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Molten Salt Loop for Waste and Plutonium Disposal


Experimental Mock-up of Molten Salt Loop of Accelerator-Based Facility for Transmutation of Radioactive Waste and Conversion of Military Plutonium. Stage 2: Experimental Study of Molten Salt Technology for Safe, Low-Waste and Proliferation Resistant Treat

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-RWT/Radioactive Waste Treatment/Environment

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Tocheny L V

Leading Institute
VNIITF, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Snezhinsk

Supporting institutes

  • Kurchatov Research Center, Russia, Moscow\nHigh Temperature Electrochemistry Institute, Russia, Sverdlovsk reg., Ekaterinburg\nVNIIKhT (Chemical Technology), Russia, Moscow


  • Nuclear Research Institute, Czechia, Rez\nCEA / DSM / DAPNIA/CEN Saclay, France, Saclay\nInternational Atomic Energy Agency, Austria, Vienna\nEuropean Commission, Belgium, Brussels\nRoyal Institute of Technology / Nuclear and Reactor Physics, Sweden, Stockholm\nCEA / DRN / DER / CEN Cadarache, France, Cadarache\nBritish Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL), UK, Chesire, Risley Warrington\nEDF / Recherche et Développement, France, Moret-sur-Loing\nInstitut für Kern und Energietechnik, Germany, Karlsruhe

Project summary

Normal;Noeeu1;Iniiaiie oaeno;hang indent;The mission of the Project #698-2 is to perform an integral reevaluation of the Molten Salt (MS) Nuclear Fuel Technology potential as applied to safe, low-waste and proliferation resistant treatment of RadWaste and Pu management as well as to develop a comprehensive program plan of the Technology commercialization.

Such study is necessary because a prospect and potential advantages of the MS fuel technology application for Pu management and RadWaste treatment is being recognized gradually by the International scientific community. The MS system could be integrated naturally into the “double-strata” concept when the MS subcritical or critical systems could be used for Pu, Minor Actinides (MA) and, perhaps, some long-lived fission products management. For example, potential advantages of the MS approach have been recognized by the American Academy of Science study on reactor-related options of Pu disposition performed in 1995, but it was mentioned there that an “available base of expertise in molten-salt concept is minimal” now and “the economics of an MS system are too uncertain to estimate with any confidence”. It means that reevaluation of the MS technology potential as applied to Pu utilization and RadWaste transmutation is the actual problem, indeed.

The previous studies of the MS technology was directed on the development of the U/Th reactors and the concepts as well as suggested key technical solutions had been optimized as applied namely to this goal. Now, the priorities have been changed and it is recognized that the most urgent problem is a safe and proliferation resistant treatment of Pu and MA satisfying of the growing requirements to the environmental influence of the nuclear technology. It requires a reconsideration of the MS concept, including optimization of the neutron spectra of the core as well as a selection of the salt composition and approaches to its treatment. Chloride salts have been proposed as a fluid fuel to obtain a fast neutron spectrum due to high solubility of Pu and TRU, but severe problems related to structural materials corrosion and chemical stability of the chlorides have been pointed out. Ternary systems of fluorides fuels can be an interesting way out. This is the type of investigations that will be realized in terms of the Project #698-2. So, the main efforts on the Project #698-2 will be directed to experimental demonstration of the key elements of the molten fluoride nuclear fuel technology including measurement of the fundamental properties of prospective MS compositions and verification of the main structural materials with emphasis to the issues associated with Pu and Minor Actinides burning. Accompanying theoretical and system studies will be performed, as well.

The final result of the Project #698-2 will be a comprehensive feasibility study as well as an expanded investment project oriented to industrial implementation of the molten salt technology for Pu management and RadWaste treatment, including necessary experimental substantiation and experimental demonstration of the key elements of the technology. The results of the Project #698-2 will be addressed to the industry (for example to EdF, BNFL, Minatom and others) with the aim to have got a funding for the next steps in the MS technology commercialization. The results of the Project #698-2 must convince potential investors that MS approach could provide an opportunity to establish a proliferation resistant and simplified fuel cycle which has essential advantages as well as it is technically feasible and reasonable from point of view of economic.

The Project #698-2 will perfectly meet the ISTC Goals and Objectives, because:

· Its fulfillment will provide nuclear weapons scientists and engineers from VNIITF (Chelyabinsk-70) unique opportunities to redirect their talents to peaceful activities in field of transmutation.

· Unique former military plutonium experimental facilities will be converted to the peaceful area and will be available for international scientific community.

· The ISTC Project #698-2 realization would gradually lead to establishment of a long-term and large-scale international project and it would result in real integration of Russian scientists into the international scientific community.

In June 1997 the Project Development Grant had been allocated by the ISTC GB for the Project #698 Proposal improvement and coordination with foreign collaborators. In terms of the PDG (Project #698-1) a lot of discussions and presentations of the Project #698 to potential collaborators have been performed. As a results of these presentations and discussions, the given workplan of the second (main) stage of the Project #698 has been developed taking into account numerous comments and suggestions of the foreign partners.


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