Dezakin wrote:Actually U232 is highly desirable for thorium fuel cycles as a proliferation deterant.
Well, if you are going to sell your nuclear fuel to not particularly friendly nation, than U232 may be of advantage.
If you are going to work within your own nation, or within set ups like NAFTA or EU, than U232 is an outright nuisance.
If one propose nuclear power as a world wide solution to energy problems, than it is certain, that issues of nonproliferation are going to be compromised with time.
Few more Koreas and NPT will no longer be relevant anyway.
Howewer I am not trying to say, that we should allow Hutus & Tutsis to acquire nukes without making any fuss.
Again "reactor grade" U233 will purify itself from U232 contaminant, if left alone for few centuries and "selfweaponise" by the same.
If you're breeding U233 free of U232, you have a fissile material that has most of the same nuclear weapons properties of plutonium minus the spontaneous fission, a highly desirable weapons material. Just use molten salt reactors or the once through fuel cycle. If you must breed U233 in LWRs or CANDU's, then make sure the process spikes it.
I doubt, that many nations will decide to "spoil deliberately" their U233, if it is easier to make a pure one. Even if "officially" they do, they are more than likely to keep (and acummulate) small samples of pure material. Few centuries old material will always be a "weapon grade" anyway. Commercial U233 to be sold to other nations will obviously make exception, but still "purification by storage" cannot be prevented.
Proliferation is probably inevitable with thorium breeding applied worldwide. Plutonium reprocessing makes already "ginnie out of bottle" situation. Few decades old civililian Pu is "weapon grade" anyway.
Consider that U233 is good weapons material so long as its not spiked with U232, which probably has some impact on indias policy.
Hence my comments above regarding probably unsolvable proliferation risks.
If we stay with LWR + some MOX only, than within about sixty - hundred years we may switch off light and close the shop.
Low grade mineral uranium ores, even if of satisfactory EROEI - but I doubt it - are tedious to work with, and due to unsatisfactory production rates are likely to fail to provide sufficient supply to global nuclear sector.
Say what? On what do you base that?
I like the thorium breeder concept as much as anyone, but this is being willfully ignorant of the production capacity of medium grade ores.
Large scale production of Uranium from low grade mineral ores is not going IMO to secure enough uranium for timely replacement of fuel in 1-2 thousands of NPP of the future.
Even if OK by EROEI, you will have great trouble with scaling up production to sufficient levels.
Just imagine "leaching" of millions of tons of low grade ore with nitric acid etc.
Uranium will not appear on your shelf, because you demand it.
Extraction from low grade ores would be a much more tedious process, than current approach.
Add all NIMBY factors and you may not be able to open (and maintain) sufficient number of mines to cover timely worldwide demand.