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India To Build A Thorium Reactor 277

In their first story, slowLearner writes "India will build a working Thorium reactor. [Quoting the Guardian] 'Officials are currently selecting a site for the reactor, which would be the first of its kind, using thorium for the bulk of its fuel instead of uranium – the fuel for conventional reactors. They plan to have the plant up and running by the end of the decade.'" Before anyone gets too excited, this is only a modified Heavy Water Reactor and not one of those fancy Molten Salt Reactors folks like Kirk Sorenson have been evangelizing for a while now.
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India To Build A Thorium Reactor

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  • Does happen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @09:50AM (#37919470) Homepage

    Spain built a non-working nuclear reactor. []

  • Re:Why solid? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kiran.kamsetti ( 952393 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @09:59AM (#37919594)
    India has to go for nuclear power generation in a big way using thorium-based reactors. Thorium, a non fissile material is available in abundance in our country. - Abdul Kalam, Former Indian president and former nuclear scientist. I guess that is the reason. I also remember reading vast reserves of Thorium on the Moon :)
  • by KenRH ( 265139 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @09:59AM (#37919596)
    I know he is joking, but I suppose they mean a production reactor as opposed to a research reactor.
  • Re:Well well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mjr167 ( 2477430 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @10:02AM (#37919650)
    And I suppose coal is clean and safe and happy? No one dies in coal mining accidents? No one dies from coal pollution? No one dies from coal plant fires? No land is rendered unusable by strip mining?
  • Re:Well well (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @10:15AM (#37919824)

    And I suppose coal is clean and safe and happy? No one dies in coal mining accidents? No one dies from coal pollution? No one dies from coal plant fires? No land is rendered unusable by strip mining?

    Exactly. As a Belgian I can tell you, it's panic and green-huggers. Irrational conclussions, soap-like science.

    I think there's also a political aspect: We get newscasts telling us we'll fall without electricity this winter bceause there isn't enough energy. The only way is to import energy at higher prices; which means we'll be importing nuclear energy.

    Added to that, we have one of the highest prices for energy: so the government has social plans and budget to "help familie who cannot afford enough energy".

    And, the big electricy companies are actually boycotting the government and threaten with price wars if they get additional taxes.

    Net result; Belgians will get more expensive energy. But feel warm by the idea they don't have a nuclear plant. (which would bring down their price of energy, wouldn't require ugly and expensive windgenerators everywhere, increase knowhow and independence and a economic boost.)

    Belgians are stupid.

    A Belgian

  • Re:Well well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @10:17AM (#37919838)

    Why do I keep having to say this? If you think that there are no problems with nuclear power, move to Chernobyl or Fukushima.

    I will, but this double dare will include you moving right underneath a wind turbine, or moving into a houseboat in a large dam used for hydro-electric power. Why not move next to a coal mine / coal plant and tell me if you like that? Did you drive to work today? Try living next to a refinery, because 40tonnes of hydrofluoric acid, massive clouds of H2S, or the nightly sootblows are enough to ruin anyone's day. Maybe you prefer to simply not have power at night when you want it because no base-load energy source is pleasant and has zero environmental impact.

    The problem here isn't that Fukushima and Chernobyl are irradiated, the problem here is that people were living within 20km of it to begin with. Pretty much every generating technology consumes large amounts of land / is not at all nice to live next to. But given the choice at least nuclear uses little land and doesn't put massive amounts of particulates into the air.

    By the way I spent 5 years living in a house from which I could see the cooling towers of a nuclear reactor. I wasn't worried then, and I wouldn't be worried now. I work in a plant that would level a city block if so much as a spark ignited our products. Yet statistically I'm more likely to die in a car accident on the way home than due to a chemical release / explosion at work.

    Statistically nuclear power is also the safest technology we have in deaths per GWh of generation, more so when you take into account mining of resources needed for the fuel. Please send your fearmongering back to the US government where it belongs.

  • Solved Problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pavon ( 30274 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @10:38AM (#37920130)

    If we start reprocessing our fuel using techniques that the French have been using since the 70's then the majority of our waste will be recycled. If we further start using modern reprocessing systems (like breeder reactors), then the majority of the waste that is left will also be recycled.

    Then for what is left, the Yucca Mountain storage plan is capable of safely storing nuclear waste for hundreds (if not thousands) of years with no maintenance. You add in a little bit of maintenance and we can safely store the waste indefinitely.

    Compare that to coal where we have no practical means for collecting let alone storing all the pollution which they create. And whose pollution is causing much more immediate problems. And whose normal operation causes far more more deaths per MWh than nuclear. Building more coal plants is what is insane.

  • Re:Well well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by garyebickford ( 222422 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (cib73rag)> on Wednesday November 02, 2011 @11:51AM (#37921212)

    People have largely forgotten the 'killer fog' of London, 1952. The combination of an inversion, humidity and coal-fired home heaters made for a 'fog' (we now call smog) that killed IIRC 1200 people.

    And coal dust explosions are infamous - they are a type of fuel-air explosion []. I suppose that coal dust could be used anywhere that the combination diesel-ammonium nitrate explosives could be used. See also Minor Scale [].

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.