The Ship "Thor" - Powered By a Thorium Reactor

May 3, 2022 - 21:17
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The Ship "Thor" - Powered By a Thorium Reactor

The concept of the ship "Thor," powered by a thorium reactor cooled by molten salt, is presented by a Norwegian shipping business.

Ulstein, a Norwegian nautical business, has released a proposal for its future ship, the Thor, which will be powered by a thorium-cooled molten salt reactor (MSR) that will be used to charge batteries.

Polar cruises must not only serve the demands of the Arctic and Antarctic coastal regions but also adhere to the severe state restrictions and the pressures of environmental groups. Furthermore, the frozen water makes charging expensive and potentially hazardous ships far from the port problematic.

To address this, Ulstein is designing the multi-purpose ship "Thor," which could not only undertake research and rescue missions in the arctic seas without refueling but could also charge the batteries of next-generation electric cruisers.

Ulstein is also working on the concept of a 100-meter-long Sif battery, as "Thor" is intended to charge future cruise ships. It will hold 80 passengers and 80 crew members, and it will be augmented at sea by "Thor," as seen in the video below.

The Thor will be powered by a Generation IV MSR portable reactor that relies on thorium rather than uranium. Thorium is dissolved in a salt mixture heated to 700 ° C in MSR. This mixture functions as both a refrigerant and a thorium reservoir.

Because the reactor is a dissolved salt, it operates at atmospheric pressure and has passive cooling devices that can function in an emergency. Because of the molten mixture, the reactor may be refueled and cleaned using a chemical loop.

Ulstein estimates that this would provide enough electricity to charge four expedition cruisers at the same time. The Tor and Sif are both based on Ulstein's X-BOV design, and their electric propulsion allows for a silent cruise.

Thor's design includes heliports, firefighting equipment, rescue cranes, workboats, laboratories, and a lecture hall in addition to the reactor.

What is Thorium?

Thorium is a chemical element in the actinide group. It was called after Torah, one of the Nordic gods. It has an atomic number of 90 and is mildly radioactive. It is utilized as the principal fuel in nuclear reactors, along with uranium.

Jakob Berzelius, a Swedish scientist, discovered thorium in 1828. It is a chemical element that belongs to the actinoids group (7th period, f-block periodic table of elements). It is one of only three radioactive elements discovered at slightly greater levels than the primordial element (the other two are bismuth and uranium).

It was found in 1828 by the Norwegian mineralogist Morten Tran Esmark and called after the Nordic lightning deity - Torah - by the Swedish chemist Jacob Berzelius.

Thorium was once utilized as a light source, a grid for gas lamps, and an alloying material. This practice, however, gradually came to an end as people became more aware of its radioactivity.

Thorium was also utilized in non-consumable TIG welding electrodes as an alloying element. Its use as a material for high-quality optics and scientific instruments has remained popular.

Thorium and uranium are the only two radioactive elements with major and widespread economic applications that do not rely on their radioactivity. Thorium is expected to be able to replace uranium as a fuel source in nuclear reactors, however, just a handful of thorium reactors have been built yet.