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High-Temperature Salt-Cooled Reactors

NRL and the Nuclear Science and Engineering Department, in collaboration with UC Berkeley and University of Wisconsin, are pursuing research in the area of high-temperature salt-cooled reactors. A proposal entitled High-temperature Salt-cooled Reactor for Power and Process Heat was selected by DOE under its Integrated Research Project; the proposal aims to develop a path forward to a commercially viable salt-cooled, solid-fuel, high-temperature reactor with superior economic, safety, waste, nonproliferation, and physical security characteristics compared to LWRs for base-load electricity production and process heat applications. A $7.5M research grant is awarded for this 3-year project to pursue this new reactor concept. Dr. Charles Forsberg and Dr. Lin-wen Hu are the MIT Principal Investigators. While the end product is a pre-conceptual reactor design and a development roadmap, the experimental and analytical work will: (1) conduct material tests in laboratory loops and the MIT reactor to test key materials required in-core and out-of-core, (2) develop the appropriate tools for the thermal hydraulic/neutronic/safety analysis, validated with experiments using salt stimulants to provide key data, (3) develop pre-conceptual point designs for a test reactor and commercial prototype reactor, and (4) conduct a series of workshops and collaborative research and development (R&D) to support the development of the roadmap to commercialization that includes defining what is known and unknown, R&D needs, and a prioritized development strategy (technology, licensing, etc.).