A traveling-wave reactor, or TWR, is a type of conceptual nuclear reactor that theorists speculate can convert fertile material into fissile fuel as it runs using the process of nuclear transmutation. TWRs differ from other kinds of fast-neutron and breeder reactors in their ability to, once started, reach a state whereafter they can achieve very high fuel utilization while using no enriched uranium and no reprocessing, instead burning fuel made from depleted uranium, natural uranium, thorium, spent fuel removed from light water reactors, or some combination of these materials. The name refers to the design characteristic that fission does not happen in the entire TWR core, but takes place in a fairly localized zone that advances through the core over time. TWRs could theoretically run, self-sustained, for decades without refueling or removing any used fuel from the reactor.
This is pretty amazing.
Thorium reactors: http://www.thorium.t...m_reactor_1.php
- Weapons-grade fissionable material (233U) is harder to retrieve safely and clandestinely from a thorium reactor;
- Thorium produces 10 to 10,000 times less long-lived radioactive waste;
- Thorium comes out of the ground as a 100% pure, usable isotope, which does not require enrichment, whereas natural uranium contains only 0.7% fissionable U-235;
- Thorium cannot sustain a nuclear chain reaction without priming, so fission stops by default.
What other types of energy are we looking forward to in the future?