1. A very enlightening discussion that brings out various of their pet LFTR concept. There are some interesting ideas which need to be tried out even in other type of reactors.

    Liquid fluoride/salt coolant is one such idea. I sometimes wonder why it has not replaced sodium or water as coolant in the fast and even thermal reactors so far.It could avoid sodium fires in fast reactors or reduce pressure in thermal reactors improving safety in both and reducing costs in thermal reactors. Some fluoride combinations could be more neutron economic than light water.

    Thorium has higher conversion to fissile isotopes than uranium and with some fissile initial input makes thermal breeders or near breeders, resulting in higher burn up and longer time between fuel changes or reprocessing.

    Fluid fuel enables easy removal of volatile fission products like Xenon. Some fissile isotopes fluorides may also escape but could be recovered and put back in.

    Removal of neutron hungry fission products is very important for continued criticality and there are many Lanthanide’s creating such problems including Samarium. The boiling and melting points of solvent salts,fission products and fuel fluorides (excluding UF6) are so interlaced that it is not feasible to separate them physically. This may have been unsaid reason for lack of progress in the technology in the last few decades.

    The best way to separate Lanthanide’s from Actinides that I have read about is use of 3.5N Hydrochloric acid to dissolve the Lanthanides leaving a residue of thorium and uranium, used by Bharat rare earths.This, as pointed out in the talk, requires a conversion from fluorides. Let the chemists consider the electrolytic refining in fused fluorides like Aluminum refining.

  2. Thanks for this show I’ve been following Kirk Sorensen’s web publications on the LFTR concept for several months now; recently I came accross his ppt presentation file linked to the Nov 3 workshop he participated in that James Hansen mentioned in his “Open Letter to Obama”. I was wondering if Mr. Sorensen has a text or audio file of his presentation to go along with it?

    The idea of submersible LFTRs are probably more practical than large scale off-shore wind projects such as the 5GW (capacity) Ocean Energy Institute proposal for the Maine coast. I can see 100-500MW(e) mini-sub sized units manufactured at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and either towed or self propelled to an anchorage in the littoral zones of the world adjacent to convenient grid tie-ins.

  3. @ondrejch – you are correct for now. However, I am more concerned about what happens to the price of the gases if there is a significant new demand. With N2, the supply is essentially unlimited, though there is a certain cost of new machinery to produce the high purity product.

    The same is not true of the other gases. The overall supply is actually quite limited, but right now it balances the demand. That equation changes if there is a large new demand – like thousands of Adams Engine type machines.

  4. Total world demand for helium was, according to Worldwide Helium Air Products , 165 million nm3 (normal meters cubed, ~24,000 metric tons) in 2007, and is estimated to grow at around 4% per year; 3/4 of world production is from the US which is now drawing down its long held strategic helium reserve (of 170,000 metric tons a decade ago) as natural gas fields reportedly show helium decline of 10-15% per year. According to a 2000 National Academy of Sciences report , the total U.S. helium resources will disappear by 2035–probably sooner.

    Helium has doubled in price just since 2000, according to Scientific American this is due to demand from MRI medical diagnostics. How much helium would a standard 1000MW(th) LFTR require or for that matter a GA model GT-MHR or an Adams, Eskom, or MIT design PBMR?


  5. Time to ramp up the synthesis of helium from hydrogen, I guess. If only the process didn’t produce so much waste heat!

  6. I don’t know why CO2 would not be vary nearly as useful as helium in gas turbine reactors. I ran across an interesting engineering thesis paper from MIT describing a super-critical gas turbine with ~42% efficiency.

    The only significant trade-off would be operating temperature as CO2 tends to sublimate graphite (a problem for TRISO?) at high temperatures (above ~600 centigrade), but operating efficiencies of 42% are achievable with super-critical CO2 at this (relatively) low temperature. In LFTRs lead would be a good intermediate heat transfer medium between the circulating fuel and S-CO2.

  7. Hey, thousands of thanks and pats on the back to Charles Barton and Kirk Sorensen for all you two have done to get the word out about LFTRs.

    I first heard about the LFTR from Alex Canarra, PHD, at a Sierra Club meeting, who I have learned a lot about this from since. Also, I discovered lots of web sites with information about LFTRs too. Hey, I never heard of a LFTR before.

    Since then, I have sent out hundreds of letters to my State and Federal politicians, newspapers, investors, Philanthropists, Investors, and others. I have not got any significant response yet.

    Now I share the frustration with all those who have been trying to promote LFTRs over the years.

    You have one more person trying to get the word out too.

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