Fluoride Thorium Reactor
27 April 2016
Fluoride Thorium Reactors
The liquid fluoride thorium reactor is a supply of nuclear fuel in the form of a molten salt mixture. A Molten Salt Reactors, such as Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor produces energy using a liquid nuclear fuel, not a solid fuel. MSRs also use a coolant that remains liquid at atmospheric pressure.
LFTRs are designed to convert Thorium, an inexpensive and abundant material, into Uranium-233 which can then undergo nuclear fission. Other types of MSR can use spent uranium, depleted uranium, or plutonium, eliminating nuclear waste from solid-fueled reactors. Most safety concerns of LWRs are from using water coolant; LFTR is a molten salt reactor (uses special salt …show more content…
The LFTR is inherently far safer than conventional light water reactors. There is an abundant fuel source (thorium). It is chemically stable. There’s very small amounts of low level radioactive waste. It is potentially much easier to manage. The concentrated energy source requires far less land than solar energy. The cons of using a LFTR: Fission product processing greatly complicated by the presence of Thorium. Higher neutron leakage. Weakly positive temperature coefficient, can be fixed but at large cost. Pa removal needed unless both thorium and 233U loading increased substantially. Thorium is a non renewable material. It still produces waste, but it’s far less than uranium. It’s quite different than our current technology. It competes with renewables for investment dollars.
Why we don’t use them …show more content…
It is generally considered inherently safer, cleaner and more economically viable than conventional reactors, but was not chosen by DOE as the technology of choice because it did not produce weapon grade material as a byproduct, something DOE was looking for at the time. That would be considered an advantage today. LFTR reactor cores are not pressurized. Any increase in temperature results in a reduction in power, thus eliminating the problematic runaway meltdown scenario. If the fluid should get too hot, a salt plug at the bottom of the tank simply melts dumping the entire mess into a storage vessel directly below the