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Liquid Metal Coolant for Reactors

#2931


Experimental and Theoretical Verification of a Precision Method for Electronic Controlling the RedOx-Potential of Molten Salts for Reactors, Transmutation of Long-Lived RW, and Non-Aqueous Reprocessing SNF

Tech Area / Field

  • FIR-NSS/Nuclear Safety and Safeguarding/Fission Reactors
  • ENV-RWT/Radioactive Waste Treatment/Environment
  • FIR-FUC/Fuel Cycle/Fission Reactors

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
21.11.2003

Leading Institute
Kurchatov Research Center, Russia, Moscow

Collaborators

  • Energovyzkum, spol. s.r.o., Czechia, Brno\nArgonne National Laboratory (ANL) / West, USA, ID, Idaho Falls

Project summary

In accumulating knowledge about the electronic nature of molten salt as to the collectivization of valence electrons into the condensed medium (crystal or melt), one can create an electrochemical model of the melt reduction-oxidation (RedOx-) potential. In this model, Fermi’s level in the gap-band of electron-energy states should play a determining role as the generalized physical parameter extremely sensitive to non-stoichiometry of salts and various impurities in them.

Obviously, one can achieve significant change of RedOx-potential at forced variation of Fermi’s level in the wide gap-band (up to 12 eV) of alkaline-metal fluorides practically without varying the salt composition. Apparently, this circumstance will allow controlling the physical and chemical properties of molten salt in necessary direction, i.e. to provide the given characteristics of a fuel composition in thin (precise) setting Fermi’s level.

In order to achieve that, one should study the electronic and electrochemical properties of molten salts and prove the concept of optimal choice of coolants and fuel compositions on the given attributes for molten salt reactors (MSR) and another application.

Besides, it is possible to develop tools for continuous monitoring the RedOx-potential in molten salts and a precise method for controlling the potential of salt composition at processing spent nuclear fuel (SNF) in it and transmutation of radioactive waste (RW).

Solved Problems:

1. The complex research program in substantiation of the concept for designing coolants and fuel compositions for MSR on the given attributes including nuclear, thermal, physical, chemical, and structural parameters of the molten salt reactor. It should provide:


- developing an electronic model of molten-salt RedOx-potential as Fermi’s level of electron energy in the salt gap-band;
- experimental verification of the electronic model for the broad class of molten salts;
- substantiating the concept for designing the molten-salt coolants and MSR fuel compositions on the given attributes;
- developing a method for continuous electronic controlling the RedOx-potential of molten salts for providing the operation characteristics of reactor;
- testing the molten salts chosen as coolants and fuel compositions;
- analyzing the obtained data for adjusting the subsequent experiments.

2. The complex research program in substantiation of technology for high effective non-aqueous processing the SNF with the electronic segregation of fission products and thin their separation from the molten salt расплава. It assumes:


- developing an electronic model of n-type, p-type, and valence energy levels for impurity elements in molten salts;
- experimental verification of this model for a wide class of fission products and actinides;
- developing a technology for effective non-aqueous processing the SNF on given attributes;
- developing a method for continuous electronic controlling and segregating fission products in molten salts;
- testing the technological procedures chosen as reference points;
- analyzing the received results for correcting the subsequent experiments.

3. The complex research program in substantiation of optimal choice of fuel compositions on the given attributes for processing the RW in molten salt reactor. It provides:


- developing an electronic model for controlling the impurity solubility in molten salts;
- experimental verification of the model for a wide class of actinides and lanthanides;
- developing methods and tools for continuous monitoring and controlling the RedOx-potential (Fermi’s level) for providing the given solubility of impurity elements;
- testing the mechanism for controlling the solubility of reference impurity;
- analyzing the obtained results for correcting subsequent experiments.

4. Planning the further activity including neutron-physical experiments with critical assembly.

As the main objectives, the project has development and verification of electronic model of RedOx-potential in the scope for R&D substantiating the concept for designing the molten salt coolants and MSR fuel compositions on the given attributes.

The commercially significant overall results of activities can be the designer and technological documentation for developing the technical proposals on electronic controlling the RedOx-potential of molten salts for reactors, transmutation of RW, and non-aqueous processing SNF.

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 electronic controlling the RedOx-potential of molten salts.


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