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High-Temperature Liquid Metal Coolant


Liquid Metal Coolant for High-Temperature Fast Reactors

Tech Area / Field

  • MAT-ALL/High Performance Metals and Alloys/Materials
  • ENV-RWT/Radioactive Waste Treatment/Environment
  • FIR-REA/Reactor Concept/Fission Reactors

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Kurchatov Research Center, Russia, Moscow


  • Valladolid University, Spain, Valladolid\nArgonne National Laboratory (ANL) / West, USA, ID, Idaho Falls

Project summary

One can basically correct the operating characteristics of any liquid metal as a coolant on the given attributes with the help of specially-selected alloy components if studying the effect of varying the composition of metallic melts on their physical and chemical properties, microstructure and atomic dynamics, transfer processes in them. Therefore, developing the concept for designing a high-temperature coolant with given properties can be perspective for nuclear reactors with fast neutrons.

The analysis of the nature of liquid metal on the microscopic level allows essentially advancing in solving the problem for quality providing the liquid metal coolants. The model of component phase transition and the addition solution introducing for oxygen in the molten metal has allowed to formulate a new approach to technology for clearing metallic melts and reducing their corrosive activity.

The solution of technological problems is promoted by identification of a micro-inhomogeneous melt structure. In studying that by methods of an inelastic neutron scattering and molecular dynamics, it is possible to find out ramified clusters, in which the high component mobility plays the determining role for regulating the thermodynamic properties of the metallic melt as a whole.

Thus, the methodology of these investigations becomes the basis of the concept for designing the coolants on given attributes. These coolants are intended for a high-temperature fast reactor (HTFR).

In order to achieve this, it is necessary to study the mechanism and to define the range of oxygen influence on the corrosive activity of liquid lead, to justify inhibiting its melt with dissolved magnesium in the eutectic point Pb0.83Mg0.17, to develop oxygen-free technology of such the heavy coolant.

Solved Problems:

1. Investigation of microstructure and atomic dynamics of lead eutectic alloys by methods of neutron scattering, synchrotron radiation (SR), and molecular dynamics, that plans:

- obtaining data on structural similarity and distinctions of eutectic lead alloys;
- extracting correlation functions, spectra of elementary excitations, diffusive modes, and characteristic atomic configurations of liquid lead matrix with deoxidizing components of the alloys;
- developing micro-structural models of eutectic lead alloys;
- experimental verification of the models for the broad class of liquid metals by the methods for neutron scattering and SR;
- micro-structural substantiating the concept for designing the heavy-metal coolant on given attributes including the nuclear, structural, and thermodynamic characteristics;
- testing the obtained properties of metallic melts as liquid-metal coolants;
- an analysis of the obtained data for adjusting the subsequent experiments.

2. A program of theoretical and experimental studying in the substantiation of oxygen-free technology of the heavy-metal coolant, that provides for:

- developing a micro-structural model of deoxidizing impurity in eutectic alloys with lead;
- experimental verification of micro-inhomogeneous model of technological impurities in the heavy-metal coolant;
- developing methods for monitoring the oxidation potential of liquid metals;
- substantiating oxygen-free technology of the liquid metal coolant;
- testing technological procedures for reducing a corrosive activity of the heavy-metal coolant;
- an analysis of the obtained data for adjusting the subsequent experiments.

3. An integrated program on theoretical and experimental substantiating the heavy-metal coolant for HTFR on given attributes including thermal, physical, chemical, and structural parameters of the high-temperature liquid-metal reactor. The program presumes:

- developing oxygen model for corrosive activity of metallic melts;
- experimental verification of created model for the liquid metals;
- developing the concept for designing high-temperature liquid-metal coolant of fast-neutron reactors on given attributes;
- developing methods for controlling the oxidation potential of metallic melts providing with operation characteristics of the reactor.

4. Analysis of the obtained data for adjusting the subsequent calculations and experiments.

As the main objectives, the project proposes to analyze the mechanism and to define a range of oxygen influence on the corrosive activity of liquid lead, to substantiate the inhibition of lead melt by dissolved magnesium in the eutectic point of Pb0.83Mg0.17 composition, and to check experimentally the positive effect of deep reduction of liquid lead with magnesium on its corrosive activity by methods of neutron scattering and SR.

The commercially significant overall results of activities can be the designer and technological documentation for developing the technical proposals on oxygen-free technology and designing the high-temperature liquid-metal coolant for fast-neutron reactors on given attributes.

The activity is completed by the issue of documentation covered in a report of calculation results and prepared file of input data for further usage in different stages in designing the tools for controlling the oxidation potential of metallic melts providing with operation characteristics of the reactor.


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