My last post focused on the uranium as a renewable resource.This seemingly radical view, is supported by well known facts. The question then is, with the renewable nature of uranium, why should we need thorium?
‘Marcellus shale naturally traps metals such as uranium and at levels higher than usually found naturally, but lower than manmade contamination levels, . . . ‘My question was, if they start drilling and pumping millions of gallons of water into these underground rocks, will that force the uranium into the soluble phase and mobilise it? Will uranium then show up in groundwater? . . . ‘We found that the uranium and the hydrocarbons are in the same physical space. ‘We found that they are not just physically – but also chemically – bound. . . . ‘That led me to believe that uranium in solution could be more of an issue because the process of drilling to extract the hydrocarbons could start mobilising the metals as well, forcing them into the soluble phase and causing them to move around.
Thus it would appear that uranium is recoverable from natural gas wells. We still need to know if uranium can be recovered from gas wells at a reasonable cost. and how much uranium might ber recovered from gas wells..
All things considered we will never completely run out of uranium, and we probably have enough recoverable uranium resources to power the world for a long time to come. We will also know long before we start running out of low cost uranium when we will run out. Thus a we are running out of uranium sort of argument as a justification for thorium cycle reactors, simply will not fly. The global thorium supply is severak times larger than the supply of renewability and unconventional recovery uranium. Thus unlike uranium, thorium is not s renewable energy source, but it is a sustaunable energy source, and infact even more sustainable than uranium.
thorium improves neutron production
The thermal-spectrum-averaged value of eta for U-233 is relatively insensitive to changes in the moderator temperature. On the other hand, an increase in the moderator temperature will result in a slight decrease of the eta of U-235 and a greater decrease of the eta of Pu-239.
Thus in a thermal range, U-233 is the superior nuclear fuel. Conversion Ratio refers to the relationship between nuclear fission events, and the production of new nuclear fuel. In conventional Light Water Reactors, the conversion ratios rarely run above 0.6 to 1. Naval reactors are fueled by pure U-235, with no U-238 or Th-232 in their cores. Thus naval reactors have a conversion ratio of 0 to 1. There is no question that in thermal and epithermal reactors, thorium produces a superior conversion ratio, and in fact it has been demonstrated that a light water breeder reactor is possible using the Thorium-U-233 conversion cycle. Thus thorium breeding possible in thermal reactors and thorium cycle reactors with less than a 1 to 1 breeding ratio can still offer far better conversion ratios than uranium cycle light water reactors can.