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 Post subject: Metal 2009
PostPosted: May 11, 2009 4:14 pm 
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In about a week, the Metal 2009 conference will be taking place in the Czech Republic. There are three interesting talks, and I'm wondering if the motivation will be from the on-going work on MSRs that is taking place in the Czech Republic (albeit at a low level).

http://www.metal2009.com/

Here are the titles of the three molten salt related talks:

Model of corrosion process in chosen Ni-based material exposed to eutectic LiF-NaF molten salts mixture.

Creep and corrosion resistance of Ni-alloys in molten NaF and LiF salt.

Analysis of elements redistribution in Ni-coated ferritic steel for molten salts technologies.


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 Post subject: Re: Metal 2009
PostPosted: May 11, 2009 8:15 pm 
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What's the background for the interest in MSR in the Czech Republic? You? Ondrej? 3 papers at the conference? What's the locus of R&D activity?


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 Post subject: Re: Metal 2009
PostPosted: May 11, 2009 10:22 pm 
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If I understand correctly there is a small research (molten salt loop) at UJF Rez by Prague. Unfortunately I dont know these guys. Here are some of their papers/presentations:
http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jns ... /1017/_pdf
http://www.fjfi.cvut.cz/con_adtt99/papers/Mo-o-b5.pdf
http://www.nea.fr/html/pt/docs/iem/lasv ... PS2_01.pdf
http://www.nea.fr/html/pt/iempt10/prese ... 9Uhlir.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: Metal 2009
PostPosted: May 11, 2009 11:35 pm 
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robert.hargraves wrote:
What's the background for the interest in MSR in the Czech Republic? You? Ondrej? 3 papers at the conference? What's the locus of R&D activity?


I've been following the work at the Nuclear Research Group in Rez for a while, and have posted a number of their papers and presentations here over the past year or so. As Ondrej mentioned, they have a molten salt loop, as well as good relationships with groups in France and Russia doing similar research. The names that tend to come up over and over are Jan Uhlir (which, ironically, means "coalman") and Miroslav Hron, although there are quite a few others. They have published papers which have a complete system for processing the salts in a full up MSR, but I think for budgetary reasons, they are working on smaller pieces of the puzzle, with an emphasis on transmutuation. They are, in my opinion, doing top notch work, and if the EU were to provide the funding for an MSR designed around the goal of processing LWR TRUs, they'd be a valuable part of the effort. What's more, there seems to be some activity and involvement by Czech industry, including both the utilities (such as CEZ) and heavy industry (like Skoda).

As for why is there this little pocket of expertise there, I have an opinion that I formed from reading a presentation by another researcher, Vladimir Lilek, on the subject of nuclear research. In the paper, there was an analysis by another scientist, Vladimir Peterka, who modeled the trends in energy use going forward. This remarkably accurate model clearly showed an increased reliance on natural gas, with the need to transition to nuclear. Dr. Lilek argued that in the long run, LWRs running on Uranium would not meet the projected energy requirements, and the only reasonable way forward was through a Thorium Cycle, one which was based around U233 breeder reactors. That line of reasoning leads straight to MSRs. I think that this opinion represented the views of at least part the Czech nuclear establishment, which is why that pocket of expertise exists there.

Let me stress, though, that this is just an opinion bordering on a guess. I'm 8000 miles away in California, and only know what I know through the limited reading I've done. The picture I've outlined seems to be emerging from what I've read, though, which is why I post in drips and drabs some of the indications of MSR related research I find.


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 Post subject: Re: Metal 2009
PostPosted: May 12, 2009 12:43 am 
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If I recall correctly a Czeck was involved with similar research with the Soviet Union. Perhaps this is the same group.

Here is a paper describing their history.
http://www.oecdnea.org/html/trw/docs/mo ... paper9.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: Metal 2009
PostPosted: Jul 11, 2009 1:35 pm 
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So, a LFTR developer might be able to buy fluoride reprocessing equipment, if he waves money, and gives the Czechs time to recreate the equipment and commercial organization.

"Technology was proven" sounds pretty good. That means that instead of a blue sky research project, it's just engineering. All that's lacking are customers.


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 Post subject: Re: Metal 2009
PostPosted: Jul 11, 2009 1:51 pm 
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There are many pieces to this puzzle in various states of development so when you say it is just engineering we need some definition of terms.
We need to identify the state for each of the component technologies and then for a specific design one can say how long it might take to develop.


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 Post subject: Re: Metal 2009
PostPosted: Jul 11, 2009 2:31 pm 
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Well, but the technology was actually deployed, in hot cells. That means that substantial development has already occurred. Also, the technology program stopped in 1998, ten years ago. That means that most of the personnel of the project are still alive.

The scale of this project was small for a national reprocessing plant, but -exactly- the size needed for a LFTR power plant (2-6 Kg/day).

The technology technology needed by the LFTR is probably the easy subset. The risky parts of that project were probably the conversion of solid oxides to fluorides, without destroying the processing equipment. Thoria is the most refractory oxide known. A LFTR's reprocessing won't need "flame fluoridizers." (gives me chills just to think of what those are doing)

Reviving the needed technology is therefore very possible. An entrepreneur would just need a reason, (such as a confirmed customer for example.) Existing blueprints could be located, or reproduced. Scale up from models would take two years. Profit would follow.


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 Post subject: Re: Metal 2009
PostPosted: Jul 11, 2009 3:06 pm 
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rgvandewalker wrote:
Well, but the technology was actually deployed, in hot cells. That means that substantial development has already occurred. Also, the technology program stopped in 1998, ten years ago. That means that most of the personnel of the project are still alive.

The scale of this project was small for a national reprocessing plant, but -exactly- the size needed for a LFTR power plant (2-6 Kg/day).

The technology technology needed by the LFTR is probably the easy subset. The risky parts of that project were probably the conversion of solid oxides to fluorides, without destroying the processing equipment. Thoria is the most refractory oxide known. A LFTR's reprocessing won't need "flame fluoridizers." (gives me chills just to think of what those are doing)

Reviving the needed technology is therefore very possible. An entrepreneur would just need a reason, (such as a confirmed customer for example.) Existing blueprints could be located, or reproduced. Scale up from models would take two years. Profit would follow.



IF you mean using fluoride volatility to separate the volatiles (U, Np, Pu, + Mo, Tc, Se, Te, Ru, Nb, and I) from the non-volatiles then the work needed is to scale up and cost optimize. Using this for processing LWR SNF means you need a pretty high throughput. Using such a process for onsite processing at a LFTR nuclear power station requires much less capacity. From other information I've read for SNF processing one would prefer to start with HF and create a molten salt with UF4. Then use the F2 gas to go the last step. But this is work for an industrial engineer in chemistry. It does appear that this stage of processing is well in hand.

(Not so clear is the separation of the various gasses here - it seems to be presumed that this isn't hard but I haven't seen results with numbers).

IF you mean the second step of liquid metal extraction or electro separation then as they said in 2008 "Current R&D is focused to determine the basic technical conditions for electrochemical separation of individual components (actinides and fission products) from carrier molten salts."
http://www.nea.fr/html/pt/iempt10/prese ... 9Uhlir.pdf pg 13.


As to being in business, I'm wondering if the job of cleaning up the orginal MSRE isn't a wonderful vehicle for a company to get paid to convert the technology developed by ORNL into semicommercial operation.


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 Post subject: Re: Metal 2009
PostPosted: Jul 11, 2009 7:41 pm 
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honzik wrote:
I've been following the work at the Nuclear Research Group in Rez for a while, and have posted a number of their papers and presentations here over the past year or so. As Ondrej mentioned, they have a molten salt loop, as well as good relationships with groups in France and Russia doing similar research. The names that tend to come up over and over are Jan Uhlir (which, ironically, means "coalman") and Miroslav Hron, although there are quite a few others.


I met Jan Uhlir at the ANS conference in Atlanta a few weeks ago and we had lunch.


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