Nuclear fuel in molten salts is tested by irradiation

In the Netherlands, conducted experiments
radioactive irradiation of molten salts to simulate working conditions
nuclear reactors with fuel of this type. Such works were not carried out about
half a century, and a full reactors this technology is still not there,
said in a press release on the website of the Netherlands Institute of nuclear NRG.

Nuclear reactors work
on the principle of nuclear fission of heavy nuclei: they use fuel from
radioactive elements such as uranium and plutonium, the core of which share with
the release of energy, and the resulting neutrons cause further decays.
The function of the reactor is to sustain such a chain reaction in a controlled
mode, the removal of thermal energy and its transformation into other forms, for example, in
electricity.

There are many
types of nuclear reactors, different design features and details
work with fuel. Some options, such as reactors on fast
the neutronwas proposed quite a long time, but
included in the large-scale practice only today. Other options have remained only on paper.

One of these unimplemented options — reactor molten salts. In such systems, coolant and/or
fuel is a mixture of molten salts at high temperature. The design of such a reactor has several advantages compared to the most common
option of water cooling. In particular, in this case, it is possible to work with
much lower pressure in the active zone and a higher temperature that
allows to increase the reliability and to implement the work on the isotopes of thorium.

The idea of such reactor was
proposed in the mid-twentieth century,
but in the US, development has effectively ceased since the 1970-ies, and in the Soviet Union — after
the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Now the interest to such installations has again increased, for example, in connection with delays
in the implementation of projects on nuclear fusion.

The Netherlands Institute for Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG) is
developments in the field of reactors for molten salts in 2015 and recently
completed tests with irradiated fuel in the core, which were carried out on
the high flux reactor in Petten, near Amsterdam. Such studies
were not conducted since the 1960-ies, when folded, the corresponding program in
American laboratory in oak ridge.

“The completion of the work within
reactor means that we can now study the irradiated salt in read more
our laboratories, — commented one of the researchers Ralph
Hania (Ralph Hania). It will allow us to understand the reaction of salt on radiation
in the reactor”.

Nuclear physicists expect
to continue the study. In their plans for the study of the radiolysis of salts, that is,
the destruction of the molecules under irradiation with the formation of potentially dangerous gases, and
parameters proposed for use of construction materials,
which must have high corrosion resistance, as used
salt active and damage most materials.

Earlier it was reported that has completed installation of cameras for the most powerful laser experiment, and the German stellarator brought the confinement time of the plasma up to 160 milliseconds. The growing number of experimental studies in the field of fusion energy, we wrote in the blog “More tokamak”.

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