One of the key ways Thorium Power Canada’s technology differs is that the Thorium Reactors are designed to breed artificial uranium-233 from thorium, burn most of that fuel as soon as it is bred, and store the minor amount of unburned fuel.
Additionally, no waste would be produced until the decommissioning at the end of a plants useful life, estimated to be well over 60 years. Any waste remains in the reactor encapsulated in glass with no external storage necessary.
The TPC Thorium reactor cannot achieve melt-down due to the Thorium fuel cycle differing dramatically from a conventional Uranium reactor. The TPC Reactor takes minutes to shut down as the Thorium fuel cycle requires Neutrons to achieve and maintain the reaction. Once the Neutron source is cut the process shuts down immediately, eliminating the chance of major nuclear incidents as seen in history.
Thorium is destined to eclipse Uranium as the nuclear fuel of choice. Thorium cannot melt down due to its fertile nature. Due to Thorium’s high burn-up rate nuclear waste is dramatically reduced by a factor of 90%. Thorium reactors are nuclear weapons proliferation resistant. It is virtually impossible to make nuclear weapons from thorium reactors as demonstrated by the US in the 1950’s – ‘60’s. Due to Thorium’s nature we can now make smaller more efficient reactors in a modular design, dramatically reducing manufacturing and operating cost.
Example: A DBI/TPC Thorium reactor will cost $1800 per Kwh to build and operate (including fuel) vs. a conventional Uranium reactor, which costs in excess of $6000 Kwh to build and operate.
Studies dating back to the 1950’s show Thorium to be 4 times more abundant than Uranium, almost as common as lead in the earth’s crust. The global estimate of Thorium deposits (as reported by IAEA, 2.8 million tonnes) could supply the world’s energy needs for the next 2500 yrs. The higher burn-up rate for Thorium allows for more energy production from smaller amounts of fuel.
Example: 300 million kg of coal = 250 kg of Uranium = 1 kg of Thorium to achieve the same energy output.