For the past five years I’ve been on the Ontario Progressive Conservative Energy Policy Advisory Committee. The purpose of these PACs are to bring together experts and provide content for White Papers which help make policy for the Party. I wrote a report for the Energy PAC on Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors. Below is a revised version of that report.
History of LFTR
In the 1960’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) built two experimental Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors and both worked well. The project was abandoned in favor of Uranium reactors for nuclear weapons grade material. The plans have collected dust since.
How it works
Thorium 232 isn’t a fissile element. It’s called a fertile element. It has to be converted to U233 by the capture of a neutron. That then fission decays to produce energy. The Thorium is held in suspension in a Fluoride salt, generally Beryllium Fluoride, in a high temperature molten state.
The nuclear reaction heats the fluid, which is then fed to another medium to transfer that heat, which is then transferred to a steam generator.
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