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Thorium nuclear reactors (LFTRs) produce intensely radioactive wastes

wastes-1“……LFTRs are theoretically capable of a high fuel burn-up rate, but while this may indeed reduce the volume of waste, the waste is more radioactive due to the higher volume of radioactive fission products. The continuous fuel reprocessing that is characteristic of LFTRs will also produce hazardous chemical and radioactive waste streams, and releases to the environment will be unavoidable. Spent fuel from any LFTR will be intensely radioactive and constitute high level waste.

The reactor itself, at the end of its lifetime, will constitute high level waste.

The UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) believes that considerable research, development and testing lies ahead before thorium fuels will be ready for operational use. As the NNL states,  “Thorium reprocessing and waste management are poorly understood. The thorium fuel cycle cannot be considered to be mature in any area.” It estimates that 10-15 years work is required before thorium fuels will be ready for use in current reactor designs, and that their use in new types of reactor is at least 40 years away….”http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo43.pdf

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January 27, 2014 - Posted by | Reference, technology, wastes

1 Comment »

  1. “LFTRs are theoretically capable of a high fuel burn-up rate, this will reduce the volume of waste, the waste is more radioactive due to the higher volume of radioactive fission products”

    LFTRs (Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactors are 200 times more efficient that LWRs(Solid Fuel: Light Water Reactors:The current fleet of 100+ nuclear reactors in the US are LWRs). The solid fuel in LWRs gets contaminated by fission products like xenon which stops the reaction with over 99.5% of the fuel “unburnt”. In LFTRs the fuel is in a molten salt. Most LFTR fission products can be removed and sold to industry or medicine as the fuel is nearly 100% reacted. The very low volume of “waste” products remaining have a much shorter half life than LWR waste and can be used as a neutron source required to convert abundant “fertile”, Thorium into nuclear fuel. Thorium used in this way can produce inexpensive, plentiful, “green” (no CO2) energy to power the population of the entire planet for 10,000 years or until fusion is ready for prime time.

    Comment by eromni | January 31, 2014 | Reply


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