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Audra Drazga's picture
Vice President of The Power Industry Network Energy Central

I am the VP of the Energy Central Power Industry Network.  In this role, I help to connect professionals in the power industry through the development and management of topic-specific community...

  • Member since 2012
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  • Oct 22, 2021
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I thought this article may be of interest to the community.  New technologies are coming to the forefront of Nuclear Energy every day.  Curious about your thoughts on this one?

 

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 22, 2021

Fascinating, Audra. The new fuel isn't really replacing uranium - it will likely likely have a mixture of High Assay Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU) and thorium (HALEU is a fancy way to say "medium enriched" uranium). As it's found in nature thorium is only slightly radioactive, but when bombarded with neutrons from HALEU "breeds" U-233, an even more radioactive isotope of uranium than U-235, and just as useful for generating heat.

Though controlled fission of U-235 is well-understood for generating nuclear energy, mixes of different isotopes are not, and sometimes produce unintended consequences. It will take years of testing under various circumstances to develop a blend, and a fuel rod configuration, that is passively safe (can't melt down).

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