Radiochemical Facilities for the Molten Salts in Nuclear Technologies Network

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Chem Eng and Analytical Science

Abstract

The Molten Salt in Nuclear Technology Laboratory (MSNTL) aims to provide a network of research equipment and expertise to support the recently expanding interests in molten salt technologies for use in next generation nuclear fuel cycles. Recent world-wide interest in molten salt reactor (MSR) technology in advanced nuclear reactor designs presents an ideal opportunity to utilise the UK's established expertise in spent nuclear fuel pyroprocessing to make a vital contribution to the emerging development of this reactor type. Even though there has recently been substantial investment in MSR designs across numerous companies and institutes, there are still substantial research challenges that need to be addressed to allow the deployment of these advanced reactors. The MSNTL addresses a gap in capability by providing user access to state-of-the-art research facilities that can safely handle fluoride melts (the dominant salt type in MSRs) with radionuclides and radiation doses that will be present in these reactor process environments. The equipment provided in the MSNTL will allow the safe assessment of salt and materials behavior in process-like demanding environments, and enable the development of valid management strategies for waste streams from molten salt technologies. The MSNTL forms a key component in a large network of facilities that can provide comprehensive assessments of molten salt technologies across radioactivity levels and process scales.

Planned Impact

The MSNTL facilities will be able to provide the following key academic and industrial impacts with the associated beneficiaries:
1) Contribute to databases of physicochemical parameters pertaining to molten salt media with various compositions that are relevant to nuclear process environments
2) Structural materials performance assessments for molten salt technologies across process-like conditions, including radionuclide content, radiation doses and salt type, providing comprehensive selection criteria to determine material type/s for structural containment of molten salt technologies in nuclear processes - to be utilised by design companies in the nuclear supply chain who intend to implement molten salt technologies, like molten salt reactors and pyroprocessing. Potential for cross-over into other technology areas (see Section 2.4 below).
3) Understanding of the behaviour of nuclear graphite and other graphitic materials upon exposure to molten salt media including the impact of irradiation and interactions with radionuclides - to be utilised by molten salt reactor design companies in safety cases of molten salt reactor designs where nuclear graphite is used as moderator materials or in graphitic coated fuels.
4) Development of novel molten salt technologies for decontaminating materials from nuclear processes for reclassification to lower waste categories, and advanced processes for the effective treatment and disposal of salt-bearing nuclear waste streams as part of an integrated waste management strategy - For use by nuclear supply chain companies in decommissioning programmes. Can ensure the continuation of these companies beyond the decommissioning of the current generation of nuclear plants by providing strategies for the management of the next generation of nuclear reactors. Thereby, providing employment security and the capability to develop long-term plans for supporting local infrastructure. Benefits for the UK NDA and equivalent decommissioning bodies world-wide reducing GDF requirements and ultimately the tax-paying general public.
5) Journal and conference publications will be submitted from work performed at the MSNTL - for the benefit of the entire nuclear and molten salt technology communities. (Note: The use of Mendeley Data for the sharing of large quantities of data will be used in this programme, where appropriate. Agreements will be made between the user and the MSNTL on a case-by-case basis where open access of data may not be possible, such as IP and export control concerns.)

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Advanced Fuel Cycle Programme - Pyroprocessing
Amount £774,982 (GBP)
Organisation National Nuclear Laboratory 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2020 
End 06/2021
 
Description KAIST-DAWNMANTLE 
Organisation Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
Country Korea, Republic of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Studies on the contamination processes of stainless steel in molten salt process operations. Particle irradiation of stainless steel materials to mimic likely the likely radiation exposure of such materials in various nuclear operations. Preparation of materials to be used to decontamination testing. All as part of the Dawnmantle consortium supported by EPSRC (UK) and NRF (Korea) through the UK-ROK Civil Nuclear partnership.
Collaborator Contribution Studies on the development of Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy to monitor molten salt compositions. Effluent treatment of possible associated waste streams from molten salt operations. All as part of the Dawnmantle consortium supported by EPSRC (UK) and NRF (Korea) through the UK-ROK Civil Nuclear partnership.
Impact J. T. M. Amphlett, S. Choi, S. A. Parry, E. M. Moon, C. A. Sharrad and M. D. Ogden, Insights on uranium uptake mechanisms by ion exchange resins with chelating functionalities: Chelation vs. anion exchange, Chem. Eng. J (2020) 392, 123712. DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2019.123712 Multidisciplinary: Chemistry, Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, Analytical Science
Start Year 2019
 
Description Ulsan - Dawnmantle 
Organisation Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology
Country Korea, Republic of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Studies on the contamination processes of stainless steel in molten salt process operations. Particle irradiation of stainless steel materials to mimic likely the likely radiation exposure of such materials in various nuclear operations. Preparation of materials to be used to decontamination testing.
Collaborator Contribution Preparation of steel materials to mimic exposure in reactor operations.
Impact Multidisciplinary - Chemistry, Materials, Chemical Engineering
Start Year 2019
 
Description Molten Salts in Nuclear Technology Laboratory 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Promotion of the Molten Salts in Nuclear Technology Laboratory National Nuclear User Facility to the molten salt user community represented by the Royal Society of Chemistry Molten Salts and Ionic Liquids Discussion Group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019