Integrated molten-salt nuclear reactor systems for base-load power plants
Free (open access)
Volume 2 (2017), Issue 1
39 - 51
Molten-salt reactors (MSRs) can provide inexpensive industrial process heating in addition to generating electricity. In most cases, this can be best accomplished by design simplification, which results in improvements to MSR’s already existing and inherently strong safety characteristics. This is just one of a number of possible future scenarios that will influence the way in which MSR technology can develop and become marketable. The emphasis in this paper is to develop a reactor with application to the widest possible range of industries. This paper concentrates on the need to develop the inherent safety characteristics of the single fluid thermal reactor with the expectation that sufficient reliability and safety will be achieved in design so that these power generators will eventually be accepted for close integration into the fabric of modern society. It seems inevitable that the required licensing procedures needed for MSRs will vary considerably depending on their type because different designs vary so much. Those used for low-temperature process heat in addition to power generation require much less demanding regulatory procedures than those operating at higher temperatures. This is largely because long-term corrosion is more problematic at higher temperatures and present-day construction materials limit the development of MSRs from reaching their full potential. With appropriate experience with operating early designs of MSRs it is reasonable to expect that lower temperature versions will become certifiable for use in close proximity to a large range of human activities. Ultimately these reactors will be controllable remotely without the local attendance of technical staff.
molten-salt reactor, nuclear reactor control, nuclear technology, process heating.