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A new model for climate change

Discussion in 'Factor X' started by Jack Kruse, Aug 9, 2021.

  1. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

  2. Sean Waters

    Sean Waters New Member

    Earth looking like a mitochondrion
     
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  3. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    The Earth has a masive amount of energy buried in its crust. Human ingenuity will be used to bury the green energy iniatives of the WEF.

    Example: I gave you a blog on Thorium.

    How about we talk about uranium. Did you know that uranium is a naturally occurring element with an average concentration of 2.8 parts per million in the Earth's crust. Traces of it occur almost everywhere. It is more abundant than gold, silver or mercury, about the same as tin and slightly less abundant than cobalt, lead or molybdenum.
    This means humans have a ton of it to create energy for our economy.

    In March 2022, ARPA-E rolled out the Converting UNF Radioisotopes Into Energy (CURIE) program. CURIE—which honors physicist and chemist Marie Curie—seeks to develop innovative and proliferation-resistant separations of long-lived elements, such as plutonium, that could be made into new fuel and “transmuted” into shorter-lived commercial radioactive isotopes and critical minerals we use in medicine. But CURIE also supports online monitoring and materials accountancy technologies. CURIE will fuel advanced reactors and provide important clean energy elements, all while drastically reducing waste, DARPA-E, said in March. With this new program, we’re emphasizing safeguards and lowered costs as we provide clean energy technology options for the future. Plus we have a ton of spent nuclear fuel in the US that can be recycled and reused in the new uranium reactors. No one in WEF or who supports the ESG narrative wants the energy story to go down this path.

    An abundance of money in green tech creates scarcity everywhere elsehat inflation is critical WEF politicians because they plan to use inflation to abolish money to get us to a CBDC world for control and compliance. Scarcity in money creates abundance everywhere else. Money allowed to ever expand by printing brings scarcity to every land so politicians can harvest and use supply chain weakness for their wants needs and desires. Money becoming scarce (BTC 21 million coins) and tightly bound will creates abundance all around including energy.

    [​IMG]

    What Is Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing and Recycling?
    CURIE’s proposed closed nuclear fuel cycle envisions reprocessing UNF, essentially by separating UNF to recover reusable actinides on the periodic table—uranium and plutonium, among them—and then recycling them into new fuel.

    Historically, commercial reprocessing facilities—like La Hague in France—have used a 1950-developed solvent extraction-based process, the Plutonium Uranium Reduction-Extraction process (PUREX), to recover uranium and plutonium products (as uranium trioxide and plutonium dioxide). The plutonium dioxide product serves a feedstock that is blended with uranium oxide to fabricate mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, which is used by light water reactors (LWRs). Think about why mitochondria make DDW now. MOX fuel is like the acylcarnitines and fat stores in your body. The PUREX process remains the standard method of UNF separation and the only method presently practiced on a commercial and industrial scale.

    [​IMG]
    Unit operations associated with the PUREX process, a standard method of used nuclear fuel separation and the only method presently practiced on a commercial and industrial scale. FROM: DOE

    While the U.S. marked several early milestones in reprocessing, other countries, including France, the UK, Japan, Russia, and China, have spearheaded advancements. Some already have established commercial recycling applications.

    Russia, notably, on Sept. 9, 2022 announced it fully loaded its 820-MWe BN-800 fast rector’s core with uranium-plutonium MOX fuel. Russia’s MOX fuel comprises “oxide of plutonium bred in commercial reactors, and oxide of depleted uranium which comes from de-fluorination of depleted uranium hexafluoride (UF6), the so-called secondary tailings of uranium enrichment facilities.” China has also announced several reprocessing milestones. Following completion of tests at a pilot PUREX plant in 2015, China has explored plans to begin reprocessing UNF at a larger commercial facility. It is in tandem reportedly building two MOX facilities.

    Under its CURIE program, DARPA-E sets out a pathway to develop “innovative” separation technologies, process monitoring techniques for special nuclear material, as well as equipment designs that will “significantly improve the economics and process monitoring of reprocessing technologies while dramatically reducing the volume of heavy water fuels (HLW) from LWR UNF requiring disposal. A more focused program than ONWARDS, which also seeks to minimize HLW quantities, CURIE will explore multiple reprocessing technologies, including aqueous, pyroprocessing, and fluoride volatility. Remember what I told you about fluoride processing in thorium in the BTC #11?

    Compared to ONWARDS, CURIE also sets out notable cost-related metrics. Among these are to maintain disposal costs in the range of 0.1¢/kWh but to provide a 1¢/kWh fuel cost for a 200 metric tons heavy metal [MTHM]/year nth-of-a-kind (NOAK) facility. That’s important considering that cost estimates for a large-scale PUREX-based reprocessing facility currently hover at $20 billion USD.

    In addition, CURIE is targeting in situ special nuclear material process monitoring approaches that can predict (within a 1% uncertainty) the post-process material accountancy. It will also work to enable UNF separations that do not produce pure plutonium streams.

    These metrics will support a commercially viable reprocessing technology that would provide valuable [advanced reactor] fuel feedstock and the ability to recover fission products of interest (e.g., precious metals and medical radioisotopes) while minimizing the nation’s HLW waste impact.

    Given the advances in separations technologies, material accountancy and online monitoring technologies, and equipment design, opportunities exist to dramatically improve reprocessing facility economics by reducing the facility footprint, modularizing unit operations and construction, reducing waste streams, facilitating regulatory compliance, and enabling timely and accurate nuclear material accounting for unit operations.

    The government wants to exhaust all energy extraction from uranium before it hits thorium in my view. I am not so sure the market place agrees with the DOE. There is one big impediment to uran fuel recycling for the USA? It helps Putin.

    CURIE’s focus on developing advanced reactor feedstocks derived from reprocessed LWR UNF is especially notable given concerns emerging from the burgeoning field of advanced reactor developers about how they will procure adequate supplies of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), a form of uranium-235 fuel enriched to 20%. Many advanced NEW nuclear reactor designs, including nine of the 10 designs awarded under the DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP), require HALEU!!!

    Sounds great......what is the issue Uncle Jack?

    However, HALEU is currently available from only two sources: limited amounts from the DOE via down-blending of existing stockpiles of material, and from commercial supplies via TENEX, a nuclear fuel company owned by Russian state-owned company Rosatom.
     
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  4. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    While the U.S. has, for now, stopped short of imposing sanctions on Russian uranium after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. recognizes that reliance on Russian fuel for advanced nuclear poses several inherent risks. These include supply disruptions and general risks to export competitiveness, as well as an “unintentional” spread of Russian or Chinese influence. Biden regulations on technology will likely cripple China in recycling fuels. Russia likely will help close that gap. Why am I bullish on uranium stocks and coal now? As WEF politicians are removed, globalization ends. Globalization fueled deflation. Reversing that process will create massive energy inflation. That is what you are seeing today in the EU and Asia. But barring any dramatic near-term actions by the U.S., there is essentially no choice for advanced reactor developers but to initially rely upon Russian-supplied HALEU, particularly given the expedited timeframes for their first demonstrations and units. Thorium is the next best option. It is also why I think the market will run to thorium because of Russian dominance in HALEU.

    So far, at least two U.S. facilities could be licensed to enrich HALEU by the time advanced reactors are deployed. Centrus Energy, which has received a $115 million award from the DOE to demonstrate production of HALEU at its Piketon, Ohio, facility, and the nation’s only Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license for HALEU production. In August of 2022 they told industry magazine it has completed centrifuge construction and met all other program milestones as required by June 2022. Operations, however, were delayed owing to supply chain constraints in obtaining HALEU storage cylinders.

    In April 2022, the DOE modified its HALEU contract to extend the period of performance to Nov. 30, 2022. Centrus said it also planned to submit a bid to the DOE’s June 2022 request for proposals for a 50/50 cost-share contract to complete the cascade and produce 20 kilograms of HALEU. Once 20 kg of HALEU has been produced, the base contract will transition to a cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for production of 900 kg over the subsequent 1-year period but the DOE includes options to extend performance up to nine years. The DOE “has estimated that it will take a little less than a year to get the HALEU cascade online from the time the operations contract is awarded.

    Meanwhile, in 2019, Urenco USA, Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of a European company, said it is capable of producing HALEU and meeting industry needs and that a new enrichment module for such purposes could be operational within 24 months of NRC licensing.

    Recognizing the urgency to develop a more robust domestic source for HALEU, Congress in its August-enacted Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provided $700 million to make HALEU available for advanced reactors. Even Congress is signaling to the world that deglobalization is heavily producing energy and wage inflation. Making energy cheap has to be a main political goal now. Sustaining that funding, however, is posing new concerns. The DOE’s Sept. 1–issued supplemental appropriation request for an additional $1.5 billion for HALEU activities to address shortfalls in access to Russian uranium and fuel services has faced hurdles in Congress because of the WEF/ESG left in DC. Still, the agency continues to pursue new avenues to procure enough HALEU. On Oct. 6, the agency released a “sources sought” notice to gauge industry interest and feasibility of “large and small businesses” to produce HALEU. Original responses are due on Oct. 28.
     
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  5. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    The DOE’s rollout of CURIE and the program’s recent awards champion reprocessing of LWR UNF—which is typically zirconium alloy-clad uranium oxide UNF—as another potential pathway to address the nation’s nuclear fuel woes. According to the DOE, CURIE’s wide scope of reprocessing technologies can “all provide feedstocks compatible with fuel needs of advanced reactor designs nearing deployment,” including gas-cooled, molten salt, and liquid metal-cooled reactors. “Any other separations technologies that meet program metrics are also within [CURIE’s] scope. Thorium liquid molten reactors fit in this long range plan.

    CURIE envisions that feedstock products arising from a reprocessing facility could “ultimately be sold to a fuel fabricator” to produce advanced reactor fuel. As significantly, it suggests that a facility scaled to CURIE’s metric of 200 MTHM/year could provide sufficient uranium and plutonium (U/Pu) or uranium/transuranic (U/TRU) feedstock to meet advanced reactor fuel needs “in the 2030 timeframe.” That assessment is based on the Nuclear Energy Institute’s 2020 estimate that industry will need approximately 220 MT per year of HALEU by 2032. U/TRU or U/Pu fuel would provide the feedstock equivalent to the same amount of HALEU, and reprocessed material could serve as a HALEU feedstock.

    The necessary technology development, however, must overcome significant barriers, the agency acknowledges. Today, for example, there is no demonstrated pathway for a U/TRU fuel from a solvent extraction technology, and safeguards are largely established but are associated with significant cost, it notes.
    Still, the DOE appears optimistic because they know a cheap energy future is not possible without nuclear technology.

    Many opportunities exist for the development of alternative solvent extraction technologies that would disrupt the processing landscape. Development of alternative aqueous (solvent extraction) technologies, for example, could enable the co-recovery of actinides (uranium through americium) that are relevant to the advanced nuclear fuel cycle in a single separation step that improve both the economics and potentially boost proliferation resistance.

    The 15 elements that are part of the Actinides series are as follows: Actinium (Ac), Thorium (Th), Protactinium (Pa), Uranium (U), Neptunium (Np), Plutonium (Pu), Americium (Am), Curium (Cm), Berkelium (Bk), Californium (Cf), Einsteinium (Es), Fermium (Fm), Mendelevium (Md), Nobelium (No), and Lawrencium (Lr).
    [​IMG]

    DARPA-E’s general assessment of various demonstrated technologies for reprocessing UNF. A “5” is considered a technology strength, whereas a “0” is considered a technology weakness. Source: DARPA-E
     
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  6. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    Pyroprocessing, a high-temperature, non-aqueous, batch electrochemical separation of UNF into different streams for re-use or disposal, could also be potentially attractive for production of fuel for some fast-spectrum advanced reactors fuel cycles from LWR UNF, because the TRU elements, including plutonium, are not well separated from each other, providing another layer of proliferation defense. Pyroprocessing, however, has only been demonstrated on a small scale in a research and development setting, the DOE notes.

    Another high-temperature process, fluoride volatility, which exploits the volatility of high-oxidation state fluorides (for example, UF6) to achieve separation, was used to recover more than 100,000 MT of uranium from irradiated non-commercial fuel and to reprocess the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment fuel in the 1960s. While flowsheets have been designed that target actinides (uranium, plutonium, and neptunium) that can be useful as advanced reactor fuel feedstock, so far, fluoride volatility has not been demonstrated with UNF directly from an LWR. It is ideal for thorium and I believe it will be the target of O&G companies in partnership with nuclear tech companies who know the history of thorium I laid out for you in the #BTC 11 blog. Even the DOE has suggested it expect interest from stakeholders (outside the advanced reactor community) to economically recover and repurpose fission products for industrial or medical radioisotope usage. The DOE wants spent uranium fuels used, but I have a sense that many smarter hydrocarbon companies will migrate to thorium liquid molten fluoride salts because of safety and small reactor costs.
     
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  7. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    The uranium story is being built by academic nuclear scientists and entrepreneus.

    For some in the advanced reactor community, the DOE’s efforts to explore SNF recycling marks a substantial step forward to address opportunities missed by the nation’s open-fuel cycle approach.

    Oklo, a microreactor developer that is demonstrating the conversion of used oxide fuel into metal, enabling the recycling of waste from the current fleet into advanced reactor fuel, pointed to a potential for better fuel efficiency. Today’s reactors only consume about 5% of the energy content contained in their fuel. Nearly 95% of the energy content remains unused. Very few people realize how ineffiecent uranium energy extraction is right now. The technology was built for nuclear bombs building and not to generate electric power. That was a DOE/military after thought in the 1950s

    Oklo has won four DOE awards to date with an array of partners, which include Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), nuclear waste management firm Deep Isolation, and Case Western Reserve University. In February, when the DOE granted Oklo a $5 million award under the ONWARDS program, Jacob DeWitte, Oklo co-founder and CEO, said the advanced nuclear technology firm plans to leverage its learnings from these projects to roll out a first-of-a-kind fuel recycling facility.

    The fuel recycling facility will enable Oklo to convert nuclear waste from existing used nuclear fuel into clean energy, as well as to recycle fuel from Oklo’s plants, allowing for a dramatic cost reduction and solving for a key supply chain need. A commercial-scale fuel recycling facility will change the economic paradigm for advanced fission. I still think this industry will be built in the Montana basin for the reasons I laid out in 2020 in BTC #11.
     
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  8. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    The DOE selected two projects spearheaded by Argonne as part of its CURIE awards last Friday. Under one project that garnered $4.9 million in federal funding, the Lemont, Illinois–based national laboratory will develop an electrochemical oxide reduction (OR) process that meets the CURIE program’s cost and waste metrics for a commercial pyroprocessing facility. Electrochemical OR is a single-step process that converts used oxide fuels to metal, but current inefficiencies result in nonuniform and incomplete conversion to metal, long process times, and large waste volumes. Uranium is a tough metal to deal with chemically. Seaborg found this out when he discovered plutonium. This is why he liked Thorium fission. It is easy to work with because of the fluoride salts.
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    Through pyroprocessing and the much more efficient fast reactor fuel cycle, “vastly more of the energy in the uranium ore can be used to produce electricity,” says Argonne National Laboratory. The electrorefining procedure is key to pyrochemical recycling of used nuclear fuel. This process removes the waste fission products from the uranium and other actinides (heavy radioactive elements) in the used fuel. The unfissioned uranium and actinides are then recycled to fast reactors.

    Argonne is set to demonstrate a highly efficient OR process with 97% conversion of the oxide fuel to metal by incorporating sensors to monitor oxide-to-metal conversion, using stable and efficient next-generation anode materials, and, finally, optimizing cell designs to achieve spatially uniform conversion to metal. Under the project, Oklo will pursue the acquisition of used fuel for recycling, and through the CURIE project, will develop its program for acquiring used oxide fuel feedstock, the advanced reactor developer told POWER. “This program will prioritize acquiring used fuel based on its physical and isotopic characteristics, and will include developing commercial relationships with entities that are actively seeking a solution for their used fuel inventory,” it said.

    In parallel, under the second DOE-awarded project, Argonne will develop, produce, and test a suite of compact rotating packed bed contactors (RPBs) referred to as PAcked Centrifugal Equipment for Radiochemical separations (PACERs) for used nuclear fuel reprocessing.


     
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  10. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    Curio, a relatively new nuclear waste startup, will, meanwhile, get a $5 million award to develop and demonstrate its NuCycle SNF recycling process at the laboratory scale. Curio has been quietly developing the novel closed fuel cycle, which it says is “intentionally designed to avoid production of pure plutonium streams and dramatically reduces waste volumes over existing processes.” Curio expects “several” commercial products from the process, “including uranium/transuranic fuel and valuable radionuclides,” the company said. Designed for “facility footprint reductions with substantial economic efficiency, NuCycle uniquely leverages well-understood chemical processes and can accommodate a variety of UNF types (e.g., molten salts, nitride fuels, etc.). NuCycle shifts the current paradigm on ‘nuclear waste’ by recasting it as an asset and creates the commercial case for UNF recycling in the U.S = thorium
     
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