Charles Barton has an informative interview with Ralph Moir posted at Nuclear Green and Thorium energy.
Dr. Ralph Moir was an extremely distinguished scientist at Lawrence-Livermore Laboratory, and a personal associate of Dr. Edward Teller. He first discusses fusion/fission hybrid reactors and then molten salt fission reactors.
Fusion holds the promise–yet to be fulfilled–of providing a supply of neutrons that can be used to produce fissile fuel for fission reactors. Even if fusion cost twice that of fission per unit of thermal power produced, its fuel would be competitive with mined uranium at $200/kg. Fusion will be even more competitive as its costs come down. This produced fuel can be used in fission reactors to completely burn up the fertile fuel supply, that is depleted uranium or thorium. Its weakness is fusion is not here and past slow progress suggests future progress might be slow. Furthermore, we are not assured that fusion’s costs will be less than twice that of fission.
This seems to suggest that even a partial success with inertial electrostatic fusion where for some reason a full scale commercial fusion reactor is not achieved or is slower in completing, that if it becomes a thousand or ten thousand times better at being a neutron source then it could be part of making completely burning fission reactors. [completely burning fission means no unburned fuel or almost no nuclear waste]
A conventional molten salt reactor can produce almost all of its own fuel but needs initial fuel for start up and needs some makeup fuel and also some fuel to be used to burnout certain wastes. So the fusion/fission hybrid can be this fuel supplier. In this way the combination of a hybrid fuel supplier and molten-salt burners can supply the planet’s power for many hundreds or even thousands of years at an increased nuclear power level enough to make a big impact in decreasing carbon usage. Such a combination might have one hybrid fusion fission reactor for every fifteen fission reactors.
It holds the promise of being more economical than our present reactors while using less fuel. I published a paper on this topic that the ORNL people did not feel they could publish. It can come in small sizes without as much of a penalty as is usually the case and can be in large sizes. It can burn thorium thereby getting away from so much buildup of plutonium and higher actinides.
The next step in molten salt reactor development should be the construction and operation of a small
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