Experts point out the reality of the next generation reactor `` thorium molten salt reactor '' which is considered safe and low waste



' Thorium is a better nuclear fuel than uranium ,' said Andrew Yang, who is fighting for a Democratic candidate for the 2020 United States presidential election , and said he intends to promote thorium molten salt reactors . Associate Professor Nicholas R. Brown of the University of Tennessee's Faculty of Nuclear Engineering is conducting a fact check on Jan's remarks.

Fact-check: Five claims about thorium made by Andrew Yang-Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

After graduating from law school and becoming a lawyer, Mr. Yang succeeded as a CEO of a business school and a prep school for graduate school exams such as Manhattan Test Prep . Mr. Yang said, `` We will pay a basic income of $ 1,000 a month (about 110,000 yen) to all Americans '' `` Build a huge mirror in outer space to reflect sunlight and prevent global warming '' And making advanced claims .

What Mr. Yang has set forth as a policy on energy issues is the 'Thorium Molten Salt Reactor.' In an interview, Yang asserted that 'Thorium is superior to uranium in many respects,' indicating his intention to push ahead with thorium-based molten salt reactors instead of current uranium-fueled reactors. Was.



Mr. Brown, who has abundant research experience on thorium, responded as an expert to Mr. Yang's claim on thorium fuel reactor as an expert.

◆ Claim 1: Thorium is more abundant than uranium, and thorium molten salt reactors are more economical than conventional uranium reactors
According to Associate Professor Brown, this claim is a 'mistake.' It is true that thorium is more abundant than uranium, but the cost of uranium is only a small part of the cost of a nuclear power plant, and most of the cost is for the 'nuclear power plant itself'. It seems that the development cost of a thorium molten salt reactor is not cheaper than that of a uranium reactor.

Thorium cannot be used directly as a nuclear fuel because it does not have any isotopes that can easily fission. Therefore, the thorium molten salt furnace generates energy by a reaction that 'converts thorium to uranium and fission uranium.'

◆ Claim 2: Thorium molten salt reactor is safer than current reactor
Although accidents such as the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident have occurred, the existing U.S.-based uranium-fired nuclear power plant has the capacity to generate approximately 20% of all U.S. electricity, We maintain safety records. Molten salt reactors certainly have higher safety than current reactors, but the improvement in safety is not due to the use of thorium, but to design advances.



◆ Claim 3: Waste from thorium molten salt reactor is easier to treat than waste from uranium reactor
According to a comprehensive study by the United States Department of Energy published in 2014, the thorium fuel cycle has a nuclear fuel cycle similar to the uranium fuel cycle, and its waste will continue to be radioactive for nearly 100,000 years. For these reasons, 'it is wrong to say that the waste from thorium molten salt furnaces is easy to treat,' commented Brown.

◆ Claim 4: Thorium is difficult to convert to nuclear weapons
According to a 2014 study funded by the United States Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Agency , by-products of the thorium fuel cycle, especially uranium-233, are excellent materials for nuclear weapons. A 2012 Cambridge University study concluded that 'Thorium fuel spreads nuclear weapons.'

By Comfreak

Claim 5: If you want to achieve 'zero greenhouse gas emissions', you need to build a new reactor
'This claim is true,' commented Brown. Solar power generation, wind power generation, and nuclear power generation are examples of power generation methods that emit almost no greenhouse gas.However, solar power generation and wind power generation vary depending on the situation, while nuclear power can always generate power. There are advantages. 'Assuring' zero greenhouse gas emissions 'requires not only replacing aging reactors, but also building new ones,' Associate Professor Brown argued. However, for the above reasons, 'new reactors do not need to be powered by thorium.'

in Science, Posted by darkhorse_log