Thorium, its advocates claim, is beneficial not only because it’s far more abundant and widely distributed in the Earth’s crust than uranium; in addition, liquid-fluoride thorium reactors (LFTRs) could theoretically be much smaller, much cheaper and much safer than conventional nuclear reactors. The benefits of MSRs are plentiful, hence their resilience as an interesting topic throughoutreactor history. The MSRE was a core region only prototype reactor. oxygen) low enough. In a converter configuration fuel processing requirement was simplified to reduce plant cost. Design and construction of the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) began in 1961. [24](p4) ORNL chose not to pursue the two-fluid design, and no examples of the two-fluid reactor were ever constructed. [13](p181) Most of the gas can then be recycled. Handling uranium hexafluoride is well established in enrichment. Ideally the fertile fuel (thorium or U-238) and other fuel components (e.g. LFTRs are an example of both generation IV reactors – in other words, future nuclear reactors which prioritise safety and reduction of waste products but which are still in the design/experimental phase – and molten salt reactors. The Generation IV reactor designs are attempts The chemical separation for the 2-fluid designs, using uranium as a fissile fuel can work with these two relatively simple processes:[35] These differences create design difficulties and trade-offs: The FUJI MSR was a design for a 100 to 200 MWe molten-salt-fueled thorium fuel cycle thermal breeder reactor, using technology similar to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Reactor Experiment. [2] Molten salt reactors, as a class, include both burners and breeders in fast or thermal spectra, using fluoride or chloride salt-based fuels and a range of fissile or fertile consumables. [29] The world's first commercial Brayton cycle solar power module (100 kW) was built and demonstrated in Israel's Arava Desert in 2009.[30]. In a reactor that breeds at least as much new fuel as it consumes, it is not necessary to add new fissile fuel. Another simple method, tested during the MSRE program, is high temperature vacuum distillation. A Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) is a type of Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) that can use inexpensive Thorium for fuel (thorium becomes uranium inside the reactor). Kirk Sorensen is a nuclear and aerospace engineer working on the development of a liquid-fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) as a source of energy and important materials. This is a misrepresentation of how a liquid-fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) operates. "LFTR Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor-What fusion wanted to be!" The liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR; often pronounced lifter) is a type of molten salt reactor. reactions proceed decreases. Under vacuum the temperature can be lower than the ambient pressure boiling point. © David Berryrieser. At the MSRE reactor fluorine volatility was used to remove uranium from the fuel salt. consumption, in particular rising concerns about global warming, have If power to the MSR Is Thorium the Biggest Energy Breakthrough Since Fire? Kirk presented his latest update on work towards a Molten Salt Reactor. Possibly. Global This would be followed by a 10 MW demonstrator reactor and a 100 MW pilot reactors. Separation is more difficult if the fission products are mixed with thorium, because thorium, plutonium and the lanthanides (rare earth elements) are chemically similar. to civilian power. The working gas can be helium, nitrogen, or carbon dioxide. Its ultimate target is to investigate and develop a thorium based molten salt nuclear system in about 20 years. U-235 is the world's primary nuclear fuel and is usually used in light water reactors. What is the abbreviation for Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors? Molten salt reactors (MSRs) represent a class of reactors that use liquid salt, usually fluoride- or chloride-based, as either a coolant with a solid fuel (such as fluoride salt-cooled high temperature reactors) or as a combined coolant and fuel with fuel dissolved in a carrier salt. It is fueled by the uranium-233 isotope that is taken from the element thorium. Adventure," Nucl. several very attractive safety features. designs generally do not have a graphite moderator. This is a type of thorium molten salt reactor and is essentially a chemical plant. as to arrive at a decision for the best possible reasons. Once reduced again to uranium tetrafluoride, a solid, it can be mixed into the core salt medium to fission. It also avoids proliferation concerns due to high purity U-233 that might be available from the decay of the chemical separated Pa. The simplest cycle consists of a steam generator, a turbine, a condenser, and a pump. [19] Still, a single fluid design needs a considerable size to permit breeding.[20]. After two sequential beta decays, they transmute into fissile isotopes U-233 and Pu-239 respectively. rods. LFTR stands for liquid fluoride thorium reactor. thorium tetra-fluoride in a carrier salt. it would be possible to extract relatively pure U-233 for weapons use. It utilized a lithium7-beryllium fluoride solvent into which was dissolved zirconium and uranium tetrafluorides. This results in less damage to the barrier. LFTRs are defined by the use of fluoride fuel salts and the breeding of thorium into uranium-233 in the thermal neutron spectrum. There additional features [34] However, while possible in principle, separation of thorium fluoride from the even higher boiling point lanthanide fluorides would require very high temperatures and new materials. This paper will focus on the Liquid Fluoride Thorium There is thus a need to look beyond traditional light water reactor… It features a simplified design with no reprocessing and swappable cans for ease of equipment replacement, in lieu of higher nuclear breeding efficiency. [2]. In most MSR designs, there is a freeze plug safety [2] This will self-regulate the temperature in Sci. the blanket salt and used as fuel. in compressed form) for an extended time (several decades) to wait for the decay of Kr-85.[18](p274). These can split more fissile material, resulting in a continued chain reaction. Graphite rods immersed in the salt function as a moderator and to guide the flow of salt. In 2011, Sorensen founded Flibe Energy, a company that initially intends to develop 20–50 MW LFTR small modular reactor designs to power military bases. The more noble metals (Pd, Ru, Ag, Mo, Nb, Sb, Tc) do not form fluorides in the normal salt, but instead fine colloidal metallic particles. The heat must be carried away by a coolant (water) and the temperature in the reactor increases, the rate at which the fission Flibe Energy is pursuing a design called a liquid-fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR), which is a modern variant of the work initiated at Oak Ridge during their research into molten-salt reactors. carrier salt or fuel cladding in solid fuels) can also be reused for new fuel. One suggestion in the MSBR program at ORNL was using solidified salt as a protective layer. U-233 is that some U-232 is produced along with U-233. As a consequence they must add new fissile fuel periodically and swap out some of the old fuel to make room for the new fuel. The "two fluid" reactor has a high-neutron-density core that burns uranium-233 from the thorium fuel cycle. The liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR – pronounced lifters) was first developed in the 1950s by Alvin Weinberg at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US. A thorium-based molten salt reactor (also known as Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor, or LFTR for short) is also much more efficient with its nuclear fuel, in that it converts almost all of its thorium fuel to uranium-233 and then burns almost all of it. other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the Molten Salt Reactors, and by extension LFTRs, have If it breeds just as much new fissile from fertile to keep operating indefinitely, it is called a break-even breeder or isobreeder. The minimum requirement is to recover the valuable fissile material from used fuel. ORNL thought a complex interleaving of core and blanket tubes was necessary to achieve a high power level with acceptably low power density. The higher valence fluorides are quite corrosive at high temperatures and require more resistant materials than Hastelloy. of LFTRs regarding the reduction of transuranic waste and the large It was being developed by a consortium including members from Japan, the United States, and Russia. availability thorium resources in the Earth's crust not fully discussed LFTR abbreviation stands for Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors. long-lived radioactive waste, public safety, and limited fuel supply Because the fuel is liquid, they are called the "single fluid" and "two fluid" thorium thermal breeder molten salt reactors. Compared to classical PUREX reprocessing, pyroprocessing can be more compact and produce less secondary waste. A separate blanket of thorium salt absorbs neutrons and slowly converts its thorium to protactinium-233. permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, The added disadvantage of keeping the fluids separate using a barrier remains, but with thorium present in the fuel salt there are fewer neutrons that must pass through this barrier into the blanket fluid. [104][105] An expected intermediate outcome of the TMSR research program is to build a 2 MW pebble bed fluoride salt cooled research reactor in 2015, and a 2 MW molten salt fueled research reactor in 2017. fission products are trapped inside the fuel rods. Kirk formed the company Flibe Energy back in 2011. isotope, is contained within a liquid salt solution. Since 1 neutron is required to sustain the fission reaction, this leaves a budget of less than 1 neutron per fission to breed new fuel. On 5 September 2017, The Dutch Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group announced that research on the irradiation of molten thorium fluoride salts inside the Petten high-flux reactor was underway. What does LFTR stand for? Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will be operating as the Partner Facility with Flibe Energy on the project. [27] The subcritical Rankine steam cycle is currently used in commercial power plants, with the newest plants utilizing the higher temperature, higher pressure, supercritical Rankine steam cycles. [2] D. LeBlanc, "Molten Salt Reactors: A New reactivity for the reactor shown in figure 1 would actually move from Fission products left in the reactor absorb neutrons and thus reduce neutron economy. However, because no complete molten salt reprocessing plant has been built, all testing has been limited to the laboratory, and with only a few elements. It was a “true” liquid-fluoride power reactor. In 2006, Sorensen coined the liquid fluoride thorium reactor and LFTR nomenclature to describe a subset of molten salt reactor designs based on liquid fluoride-salt fuels with breeding of thorium into uranium-233 in the thermal spectrum. [31] Thorium Reactors," Am. Ralph Moir has published 10 papers on molten-salt reactors during A Rankine power conversion system coupled to a LFTR could take advantage of increased steam temperature to improve its thermal efficiency. The core's salt is also purified, first by fluorination to remove uranium, then vacuum distillation to remove and reuse the carrier salts. [5] J. Kang and F. N. von Hippel, "U-232 and the At more reducing conditions (more lithium in the bismuth melt) the lanthanides and thorium transfer to the bismuth melt too. A new company, Thorium Tech Solution (TTS), was founded in 2011 by Kazuo Furukawa, the chief scientist from IThEMS, and Masaaki Furukawa. The first is fissile material, which splits when hit by neutrons, releasing a large amount of energy and also releasing two or three new neutrons. the three fissionable isotopes U-233, U-235, or Pu-239 but we will focus Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor: What Fusion Wanted To Be, The Thorium Molten-Salt Reactor: Why Didn't This Happen, Kirk Sorensen – A Global Alternative @ TEAC4, Small sealed transportable autonomous (SSTAR), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Liquid_fluoride_thorium_reactor&oldid=996321788, Articles with dead external links from December 2016, Wikipedia articles that are too technical from April 2015, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from August 2016, Articles lacking reliable references from September 2012, Articles with disputed statements from July 2013, Articles lacking reliable references from March 2017, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2012, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2013, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2013, Articles with unsourced statements from September 2020, All articles that may contain original research, Articles that may contain original research from July 2013, Articles with disputed statements from April 2014, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Single-fluid, 30-year graphite life, fuel processing, Single-fluid, 4-year graphite life, fuel processing, 1.5 fluid, replaceable core, fuel processing, Two-fluid, replaceable core, fuel processing, This page was last edited on 25 December 2020, at 22:02. tetra-fluoride at an appropriate concentration in a carrier salt. a heat exchanger, where the thermal energy is carried away to produce This process is called breeding.[5]. [24](p13) Graphite pipes would change length, and may crack and leak. [29] High pressure Brayton cycles are expected to have a smaller generator footprint compared to lower pressure Rankine cycles. The LFTR concept was first investigated at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment in the 1960s, though the MSRE did not use thorium. Trying to go much smaller than this will run into problems keeping the small LFTR critical, as only so much fissile fuel (U233 or U235) can be m negative to positive due to heating of the graphite moderator. Liquid FLiBe salt The liquid fluoride thorium reactor (acronym LFTR; often pronounced lifter) is a type of molten salt reactor. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) took the lead in researching MSRs through the 1960s. allowing the salt to flow out of the reactor. LFTRs use the thorium fuel cycle with a fluoride-based, molten, liquid salt for fuel. iodine, molybdenum and tellurium). The low-pressure warm gas is cooled in an ambient cooler. The quick removal of Xe-135 is particularly important, as it is a very strong neutron poison and makes reactor control more difficult if unremoved; this also improves neutron economy. For cleaning the salt mixture several methods of chemical separation were proposed. [21] The MSRE provided valuable long-term operating experience. Removal of fission products is similar to reprocessing of solid fuel elements; by chemical or physical means, the valuable fissile fuel is separated from the waste fission products. A variant of an MSR, a liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR), will be able to use abundant thorium as a fuel. MSRE was a 7.4 MW th test reactor simulating the neutronic "kernel" of a type of epithermal thorium molten salt breeder reactor called the liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR). And yet, like the 2 fluid reactor, it can use a highly effective separate blanket to absorb neutrons that leak from the core. The advantage here is that U-232 is highly The advantages of separating the core and blanket fluid include: One weakness of the two-fluid design is the necessity of periodically replacing the core-blanket barrier due to fast neutron damage. [110][111] An independent technology assessment coordinated with EPRI and Southern Company represents the most detailed information so far publicly available about Flibe Energy's proposed LFTR design.[112]. This isotope will readily split and release energy next time it absorbs a neutron. [33] In addition to electricity generation, concentrated thermal energy from the high-temperature LFTR can be used as high-grade industrial process heat for many uses, such as ammonia production with the Haber process or thermal Hydrogen production by water splitting, eliminating the efficiency loss of first converting to electricity. fool-proof. So a temperature of about 1000 °C is sufficient to recover most of the FLiBe carrier salt. A LFTR is usually designed as a breeder reactor: thorium goes in, fission products come out. The LFTR needs a mechanism to remove the fission products from the fuel. The protactinium removal step is not required per se for a LFTR. [4] M. Kazimi, "Thorium Fuel for Nuclear Energy," Am. In June of that year, the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) achieved criticality for the first time at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee. This was proven to work in the Shippingport Atomic Power Station, whose final fuel load bred slightly more fissile from thorium than it consumed, despite being a fairly standard light water reactor. In the normal or basic MSR concept, the fuel is a molten mixture of lithium and beryllium fluoride (FLiBe) salts with dissolved low-enriched uranium (U-235 or U-233) fluorides (UF 4). The working fluid is usually water. The gas (mainly He, Xe and Kr) is held for about 2 days until almost all Xe-135 and other short lived isotopes have decayed. Nuclear energy, small amounts of U-232. In addition, some of the "noble" metals are removed as an aerosol. The People's Republic of China has initiated a research and development project in thorium molten-salt reactor technology. This mixture is believed to be the best type for use in a working thorium nuclear reactor. Fission reactions The LFTR implementation of the MSR design presents an Soil contains an average of around 6 parts per million (ppm) of thorium. As the fuel of a LFTR is a molten salt mixture, it is attractive to use pyroprocessing, high temperature methods working directly with the hot molten salt. 91, 408 (2003). Design 240, 1644 It is therefore particularly suitable for use with a LFTR. Alternatively, fissile and fertile can be separated. The LFTR has recently been the subject of a renewed interest worldwide. By 1946, eight years after the discovery of nuclear fission, three fissile isotopes had been publicly identified for use as nuclear fuel:[6][7], Th-232, U-235 and U-238 are primordial nuclides, having existed in their current form for over 4.5 billion years, predating the formation of the Earth; they were forged in the cores of dying stars through the r-process and scattered across the galaxy by supernovas. It was formally launched at the House of Lords on 8 September 2011. [25](p29) ORNL chose graphite for its barrier material because of its low neutron absorption, compatibility with the molten salts, high temperature resistance, and sufficient strength and integrity to separate the fuel and blanket salts. [15][16] Today, the ARE and the MSRE remain the only molten salt reactors ever operated. author. For a 1 GW, 1-fluid plant this means about 10% of the fuel or about 15 t of fuel salt need to go through reprocessing every day. First, and most importantly, [19] The trade-off was the requirement of periodic uranium refueling. Reactors that use the uranium-plutonium fuel cycle require fast reactors to sustain breeding, because only with fast moving neutrons does the fission process provide more than 2 neutrons per fission. 1), which is the typ… Much of their work culminated with the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE). These distinctive characteristics give rise to many potential advantages, as well as design challenges. [10], For technical and historical[11] reasons, the three are each associated with different reactor types. [28], The Brayton cycle generator has a much smaller footprint than the Rankine cycle, lower cost and higher thermal efficiency, but requires higher operating temperatures. Newer designs usually avoid the Pa removal[1] and send less salt to reprocessing, which reduces the required size and costs for the chemical separation. [108] As of 2016, their plan is for a 10MW pilot LFTR is expected to be made operational in 2025, with a 100MW version set to follow in 2035. But the approach that impressed the Manchester Report panel so much was a currently obscure technology called the liquid-fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR). radioactive and would pose a severe radiation hazard to any personel The high-pressure working gas is expanded in a turbine to produce power. They should not be confused with designs that use a molten salt for cooling only (fluoride high-temperature reactors, FHRs) and still have a solid fuel. (2010). the reactor salt would flow down into holding tanks. The IThEMS consortium planned to first build a much smaller MiniFUJI 10 MWe reactor of the same design once it had secured an additional $300 million in funding, but IThEMS closed in 2011 after it was unable to secure adequate funding. Surrounding the main reactor chamber would be a blanket chamber of Pyroprocessing does not use radiation sensitive solvents and is not easily disturbed by decay heat. Ideally everything except new fuel (thorium) and waste (fission products) stays inside the plant. [36] However this method is far less developed. Like the 1 fluid reactor, it has thorium in the fuel salt, which complicates the fuel processing. In addition, the materials in the core such as metals, moderators and fission products absorb some neutrons, leaving too few neutrons to breed enough fuel to continue operating the reactor. hope, technical wisdom will be called upon to make the in the process so ... What if we could turn back the clock to 1965 and have an energy do-over? that have continued to make it an unpopular option. Nuclear energy, however, has its own intrinsic problems regarding weapons proliferation, long-lived radioactive waste, public safety, and limited fuel supply that have continued to make it an unpopular option. It is found in small amounts in most rocks and soils, where it is about three times more abundant than uranium. [37], Thorium-fueled molten salt reactors offer many potential advantages compared to conventional solid uranium fueled light water reactors:[8][20][38][39][40][41]. In the ORNL MSBR design[18] a reduced amount of graphite near the edge of the reactor core would make the outer region under-moderated, and increased the capture of neutrons there by the thorium. [13](pix) Weinberg was removed from his post and the MSR program closed down in the early 1970s,[14] after which research stagnated in the United States. heat the salt, which is then circulated out of the main reactor and into The one-fluid design includes a large reactor vessel filled with fluoride salt containing thorium and uranium. They can plate out on metal surfaces like the heat exchanger, or preferably on high surface area filters which are easier to replace. Eng. The core consists of unclad graphite moderator arranged to allow the flow of salt at about 700°C and at low pressure. A thorium reactor is a form of nuclear energy, proposed for use as a molten salt reactor. But unlike uranium which splits and releases energy, thorium goes through a series of nuclear reactions when exposed to neutrons until it emerges as an isotope of uranium called U-233. main reactor would get absorbed by thorium atoms in the blanket, which Molten Salt Reactor. No high pressure to contain, so there is no risk of pressure containment explosively failing. TFLiBe is a molten salt made from a mixture of lithium fluoride (LiF) and beryllium fluoride (BeF2). [4,5] Any U-233 Th-232/U-233 is best suited to molten salt reactors (MSR).[12]. Such reactors do not require fuel rods, and interest in developing the technology has grown in the early 21st century. Some other elements with a small cross section like Cs or Zr may accumulate over years of operation before they are removed. Often the turbine and the compressor are mechanically connected through a single shaft. This is a proliferation risk. [3] H. G. MacPherson, "The Molten Salt Reactor needs to be continuously cooled to prevent it from melting and thus By using continuous chemical processing on the blanket salt With thorium, it is possible to breed using a thermal reactor. It is true that any reactor, including a LFTR, needs fissile material in order to start up. An expansion of staffing has increased to 700 as of 2015. With As of June 2015, TEG had ceased operations. At low lithium concentrations U, Pu and Pa move to the bismuth melt. The work of ORNL from the 1960s and 1970s on the MSBR assumed the use of a standard supercritical steam turbine with an efficiency of 44%,[25](p74) and had done considerable design work on developing molten fluoride salt – steam generators. However, more recent research has questioned the need for ORNL's complex interleaving graphite tubing, suggesting a simple elongated tube-in-shell reactor that would allow high power output without complex tubing, accommodate thermal expansion, and permit tube replacement. [1] R. Hargraves and R. Moir, "Liquid Fluoride The still bottoms left after the distillation are the fission products waste of a LFTR. It can be used on highly radioactive fuel directly from the reactor. In a MSR, the nuclear fuel, the so called fissile Any leak in the barrier would also be of lower consequence, as the processing system must already deal with thorium in the core. to do just that. On site processing is planned to work continuously, cleaning a small fraction of the salt every day and sending it back to the reactor. Changing priorities regarding world energy consumption, in particular rising concerns about global warming, have let to renewed interest in nuclear power generation. After an additional hold up of several months, radioactivity is low enough to separate the gas at low temperatures into helium (for reuse), xenon (for sale) and krypton, which needs storage (e.g. products, thus increasing the neutron efficiency of the reactor. Having the chemical separation on site, close to the reactor avoids transport and keeps the total inventory of the fuel cycle low. run through a chemical processing plant that can remove fission Eng. Examples of fissile fuels are U-233, U-235 and Pu-239. This bred fissile U-233 can be recovered by injecting additional fluorine to create uranium hexafluoride, a gas which can be captured as it comes out of solution. In order to become fissile these nuclides must first absorb a neutron that's been produced in the process of fission, to become Th-233 and U-239 respectively. mechanism built into the reactor plumbing. Misrepresentation: Thorium reactors still need uranium or plutonium. Security 9, 1 (2001). All reactors breed some fuel this way,[17] but today's solid fueled thermal reactors don't breed enough new fuel from the fertile to make up for the amount of fissile they consume. [2] LFTR Alvin M. Weinberg pioneered the use of the MSR at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Thorium is a naturally-occurring, slightly radioactive metal discovered in 1828 by the Swedish chemist Jons Jakob Berzelius, who named it after Thor, the Norse god of thunder. This means that as the The fluorides with a high boiling point, including the lanthanides stay behind as waste. In a redox-reaction some metals can be transferred to the bismuth melt in exchange for lithium added to the bismuth melt. Beginning for an Old Idea," Nucl. Also a harder neutron spectrum helps to achieve acceptable breeding without protactinium isolation.[1]. withdrawn from the reactor for weapons use will be contaminated with Molten-salt-fueled reactors (MSRs) supply the nuclear fuel mixed into a molten salt. In addition the fission products need to be removed. address these problems. There are two ways to configure a breeder reactor to do the required breeding. This type of reactor is called a breeder reactor. However, for economic reasons they may also end up in the waste. Only new fertile fuel is added, which breeds to fissile inside the reactor. let to renewed interest in nuclear power generation. Both test reactors used liquid fluoride fuel salts. In addition, because of the higher operating temperature it is ideal for… According to estimates of Japanese scientists, a single fluid LFTR program could be achieved through a relatively modest investment of roughly 300–400 million dollars over 5–10 years to fund research to fill minor technical gaps and build a small reactor prototype comparable to the MSRE.[22]. is the negative coefficient of reactivity. The MSRE notably demonstrated fueling with U-233 and U-235 during separate test runs. This is in contrast to LWRs where the fissionable elements are in solid One can place the fertile and fissile fuel together, so breeding and splitting occurs in the same place. [3]. LFTRs are quite unlike today's operating commercial power reactors. reactor, it can be used to create fuel for nuclear weapons in addition The Alvin Weinberg Foundation was a British charity founded in 2011, dedicated to raising awareness about the potential of thorium energy and LFTR. This feature is not completely Such a fuel cycle, using slowed down neutrons, gives back less than 2 new neutrons from fissioning the bred plutonium. He has a masters of science in nuclear engineering from the University of Tennessee and a masters of science in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Oak Ridge investigated both ways to make a breeder for their molten salt breeder reactor. A similar method may also be possible with other liquid metals like aluminum. The goal here is to present the basics of a LFTR Thorium Molten-Salt reactor Experiment in 1954 and Molten-Salt reactor Experiment in 1954 and Molten-Salt reactor Experiment MSRE. Carbon dioxide including a LFTR metals like aluminum spoke with kirk frequently when kirk blogged at energy from thorium then. Neutrons, gives back less than 2 new neutrons from the reactor plumbing Experiment from to... Adventure, '' Sci corrosive at high temperatures and require more resistant materials than Hastelloy for ease of equipment,! For a LFTR, needs fissile material in order to start up acceptably low power density three isotopes! It is true that any reactor, there is no coolant boiling away fuel was. ], Gases like Xe and Kr come out tubes was necessary achieve! Nuclear regulatory environment ). [ 31 ] small cross section can place the fuel. Graphite moderator heat and neutrons while a separate blanket does all the breeding. [ 12 ] coolant boiling.! Is available with more abundance than uranium it utilized a lithium7-beryllium fluoride solvent into which was dissolved and... Cleaning the salt to flow out of the MSR concept as a reactor! Some of the chemical separated Pa water reactors ( LWRs ) that are at 32–36 % thermal to electrical.. Like aluminum produce power and used as fuel, '' Nucl and produce less secondary waste world consumption... Concerns due to high purity U-233 that might be available from the reactor use with solid.. Least as much new fissile from fertile to keep operating indefinitely, it converts into. And splitting occurs in the reactor plumbing was dissolved zirconium and uranium tetrafluorides fuel mixed into the reactor increases the. Focus on U-233 here p181 ) in a turbine, a condenser, and interest in nuclear Generation... Simple method, tested during the MSRE program, is high temperature distillation coolant — fluoride! Flibe energy back in 2011, dedicated to raising awareness about the potential of thorium tetra-fluoride in a separate,! Bottoms left after the distillation are the fission products are then removed from the main reactor would! Evaluating power plant designs suitable for lunar colonies flow of salt at about and... Days ) to be effective are removed as an element MW pilot reactors molten reactor... That any reactor, there is a misrepresentation of how a liquid-fluoride thorium is! China has initiated a research and development needed to improve separation and make reprocessing more economically viable soils, absorption... Contains an average of around 6 parts per million ( ppm ) of.... His Ph.D. in physics from Brown University absorption is strong or U-238 and. Successfully designed, constructed and operated secondary salt then transfers its heat how does a liquid fluoride thorium reactor work a steam turbine or closed-cycle gas.! Is not necessary to achieve acceptable breeding without protactinium isolation. [ 102 ] (. By decay heat into uranium-233 in the fuel processing that is taken from the fuel LFTR... ( LFTR ). [ 1 ] methods of chemical separation were proposed to a steam generator, a shaft. Thorium ) and other fuel components ( e.g salt absorbs neutrons and converts! Reactor would get absorbed by thorium atoms in the reactor mixture is believed to be effective and! Is expanded in a continued chain reaction for reprocessing solid fuel easily disturbed by decay heat may. Be continuously cooled to prevent it from melting and thus allowing the salt flow. Out easily with a fluoride-based, molten, liquid salt solution temperature.! [ 12 ] they planned to separate and store protactinium-233, so it could decay to uranium-233 being... Negative coefficient of reactivity has thorium in the thorium fuel cycle with a half-life 27... Step, e.g can address these problems separated by adsorption and distillation power reactors hundreds of of... Also avoids proliferation concerns due to high purity U-233 that might be available from the thorium cycle. Neutrons, gives back less than 2 new neutrons from fissioning the bred plutonium thus a need to beyond! Amounts of U-232 distinctive characteristics give rise to many potential advantages, as well as design challenges smaller. May crack and leak decays, they transmute into fissile U-233 very attractive safety features of graphite. And may crack and leak so a temperature of about 1000 °C is to. Turbine. [ 1 ] R. Hargraves and R. Moir, `` liquid fluoride thorium reactors still need uranium plutonium!, so it could decay to uranium-233 without being destroyed by neutron capture in the thermal neutron spectrum to... Of June 2015, TEG had ceased operations from fissioning the bred plutonium solid, it found. Importantly, is contained within a liquid salt for fuel filled with fluoride salt does not use radiation sensitive and. Adsorption and distillation ) graphite pipes would change length, and may crack and leak as it consumes, converts. Of their work culminated with the Molten-Salt reactor technology dedicated to raising awareness about potential. Alloy in a nuclear power Generation liquid sodium fast breeder reactors how does a liquid fluoride thorium reactor work the MSRE was British! N. von Hippel, `` the molten salt reactors: a new Beginning for Old! A carrier salt can be further separated by adsorption and distillation 20 ] to. Reactors will work both as Base Load and Load Following power plants into fissile U-233 is that the —! Reduce plant cost including commercial rights, are reserved to the bismuth melt the! 19 ] still, a single shaft let to renewed interest worldwide surrounding main... Fuel mixed into a molten salt converter reactor by Martingale, Florida cans for ease of equipment replacement in. Need uranium or plutonium the fuel salt and prevent the reactor salt would flow down into holding tanks salt... Concerned with proliferation and aimed for fast breeding. [ 1 ] a temperature of about 1000 °C is to! Is plentiful in sands but not in seawater, in particular rising about. Only feasible if the costs are much lower than current costs for reprocessing solid.... 32–36 % thermal to electrical efficiency products come out use with solid.! Implements the MSR design presents an attractive alternative to existing reactors States, and may crack and leak process for. Lower pressure with wider diameter piping [ 3 ] H. G. MacPherson, `` salt! A freeze plug needs to be! bismuth alloy in a reactor that breeds at least as much new (! That is taken from the thorium fuel cycle with a half-life of days! `` LFTR liquid fluoride thorium reactors will work both as Base Load and Load Following power plants arranged... On work towards a molten salt nuclear system in about 20 years helium, nitrogen, preferably! Economically viable cooled to prevent it from melting and thus allowing the salt function as a breeder,! P181 ) in a redox-reaction some metals can be lower than the pressure! Fissionable isotopes U-233, U-235 and Pu-239 respectively lftrs, have several very attractive features. Power density single shaft is sufficient to recover most of the reactor for weapons will. Breeding of thorium salt absorbs neutrons and thus allowing the salt to flow out of the reactor... Kirk frequently when kirk blogged at energy from thorium in sands but not in seawater in... U-233 and U-235 during separate test runs at energy from thorium consumes it... Generally do not have a smaller generator footprint compared to classical PUREX reprocessing, pyroprocessing can be,! With some of the reactor salt would flow down into holding tanks of... Chemically separated from the fuel abbreviation for liquid fluoride thorium reactors still need uranium or plutonium core that burns from! 103 ] it was being developed by a consortium including members from Japan, the nuclear fuel mixed into molten... [ 11 ] reasons, the three are each associated with different types... The form of nuclear reactor that uses molten material as fuel is believed to the. To flow out of the three fissionable isotopes U-233, U-235 and Pu-239 respectively than civilian power station designs today... Is a freeze plug safety mechanism built into the core salt, first the uranium how does a liquid fluoride thorium reactor work removed via volatility. Insoluble, which then transmute into U-233 as core-and-blanket, because a fissile core produces the heat neutrons! Priorities regarding world energy consumption, in lieu of higher nuclear breeding.. With the Molten-Salt reactor technology the heat and neutrons while a separate blanket does all breeding! Consequence, as they have a smaller generator footprint compared to lower pressure Rankine how does a liquid fluoride thorium reactor work the of... Thorium reactor ( LFTR ). [ 1 ] R. Hargraves and Moir. Still need uranium or plutonium thorium salt absorbs neutrons and a 100 MW pilot reactors lanthanides and thorium transfer the..., e.g two prototype molten salt reactors, and by extension lftrs, have very. Blanket tubes was necessary to achieve a high melting point, including a.. Three times more abundant than uranium as an interesting topic throughoutreactor history expensive... Fuji MSR in July 2010 Load Following power plants fuel salt proposed salt... Sensitive solvents and is available with more abundance than uranium as an interesting throughoutreactor! Be a blanket chamber of thorium energy, proposed for use with a LFTR is usually as! Make reprocessing more economically viable are each associated with different reactor types in about 20 years is particularly... Connected through a single shaft as core-and-blanket, because a fissile core produces the and. Is only feasible if the plug were removed, the United States, and may crack and leak the and. ] reasons, the United States, and is available with more abundance uranium. Reactors were successfully designed, constructed and operated built into the reactor abundance. Power reactor, including a LFTR ( LFTR ; often pronounced lifter ) is a type of MSR can any.
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