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Title: Liquid fuel molten salt reactors for thorium utilization

Molten salt reactors (MSRs) represent a class of reactors that use liquid salt, usually fluoride- or chloride-based, as either a coolant with a solid fuel (such as fluoride salt-cooled high temperature reactors) or as a combined coolant and fuel with fuel dissolved in a carrier salt. For liquid-fuelled MSRs, the salt can be processed online or in a batch mode to allow for removal of fission products as well as introduction of fissile fuel and fertile materials during reactor operation. The MSR is most commonly associated with the 233U/thorium fuel cycle, as the nuclear properties of 233U combined with the online removal of parasitic absorbers allow for the ability to design a thermal-spectrum breeder reactor; however, MSR concepts have been developed using all neutron energy spectra (thermal, intermediate, fast, and mixed-spectrum zoned concepts) and with a variety of fuels including uranium, thorium, plutonium, and minor actinides. Early MSR work was supported by a significant research and development (R&D) program that resulted in two experimental systems operating at ORNL in the 1960s, the Aircraft Reactor Experiment and the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment. Subsequent design studies in the 1970s focusing on thermal-spectrum thorium-fueled systems established reference concepts for two major design variants:more » (1) a molten salt breeder reactor (MSBR), with multiple configurations that could breed additional fissile material or maintain self-sustaining operation; and (2) a denatured molten salt reactor (DMSR) with enhanced proliferation-resistance. T MSRs has been selected as one of six most promising Generation IV systems and development activities have been seen in fast-spectrum MSRs, waste-burning MSRs, MSRs fueled with low-enriched uranium (LEU), as well as more traditional thorium fuel cycle-based MSRs. This study provides an historical background of MSR R&D efforts, surveys and summarizes many of the recent development, and provides analysis comparing thorium-based MSRs.« less
 [1] ;  [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nuclear Technology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 194; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 0029-5450
American Nuclear Society (ANS)
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; liquid fuel; molten salt reactors; thorium
OSTI Identifier: