R&D institutions of some countries within the European Union have decided to develop “Advanced Nuclear Reactors” in the early 2000s in the search for energy production systems to meet the high electricity consumption in the EU, by preventing carbon emissions. In this context, the National Scientific Research Center of France (CNRS) has started the design of a “Molten Salt Fast Reactor – MSFR” which can work in fast neutron spectrum in Grenoble campus and can use enriched uranium, actinides and thorium cycle.
The design has been developed with successive EU projects and lastly the safety assessment project (Safety Assessment of MSFR or SAMOFAR: http://samofar.eu/) has been started covering the 2015-2019 period. Several universities from Europe and even from Mexico, as well as several European scientific institutions, are contributing the SAMOFAR project, whose coordinator is Delft Technische Universiteit from the Netherlands .
As a result of the multiple discussions, a Non-Disclosure Agreement is signed between the SAMOFAR Secretariat and FIGES on September 20, 2016.
Thus, the work package for the design of primary and secondary heat exchangers of the fast spectrum MSR, which is the subject of SAMOFAR, is left to the FIGES. In the same agreement, TUBITAK is accepted as a party to the Non-Disclosure Agreement with FIGES.
The design studies of ETR’s heat exchangers are in progress using ANSYS software. Our studies on this subject are presented in July 2017 at SAMOFAR’s Summer School and Parties Meeting in Lecco, Italy.(http://samofar.eu/summerschool/presentations-msr-summer-school-2-4-july-2017/).
Similarly, the presentation of FIGES on Heat Exchangers is included in the project progress reports presented at the 2018 SAMOFAR Summer Meeting held at the campus of Karlsruhe Technical University on July 4-5.
Why SAMOFAR project?
The completion and the realization of the SAMOFAR project would provide great benefits for the countries and consequently for Turkey which all are seeking maximum independence at energy production while looking for minimizing impacts on the environment.
Molten Salt Reactor is one of the 6 reactor types selected in 2000 by Generation IV International Forum-GIF, founded by US, France, S. Korea, Switzerland, RF, Japan, China, South Africa, Canada, and Euratom. (https://www.gen-4.org/gif/jcms/c_9260/public).
The undisputed advantages of the Molten Salt Fast Reactor (MSFR), which emerged as the newest developed design of this prototype with EU projects, are as follows:
- MSRs are extremely safe. Fukushima or Chernobyl type accidents would never happen at this reactor. Because water is not the main coolant.
- MSR is inherently safe: it works according to the rules of physics, so it stops spontaneously in the event of an emergency with its safety precautions coming with the design itself.
- Any fuel in the MSRs is in the form of liquid molten salt.
- Enriched uranium, nuclear wastes (actinides) and thorium can be used together or as binary mixtures in the MSRs.
- MSRs are very suitable to use thorium.
- MSRs use thorium to produce their own fuel after a while. Thus the resources of thorium can be used for thousands of years.
- Nuclear wastes of thorium-fueled MSRs are thousands of times less than of conventional reactors.
- Thermal energy to electricity conversion efficiency is approximately 50% (around 33% in existing nuclear reactors).
- It is possible to use MSRs both in high-temperature processes (chemical industry, hydrogen production) and in electricity generation.
- MSRs can be installed at almost any size from 100 MW up to 3000 MW at a low cost.