I’m so happy to see newer, safer nuclear power happening. I live near a nuclear power plant and am glad that I have a nuclear-powered car, but molten salt reactors are designed to be safe (no so-called “china syndrome”) and although this article doesn’t mention it, at least some of the designs use thorium salts, which do not generate weapons-grade materials as waste byproducts.
Jürgen Erhard August 26, 2018 07:46
So, all the reactors before were not designed to be safe? WTF?
Michael K Johnson August 26, 2018 07:52
Writing anything in short form invites comments like that… :(
Current plants rely on active systems for safety. Molten salt reactors fall back to a passive safety system.
I, for one, appreciate the difference.
Alan Cox August 26, 2018 08:16
It’s still got lots of issues but the if it breaks it grinds to a halt one is good. Fusion would be better
Michael K Johnson August 26, 2018 08:26
We just have to figure out containment… :)
Rick Troth August 26, 2018 11:25
By “nuclear-powered car”, I presume you mean chemically-stored power recharged from that nearby plant via traditional grid.
Michael K Johnson August 26, 2018 12:36
+Rick Troth yes of course, as opposed to coal-fired ditto.
Behan Webster August 26, 2018 13:14
+Michael K Johnson Aw. I was hoping your car had a “Mr Fusion” power plant.
Eugene Crosser August 26, 2018 15:21
Actually, WBRs have kinda same built in safety: if water boils off, chain reaction stops without moderator. The material still stays rather hot (wrt. temperature and radiation) for rather long time, which is not a nice thing to have. But “China syndrome” is not a very realistic proposition.
Molten salt reactors have their own set of problems, you have to deal with (not very, but) radioactive and highly chemically aggressive fluid at >250 ℃, and “to deal” means a non-trivial chemical plant. On the other hand, we have a lot of thorium, much more than uranium.
At the moment, it seems that renewables are winning, despite their higher cost (in money and in human casualties).
Eugene Crosser August 26, 2018 15:47
By the way, WBRs do not produce much interesting isotopes either. Which is a shame: we have almost no breeder reactors left, so not much plutonium-238 produced, ruling out a class of safe and efficient autonomous power sources for future space (and on-earth) missions.
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