Articles (in English and some in Dutch) about molten salt reactors and/or Thorium
A remarkable series of experiments in National Laboratories of the United States in the 50s and 60s did not deliver the nuclear airplane that the US Airforce wanted, but it did deliver a technology that has the potential to produce clean, carbon free energy for tens of thousands of years. This ‘molten salt reactor’ demonstrated the perspective of a nuclear energy system, unparalleled in safety, controllability, resource efficiency, without generating long term waste. Political agendas sidetracked the molten salt reactor, but in recent years it’s making a remarkable comeback.
On August 10, 2017, a set of concentric sealed tubes was entered into the core of the High Flux Reactor in Petten, Netherlands. In the smallest of these tubes sits an even smaller set of four graphite crucibles, containing a mixture of salts: lithium fluoride and thorium fluoride. The radiation in the core will provide the heat for the salt sample in the inner tube to melt. Within the salt mixture, due to the presence of thorium in the high neutron flux, over time a fission reaction will start. And although the outer tube is in contact with the hand-warm water of the reactor basin, the concentric set of tubes provides enough insulation to let the temperature of the salt raise to about 620 oC.
Sometimes, on rare occasions, I just love social media. One such occasion was when I discovered a very enthusiastic response that we got upon the publication of our article about the start of the SALIENT experiments. Now, we DID get a lot of response to that. But this one was special, as it apparently came from a professor at the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, SINAP. He told us that he and his colleagues were, I quote ‘very excited’ about the start of the experiments in Petten, Netherlands.
Met dit voorstel hebben de Nederlandse technische universiteiten, onderzoeksinstituten en bedrijven die een belangrijke bijdrage kunnen leveren aan de ontwikkeling van de Thorium gesmolten zout reactor (In het Engels: Thorium-MSR) hun krachten gebundeld met als belangrijkste doel: De ontwikkeling van een nieuwe schone en betrouwbare energiebron vòòr 2050