Molten Salt Reactors

From ScienceForSustainability
Jump to: navigation, search


Many new next-generation reactors being designed are based on molten Fluoride and Chloride salts of Sodium, Lithium and other elements as coolants, and mediums in which fuels are dissolved. Some of these designs use Thorium rather than Uranium as fuel, and some are designed to burn existing used nuclear fuel (which still contains much of the theoretically burnable Uranium it started with) or Plutonium (such as now-surplus nuclear bomb material).

Overview

Molten Salt Reactors Nick Touran

Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs) are nuclear reactors that use a fluid fuel in the form of very hot fluoride or chloride salt instead of the solid fuel used in most reactors. Since the fuel salt is liquid, it can be both the fuel (producing the heat) and the coolant (transporting the heat to the power plant). There are many different types of MSRs, but the most talked about one is definitely the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR). This MSR has Thorium and Uranium dissolved in a fluoride salt and can get planet-scale amounts of energy out of our natural resources of Thorium minerals, much like a fast breeder can get large amounts of energy out of our Uranium minerals. There are also fast breeder fluoride MSRs that don’t use Th at all. And there are chloride salt based fast MSRs that are usually studied as nuclear waste-burners due to their extraordinary amount of very fast neutrons.

BOOK ON MOLTEN SALT REACTORS Thomas J. Dolan (Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering Department, University of Illinois, Urbana); Thorium Energy Conference 15

About 40 international authors are writing an 800 page book on Molten Salt Reactors. There are 25 chapters grouped in four main sections: Motivation, Technical Issues, Reactor Designs, and Global Activities and Issues. First drafts of most chapters have been received, and experts will review them this fall.
This book, written in cooperation with the International Thorium Molten-Salt Forum, will provide a comprehensive reference on the status of molten salt reactor (MSR) research as of 2015. MSRs could operate safely at atmospheric pressure and high temperature, yielding efficient electrical power generation, desalination, actinide incineration, hydrogen production, and other industrial heat applications. In some versions on-line fuel processing could adjust the fuel composition continuously. The book should be useful for nuclear researchers, industrial engineers, university faculty and students, and and leaders of industry and government who want to understand the advantages of this promising energy source. Many chapters will involve collaboration of several authors.
The schedule is to have most draft chapters by the end of September, 2015; to review and improve them in October-December; and to publish the book in 2016. This book should raise awareness of MSR research as an important field, worthy of public and industrial support. Experts from India and other countries will be welcome to review chapters and to suggest improvements.

MSFR - Bibliography Laboratory of Subatomic Physics & Cosmology, IN2P3 (CNRS), Université Grenoble Alpes

Bibliography of work on Molten Salt Fast Reactors

2017 PLATTS NUCLEAR ENERGY CONFERENCE Kirk Sorensen; Energy from Thorium; 13 Feb 2017

I was asked to speak at the Platts Nuclear Energy Conference in Washington, DC, on February 10, as part of their panel on “New Approaches to Advanced Reactor Design.”
discusses waste management, and presents graphic illustrating differences in neutron spectrum and fuel types of molten salt reactors current being proposed/developed

msr-design-space-graph.jpg

Oak Ridge National Labs - Molten Salt Reactor Experiment

MSRE: Alvin Weinberg's Molten Salt Reactor Experiment "Th" Thorium Documentary; 30 Mar 2016

Oak Ridge National Laboratory was the home of Alvin Weinberg's Molten Salt Reactor Experiment. The MSRE proved that a fission reaction in molten fluoride salts could be contained in Hastelloy-N, and that a molten salt fueled reactor concept was viable. Two prototype molten salt reactors were successfully designed, constructed and operated at ORNL. The Aircraft Reactor Experiment in 1954 and Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment 1965-1969. Both used liquid fluoride fuel salts. The MSRE demonstrated fueling with U-233 and U-235. Alvin Weinberg was removed from his post and the MSR program closed down in the early 1970s. Aircraft Reactor Experiment & Molten Salt Reactor Experiment remain the only molten salt reactors ever operated.
mixes historic footage of the MSRE with video of Kirk Sorensen, Briony Worthington etc visiting ORNL and talking to engineers involved with the early work

ORNL MSRE film

The Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment Oak Ridge National Laboratory; YouTube; 14 Oct 2016

This film was produced in 1969 by Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the United States Atomic Energy Commission to inform the public regarding the history, technology, and milestones of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE). Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Molten Salt Reactor Experiment was designed to assess the viability of liquid fuel reactor technologies for use in commercial power generation. It operated from January 1965 through December 1969, logging more than 13,000 hours at full power during its four-year run. The MSRE was designated a nuclear historic landmark in 1994.

CLASSIC ORNL MSRE FILM KIRK SORENSEN; Energy from Thorium; 16 Oct 2016

Transcript of film

Robert Hargraves - The Energy Collective

Energy Cost Innovation, Part 1: Liquid Fuel Nuclear Reactors Robert Hargraves; The Energy Collective; 26 Aug 2013

Overview of reactor technologies especially aqueous and molten salt types, Aircraft Reactor, Thorium, MSR vs LMFBR, politics etc

Energy Cost Innovation, Part 2 Robert Hargraves; The Energy Collective; 27 Aug 2013

costs and features

Energy Cost Innovation, Part 3: Global Impact of Low-Cost Clean Energy Robert Hargraves; The Energy Collective; 28 Aug 2013

value of energy to deelopment, global warming, synthetic fuels, EROI, MSR development

EPD (Energy Process Developments) study

Feasibility of Developing a Pilot Scale Molten Salt Reactor in the UK

Six different reactor options were assessed in the MSR review:

  • Flibe Energy’s Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR),
  • Martingale’s ThorCon,
  • Moltex Energy’s Stable Salt Reactor
  • Seaborg Technologies – Seaborg Waste Burner
  • Terrestrial Energy’s Integral MSR
  • Transatomic Power Reactor

The Weinberg Foundation's article: A Comprehensive Molten Salt Reactor Review has some well-informed discussion in the comments.


6 Nuclear Energy Companies Building Molten Salt Reactors

  • Terrestrial Energy
  • Moltex
  • ThorCon
  • Terrapower
  • Flibe Energy
  • Transatomic Power

MOLTEN SALT REACTORS - SAFETY OPTIONS GALORE Charles Barton / Nuclear Green Revolution

post of paper by Uri Gat of Oak Ridge National Laboratory & H. L. Dodds of University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Europe’s expertise in nuclear science and engineering will take thorium technology forward, John Laurie Copenhagen Atomics blog

This is part 2 of our conversation with John Laurie, author of the biggest blog on thorium energy in France.
Thorium, MSR

Charles Barton's commentaries

The Big Lots Reactor Revisited Charles Barton; Nuclear Green Revolution; 30 Jul 2010

Barton suggests building cheaper molten salt reactors using cheaper but less durable steel materials, but compensating for their reduced power*lifetime factors by operating in variable, load following, power cycles

What Are The Problems With LFTR Technology? Charles Barton; The Energy Collective; 29 Aug 2011

What are the problems with MSR/LFTR technology? This turns out to be a hard question to answer. Since there are a large number of LFTR design options, however, it is difficult to identify a set of problems that shared all of the options. Rather we should talk about elective choices, and the problems that a MSR/LFTR designer would face if a certain option were chosen.
  • 23 Apr 2016
I have reached the point at which I an conceive of future Nuclear Green Posts, I lack the where with all to do the research and generte written text. There are still important topics that no one is writing about. And unless the solid moderator problem is solved, we need to consider the possibility of FLiBe moderated epithermal MSRs. The choice of FLiBe will have some interesting consequences. It will limut the amount of of Plutonium that rhe Carrier/coolant/moderator salt can can carry. It will also lead to the production of a large amount of Tritium, which will have to be removed from core salts. The epithermal FLiBe moderated MSR Would seem to work best as a LFT, but it is not clear to me if it would work best as a burner or as a breeder. This would probably be a question for Mark Massie, or David LeBlanc to look at in their free time.
Another question would be alternative means of U-233 production. Those means would include thorium breeders as well thoriumtarget in a proton spilator. A floride carrier salt (again quite possibly FLiBe) could be used to carrie thorium in a blanket of a fusion reactor. As my father long ago suggested FLiBe could be used to capture heat from neutrons produced by thefusion process, and with aq FLiBe blanket, carrying thorium is a doable proposition. Just ask Ralph Moir. Thus by adding a molten salt blanket fussion can lead to heat capture as well as U-233 breeding. This makes fusion quite a bargan.
There are still stories to be told about molten salts with or without thorium.
  • unknown date
What are the disadvantages of the TAP reactor? The TAP Reactor is a medium size reactor. Unfortunately the Current concept, requires considerable field construction as opposed to factory construction. One of the major advantages of small modular reactors is that more construction can be expected to take place in factories. It is highly desirable that the entire project can be shipped to the field by truck, rail or barge, and assembled in a relatively short period of time. The reactor and its attendant facilities can be housed in prefabricated structures, that can be quickly assembled. If these structures are assymbled underground, they do not have to be massive, since rock and or soil will protect the reactor cor from attacks by aircraft or high explosives. Factpory construction of major parts in a small reactor can be accomplished through far more efficient use of lower cost labor than would be possible in a field construction environment. Thus it is highly desirable to limit feield labor as much as possible. It is notr clear what would be the optimal size for alow cost and quickly assembyles MSR, but the 3 year construction time suggested for the TAP reactor would far too long.
It might be that the 500 MWe size of the TAP reactor is an optimal size for the fuel efficiency that TAP desires. If so, it might be worth while for TAP to devote the same ingenuous attention to the manufacture of the TAP reactor, as they have devoted to their core design. The goal of increasing manufacturing efficiency is every bit as desirable as improving the efficiency of the nuclear process is.
  • 24 Mar 2016
I have noted before that there is considerable controversy related to the Transatomic Power's plan to use Zirconium hydride alloy as a MSR moderator. The hope is that Zirconium hydride will prove a more satisfactory moderator than Graphite. Under radiation, Graphite shrinks and then swells. Unfortunately the geometric changes make graphite an unsatisfactory moderator as it ages. Zirconium hydride was originally intended to serve as a moderator that was launched into space. Later it was used in reactorsa that were designed for student use. In that role, Zirconium hydride has proven satisfactory. Massie and Dewan believe that Zirconium Hydride, together with appropriate cladding, will prove a satisfactory moderator for a Middle size Molten Salt Reactor. Yet their life expectancy of the Zirconium hydride moderator is from 4 years to an almost indefinate period. A 4 year moderator life span would be very unsatisfactory, and might jepordize the TAP Reactor marketability. In addition, other MSR advocates have raised questions about the stability of the TAP reactor core. The latest TAP Technical White Paper includes a discussion of Zarconium-hydride moderator.
What are the disadvantages of the TAP reactor? The TAP Reactor is a medium size reactor. Unfortunately the Current concept, requires considerable field construction as opposed to factory construction. One of the major advantages of small modular reactors is that more construction can be expected to take place in factories. It is highly desirable that the entire project can be shipped to the field by truck, rail or barge, and assembled in a relatively short period of time. The reactor and its attendant facilities can be housed in prefabricated structures, that can be quickly assembled. If these structures are assymbled underground, they do not have to be massive, since rock and or soil will protect the reactor cor from attacks by aircraft or high explosives. Factpory construction of major parts in a small reactor can be accomplished through far more efficient use of lower cost labor than would be possible in a field construction environment. Thus it is highly desirable to limit feield labor as much as possible. It is notr clear what would be the optimal size for alow cost and quickly assembyles MSR, but the 3 year construction time suggested for the TAP reactor would far too long.
It might be that the 500 MWe size of the TAP reactor is an optimal size for the fuel efficiency that TAP desires. If so, it might be worth while for TAP to devote the same ingenuous attention to the manufacture of the TAP reactor, as they have devoted to their core design. The goal of increasing manufacturing efficiency is every bit as desirable as improving the efficiency of the nuclear process is.
Every month or two, I look at the Transatomic Power Internet page to see what TAP is doing and saying. My latest exploration has revealed a revised White Paper dated January 2016. This document is well worth exploring. Clearly TAP has been looking carefully at its design, and the latest statemebnts yield some interesting insights into their progress. First, They now seem very confident in their Zarconium Hydride moderator, which the white Paper states will occupie less space than a Graphite moderator would require.
If the TAP reactor can fulfill the clames being made with increasing confidence by the latest TAP White Paper, it could very well prove to be a revolutionary reactor design, even by the already revolutionary standards of Molten Salt Reactors. Look for the DOWNLOAD OUR WHITEPAPER button on the TAP page.

Transatomic Power (now defunct)

Terrestrial Energy - DMSR

French CNRS Molten Salt Fast Reactor

Molten Salt Reactor

The concept of Molten Salt Fast Reactor (MSFR): Molten Salt Reactor with a Fast Neutron Spectrum operated in the Thorium fuel cycle
The CNRS has been involved in molten salt reactors since 1997. Starting from the Molten Salt Breeder Reactor project of Oak-Ridge, an innovative concept called Molten Salt Fast Reactor or MSFR has been proposed, resulting from extensive parametric studies in which various core arrangements, reprocessing performances and salt compositions were investigated to adapt the reactor in the framework of the deployment of a thorium based reactor fleet on a worldwide scale (see next paragraph below). The primary feature of the MSFR concept is the removal of the graphite moderator from the core (graphite-free core), resulting in a breeder reactor with a fast neutron spectrum and operated in the Thorium fuel cycle. MSFR has been recognized as a long term alternative to solid fuelled fast neutron systems with unique potential (negative safety coefficients, smaller fissile inventory, easy in-service inspection, simplified fuel cycle…) and has thus been selected for further studies by the Generation IV International Forum in 2008.
In the MSFR, the liquid fuel processing is part of the reactor where a small side stream of the molten salt is processed for fission product removal and then returned to the reactor. This is fundamentally different from a solid fuel reactor where separate facilities produce the solid fuel and process the Spent Nuclear Fuel. Because of this design characteristic, the MSFR can thus operate with widely varying fuel composition. Thanks to this fuel composition flexibility, the MSFR concept may use as initial fissile load, 233U or enriched (between 5% and 30%) uranium or also the transuranic elements currently produced by PWRs in the world.

Terrapower molten Chloride reactor

A Bill Gates-backed energy company is developing what could be a game-changing nuclear reactor Peter Kotecki; Business Insider; 27 Nov 2018

TerraPower, an energy company cofounded by Bill Gates, builds advanced nuclear reactors. The company is developing a new reactor that uses molten chloride instead of water as a coolant. TerraPower believes the design will be safer and more efficient than today's reactors.

Molten Chloride Fast Reactor

Southern Company Awarded Up To $40M From DOE

Fast Reactors Using Molten Chloride Salts as Fuel M. Taube; Swiss Federal Institute for Reactor Research; Jan 1978

Report dealing with "a rather exotic "paper reactor" in which the fuel is in the form of molten chlorides" in four different (though all fast breeder) configurations.

Sherrell Greene on Liquid Chloride Reactors, "Business as Usual," and a second Manhattan Project Charles Barton; Nuclear Green Revolution; 19 Nov 2011

The third part of my interview Q&A with Sherrell Green focused on questions concerning the future of nuclear technology. My father had been a pioneer in research on Liquid Chloride Reactor technology in the 1950's. Sherrell Greene mention LCR development during out preinterview, so I wanted to ask him some follow up questions. The LCR is a potential competitor to the Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor, but it is not clear if itsadvantages would out wight its potential costs.

LFTR: Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor

LFTR: A Long-Term Energy Solution? (Victor Stenger; HuffPo; 1 Sep 2012)

Seaborg Wasteburner

Seaborg Wasteburner Molten Salt Reactor whitepaper

ThorCon IMSR

Moltex / Stable Salt Reactor

Transmutation / waste burning

MOLTEN SALT REACTORS FOR BURNING DISMANTLED WEAPONS FUEL URI GAT and J. R., ENGEL Oak Ridge National Laboratory, H. L. DODDS University of Tennessee / Nuclear Engineering Department; 28 May 1992

The molten salt reactor (MSR) option for burning fissile fuel from dismantled weapons is examined. It is concluded that MSRS are potentially suitable for beneficial utilization of the dismantled fuel. The MSRs have the flexibilify to utilize any fissile fuel in continuous operation with no special modifications, as demonstrated in the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, while maintaining their economy, The MSRS further require a minimum of special fuel preparation and can tolerate denaturing and dilution of the fuel. Fuel Shipments can be arbitrarily small, which may reduce the risk of diversion. The MSRS have inherent safety features that make them acceptable and attractive. They can burn a fuel type completely and convert it to other fuels. The MSRs also have the potential for burning the actinides and delivering the waste in an optimal form, thus contributing to the solution of one of the major remaining problems for deployment of nuclear power.

TRANSMUTATION CAPABILITY OF ONCE-THROUGH CRITICAL OR SUB-CRITICAL MOLTEN-SALT REACTORS Elena Rodriguez-Vieitez, Micah D Lowenthal, Ehud Greenspan, Joonhong Ahn; Conference: “Actinide and Fission Product Partitioning and Transmutation”; 2002

A neutronic parametric study is performed for graphite-moderated molten-salt (MS) critical or source-driven sub-critical transmuting reactors. The NaF-ZrF 4 MS reactor is fuelled with transuranium isotopes from LWR spent fuel and operates in a once-through mode. The MS with actinides is continuously fed and continuously extracted at a very slow rate. All the fission products are removed from the core as soon as formed. The primary question addressed is whether or not it is possible to design such a reactor to have an acceptable k eff when at equilibrium composition, while the Ac concentration is below their solubility limit, and what is the corresponding transmutation fraction. The primary design variables are the MS channel diameter and the graphite-to-MS volume ratio (C/MS). For an average power density of 390 W/cm 3 of MS, MS feed rate of 1 millilitre/day/MW th and actinide concentration of 12.87 mol% it was found that both k eff and the fractional transmutation peak while the equilibrium concentration is at a minimum when C/MS is close to 1.0. The equilibrium actinide concentration is below the solubility limit for C/MS between 1 and 7 for 7cm and 3.5 cm channel diameter and between 1 and 15 for a 1 cm channel diameter. The peak k eff is close to 1.0 and the fractional transmutation exceeds 90% in one pass through the core. The Pu coming out from the C/MS=12 core has a very low fissile content of only 17%. The optimal core has an epithermal spectrum and small channel diameter. The graphite lifetime in the core is 0.6 or 1.3 years for C/MS of 1 or 3, respectively. Reduction of the power density to 39 W/cm 3 can increase the graphite lifetime by an order of magnitude. This reduction of the power density reduces the attainable k eff by ~5% and increases the equilibrium actinide concentration by ~0.4 mol%. An illustrative core design for a 10 GW th MS transmuter is given.

UCB Fluoride Salt Cooled High Temperature Reactor

Pebble Bed / Molten Salt / Brayton cycle

Mk1 PB-FHR Technology Berkeley Nuclear Engineering

The Mark 1 Pebble-Bed FHR (Mk1 PB-FHR) pre-conceptual design is the latest in a series of studies to explore potential designs for fluoride salt cooled, high temperature reactors. The Mk1 design effort established four major goals, aimed at exploring further the potential benefits provided by FHR technology:
1) To evaluate how FHRs might be coupled to air Brayton combined-cycle power conversion, currently the dominant technology for new fossil power plants;
2) To provide a detailed design for a passive decay heat removal system, to enable improved safety studies for FHRs;
3) To develop a credible design for an annular FHR pebble-bed core, based upon earlier UCB work on the use of pebble fuels in FHRs, and
4) To evaluate how modular construction methods could be applied to FHRs, keeping all components inside the size range that is rail-shippable and utilizing the same steel-plate composite modular construction methods applied in the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design.
The new Mk1 design, completed in September 2014, builds upon earlier pre-conceptual design studies. This design further increases confidence that FHRs can be designed to have high intrinsic safety, and that with their higher temperatures FHRs can provide more flexible and valuable services than current reactor technologies.
The result of the Mk1 pre-conceptual design study is a 236-MWth Mk1 PB-FHR that uses a General Electric (GE) 7FB gas turbine, modified to introduce external heating and one stage of reheat, in a combined-cycle configuration to produce 100 MWe under base-load operation, and with natural-gas co-firing to rapidly boost the net power output to 242 MWe to provide peaking power. As with previous FHR pre-conceptual designs cited above, the Mk1 design is also documented in a new UCBTH report (Report UCBTH-14-002), published at the end of September, 2014.

The UCB Mk1 design has been spun-off into a company - Kairos Power

Technology

Kairos Power’s reactor technology uses a novel combination of existing technologies to achieve new levels of economy, safety, flexibility, modularity and security for nuclear power production. These technology choices were driven by a desire for the Kairos Power design to be economically competitive, safe, and optimized to interface with an increasingly intermittent and unpredictable grid. Kairos Power builds upon major strategic investments that the U.S. Department of Energy has made to support development of advanced reactors.
  • High temperature fuels for helium reactors
  • Chemically inert and transparent coolants for molten salt reactors
  • Flexible power conversion technology for natural gas combined cycle plants
  • Passive safety systems for advanced light water reactors
  • Low pressure structural materials for sodium reactors
WHAT FUEL DOES KAIROS POWER’S REACTOR USE?
Kairos Power’s reactor uses fully ceramic fuel, which maintains structural integrity even at extremely high temperatures. This fuel will be undamaged to well above the melting temperatures of conventional metallic reactor fuels. Proven methods for fabricating and testing these fuels have been demonstrated at U.S. National Laboratories. By using pebble-type fuel, Kairos Power reactors can refuel on line, enabling exceptional reliability and availability.
WHAT IS FLUORIDE SALT COOLANT?
Kairos Power’s reactor uses molten fluoride salt coolant. Molten fluoride salts have outstanding capability to transfer heat at high temperature, excellent chemical stability, and the ability to retain radioactive fission products that might be released from fuel. Extensive experience and design information exists from the early U.S. reactor development program that studied and tested liquid-fueled molten salt reactors. These studies confirmed the compatibility of these salts with Kairos Power’s high-temperature structural materials, enabling commercially attractive reliability and service life.
HOW IS NATURAL GAS PART OF A NUCLEAR REACTOR? WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH RENEWABLES?
Kairos Power’s reactor uses a nuclear air combined cycle (NACC) to enable highly flexible and responsive electricity generation. Kairos Power’s NACC technology benefits from the large supply chain that exists for natural gas combined cycle plants with unique capabilities afforded by the nuclear heat source. By co-firing with natural gas or hydrogen, Kairos Power’s NACC technology can deliver high-ramp-rate and efficient peaking power to enable high-renewable-energy (thus high-intermittence) grid operation while simultaneously providing clean baseload generation. No existing generating technology can match the combination of efficiency and flexibility that can be achieved with NACC.
WHAT DOES KAIROS POWER MEAN BY PASSIVE SAFETY?
Passive safety means that Kairos Power reactors do not require electricity to remove heat from the core after shutting down. Kairos Power reactors have uniquely large safety margins based on the selected combination of fuel and coolant, which allows emergency cooling to be driven by fundamental physics rather than engineered systems. In Kairos Power’s reactor, there is no need to provide for make-up coolant (since the coolant cannot boil away), and the fuel tolerance for extremely high temperatures allows orders of magnitude more cooling capability under accident scenarios compared to water-cooled reactors. High-temperature fuel and coolant dramatically simplifies emergency cooling under all conceivable accidents.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A LOW-PRESSURE REACTOR?
The intrinsic low pressure in Kairos Power reactors enhances safety and eliminates the need for bulky and expensive high-pressure containment structures. Kairos Power technology leverages key U.S. federal investments in design, structural materials, and components for low-pressure pool-type reactors, including critical updates to the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code for design at our service conditions.
IS THIS A THORIUM-FUELED/FLUID-FUELED REACTOR?
No. While the use of thorium in a breeding reactor provides potentially attractive benefits, the current challenges with baseload generation do not stem from the price or availability of uranium. Using high-temperature fuels and fluoride salt coolants simplifies licensing, operation, and corrosion control of Kairos Power reactors, while maintaining all relevant safety aspects of molten-salt-fueled reactors.

Chinese Academy of Sciences

China spending US$3.3 billion on molten salt nuclear reactors for faster aircraft carriers and in flying drones Brian Wang; Next Big Future; 6 Dec 2017

China will spend 22 billion yuan (US$3.3 billion) on two prototype molten salt nuclear reactors.
Two molten salt nuclear reactors will be built in the Gobi Desert in northern China.
  • Molten salt reactors can produce one thousandth of the radioactive waste of existing nuclear reactors because of deep burn. More complete conversion of the nuclear fuel.
  • Molten salt reactors can have designs that are proof against nuclear meltdowns
  • The chinese reactors could use thorium. China has some of the world’s largest reserves of the thorium metal.
The Chinese project has been funded by the central government and the two reactors are to be built at Wuwei in Gansu province, according to a statement on the website of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The lead scientist on the project is Jiang Mianheng – the son of the former Chinese president Jiang Zemin – and it is hoped the reactors will be up and running by 2020.