Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Recycling Nuclear Waste


Robert Hargraves said...

I advocate nuclear power, and I advocate using the unused energy of the U-235, U-238, and Pu-239 in spent fuel. However, the pioneering French recycling leaves much to be desired. Although the waste vitrified radioactive fission products amount to only 3% of the spent fuel, another 76% of the uranium and plutonium of spent fuel is also stored indefinitely. And spent MOX fuel is not reprocessable by the existing French technology.

This is one reason I advocate the "deep burn" capabilities of the liquid fluoride thorium reactor, which retains these heavy metals in the liquid fuel until they eventually fission. Check IEEE for more information at http://spectrum.ieee.org/print/4891
and review the technology and benefits of the liquid fluoride thorium reactor at

Marcel F. Williams said...

I prefer using the reprocessed plutonium in plutonium/thorium powered CANDU reactors. The uranium 233 from the spent fuel from the CANDU reactors could be mixed with the reprocessed uranium 235 from the Light Water Reactors and utilized in other commercial Light Water Reactors.

As far as future thorium burning reactors are concerned, I tend to be a ADS accelerator reactor fan which I will discuss in more detail in the future.

But none of these future fast or breeding technologies are likely to be in commercial operation within 20 years, IMO. It would probably take a decade for the LFTR demo reactor to be finally built and then another decade of testing before its finally approved for commercial use by the NRC and then another 5 to 10 years before the first commercial reactors to be built and actually go online producing power.

That of course doesn't mean that we shouldn't start the process of developing these future reactors right now!

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glennwsmith said... Very nice, Marcel. This is one of the most beautifully put together, forward-looking, and yet also understated videos which I've yet seen from a major space agency -- and it just goes to show that there's a lot of good material out there if you know where to find it.

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