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Wednesday, July 03, 2013

New Nuclear Thorium Reactors Can Be Built in 18-24 Months

   From Next Big Future

The TPC (Thorium Power Canada) Thorium Reactor is a one-of-a-kind technology whose modular design can achieve any output desired at significantly reduced capital and carrying costs. The cost to build a reactor is estimated at $2.0 million per MW and can be built in 18-24 months versus conventional reactors at 5-7 years. Through a partnership with DBI, the company’s thorium reactor design provides a nuclear alternative to fossil fuel consumption, taking advantage of abundant and widely available thorium deposits. The TPC Thorium Reactor has been in research and development since 1970.

There is 2010 patent Thorium-based nuclear reactor and method US 20100067644 A1 by Hector A. D'Auvergne who is the main person behind this reactor design.

Nextbigfuture has summarized the patent.

Chilean 10 MW Thorium Desalination Plant

They are planning a 10 MW thorium reactor located in Copiapó, Chile consists of a core and reactor manufactured by DBI Operating Company in California. The balance of plant, including all buildings and required infrastructure will be constructed on site.....

Indonesian 25 MW Thorium Power Project

Thorium Power Canada is presently preparing a proposal for the development of a 25 MW thorium reactor in Indonesia. This demonstration power project will provide electrical power to the country’s power grid.

Indonesia could install a reactor on the island of Kalimantan in as soon as two years, Kerr said. The reactor would either connect to the grid in the rapidly expanding country, or power a water desalination plant.

     The $2 million per MW quoted is marginally higher than the $1.2-1.8 bn for the Westinghouse AP1000 1GW but that is probably a diseconomy of scale - "design can achieve any output desired" certainly suggests much of the cost would be flat for larger outputs.

      Thorium is considered to be inherently safer because being non-explosive, unlike uranium, passive safety systems are feasible. There is also 4 times as much thorium in the world as uranium.

      But the real killer is the timescale. 18 months to 2 years (previously the minimum has been 3 years in China or 10 in Europe) makes it nearly as fast as building new gas generators. Even with all the decades wasted we could still, possibly, prevent blackouts. I did previously discuss reactors with an 18 month build time but this time we actually have something already being contracted for.

     And I have previously suggested building (or allowing the building of) a factory for mass producing modular reactors in Scotland.

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