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[MIT News] Clean energy could lead to scarce materials - Page 2

post #11 of 68
Although neodymium is classed as a "rare earth", it is no rarer than cobalt, nickel, and copper ore, and is widely distributed in the Earth's crust.[2] Most of the world's neodymium is mined in China. <
wiki

As said before, nothing to see here, move on.
post #12 of 68
Why is everyone hellbent on supporting nuclear power, championing thorium as the harbinger of a new era of fission or something?
It will not stop proliferation, since thorium in itself cannot initiate a chain reaction. You'd need up to ~20% of Uranium-235 or Plutonium-239 to do so - for anyone really intent on making nuclear weapons, achieving weapons-grade enrichment (90%) from 20% is child's play.
In addition, the thorium itself isn't even fissile - instead, it is actually "converted" to Uranium-233, which is as effective as Plutonium for bomb-making.
And hell, the whole "we'll only have to stow it away for 500 years" deal is a crock of crap. I don't even know who invented that claim - the thorium fuel cycle does produce byproducts that have not got a short half-life at all. Hell, spent fuel containing Thorium-232 has got a half life of 14 billion years. If somehow a thorium reactor would've been active when the universe sprang into existence, it would still radiate. If you do reprocess the fuel, you create Uranium-232 which is so radioactive, a single particle in your lung would exceed legal limits... oh, and it's got a half life of 70 years, too.
Edited by crust_cheese - 4/9/12 at 10:29am
post #13 of 68
So in other words.... China will own America... again...
post #14 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lime View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rognin View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by InfernoReaper View Post

Hydro-electric and thorium reactors for everybody!

Thorium is the solution.

Too bad it isn't feasible yet.

The only reason thorium isn't "feasible" is there's no defense use for a non-weapons platform related nuclear reactor - all the reactors we have today are around because of the early experimental reactors and subsequent weapons projects that in essence provided the funding for powerplant R&D.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guswut View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by InfernoReaper View Post

Hydro-electric and thorium reactors for everybody!

Hydroelectric power generators and thorium nuclear reactors both require the same rare earth element neodymium for use in the turbines that convert the mechanical energy (running water in the former, steam in the latter) into electrical energy.

What? They don't use permanent magnets in power plants.
Quote:
Originally Posted by crust_cheese View Post

Why is everyone hellbent on supporting nuclear power, championing thorium as the harbinger of a new era of fission or something?
It will not stop proliferation, since thorium in itself cannot initiate a chain reaction.

That's the point. If something goes wrong, you drain the thorium away from the initiator, and everything stops. Look up a MSFR, or a LFTR. the other wonderful thing about thorium? it's ALL useful as fuel. all of it in existence.

Thorium reactors are by far the safest nuclear option right now. if something goes wrong, they passively shut down, without any computer or human intervention, whereas everything out there now can go critical if you're too embarrassed to call someone above you and ask for help.
Edited by u3b3rg33k - 4/9/12 at 11:03am
 
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post #15 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyparker1337 View Post

So in other words.... China will own America... again...

When did they stop owning us? We still owe them like a Trillion dollars....... Everyone better get cracking on learning Mandarin or Cantonese.
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post #16 of 68
heres a crazy idea: how about build a mine for that stuff some other place than china?
post #17 of 68
And as these grow in demand, so will the global output. While they're a limited resource, the only thing making them "scarce" at the moment is global output. Same thing was the case for crude oil before it became the backbone for transportation fuel and energy-generation.
    
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post #18 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by crust_cheese View Post

Why is everyone hellbent on supporting nuclear power, championing thorium as the harbinger of a new era of fission or something?
It will not stop proliferation, since thorium in itself cannot initiate a chain reaction. You'd need up to ~20% of Uranium-235 or Plutonium-239 to do so - for anyone really intent on making nuclear weapons, achieving weapons-grade enrichment (90%) from 20% is child's play.
In addition, the thorium itself isn't even fissile - instead, it is actually "converted" to Uranium-233, which is as effective as Plutonium for bomb-making.
And hell, the whole "we'll only have to stow it away for 500 years" deal is a crock of crap. I don't even know who invented that claim - the thorium fuel cycle does produce byproducts that have not got a short half-life at all. Hell, spent fuel containing Thorium-232 has got a half life of 14 billion years. If somehow a thorium reactor would've been active when the universe sprang into existence, it would still radiate. If you do reprocess the fuel, you create Uranium-232 which is so radioactive, a single particle in your lung would exceed legal limits... oh, and it's got a half life of 70 years, too.

Umm longer half lifes mean less radiation. Hell you could put the spent thorium in an aluminium foil and stow it away in your lazy boy where you sit every night and not get radiated. If you start getting very short half lifes that's where they (spent materials) get dangerous.

Where do you get this info from?
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post #19 of 68
I also work at a Hydro dam construction site in Northern Quebec.

They use copper and magnets...

I don't seem to see any Neodium or dysporium here... This is the third rotor in the hydro dam they are building 1 km away.

399
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post #20 of 68
I was pretty sure they were 100% electromagnet, and your picture has further convinced me of my assumption. Large magnets are crazy dangerous, especially when you can't turn them off. You'd need more than the average crane to drop that rotor in if the stator had permanent magnets in it. talk about lateral forces...

Furthermore, if you did have permanent magnets, you'd want them all in the rotor to eliminate the need for brushes / slip rings, right? pulling megawatts through brushes is sooo 1800s. spinning field coil and polyphase stator is hip these days, amirite?
 
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