Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Molten Salt Reactor Produces a Fifty Fold Jump in Power density

A drive is on to produce a high power density molten salt nuclear reactor.  I also hope that they base it on Thorium while feeding in Uranium and its derivative isotopes as well.  This can clean up the whole radioactive fuel rod problem over a suitable length of time.  It will not solve irradiated material but solving plutonium waste in particular is a long way toward a solution.

Such reactors will also make my projected 500,000 ton nuclear hovercraft icebreakers a technical reality while carrying a full load of containers from Southeast Asia to the North Atlantic.  Such a craft can make several knots at least through pack ice several feet thick while simultaneously crushing the ice.  Multiple passages will easily maintain a fast transportation lane through the Arctic likely even in the dead of winter.

They would have to be operated by highly trained crews, either Russian or Canadian Naval, but well within their mandates.  Since such craft are also able to make even plus one hundred miles per hour on open seas, their capacity to slash transit times makes them a very attractive option.  Such craft would also maintain military heavy lift capacity without need for expensive military design features.  Since they can deliver 500,000 tons of military supplies and actual troops deep inland on any coast so chosen, they can supersede current military lift capacity.

Presetting a number of hard points allows easy conversion to military use in the event of need.

Molten Salt Reactor about 50 times the power density of current submarine nuclear reactors
DECEMBER 24, 2013

* they have a high power density in a small volume and run either on low-enriched uranium (as do some French and Chinese submarines) or on highly enriched uranium (>20% U-235, current U.S. submarines use fuel enriched to at least 93%, compared to between 21–45% in current Russian models, although Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker reactors are enriched up to 90%),

* the fuel is not UO2 but a metal-zirconium alloy (c.15% U with 93% enrichment, or more U with lower enrichment),[citation needed]

* they have long core lives, so that refueling is needed only after 10 or more years, and new cores are designed to last 25 years in carriers and 10–33 years in submarines,

* the design enables a compact pressure vessel while maintaining safety.

Terrestrial Energy (of Canada) is trying to develop integral molten salt nuclear fission reactors. These nuclear reactors would have about 20-200 times less volume than conventional nuclear fission reactors. The US, Europe and China are trying to develop supercritical carbon dioxide turbines that would have 100 times less volume than regular steam turbines. The Hammer's Slammers Science fiction nuclear hovertank would be enabled with the two technologies that are under development (molten salt reactors and supercritical CO2 turbines.

By shrinking the nuclear reactor and the turbine by 100 times, plenty of other vehicles are made possible. Various nuclear ships and submarines can be revamped. Also, space bases with nuclear become more possible with one launch.

The 650 MWth IMSR (Integrated Molten Salt) reactor is about the same size as the smAHTR (125 MWth) reactor. 

smAHTR reactor is 9 meters tall (30 feet) by 3.5 meters (12 feet) in diameter. 

The 220 MWth S8G reactor for the Ohio submarines is 42 feet in diameter, 55 feet long; 2,750 tons 

So the IMSR with supercritical CO2 turbines would have almost 3 times as much power in an area about 16 times less area. In the range of 150-200 cubic meters and about 200-400 tons.

No comments: