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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Comments on an article, http://www.ev.com/knowledge-center/educational-articles/no-nuclear-meltdown-using-thorium.html

1) Get rid of the nuclear explosion image. If you are wanting to promote development of LFTRs it is inappropriate to link alternative nuclear energy to nuclear bombs.

2) Thorium/uranium blend in solid-fuel reactors (such as India is doing) has a minimal benefit over solid-fueled uranium. The dramatic reduction in nuclear waste of LFTRs is from the use of molten fuel, so it all can fission. The “no nuclear meltdown” comes from using molten fuel and using coolant (molten salt) that can’t boil away. AHWR would have similar nuclear waste production to a LWR (~99% fuel unused). A molten-fueled salt-cooled reactor leaves less than 1% of the fuel unused.

3) LFTR converts thorium to uranium, and the uranium fissions. It is inaccurate to say LFTR doesn’t use uranium. Plus, LFTR can consume uranium or plutonium from waste of current reactors (instead of using thorium).

4) Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) would have similar water-based risks as LWR: the water can boil away with any pipe break. It would have similar complex systems to reduce the risk of accidents; it would require a steam-containment building similar to existing (LWR) reactors. Many of these systems are designed to work passively, which is a good improvement.

What AHWR does passively, LFTR does inherently: LFTR has no water, has no high pressures (so no need for high-pressure containment), generates no steam (so no steam containment building, the most expensive part of a water-cooled reactor).

For clear explanations of how LFTRs work, how they are inherently safe, what is needed to produce them, how much less they would cost, what they provide beyond electricity (including vehicle fuels), see http://liquidfluoridethoriumreactor.glerner.com/

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