Closing the nuclear fuel cycle:

TO: Nov 3rd 2020 Election Winners and others:

Since the very beginning of the light water reactor technology, there was an open end of what to do with the unused portion of the radioactive uranium fuel. Then the reactor could no longer fission the uranium, refueling with new enriched uranium fuel rod assemblies was required. The used up fuel rods also referred to as spent fuel, are water-cooled and eventually dry stored at the nuclear power plant site. Final disposal for the spent nuclear fuel was needed to close the fuel cycle for this radioactive material.

There are only two practical options for final disposition: 1) bury it deep in the bowels of the earth forever or 2) recycle it through advanced reactors designed to consume the remaining 99% of the energy still within the spent uranium fuel rods. That remaining stored energy could generate decades of additional clean electricity for the national grid. That energy could also create hydrogen fuel, desalinate saline water, create intense industrial heat for manufacturing steel, aluminum, cement, and many other materials. Spent nuclear fuel is “stored nuclear energy.”

The United States has over 83,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel in storage and another 183,000 tons of depleted uranium in storage leftover from the manufacturing process of the solid uranium fuel rods used in the light water reactors. All this stored uranium is fuel for molten salt reactor technology that could last for hundreds of years. Stored uranium could sustain enough energy for a population of 10 billion people for centuries.

A fleet of advance molten salt reactors would be needed, around the world, on every continent and every island. These reactors would be scalable from 50 MW/e to 1200 MW/e and more by daisy-chaining the reactors where more concentrated power is needed. However, the ideal grid configuration would be to set up local area grids and inter-connect them with transmission lines when backup power is required.

Molten salt reactor technology will close the nuclear fuel cycle so there is no more alleged nuclear waste.

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