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Accelerator Driven Nuclear Energy - The Thorium Option


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Title Accelerator Driven Nuclear Energy - The Thorium Option
Author Rajendran Raja
Publisher Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)
Release Date 2009
Language English

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Subject Area Physics
Abstract Conventional nuclear reactors use enriched Uranium as fuel and produce nuclear waste which needs to be stored away for over 10,000 years.   At the current rate of use, existing sources of Uranium will last for 50-100 years.  We describe a solution to the problem that uses particle accelerators to produce fast neutrons that can be used to burn existing nuclear waste and produce energy.  Such systems, initially proposed by Carlo Rubbia and collaborators in the 1990's, are being seriously considered by many countries as a possible solution to the green energy problem.  Accelerator driven reactors operate in a sub-critical regime and, thus, are safer and can obtain energy from plentiful elements such as Thorium-232 and Uranium-238. What is missing is the high intensity (10MW) accelerator that produces 1 GeV protons. We will describe scenarios which if implemented will make such systems a reality.  


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