Fluoride Action Network

A great technical achievement, Molten Salt Reactor could be entombed

Source: Oak Ridge Today | November 26th, 2017 | By John Huotari
Industry type: Nuclear Industry
Note from FAN:
A 1998 article noted that the reactor was “fueled by a molten salt containing uranium tetrafluoride that circulated within the reactor.” Ridge Times, Nov 12, 1998. This article notes that “The coolant salt contained 15,300 pounds of lithium and beryllium fluorides…”

Former director Alvin Weinberg once called it the greatest technical achievement at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It was inspired by the campaign to build a nuclear-powered aircraft in the 1950s, and it was the first reactor to ever operate using uranium-233.

Now parts of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment that are too radioactively “hot” for humans could be entombed in concrete.

For now, the idea is only under study, and there is no guarantee that any part of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, a nuclear historic landmark that has been dormant for decades, will be entombed.

But it’s one of the proposals being evaluated by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management. The goal is to finish the evaluation by the end of the year.

Jay Mullis, manager of the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, presented the proposal to the Oak Ridge City Council and Site Specific Advisory Board in two separate meetings earlier this month. The entombment proposal is one of five items being evaluated as part of a 45-day review started by DOE’s Environmental Management, or EM, program in June…

Fully loaded, the MSRE used 11,260 pounds of a fuel salt mixture comprised of lithium, beryllium, zirconium, and uranium fluoride. The fuel salt had a melting point of 840 degrees Fahrenheit.

The coolant salt contained 15,300 pounds of lithium and beryllium fluorides…

•To read the full article go here, http://oakridgetoday.com/2017/11/26/great-technical-achievement-molten-salt-reactor-entombed/#more-94398

See ORNL posters commemorating the 50th anniversary of the start of the MSRE hereSee an ORNL story on the 50th anniversary from 2015 here.

See another story on the MSRE here.

See a story on the advanced nuclear reactor workshop in 2016 here.

See the 2016 story on ORNL’s support of advanced nuclear reactor projects here.

See this video of ORNL researcher Kevin Robb giving an up-close look at the lab’s liquid salt test loop.

See Mullis’ 45-day review presentation here.

Learn more about rem hereLearn more about measuring radiation hereLearn more about doses in our daily lives here.