Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mini Fuji Thorium Molten Salt Reactor

I am fairly convinced that thorium rectors can be brought on quickly, and this consortium is putting itself in the running.

I will go further than that.  This technology is completely able to displace the uranium based systems once and for all.  All the related problems go away and are even consumed.  This seems to indicate that we will be looking at a lower cost rather quickly.

Had the nuclear bomb not been the priority in early days it would have been a thorium world from the beginning.  Read some of my earlier posts of thorium to get the background.

I suspect that the consortium will access the money.  Japan needs a leading technology to promote and this is certainly a good one that they can easily become really good at.

OCTOBER 01, 2010

They are trying to get $300 million in funding. The first step on the path to commercially available Thorium Energy will be through their 10MW miniFUJI (in 5 years). That will be followed by a larger capacity design called FUJI, delivering 200MW in ten years

The Fuji Molten salt thorium reactor would generate power at a cost significantly lower than that of current Light Water Reactors (LWR) – at least 30% lower.

There are agreements and the goals but there does not seem to significant levels of real funding. There maybe a million dollars at this point.
Burn (fission) actinide wastes from LWRs in the MSR
• Each MSR burns 1000 kg per year @ 1 GWe
• Each LWR produces Pu (300 kg/GWe/yr), Np+Am+Cm (30 kg/GWe/y)

Tap into waste management fund
DECEMBER 19, 2007

The Fuji Molten salt reactor is a japanese design that can run on thorium or a mix of thorium and Uranium or Plutonium. The project plan is to take 8 or 9 years to develop a miniFuji reactor and 12-15 years to develop a Fuji reactor. The R & D is mostly related to the details of the structural material and components. 

-How to exactly modify the Hastelloy N alloy (increasing Cr and reducing Co)
-analyse and test low tensile strength parts like the tubing elbow

projected costs for the reactor are about 20-25% less than a PWR and a little less than a LWR. 

The Encyclopedia of Earth claims that the 100 MWe FUJI MSR design is being developed internationally by a Japanese, Russian and US consortium.

The attractive features of this MSR fuel cycle include: the high-level waste comprising fission products only, hence shorter-lived radioactivity; small inventory of weapons-fissile material (plutonium-242 being the dominant plutonium isotope); low fuel use (the French self-breeding variant claims 50kg of thorium and 50kg uranium-238 per billion kWh); and safety due to passive cooling up to any size.

Currently nuclear reactors use about 100 to 200 tons of uranium every year. 10,000 to 20,000 kg of uranium per billion kWh. 200 to 400 times more uranium than the french msr design uses. The MSR can generate 1000 times less uranium and plutonium waste and everything else that is left over has a halflife of less than 50 years.

Several of the Fuji designs fit the IAEA definition of a small reactor that generates less than 300Mwe. There is interest in small reactors due partly to the high capital cost of large nuclear power reactors generating electricity via the steam cycle and partly to consideration of public perception, there is a move to develop smaller units. These may be built independently or as modules in a larger complex, with capacity added incrementally as required. Economies of scale are provided by the numbers produced. There are also moves to develop small units for remote sites.

The most prominent modular project is the South African-led consortium developing the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) of 170 MWe. In China, Chinergy is preparing to build a similar unit, the 195 MWe HTR-PM. A US-led group is developing another design with 285 MWe modules.

Each PBMR unit will finally discharge about 19 tonnes/yr of spent pebbles to ventilated on-site storage bins. Eventual construction cost (when in clusters of four or eight units) is expected to be very competitive, and generating cost is projected below US3 cents/kWh. Each 210g fuel pebble contains about 9g uranium and the total uranium in one fuel load is 4.1 t. MOX and thorium fuels are envisaged. With used fuel, the pebbles can be crushed and the 4% of their volume which is microspheres removed, allowing the graphite to be recycled. The company says microbial removal of carbon-14 is possible (also in the graphite reflectors when decommissioning). So ideally PBMR should generate about 1000kg/year (1 ton/yr) of waste or 30,000 kg over 30 years of operation. This is 15 times more waste than the Fuji MSR and it would have long lived radiative material.

Generally, modern small reactors for power generation are expected to have greater simplicity of design, economy of mass production, and reduced siting costs. Many are also designed for a high level of passive or inherent safety in the event of malfunction. Traditional reactor safety systems are 'active' in the sense that they involve electrical or mechanical operation on command. 

Small-medium reactors with development claimed to be well advanced 

NAME                    Power                    Type                                     Who is Developing
CAREM                 27 MWe                 PWR                       CNEA & INVAP, Argentina 
KLT-40                   35 MWe                PWR                       OKBM, Russia 
MRX                        30-100 MWe         PWR                       JAERI, Japan 
IRIS-50                    50 MWe                 PWR                      Westinghouse, USA 
SMART                  100 MWe               PWR                       KAERI, S. Korea 
NP-300                  100-300 MWe        PWR                       Technicatome (Areva), France 
Modular SBWR      50 MWe                 BWR                       GE & Purdue University, USA 
PBMR                    165 MWe               HTGR                    Eskom, South Africa, et al 
GT-MHR                 285 MWe              HTGR                    General Atomics (USA), Minatom (Russia) et al 
BREST                   300 MWe               LMR                       RDIPE (Russia) 
FUJI                      100 MWe               MSR                       ITHMSO, Japan-Russia-USA 

South Korea's SMART (System-integrated Modular Advanced Reactor) is a 330 MWt pressurized water reactor with integral steam generators and advanced safety features. It is designed for generating electricity (up to 100 MWe) and/or thermal applications such as seawater desalination. The design life is 60 years, with a 3-year refuelling cycle. A one-fifth scale plant (65 MWt) is being constructed and expected to begin operation in 2007.

Fuji Molten Salt Reactor vessel and the mini-Fuji Molten salt reactor

Here is the schematic of the larger reactor plant


waste over 30 years is about 880kg in the salt and 750kg in the gas. This is very little waste and they are not long life radioactive material

projected costs for the reactor are about 20-25% less than a PWR and a little less than a LWR. 

The proposed project development schedule.

The neutron flux distribution

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