Eliminate Nuclear Waste
We are currently struggling with our ability to store nuclear waste. Waste that must be in isolation for tens of thousands of years. In the United States a viable long-term waste storage solution does not exist. Proposals for high-level waste disposal include burying the waste under the ocean floor, storing it underground, and reprocessing.
The most promising option is to consume the fissile material remaining in the spent fuel from our traditional nuclear reactors to produce more power, greatly reducing the total volume of nuclear waste. By consuming the unspent portion of that fuel and burning up the long-lived transuranics, the long- term storage requirement is reduced to a few hundred years instead of tens-of-thousands of years.
Properly designed Liquid Core Molten Salt Reactors (LCMSRs – of which LFTR is one design) can consume the fissile materials and transuranics remaining in stockpiles of nuclear waste while producing useful energy from what was formerly “nuclear waste.
reduction of nuclear waste through use of LFTRs
reduction of years remaining waste must be stored in isolation
Benefits of Nuclear without the Waste
Because there is no fuel cladding, unspent fuel, or transuranics, the waste stream of a LCMSR (Liquid Core Molten Salt Reactor) is essentially just fission products. Many of these fission products can be separated and commercialized, thus excluding them from the waste stream and creating a revenue stream. The longest-lived LCMSR by-products (produced in relatively small amounts) would need only 300 years of storage. Storing this significantly reduced volume of “waste” for 300 years is a more reasonable engineering challenge than 30,000-year storage. The long-lived transuranic elements can be kept in the liquid fuel core until they eventually are consumed in the LCMSR. This eliminates these elements from the waste stream and greatly reduces the long-term storage requirements of the waste.