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Molten Salt Applications for Nuclear Energy


Experimental Study on Critical Issues of Nuclear Energy Systems Employing Liquid Salt Fluorides

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-RWT/Radioactive Waste Treatment/Environment

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Kirichenko V V

Leading Institute
VNIITF, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Snezhinsk

Supporting institutes

  • Kurchatov Research Center, Russia, Moscow\nHigh Temperature Electrochemistry Institute, Russia, Sverdlovsk reg., Ekaterinburg


  • Nuclear Research Institute, Czechia, Rez\nEuropean Commission / Joint Research Center / Institute for Transuranium Elements, Germany, Karlsruhe\nInternational Atomic Energy Agency, Austria, Vienna\nCNRS, France, Paris\nOak Ridge National Laboratory, USA, TN, Oak Ridge\nCEA / DEN / DDIN / CEA Centre de Saclay, France, Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex\nForschungszentrum Karlsruhe GmbH, Germany, Karlsruhe\nEDF / Recherche et Dévelopement, France, Moret-sur-Loing

Project summary

Recent years have demonstrated a growing interest in the nuclear energy systems employing the technology of molten salt fluorides. Among the systems selected in GIF Generation IV, Molten Salt Reactors (MSR) presents a promising flexible option in response to the goals and criteria assigned to future nuclear systems: fuel cycle sustainability, safety, environmental impact, proliferation resistance, persity of applications and economics. The basis of the MSR technology has been created in ORNL (USA) and its feasibility had been demonstrated by the Molten Salt Experimental Reactor successful operation in 1965-1968. Also, note that Kurchatov Institute performed comprehensive studies of the MSR technology in Russia. At that time the main effort in US as well as Russian programs was focused on the development of the U-Th breeder and converter reactor concepts. As a result, the suggested key technical solutions had been optimized for application namely to this goal.

The LIST project represent logical continuation of ISTC#1606 project, where key technical solutions for development of promising single stream Molten Salt Actinide Recycler & Transmuter (MOSART) concept were obtained. Experimental technique and facilities set up created in the framework of the ISTC#1606 offer unique possibilities for future studies of molten salt nuclear energy systems for near term and longer term innovative applications.

The mission of the LIST project is to test and select molten salts and metallic structural materials, which will operate successfully under the conditions of promising Generation IV nuclear energy systems. In the Phase A of this project focus will be placed experimental evaluation of potential of near term liquid salt cooled designs, including AHTR, VHTR and SFR as for longer term (Phase B) the main effort will be on advanced configuration of U-Pu and Th-U MSR systems.

The major developments that will be pursued in the framework of the LIST project are the following:

  • Combined materials compatibility & salt chemistry control in selected molten salt environments
  • Experimental verification of key physical & chemical properties for selected coolant and fuel salt compositions at parameters simulating design operation
  • Evaluation of liquid salt coolants for solid fuel cooled designs, including AHTR, VHTR and SFR and optimization of U-Pu and Th-U MSR design parameters basing on experimental data received within the project.

The first two objectives are considered crucial to the further development of nuclear energy systems employing technology of liquid salt fluorides. The LIST project plan is based on two primary ground rules. First a project program will be undertaken to resolve the major uncertainties concerning technical feasibility of systems under consideration. Main task of the project is to address the key scientific points requiring experimental investigations, in order to assess the actual feasibility and performances of such innovative concepts for deployment. Then, assuming favorable resolution of these uncertainties development will proceed in support of liquid salt cooled concepts (VHTR, AHTR, SFR) and Th-U or U-Pu MSR designs in order to meet principal goals for these concepts in Generation IV.

The LIST consortium consists of 3 institutions partners: Zababakhin Institute of Technical Physics (VNIITF, Snezinsk), Kurchatov Institute (RRC-KI, Moscow) and Institute of High Temperature Electrochemistry (IHTE, Ekaterinburg). Since 2001 the mentioned above institutions actively participated in the ISTC #1606 network. Calculation tools, experimental technique and facilities set up, created in the framework of the ISTC#1606 offer unique possibilities for future studies of molten salt nuclear energy systems both for near term and long term innovative applications within the LIST project.

Planned for 36 months, LIST project will produce a final report making recommendations on the best salts selection, its key properties data and metallic structural materials selection, which will operate successfully under the conditions of promising nuclear energy systems to reflect Generation IV objectives.


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