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New Technology | Molten Salt Reactor

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Irradiation may slow metal corrosion in molten salt

Irradiation may slow corrosion of alloys in molten salt, a team of Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists has found in preliminary tests.

The researchers put samples of stainless steel and a nickel-based alloy in capsules in the Ohio State University Research Reactor and exposed them to a molten chloride salt with simultaneous neutron irradiation. In their experiment, steel that was irradiated in molten salt showed less corrosion than samples that went through the same environmental treatment but without irradiation.

Though a small sample size was used in the study, further research could support their findings and inform future molten salt reactor designs.

“These types of irradiation experiments help ORNL generate data directly impacting material selections for reactor designers,” said ORNL’s Dianne Ezell. “This could be a significant step in overcoming one of the largest hurdles for molten salt reactors.”


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ORNL’s molten salt history opens door for research into solar power

Thanks in large part to developing and operating a facility for testing molten salt reactor (MSR) technologies, nuclear experts at the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are now tackling the next generation of another type of clean energy—concentrating solar thermal power (CSP).

The Energy Department’s Solar Energy Technologies Office selected the ORNL-based team to develop a molten chloride salt facility as part of the Generation 3 Concentrating Solar Power Systems (Gen3 CSP) program. The Gen3 CSP program supports research in materials and facilities that could allow future CSP plants to operate at higher temperatures and lower the cost of electricity production. Continue Reading.


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Extreme engineering: Embedding instrumentation and control at 700 degrees Celsius

When it comes to a challenging application for embedded instrumentation and control, none quite beats an environment of molten salt at 700 degrees Celsius.

But that is just the application chosen by scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to demonstrate the advantage of embedding controls—or systems that drive moment-by-moment adjustments to a machine or process to improve efficiency and reliability. Continue Reading.


Group Leader
N Dianne Bull Ezell