MSR Benefits

Molten Salt Reactor Advantages

  • Molten Fuel - Fuel circulates through the reactor, fission products get removed, for over 99% fuel use (vs. LWR ~3%). No long-term radioactive waste.
  • Salt Cooled - Coolant far below boiling point, reactor operates at atmospheric pressure. Fuel dissolved in stable salt (no water), no loss of coolant accident possible. No need for high-pressure safety systems.
  • High Inherent Safety - No water, no high pressure, nothing that could propel radioactive materials into the environment. Thermal expansion/contraction of molten fuel salt strongly regulates fission rate; MSR is a very stable reactor. Simple safety systems work even if no electricity or operators.
  • Easy Construction and Siting - Low pressure operation, so no high-pressure safety systems. No water, so no steam containment building. Reactor factory assembled, with modern quality control, sensors and communication.
  • Lower Cost - Even with exotic materials, construction costs will be dramatically lower than LWR — factory construction, minimal manual on-site preparation. No long-term radioactive waste, so no long-term storage.
  • High Temperature Operation - Heat to generate electricity, desalinate water, produce CO2-neutral vehicle fuel, etc.
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See the Thorium Energy Alliance and Energy from Thorium for detailed scientific and engineering discussions, presentations, and conferences.

D. LeBlanc / Nuclear Engineering and Design 240 (2010) p.1649-1650 excellent technical journal article on MSR and LFTR.

See Kirk Sorensen @ MRU on LFTR on inherent safety vs. engineered safety systems, history of thorium reactors, how they work, and the benefits.

Google TechTalk – The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor: What Fusion Wanted To Be

Kirk Sorensen – The Thorium Molten-Salt Reactor: Why Didn’t This Happen (and why is now the right time?)

TEDxYYC – Kirk Sorensen – Thorium 4/22/2011

See Kirk Sorensen – Introduction to Flibe Energy @ TEAC3 for a short, very understandable description of how the reactor works, including converting Thorium to Uranium.

Kirk Sorensen @ PROTOSPACE Entertaining while explaining the science behind reactors. Thorium vs. Plutonium and Thermal vs. Fast. Medical and industrial uses of most fission byproducts from a LFTR. Safety systems. How much money a company would make from operating a LFTR. Engineering tasks to solve in building a LFTR. 2-1/2 hrs

Energy From Thorium: A Nuclear Waste Burning Liquid Salt Thorium Reactor, Kirk Sorensen

Thorium-Fueled Underground Power Plant Based On Molten Salt Technology, Ralph W. Moir and Edward Teller, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 2005

Fast Spectrum Molten Salt Reactor Options, Oak Ridge National Labs 2011, for reactor configuration; economics and safety; salt selection and salt processing technologies; fuel cycle options; uses of reactor high-temperature output; performance comparisons with existing reactor types; used fuel disposition, separations, and waste management; proliferation resistance.

The Thorium Problem – Danger of Existing Thorium Regulation to U.S. Manufacturing and Energy Sector. Gov’t treats thorium as some dangerous radioactive waste (it’s among the Least radioactive elements), preventing mining and production of rare earth elements essential for industry (from headphones to advanced batteries to windmill generators). The Dept. of Energy’s budget is over 60% for nuclear weapons, not for developing clean safe sustainable energy sources to power the country. Thorium laws prevent jobs in USA, forcing us to buy from China (almost a monopoly on rare earth element production).

Google Tech Talk — Energy From Thorium: A Nuclear Waste Burning Liquid Salt Thorium Reactor

Aim High! Thorium Energy Cheaper Than From Coal, by Robert Hargraves (available on Amazon)

Popular Science article, Next Gen Nuke Designs mainly about LFTR.

Thorium Remix 2009 – LFTR in 25 Minutes

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