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Title: Heat Transfer Salts for Nuclear Reactor Systems - Chemistry Control, Corrosion Mitigation, and Modeling

The concept of a molten salt reactor has existed for nearly sixty years. Previously all work was done during a large collaborative effort at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, culminating in a research reactor which operated for 15,000 hours without major error. This technical success has garnished interest in modern, high temperature, reactor schemes. Research using molten fluoride salts for nuclear applications requires a steady supply of high grade molten salts. There is no bulk supplier of research grade fluoride salts in the world, so a facility which could provide all the salt needed for testing at the University of Wisconsin had to be produced. Two salt purification devices were made for this purpose, a large scale purifier, and a small scale purifier, each designed to clean the salts from impurities and reduce their corrosion potential. As of now, the small scale has performed with flibe salt, hydrogen, and hydrogen fluoride, yielding clean salt. This salt is currently being used in corrosion testing facilities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Wisconsin. Working with the beryllium based salts requires extensive safety measures and health monitoring to prevent the development of acute or chronic beryllium disease, two pulmonary diseasesmore » created by an allergic reaction to beryllium in the lungs. Extensive health monitoring, engineering controls, and environment monitoring had to be set up with the University of Wisconsin department of Environment, Health and Safety. The hydrogen fluoride required for purification was also an extreme health hazard requiring thoughtful planning and execution. These dangers have made research a slow and tedious process. Simple processes, such as chemical handling and clean-up, can take large amounts of ingenuity and time. Other work has complemented the experimental research at Wisconsin to advance high temperature reactor goals. Modeling work has been performed in house to re-evaluate thermophysical properties of flibe and flinak. Pacific Northwest National Laboratories has focused on evaluating the fluorinating gas nitrogen trifluoride as a potential salt purification agent. Work there was performed on removing hydroxides and oxides from flinak salt under controlled conditions. Lastly, the University of California Berkeley has spent considerable time designing and simulating reactor components with fluoride salts at high temperatures. Despite the hurdles presented by the innate chemical hazards, considerable progress has been made. The stage has been set to perform new research on salt chemical control which could advance the fluoride salt cooled reactor concept towards commercialization. What were previously thought of as chemical undesirable, but nuclear certified, alloys have been shown to be theoretically compatible with fluoride salts at high temperatures. This preliminary report has been prepared to communicate the construction of the basic infrastructure required for flibe, as well as suggest original research to performed at the University of Wisconsin. Simultaneously, the contents of this report can serve as a detailed, but introductory guide to allow anyone to learn the fundamentals of chemistry, engineering, and safety required to work with flibe salt.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1169921
Report Number(s):
DOE/NEUP--10-905
10-905; TRN: US1500352
DOE Contract Number:
AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States); Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE). Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; FLIBE; HYDROGEN FLUORIDES; NITROGEN FLUORIDES; TEMPERATURE RANGE 0400-1000 K; BERYLLIUM; CORROSION PROTECTION; MOLTEN SALT REACTORS; HEAT TRANSFER; CONTROL; CHEMISTRY; HYDROGEN; SAFETY; HEALTH HAZARDS; PROGRESS REPORTS; PURIFICATION; SIMULATION; AVAILABILITY; DESIGN; TESTING; REACTOR COMPONENTS; ALLOYS; IMPURITIES