Swiss startup plans development of thorium-based nuclear reactor
nuclear-power-plant-gff373d7f5_1920
Swiss startup Transmutex is planning to create a prototype nuclear power station using thorium instead of uranium as its prime fuel resource. The project, given the name TMX-START, is to be developed over the next 10 years, the company said in a press release.

The project is based on ideas expressed by Italian researcher Caro Rubbia, Novel prize winner and Global Energy Prize laureate. In the 1980s, he proposed using a proton accelerator to create a source of of high-intensity neutrons to bring about a transmutation of thorium into uranium isotope 233 which, upon disintegration, releases energy.

    This principle involves a radical change in the process of splitting atoms, fundamental to the work of nuclear reactors, in which uranium fuel undergoes neutron bombardment: when atoms are split they release energy and generate an even larger numbers of neutrons which, in the end, leads to a chain reaction. The heat released as a result is then transformed into electricity.

    Unlike uranium, thorium has no self-sustaining ability to undergo fission. To shut down a thorium reactor, it is sufficient to shut down the proton accelerator, which also ensures high safety standards.

   The life cycle of thorium radioactive nuclear waste will be shorter by a factor of thousands than uranium (300 years instead of 300,000 years) and the uranium isotope (UA 233) will be ineffective in the manufacture of nuclear weapons (unlike the UA 235 used today).

    Another advantage is thorium’s availability: the three leading countries in uranium production (Australia, Kazakhstan and Canada) account for 52 % of all world-wide deposits, whereas for thorium, the three leading countries (India, Brazil and Australia) make up 33 % , according to the World Nuclear Association).

    To carry out the Transmutex project, 8 million Swiss francs ($8.7 million) in investment has already been secured—5 million of which has come from private U.S. investors. Cost of construction of the prototype thorium nuclear power station is estimated at 1.5 million Swiss francs, the swissinfo.ch website reported.

     The share of nuclear power in Switzerland’s energy balance totals 32.9 %, according to data from the PRIS Information system on nuclear reactors issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Four reactors are in operation, with a combined installed capacity of 2,960 megawatts (MW). A fifth reactor, with a capacity of 373 MW, located at the single-reactor power station at Muehleberg in Canton Berne, was closed in 2019 after being in operation for 47 years.

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on telegram
Telegram
Share on email
Email
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on vk
VK
Share on odnoklassniki
OK
Share on reddit
Reddit

Add comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Brazil will build two solar panels manufacturing plants

The Brazilian startup Sengi Solar intends to build two new plants manufacturing solar panels in 2023-2024, the industry source PV Magazine informs. Together with recent commissioning of manufacturing lines in the state of Parana in the South of the country, this will allow for increasing the total company generating capacity up to 1.5 GW per annum.

read more ...

Archives


February 2022
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28