During 2013, the company made considerable progress with its plans to develop and commercialize thorium as a nuclear fuel and to design its small modular pebble-bed reactor, the TH-100. Thorium has several attractive features as a fuels: it can incinerate plutonium without producing any new plutonium in its waste; the waste from the thorium fuel cycle is relatively benign and proliferation-resistant; its physical characteristics make it relatively safe to use; and it is relatively abundant and will be able to provide carbon-free energy for many years to come.
At the end of 2013, the company owned 15% of Thor Energy AS in Norway. After several years of research and development, planning and investment, Thor Energy inserted thorium/plutonium pellets into the OECD-managed reactor at Halden in Norway in April 2011. By the end of the year, this fuel had successfully generated power for eight months and was performing as predicted and expected. This was the beginning of a five-year programme to qualify this fuel for use in Light Water Reactors (LWRs), which constitute the largest part of the world's reactor fleet. Although thorium has been tried and tested as a nuclear fuel on many occasions over the last sixty years, the Thor Energy programme is the first that is designed to qualify and license thorium as a fuel for use in the world's existing reactor fleet. The company is actively involved in this programme, which is supported by the Norwegian and British governments, the German Institute for Transuranic Elements, Westinghouse, Fortum, Statoil and Itochu Corporation. The British Broadcasting Corporation made a film, and the British newspaper, the Telegraph, wrote an article, about the Thor Energy programme during 2013.
During the year under review, the company completed the conceptual design and the technical description of its TH-100 small modular high-temperature gas-cooled pebble-bed reactor. The company plans to proceed with the basic design of this reactor and has invited several governments and companies to participate in this project. The TH-100 design has many attractive features; it is melt-down proof; it is intrinsically safe; it is versatile; and it can produce high-temperature steam for industrial applications, hydrogen and fresh water in addition to electricity. As a small modular reactor, it will be quicker and cheaper to build than conventional light water reactors; many countries that cannot afford large, expensive reactors that take many years to build will be able to afford the TH-100.
During 2013, the company also commenced the conceptual design of the factory to make the pebble fuel for the TH-100 reactor. This fuel is made in three stages: firstly, small kernels of fuel are made; secondly, these kernels are coated with a hard silicon carbide coating; and, thirdly, the coated particles are pressed into the fuel spheres or pebbles. The company is proceeding with a project to make some pebble fuel and to test and qualify this fuel.
In February 2014, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission published a report entitled "Safety and Regulatory Issues of the Thorium Fuel Cycle". This report states that thorium will become an important nuclear fuel, that it will first be used in Light Water Reactors, and that Thor Energy AS, our associate company in Norway, is conducting the tests that are necessary to qualify this fuel. The report mentions our company as a partner in the Norwegian programme. In March, 2014, the British Government published a report entitled "Future Electricity Series Part 3 - Power from Nuclear" that mentions "thorium" and "small modular reactors" many times.
"The world has a large and growing demand for energy and must reduce its carbon emissions. It is a great challenge to produce more energy while burning less fossil fuels. Many countries around the world accept that nuclear power is necessary to provide carbon-free base-load power. There is now a nuclear renaissance with many countries either building, or planning to build, many nuclear power stations over the next twenty years. We believe that thorium and small modular reactors like our TH-100 will play large part in this nuclear renaissance."
Potential investors can contact Trevor Blench at : Trevor.Blench@htmr100.Com
Chairman of Steen-kampskraal Thorium Ltd
Copyright 2014 HTMR100. All Rights Reserved.
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• ExtremeTech.com about Thorium
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