The Netherlands-based Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG) has begun a new study – part of its molten salt technology programme – that aims to simulate what happens when the molten salt cools down to below 150C.
Results of the study will contribute to the safety analysis of molten salt reactors. NRG said last year that the study will include the monitoring of pressure, dose and temperature and that five salts will be investigated, The salt samples will be provided by Czech research centre Řež.
A new experimental facility, called Saga, is designed to be used for testing a range of configurations (or: arrangements) for molten salt reactors.
Unlike most experiments in NRG’s High Flux Reactor at Petten in the Netherlands, irradiation will take place in the spent fuel pool instead of the reactor core. This will make use of the strong gamma field emitted by spent nuclear fuel.
NRG is working with with Řež and the Free University of Berlin in Germany on the study. The broader molten salt programme is carried out in collaboration with the European Joint Research Centre, which is the European commission's science and knowledge service, and the Technical University of Delft.
NRG can perform complex irradiations which are essential to nuclear research and development. The molten salt reactor programme is supported by the Dutch government and European funds
Molten salt reactors are a class of nuclear fission reactor in which the primary nuclear reactor coolant and/or the fuel is a molten salt mixture. They offer multiple advantages over conventional nuclear power plants, including higher efficiencies and lower waste generation. Some designs do not require solid fuel, which eliminates the need for manufacturing and disposing of it.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said that in recent years, growing interest in this technology has led to renewed development activities.