In London the Science Museum’s Antenna gallery focuses on contemporary issues in science and technology. Until January 2013 it features an exhibition named Can we get electricity from nuclear waste? based upon ThorEA’s work on thorium fuelled Accelerator Driven Subcritical Reactors and their potential for transmuting nuclear waste. There are interviews with Bob Cywinski, Jim Al-Khalili and Sir Patrick Stewart.
On ‘Costing the Earth’, Julian Rush considers the potential of the thorium cycle to meet the long-term energy needs of the world.
Sir David King tells the Guardian today that the UK cannot meet its carbon reduction targets without using the UK stockpile of plutonium. In a report published today, Sir David favours the use of mixed-oxide fuel, but notes the potential to use plutonium to seed thorium-cycle reactors of the future.
Baroness Bryony Worthington writes today in the Guardian about the need to develop thorium-fuelled reactor technology as a sustainable energy resource for future generations. In particular, she advocates molten-salt technology as being potentially a safer alternative reactor technology to present-day light water reactors. Whilst this technology has been demonstrated in test reactors during the 1960s, little work has been done since then compared to the huge investment made in pressurised water and boiling water reactors. PWRs and BWRs make up the bulk of today’s reactor fleet, with the exception of the United Kingdom where gas-cooled reactors make up most of the present fleet. China is developing a pilot molten-salt plant at Shanghai, but some hurdles must be overcome on the way to demonstrating a molten salt plant with today’s materials and safety standards.
Talks from Wednesday’s ThorEA meeting at Trinity College, Oxford University, are now available.
The economist today has a thought-provoking article about the likelihood of nuclear expansion in the UK and the world at large. The leader article is accompanied by other pieces, including a nice historical precis including the role of Rickover and the PWR, another summary of lessons from Fukushima, and an essay advocating open-cycle only.
World Nuclear News reports that the US Department of Energy has signed three Memoranda of Understanding toward the development of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) at the Savannah River Site. These developments include progress towards the lead-cooled Hyperion reactor design.
More details at World Nuclear News.