Synergism between wind and nuclear?

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Synergism between wind and nuclear?

Postby Dag Lindgren » 12 Jun 2011, 21:27

Question: could there be a synergism between wind and nuclear?

Light and efficient wind energy generators require neodymium, about one ton for each MW. 97% of all neodymium is mined in China, and it is an environmentally unpleasant operation. It remains both chemical poisons and radioactivity in the wastes, thus it is highly doubtful if wind power should be seen as pure green :( , when the full production cycle is considered. Neodymium occurs typically together with other lanthanides and actinides (like thorium). Now China has decided to drastically limit its export, which will cause difficulties for the windmill industry. China needs it for its own windmills etc.; environmental concerns and availability limits the use, and it exists on other places which can share the environmental burdens. It seems a good idea to be less dependent on China for this! Neodymium and thorium occurs together as well in fresh ores (some in Sweden) as in junk heaps after mining (LKAB probably has it). USA has earlier mined neodymium and will probably start again. Now thinking will be initiated to develop new neodymium sources, and thorium may “hitch-hike” when new processing starts.

A reactor cycle may be based on thorium. This has many advantages; among them the thorium cycle is sustainable; requires less fresh ore to be mined even initially and leaves much less wastes. The radioactive wastes need not be separated for hundred thousand years, five hundred would probably do.
As neodymium and thorium occur together both in ore and in waste, increasing price and demand for one of them will make the other cheaper and more easily available. Instead of being regarded as waste, they become resources, in the same time as a waste problem is solved. This joint processing may also release other substances for electronics and other aspects on nuclear reactors at a cheaper prize. Some argue that it is morally desirable to try to handle the environmental aspects of all parts of the cycle within the country concerned, and there seems now to open options to increase the Swedish domestic shares of both the wind and nuclear cycles.

To use the thorium cycle, the first thing is off course to get a reactor installed and running for the purpose. The neodymium shortage and foreseen changes in processing routines may be a tactical reason to argue for that now :lol: . Use this oppertunity to improve sustainability and environmental friendlyness of the nuclear option in the same time as a continued moderate expansion of wind power option is simplified! ;)

I am probably unrealistically optimistic, I can actually see problems. But it would be nice if there were synergic effects of wind and nuclear :D , could this be such a case?
Dag Lindgren
Posts: 13
Joined: 02 May 2011, 17:03
Location: Sweden

Re: Synergism between wind and nuclear?

Postby Matte » 13 Jul 2011, 20:49

Good luck selling that to the green ludites.

Me on the other hand will be all for it!
Posts: 17
Joined: 09 Mar 2011, 18:56

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