Meeting Information

Thorium Fuel-Cycle Based Molten Salt Reactor (MSR): Safeguards, Materials and Chemistry

May 15, 2019
American Center for Physics
College Park, MD

Date: Wed., May 15, 2019 (NOTE: Day and Date)

Speaker: Dr. Jinsuo Zhang, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Topic: Thorium Fuel-Cycle Based Molten Salt Reactor (MSR): Safeguards, Materials and Chemistry

Time and Location: 1:00 p.m., with Q&A to follow in a 1st floor conference room at the American Center for Physics (, 1 Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD — off River Rd., between Kenilworth Ave. and Paint Branch Parkway.

Abstract: Using molten fluorides as both fuel and coolant is the motivation behind the molten salt breeder reactor (MSBR) and other similar designs. In these schematics, the fuel (typically in the form of trifluorides or tetrafluorides) is used as a fuel blanket or dissolved directly into the primary coolant. The seminar will discuss a thorium fuel-cycle-based MSR, the liquid-fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR), which is a liquid fueled reactor with on-line salt separation. The concept has many unique features with safeguards, safety and materials consequences including liquid fuel, the potential combination of both reactor and fuel reprocessing plants, homogeneous fuel salt mixture, coolant salt, fission products and actinides, etc. In consideration of all of these features/characteristics, nontraditional safeguards approaches and new monitoring technologies and models for tracking flow of fissile materials and measuring/predicting liquid fuel compositions need to be developed. In addition, the fission products and other decay daughters will be generated directly in the malt slat, which will lead material concerns such the salt chemistry and materials corrosion. The seminar will analyze the nonproliferation concerns and discuss a modeling approach for safeguarding the reactor. For the salt chemistry, the seminar will firstly identify the impurities and then will discuss potential on-line methods for salt purification and chemistry control. For the materials corrosion, the seminar will discuss the corrosion issues and how to control and mitigate corrosion by molten salt. 

Biography: Prof. J. Zhang has been a professor of the Nuclear Engineering program in Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (known as Virginia Tech) since January 2017. He was an associate professor at The Ohio State University (OSU) through Sept. 2012 to Dec. 2016. Before that, Prof. Zhang had been a staff scientist of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) through 2004 to 2012, and a postdoc research associate through 2001 to 2004. Prof. Zhang focuses on studies of advanced used nuclear fuel reprocessing, material compatibility and materials corrosion in advanced and current nuclear reactors. Ongoing research activities in Prof. Zhang’s research team are: 1) Nuclear Materials compatibility (materials corrosion, degradation and characterization, FCCI of metallic nuclear fuel), 2) Nuclear Fuel Cycle Technology, 3) Electrochemical Separation and technology development, 4) molten salt and liquid metal chemistry control.