THORIUM, FAST BREEDER TECHNOLOGY, INDIA.

Discussion in 'Members Club' started by Mech, Mar 27, 2011.

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  1. Mech
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    Mech SENIOR MEMBER

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    WHAT IS THORIUM?

    The only naturally occurring source of nuclear fuel is Uranium. Thorium is not a fuel, technically (not fissile).

    Thorium naturally occurs in the Earth's crust, at a concentration of around twelve ppm (roughly the same as lead, and three times that of uranium). Although thorium is radioactive, its fourteen billion-year half-life is so long that most of the Earth's original thorium is still there. The primary ore for thorium is the mineral monazite, which can have up to 10% thorium content by mass; a few other minerals, such as thorianite and euxenite, also contain significant amounts of thorium.

    Although many countries have large thorium reserves, thorium is not very widely mined; its applications as a metal are limited by its radioactivity, which makes it potentially dangerous if inhaled or ingested. Ironically, thorium's high density and atomic number make it an effective radiation shield, although lead and depleted uranium are more frequently used.

    THORIUM BOMB?

    Thorium is not fissile, so it cannot be used to make an atomic bomb or nuclear reactor. However, when thorium is inserted into a nuclear reactor, the high neutron flux causes some of the thorium to transmute to U-233, which is fissile. U-233 can then be used to sustain the nuclear reaction and transmute more thorium, creating a closed nuclear fuel cycle, which makes thorium potentially valuable as an energy source. Historically, natural uranium has been cheap enough as a fuel to make thorium unnecessary. However, with the recent spike in uranium prices, some governments have developed plans to build thorium-fueled reactors in case of a disruption in the uranium supply.

    FAST BREEDER TECHNOLOGY- REACTOR.

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    In the 1950's, a group of scientists invented a new reactor which revolutionized the world. It's name was the Fast Breeder. It gets this name from its ability to "breed" fuel. It can produce up to 3% less fuel than it uses. One Fast Breeder has been running from when it was built in 1958. It also is unbelievably faster than the normal reactor. The Fast Breeder uses liquid metal sodium instead of water to heat up pipes in the reactor, but it uses water to turn the turbine.

    Coolant

    In a Fast Breeder, there are two coolants. The liquid metal sodium is one, and water is the other. The liquid sodium comes into the core from a containment building. The containment building stores the sodium at a controlled temperature so the sodium won't damage anything. The second coolant, water, is heated and made into steam by the liquid sodium, after the sodium is heated. The water is then sent to the turbine.

    Pumps

    This reactor also has pumps all over the place to move the liquid metal sodium. Being metal, it doesn't want to move on it's own. The pumps move the liquid sodium to the steam generator where the water is heated and transformed into steam and transported to the turbine.

    Moderator

    Fast breeders don't have moderators, therefore earning the name fast breeder. It is still experimental because there is nothing to absorb stray sub-atomic particles inside of the fuel rods, which could lead to a huge meltdown or a hole splitting in the chamber.

    In all normal reactors, a moderator is used. Moderators are small rods which are placed inside of the fuel rods. They are strategically placed to slow down the chain reaction of atom splitting and to absorb the stray atoms that may cause damage the fuel rod chamber.

    Steam Generator

    A steam generator is what causes the water in a reactor to turn into steam. The liquid metal sodium goes through a pipe which heats up the water around it. This occurs only in the Fast Breeder, because in a normal reactor, there is no liquid metal sodium

    Control Rods

    Every reactor needs a set of control rods. These are made of a mixture of materials that are very strong and can take a large amount of heat. They are placed inside of the fuel rods and do the same sort of thing that moderators can. They are meant to stop the chain reaction of atoms inside of the fuel rods, which, in turn, stops the plant. They are also able to stop the coolant from flowing.

    FAST BREEDERS AND INDIA

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    Regards, and thanks for reading.
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  2. Mech
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    Mech SENIOR MEMBER

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    I guess no one is interested enough to comment. Anyway im off for the night....g'night :P
  3. amardeep mishra
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    amardeep mishra FULL MEMBER

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    well sir,i am very much interested in reactor designs,so i like it,infact i have been doing lil bit of my own research on types of reactors,and have read enormous engineering literature dealing with soviet naval reactor designs
  4. Lonely Hermit
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    Lonely Hermit FULL MEMBER

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    Good thread strange people dont comment in such good thread.
    Coming to thorium it is a good technology it polutes less than Uranium based reactors, one of the main reason other countries did not do any research is you cannot make weapon grade nukes out of them.
    India has largest reserve of thorium in the world we need to take initiative if we want to meet our energy security needs.
  5. Ajaxpaul
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    Ajaxpaul SENIOR MEMBER

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    Is extracting thorium feasible today?
  6. amardeep mishra
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    amardeep mishra FULL MEMBER

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    Well what exactly did you mean? I'm not strange btw
  7. StingRoy
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    StingRoy SENIOR MEMBER

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    Punctuation did you in. He had complimentary words for you.

  8. Splurgenxs
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    Splurgenxs SENIOR MEMBER

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    old news
    i guess ths should be posted in the Indian-tec sticky thread...for people to reference time and again.
  9. amardeep mishra
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    amardeep mishra FULL MEMBER

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    Thanks, for clarification sir, couldn't get his words,,, my bad, btw I'm kinda new here, I'm student of instrumentation and control engineering,2nd year, NIT trichy, ane I love technology especially, nuclear reactors, energy sector, radar engineering etc,
  10. Chogy
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    Chogy PROFESSIONAL

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    Thorium as a fuel in these systems is very viable, and I think we will see more of it in the decades to come.

    Humorous story - decades ago, anti-nuclear peace freak types were camped out by a reactor, protesting the existence of evil nuclear power. A representative of the nuclear people visited them with a geiger counter. The campers were using those "Coleman" lanterns, the type with the fabric mantle you burn to ash... they make a very bright light.

    These things:
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    The representative mocked them and then demonstrated that their "happy green earth-loving" coleman lanterns were in fact radioactive. Sure enough, the geiger counter started to click next to their lanterns. The peaceniks had no idea that the lantern mantles contained a lot of thorium, and that is why they worked so well.

    Incandescent Gas Lantern Mantles
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