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Title: Tritium Control and Capture in Salt-Cooled Fission and Fusion Reactors: Status, Challenges, and Path Forward

Abstract

Three advanced nuclear power systems use liquid salt coolants that generate tritium and thus face the common challenges of containing and capturing tritium to prevent its release to the environment. The fluoride salt–cooled high-temperature reactor (FHR) uses clean fluoride salt coolants and the same graphite-matrix coated-particle fuel as high-temperature gas-cooled reactors. Molten salt reactors (MSRs) dissolve the fuel in a fluoride or chloride salt with release of fission product tritium into the salt. In most FHR and MSR systems, the baseline salts contain lithium where isotopically separated 7Li is proposed to minimize tritium production from neutron interactions with the salt. The Chinese Academy of Sciences plans to start operation of a 2-MW(thermal) molten salt test reactor by 2020. For high-magnetic-field fusion machines, the use of lithium enriched in 6Li is proposed to maximize tritium generation—the fuel for a fusion machine. Advances in superconductors that enable higher power densities may require the use of molten lithium salts for fusion blankets and as coolants. Recent technical advances in these three reactor classes have resulted in increased government and private interest and the beginning of a coordinated effort to address the tritium control challenges in 700°C liquid salt systems. In this paper, wemore » describe characteristics of salt-cooled fission and fusion machines, the basis for growing interest in these technologies, tritium generation in molten salts, the environment for tritium capture, models for high-temperature tritium transport in salt systems, alternative strategies for tritium control, and ongoing experimental work. Several methods to control tritium appear viable. Finally, limited experimental data are the primary constraint for designing efficient cost-effective methods of tritium control.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [6]
  1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
  2. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  4. Shanghai Inst. of Applied Physics (China)
  5. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
  6. Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE), Nuclear Reactor Technologies (NE-7)
OSTI Identifier:
1394392
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nuclear Technology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 197; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 0029-5450
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis - formerly American Nuclear Society (ANS)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; tritium; salt-cooled reactor; fission; fusion

Citation Formats

Forsberg, Charles W., Lam, Stephen, Carpenter, David M., Whyte, Dennis G., Scarlat, Raluca, Contescu, Cristian, Wei, Liu, Stempien, John, and Blandford, Edward. Tritium Control and Capture in Salt-Cooled Fission and Fusion Reactors: Status, Challenges, and Path Forward. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.13182/NT16-101.
Forsberg, Charles W., Lam, Stephen, Carpenter, David M., Whyte, Dennis G., Scarlat, Raluca, Contescu, Cristian, Wei, Liu, Stempien, John, & Blandford, Edward. Tritium Control and Capture in Salt-Cooled Fission and Fusion Reactors: Status, Challenges, and Path Forward. United States. doi:10.13182/NT16-101.
Forsberg, Charles W., Lam, Stephen, Carpenter, David M., Whyte, Dennis G., Scarlat, Raluca, Contescu, Cristian, Wei, Liu, Stempien, John, and Blandford, Edward. Sun . "Tritium Control and Capture in Salt-Cooled Fission and Fusion Reactors: Status, Challenges, and Path Forward". United States. doi:10.13182/NT16-101. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1394392.
@article{osti_1394392,
title = {Tritium Control and Capture in Salt-Cooled Fission and Fusion Reactors: Status, Challenges, and Path Forward},
author = {Forsberg, Charles W. and Lam, Stephen and Carpenter, David M. and Whyte, Dennis G. and Scarlat, Raluca and Contescu, Cristian and Wei, Liu and Stempien, John and Blandford, Edward},
abstractNote = {Three advanced nuclear power systems use liquid salt coolants that generate tritium and thus face the common challenges of containing and capturing tritium to prevent its release to the environment. The fluoride salt–cooled high-temperature reactor (FHR) uses clean fluoride salt coolants and the same graphite-matrix coated-particle fuel as high-temperature gas-cooled reactors. Molten salt reactors (MSRs) dissolve the fuel in a fluoride or chloride salt with release of fission product tritium into the salt. In most FHR and MSR systems, the baseline salts contain lithium where isotopically separated 7Li is proposed to minimize tritium production from neutron interactions with the salt. The Chinese Academy of Sciences plans to start operation of a 2-MW(thermal) molten salt test reactor by 2020. For high-magnetic-field fusion machines, the use of lithium enriched in 6Li is proposed to maximize tritium generation—the fuel for a fusion machine. Advances in superconductors that enable higher power densities may require the use of molten lithium salts for fusion blankets and as coolants. Recent technical advances in these three reactor classes have resulted in increased government and private interest and the beginning of a coordinated effort to address the tritium control challenges in 700°C liquid salt systems. In this paper, we describe characteristics of salt-cooled fission and fusion machines, the basis for growing interest in these technologies, tritium generation in molten salts, the environment for tritium capture, models for high-temperature tritium transport in salt systems, alternative strategies for tritium control, and ongoing experimental work. Several methods to control tritium appear viable. Finally, limited experimental data are the primary constraint for designing efficient cost-effective methods of tritium control.},
doi = {10.13182/NT16-101},
journal = {Nuclear Technology},
number = 2,
volume = 197,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Feb 26 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Sun Feb 26 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

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