly in amber for over 40 years because nobody will spend a dime on it.

Of course there are historical reasons: the desire to produce plutonium for weapons in the early reactors, which meant that uranium based reactors got the development work. Rickover's impatience and arrogance with Argonne and Oak Ridge, which caused him to take the Navy's money to Westinghouse. Having developed PLWR, regulations and standards have been written around them. Without the imprimatur of the NRC an investor would be foolish to invest in building a power reactor in the U.S.

But now I think the main obstacle is public ignorance of the advantages of a MSRE thorium reactor. One of the lobbyist for the Thorium Energy Alliance said that Congressional staff on the energy committee were knowledgeable and supportive but no Congressman wants his name on a bill that includes the word "thorium" - it will scare constituents. The Congressmen are probably right in their assessment - hence my small effort to educate a little of the public.

Brent

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