LIQUID FLUORIDE THORIUM REACTOR
- Energy cheaper than from coal.
- Walk-away safe.
New book, THORIUM: energy cheaper than coal
THORIUM: energy cheaper than coal is a new book about two energy technologies that can solve global warming, sustainability, and energy poverty. Energy cheaper than coal is the only realistic way to dissuade 7 billion people in 250 countries from burning coal to make electricity. Thorium and the molten salt reactor provide the means to manufacture liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTR) at a price that will undercut coal, economically.
New 2011 booklet edition!
Buy this 32-page full color booklet from Amazon, or first visit the presentation links below.
Original, complete 2009 edition with appendices.
The Aim High! presentation has been given at Dartmouth ILEAD, Thayer School of Engineering,
Brown University, Amherst College, Columbia Earth Institute, American Nuclear Society, the
Royal Institution of Great Britain, and many private audiences.
- Fast-edited video of Washington DC presentation to Thorium Energy Allliance.
- Dartmouth College Aim High presentation, Sept 2010.
- YouTube presentation to Google Tech Talk series, May 26, 2009
- Aim High! prepared for Renaissance Weekend 2012.
- Aim High! PowerPoint slides you can watch or use, Feb 26, 2011
- Aim High! PDF of slides
- Ten-minute Aim High SlideCast presentation to President's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear future, Aug 30, 2010.
- Aim High! full presentation for Washington DC, May 5, 2011
- Aim High! for ASM Spring Symposium, May 19, 2011
- Liquid Fuel Nuclear Reactors at Google, May 2010, SlideCast presentation with audio, including history of several early liquid fuel reactors.
- Nuclear Ammonia: Thorium's Killer App, Oct 2011, iTheo conference at CCNY
- Liquid Fuel Nuclear Reactors, Jan 2011 APS Forum on Physics and Society.
- Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors in Jul/Aug 2010 American Scientist
- Thorium Energy and Security Act of 2010 with amendments by Robert Hargraves, sent from Senator Gregg to Senator Hatch.
You can contact the author at email@example.com.
The Aim High presentation has also been presented in a course, Energy Policy and Environmental Choices: Rethinking Nuclear Power, given at the Institute for Lifelong Education at Dartmouth.
The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) uses inexpensive
thorium as a fuel, transforming it to uranium-233 which fissions, producing
heat and electric power at a cost less than that from coal power plants.
We can solve our world's environmental crises by
launching a NASA-style "shoot the moon" project to complete LFTR
development and deploy LFTR technology for inexpensive, safe, clean power. Aim High!
The rising cost of energy concerns the public. The US
annually imports $350 billion of oil from the unstable Persian Gulf.The world faces environmental crises:
1. Global warming is destroying glaciers that
provide fresh water critical to millions and shrinking the cold polar seas
essential for algae that start the ocean food chain.
and desertification also dry up fresh water supplies.
3. Land to grow
food is becoming scarce.
4. Fisheries are
collapsing for tuna, cod, swordfish, and 40% of all other species.
people in the US alone die annually from particulate emissions from coal power
Overpopulation is the main cause of many of these
environmental crises. The world population of 6.7 billion people is growing
unsustainably, leading to tragic competition for dwindling food, water, and
energy resources that may lead to famine, plague, and war.
The US and other OECD nations' birth rates are less than the population replacement rates, illustrating how prosperity can lead to a sustainable world
population. Nations with GDP per capita over $7,500 have birth rates of stable
or diminishing populations.
Prosperity depends critically on energy. Electrical
energy powers water supplies, sanitation,lighting, refrigeration,cooking,
communications, and machines. Nations with annual per capita electric power of
2,000 kwh per year achieve the necessary prosperity for population stability.
(The US number is 12,000.
Economists study the balance between the economic damage
of carbon taxes against the economic damage of global warming. Raising carbon taxes
too swiftly damages the total economy and future world prosperity. Europe’s $50
billion cap-and-trade spending did not stop CO2 emissions growth. Developing
nations will not accept carbon taxes that limit their growth. Yet even global
warming skeptics can support the economic benefit of energy cheaper than from
The liquid fluoride thorium reactor solves these issues
·Checking global warming, without carbon taxes,
by undercutting the economics of coal power -- possibly the only way to stop developing
nations from emitting CO2.
·Enabling populations of developing nations to
afford the energy to achieve the modest level of prosperity that leads to
smaller, sustainable populations.
Thorium Reactor History
The LFTR uses inexpensive thorium as a fuel, transforming
it to uranium-233 which fissions, producing heat and electric power.
Innovatively, the thorium and uranium are dissolved in molten salt, simplifying
fueling and waste removal compared to today's nuclear power plants. Prototype
molten salt reactors were developed and tested by the US at Oak Ridge National
Laboratories in the 1960s and 1970s. President Ford stopped the project in
1976. Scientists in France, the Czech Republic, Japan and Russia are carrying
forward the research. Chine intends to build a prototype. Occasional theoretical papers are published by US
scientists. In 2006 the Oak Ridge research papers were scanned and posted on
the internet. A collaboration of scientists, engineers, and professional
volunteers has begun developing an updated conceptual design for the LFTR.
produces energy cheaper than from coal, economically forcing closure of coal
power plants and their CO2 emissions, checking global warming. The low cost
energy also advances prosperity in developing nations, creating a lifestyle
that results in diminishing world population without increasing pollution and
tragic competition for dwindling natural resources.
produces less hazardous waste than coal or other forms of nuclear energy --
less than 1/100 the long-lived radioactive waste of today's nuclear power
plants. It can consume spent fuel now stored outside existing nuclear power
atmospheric pollution from coal particulates would save 24,000 lives annually
in the US and hundreds of thousands in China and worldwide.
4.It uses an
inexhaustible supply of inexpensive thorium fuel. One tonne of thorium (costing
$100,000) provides 1 GW-year of electric power, enough for a city.
1.LFTR has no
refueling outages, with continuous refueling and continuous waste fission
2.It can change
power output to satisfy demand, satisfying today's need for both baseload coal
or nuclear power and expensive peakload natural gas power.
at high temperature, for 50% thermal/electrical conversion efficiency,thus needing only half the cooling required
by today's coal or nuclear plant cooling towers.
4.It is air
cooled, critical for arid regions of the Western US and many developing
countries where water is scarce.
5.LFTR has low
capital costs because it does not need massive pressure vessels or containment
domes, because of its compact heat exchanger and Brayton cycle turbine, because
of intrinsic safety features, and because cooling requirements are halved.
6.An LFTR will
cost $200 million for a moderate size 100 MW unit, allowing incremental capital
outlays, affordability to developing nations, and suitability for factory
production, truck transport, and site assembly.
7.It will be
factory produced, like Boeing airliners, lowering costs and time, enabling
8.It can make
hydrogen to synthesize vehicle fuels from recycled waste CO2, reducing foreign
convert air and water to ammonia for fertilizer, whose production today absorbs
> 1% of all the world's energy.
salt fuel form facilitates handling and chemical processing.
11.LFTR is intrinsically safe because overheating expands the fuel salt past criticality, because LFTR fuel is not pressurized, and because total loss of power or control will allow a freeze-plug to melt, gravitationally draining all fuel salt into a dump tray, where it cools convectively.
12.100% of LFTR's
thorium fuel is burned, compared to 0.7% of uranium burned in today's nuclear
proliferation resistant, because LFTR U-233 fuel also contains U-232 decay
products that emit strong gamma radiation, hazardous to any bomb builders who
might somehow seize control of the power plant for the many months necessary
14.In the LFTR,
plutonium and other actinides remain in the salt until fissioned, unlike
today's solid fuel reactors, which must refuel long before these long-lived
radiotoxic elements are consumed, because of radiation and thermal stress
damage to the zirconium-encased solid fuel rods.
or other fissile material is ever isolated or transported to or from the LFTR,
except for importing spent nuclear fuel waste used to start the LFTR.
1.The nuclear power industry, the US
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the US military all focus on the
uranium/plutonium solid fuel nuclear power.
2.There is almost no political awareness of
the thorium/uranium fuel cycle. [Recently, James Hansen, a well-known climate
scientist from NASA and Columbia and advisor to President Elect Barack Obama,
is recommending consideration of the LFTR.]
3.There is no
US R&D funding, except less than $100,000 per year for molten salt research
R&D work is required, costing over $1 billion over 5 years to develop a
Nuclear Regulatory Commission would need to learn LFTR technology in order to
license and regulate it.
Summary and Action Recommendation – Aim High!
The world suffers from environmental crises: global warming, pollution, and resource depletion, caused largely by excess CO2 emissions and by burgeoning population growth.
The liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) can provide
safe, nonpolluting energy to address these crises. We can develop this energy
source by launching a NASA-style "shoot the moon" effort to solve the
crises. President Kennedy's moon shot vision was accomplished in eight years.
The Manhattan Project took three years. We can develop LFTR in five years. Aim High!