The UK Telegraph has written an article in support of new Thorium nuclear reactors based on the work of Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia, CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research).
A detailed study estimated that the Rubbia thorium energy amplifier (subcritical reactor) would be twice as cheap as current nuclear power.
Dr Rubbia says a tonne of the silvery metal – named after the Norse god of thunder, who also gave us Thor’s day or Thursday – produces as much energy as 200 tonnes of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coal. The Norwegian group Aker Solutions has bought Dr Rubbia’s patent for the thorium fuel-cycle, and is working on his design for a proton accelerator at its UK operation.
Victoria Ashley, the project manager, said it could lead to a network of pint-sized 600MW reactors that are lodged underground, can supply small grids, and do not require a safety citadel. It will take £2bn to build the first one, and Aker needs £100mn for the next test phase. Aker is looking for tie-ups with the US, Russia, or China.
Aker solutions web page for its novel thorium reactor
Here is a 2009 presentation on the Rubbia reactor (18 pages_
Carlo Rubbia published a proposal for a power reactor based on a proton cyclotron accelerator with a beam energy of 800 MeV to 1 GeV, and a target with thorium as fuel and lead as a coolant. an energy amplifier is a novel type of nuclear power reactor, a subcritical reactor, in which an energetic particle beam is used to stimulate a reaction, which in turn releases enough energy to power the particle accelerator and leave an energy profit for power generation. The concept has more recently been referred to as an accelerator-driven system (ADS).
The estimate is that the thorium energy amplifier (subcritical reactor) would be twice as cheap as current nuclear power.