A Czech nuclear research institute has received a shipment of fluoride salt from the US Department of Energy. The ?ež research institute is conducting studies into the use of the salt as a coolant in high-temperature nuclear reactors.
The provision of such raw materials is provided for under a memorandum of understanding signed by the two countries in December 2012. The 75kg of lithium and beryllium fluoride salt supplied by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will be used for experiments to investigate the coolant material at Rez’s critical test facility. The two countries will share the results.
Research into molten salt reactors using lithium and beryllium salts as the primary coolant has been ongoing for many years, and a prototype operated at Oak Ridge during the 1960s. The concept has seen renewed interest with the possibility of a new generation of high-temperature, low-cost and passively safe reactors.
According to the US Embassy in Prague, the tests to be carried out at Rez will feed into US and Czech research and development on such reactors. “The experiments using the fluoride salt coolant in Rez’s critical test facility will provide valuable data that can verify our understanding of the physics and help strengthen analysis tools needed for conceptual design of advanced reactors that might utilize molten fluoride salt coolants,” according to ORNL director Thom Mason.