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Old 08-14-2011, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Itinerant
6,140 posts, read 4,134,406 times
Reputation: 4721

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCforever View Post
I don't want to embarrass you, I'm a nuclear engineer. What they appear to be talking about is building a small breeder reactor to install in your car. There isn't a snow balls chance in hell that anyone is going to allow that.
Really a real life "nuclear engineer", not a PE in RE

So if you're so knowledgeable, could you explain to this lowly internet poster how you derive this description to mean a breeder reactor...?

Quote:
The key to the system developed by inventor Charles Stevens, CEO and chairman of Connecticut-based Laser Power Systems, is that when silvery metal thorium is heated by an external source, it becomes so dense its molecules give off considerable heat.



Small blocks of thorium generate heat surges that are configured as a thorium-based laser, Stevens tells Ward’s. These create steam from water within mini-turbines, generating electricity to drive a car.


<Snip>


Natural thorium has little radioactivity, Stevens says. What isotopes there are could be blocked by aluminum foil, so the power unit’s 3-in. (7.6-cm) thick stainless-steel box should do the trick.
Do you see any description of an initiator, a moderator (you need slow neutrons), or an accelerator and a target?

As a nuclear engineer you understand the Thorium fuel cycle, and know the fissile products of thorium are so why would someone state (if it were in a self sustaining reaction) the radiation could be blocked by aluminum foil? Given that Thallium 208 is in that cycle? Not to mention to breed thorium to U233 requires neutrons, and beta decay, an aluminum shield would release Bremsstrahlung x-rays on beta capture. Even the stainless steel would.

Finally there's this particular statement at the end of this report that implies its more of an energy amplifier...

Quote:
“Nobody will allow that to happen,” Hashemi-Nezhad says. Hedrick thinks such concerns are overblown, stressing thorium’s by-products are very hard to turn into weapons-grade material, requiring an immense amount of work and energy. “Nobody will allow that to happen,” Hashemi-Nezhad says. Hedrick thinks such concerns are overblown, stressing thorium’s by-products are very hard to turn into weapons-grade material, requiring an immense amount of work and energy. Stevens agrees, emphasizing his system is “subcritical.” This means no nuclear reaction occurs within the thorium. It remains in the same state and is not turned into uranium 233, which happens only if thorium is sufficiently super-heated to generate a fission reaction. “It’s very safe,” he says., which happens only if thorium is sufficiently super-heated to generate a fission reaction. “It’s very safe,” he says.
Could you tell me of ANY breeder reactor that operates at subcriticality?

Of course the fact he states super-heating thorium to initiate a fission reaction means he may possibly have received his education in Nuclear Physics at the same establishment you seem to have.

So as for embarrassing myself, well, given you're a nuclear engineer (or a EEE in renewable energy one or the other, or maybe a EEE at Nuke plants), you either did not read the article, or somehow came to some unusual conclusion as to how the thorium is used in this application. As a engineer, I'd expect you to analyze first before acting (commenting is acting). As a nuclear engineer I'd question how from the description in the report you derived a breeder design. Especially given they clearly state "no nuclear reaction occurs in the thorium" that the system is sub critical, and the shielding for a reactor vessel is obviously woefully inadequate given the Thorium fuel cycle (something I'd expect any reasonable Nuke Physicist or Engineer to know). These were not tip off's to you?

It seems that when we discuss certain points, there's a pattern developing of trotting out "professional qualifications" why is that? Which this being the internet mean nothing, you can try be whoever you want others to believe that you are. Most of the time this might work, sometimes you bump into someone else who knows what they're talking about, sometimes they'll call you on it.

Now that said it's not unreasonable to assume a small scale thorium breeder design, however that would make the whole article completely redundant, with several fabrications and it's also is not relevant to the discussion.
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Old 08-14-2011, 02:00 PM
 
5,090 posts, read 9,828,499 times
Reputation: 3955
oh Jebus.

Let's slap our dicks out on the table . . . and . . . I see mine is the biggest.

There. Settled.

Back towards the OP. I think we can all agree this is likely a combination of nitwittery and sham, and likely only suitable to shipboard (or submarine) use -- or maybe, but only maybe, some crazy train.

Let China try it and we can avoid this level of stupid and clean up.

WE all agree on that?
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Old 08-14-2011, 07:16 PM
 
Location: DC
6,509 posts, read 6,427,712 times
Reputation: 3112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gungnir View Post
Really a real life "nuclear engineer", not a PE in RE

So if you're so knowledgeable, could you explain to this lowly internet poster how you derive this description to mean a breeder reactor...?



Do you see any description of an initiator, a moderator (you need slow neutrons), or an accelerator and a target?

As a nuclear engineer you understand the Thorium fuel cycle, and know the fissile products of thorium are so why would someone state (if it were in a self sustaining reaction) the radiation could be blocked by aluminum foil? Given that Thallium 208 is in that cycle? Not to mention to breed thorium to U233 requires neutrons, and beta decay, an aluminum shield would release Bremsstrahlung x-rays on beta capture. Even the stainless steel would.

Finally there's this particular statement at the end of this report that implies its more of an energy amplifier...



Could you tell me of ANY breeder reactor that operates at subcriticality?

Of course the fact he states super-heating thorium to initiate a fission reaction means he may possibly have received his education in Nuclear Physics at the same establishment you seem to have.

So as for embarrassing myself, well, given you're a nuclear engineer (or a EEE in renewable energy one or the other, or maybe a EEE at Nuke plants), you either did not read the article, or somehow came to some unusual conclusion as to how the thorium is used in this application. As a engineer, I'd expect you to analyze first before acting (commenting is acting). As a nuclear engineer I'd question how from the description in the report you derived a breeder design. Especially given they clearly state "no nuclear reaction occurs in the thorium" that the system is sub critical, and the shielding for a reactor vessel is obviously woefully inadequate given the Thorium fuel cycle (something I'd expect any reasonable Nuke Physicist or Engineer to know). These were not tip off's to you?

It seems that when we discuss certain points, there's a pattern developing of trotting out "professional qualifications" why is that? Which this being the internet mean nothing, you can try be whoever you want others to believe that you are. Most of the time this might work, sometimes you bump into someone else who knows what they're talking about, sometimes they'll call you on it.

Now that said it's not unreasonable to assume a small scale thorium breeder design, however that would make the whole article completely redundant, with several fabrications and it's also is not relevant to the discussion.
Eight years as a submariner and qualified Chief Engineer for Naval Nuclear Propulsion Plants do anything for you? BTW the Navy operated a thorium core at their Shippingport facility in the late 70s. The Navy has more institutional experience with thorium cycle reactors than anyone in the world.

Only those with a sever drug problem would ever suggest that anyone is going to allow a nuclear powered passenger car. In addition, the driver would die fairly quickly from the radiation flux, which can't be stopped by aluminum foil.

I am a PE and I do work today in renewable energy. That's because no sane person would work for some moron proposing a thorium cycle automobile.
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