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As I see it, the most interesting part is the ability to consume plutonium in a safe way. And of substituting other longer life residues by short life ones. If it can produce some energy, it should be seen as a subproduct, not the purpose. For energy we should concentrate on renewables.

res humà m'és aliè
by Antoni Jaume on Thu Dec 8th, 2011 at 10:56:41 AM EST
One application where it is difficult to run connected to the grid is ocean shipping. Pure U233-Thorium molten salt breeder reactors can be designed at a size appropriate for use in ship engines.

They can also regulate power output more quickly than a light water reactor ~ slow down the circulation of the fuel out to the heat exchanger phase, allowing the molten salt mixture to heat up, the reaction slows down, and less total power is generated. So they are much better suited to operating on a grid with a substantial harvesting of volatile renewable energy sources.

Sadly, the best hope for serious development of the technology in the US may be the fact that they can scale down smaller than light water reactors, so could be used in smaller ships and subs than the current nuclear power vessels in the US Navy.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Dec 8th, 2011 at 11:49:42 AM EST
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Still, the idea of having one of these babies on every container ship in the world is... not reassuring, let's say. A standard 40-foot container packed full of composite plastic explosives and loaded onto your ship will spread its engine over most of the surrounding countryside, including the more or less radioactive and plutonium-contaminated molten salt.

Hey presto: Dirty bomb.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Dec 9th, 2011 at 05:46:49 AM EST
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There's very little plutonium dissolved in the salts ~ you'd not use a small aircraft or ship engine reactor to burn plutonium fuel, you'd use a U233-Thorium mix. There is a trace of plutonium that will occur at the end of a long reaction chain, but it doesn't accumulate since the thorium fuel cycle tends to consume plutonium.

So for the amount of material in a smaller reactor, I wonder whether just having the container ships sitting there now belching out bunker grade diesel exhaust 24/7 is a bigger dirty bomb.

And it might be you need to get the container of C4 loaded just right, at the right location relative to the engine room and low enough in the stack to direct the blast there, to get the dirty bomb effect ~ it seems just as likely if not more so that you'd scatter bits and pieces of cheap soduko games, fancy coffee presses and washing machines around the surrounding area, and sink the broken generator into the seabed beneath the port.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Dec 9th, 2011 at 09:24:12 AM EST
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She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Dec 8th, 2011 at 01:34:17 PM EST
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