March 29, 2017

NEEDS : AREVA NP Lyon welcomes the French scientific community

Last month, AREVA NP welcomed the French scientific community involved in research and development of 4th-generation Molten Salt Fast Reactors (MSFRs) to Lyon. This gave more than 30 researchers and engineers the chance to take stock of and discuss the technical advances being made as part of the NEEDS challenge coordinated by the CNRS and focusing on this topic.

Over the last few years, experts from AREVA NP have been helping with upstream research into concepts for molten salt fast neutron reactors, as part of the NEEDS challenge or within the framework of the European project SAMOFAR. The support provided has mainly concerned the structuring of safety approaches in the design phase.

NEEDS = Nucléaire, Energie, Environnement, Déchets, Société [Nuclear, Energy, Environment, Waste, Society].

Research challenge which seeks to bring together interdisciplinary research efforts in the field of nuclear energy, to envisage all aspects of the relationship between society, nature and nuclear technology.

What is the MSFR reactor?

The MSFR is a liquid salt reactor, in which the fuel also acts as the coolant. This solution has some major benefits:

  • The liquid circulates at atmospheric pressure which reduces risks of leaks and allows the design to be simplified, meaning that the fuel can be processed on a continuous basis, without having to interrupt the production of energy.

However, there is still much research to be done, in particular relating to resistance to corrosion, both for the heat exchangers and for the reactor vessel.