Thursday, February 21, 2013

Alternative fuels such as thorium in existing reactors

“As Candu reactors are very fuel efficient and very adaptable, this is a way to get started on some of this expansion of the fuel cycle”

Alternative fuels such as thorium in existing reactors? China ‘can do!’ - The Weinberg Foundation:
CANDU reactors at Qinshan (image from source article)
Many advocates of thorium say that the optimal way to deploy it would be in entirely different reactor designs such as high temperature liquid molten salt reactors and pebble reactors that depart radically from conventional lower temperature water-cooled schemes.

Pragmatists say it would be best to start by burning it in existing reactor designs that already have regulatory approval. One such test is about to start in Norway.

Candu’s CANDU reactor counts among the conventional category, albeit it uses “heavy water” (water with a high concentration of hydrogen isotope called deuterium) as its coolant, as opposed to the far more common ordinary water, also known as “light water.”

China already operates two grid-connected CANDU reactors that burn natural uranium (CANDU is already something of a fuel alternative in that it does not require enriched uranium as do most of the world’s operating 430-plus commercial electricity generating reactors), at its Qinshan site about 90 miles southwest of Shanghai.

China’ China National Nuclear Corp. and Candu recently completed a successful two-year test of bundles of alternative fuel in those reactors, in which the bundles operated alongside conventional fuel in the same reactor. The alternatives included thorium as well as uranium “waste” recovered from light water reactors. It also included depleted uranium left over after uranium enrichment.

The success of those operations has helped pave the way for what Candu calls the Advanced Fuel CANDU Reactor (AFCR), which would burn nothing but recovered uranium, depleted uranium and thorium.
Read the entire article at The Weinberg Foundation

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