Gen-IV Demos: MSR Technical Session (Technical session)

Date & Venue: Wednesday October 5 at 15:45-17:30, Room Mississauga, Delta Hotel, Toronto, Canada.

Workshop Focus

MSRs have seen a resurgence in interest over the past two decades. Proposed designs include both thermal and fast spectrum systems as well as designs with time and spatially varying spectra. Nearly every form of fertile and fissile material is being considered for its potential in an MSR fuel cycle.

MSRs have a number of advantageous characteristics ranging from high-temperature operation (and consequent increased thermodynamic efficiency) to low-pressure operation reducing the driving force for radionuclide dispersal in the event of an accident.  MSRs also tend to have strong negative reactivity feedback characteristics and effective passive decay heat rejection.

On the other hand, the extended distribution of radionuclides can necessitate fully remote maintenance. Molten salt can also become highly corrosive if exposed to oxidative impurities. Overall, MSRs have substantial technology differences from LWRs necessitating different approaches to safety assessment, safeguards, and operations.

Research fields and gaps in knowledge remain extensive when considering MSR technology globally. The diversity of concepts under development worldwide does not align with a coordinated R&D program focused on one concept that would minimize time to market.

Consequently, the international research community supports addressing crosscutting issues (salt properties, materials, system studies and modeling, safety concepts) whereas vendors address design specific issues (technologies, licensing, fuel salt supply…).

In this workshop, major R&D activities and technical challenges including vendors’ expectations for supporting developments were presented.

Session summary

The MSR technical session at the GIF Industry forum provided a broad overview of both GIF cooperation activities and industry progress.  The session opened with a discussion of the wide diversity of MSR concepts under development including thermal, fast, time-varying, and spatially-varying spectra; nearly every form of fertile and fissile material; widely varying power outputs; and diverse physical configurations.  Next, a broad overview of the common, advantageous characteristics of MSRs (high temperature, low-pressure, strong negative reactivity feedback, and effective decay heat rejection) was provided.  Following this a discussion on cross-cutting R&D issues (salt properties, materials, systems studies and modeling, and safety concepts) that are being commonly considered in an open scientific format by the GIF MSR members.  Developing a common approach to demonstrating adequate MSR was a particular point of emphasis.  Following this, Canadian MSR reactor developers provided an overview of their current technology status and recent progress and a representative from a fuel cycle systems developer provided their vision of MSR potentials, challenges, and R&D needs.  The session featured discussions between audience members and the each of the presenters.


Opening remarks by Stéphane Bourg (CEAFrance)
MSR International collaboration in R&D by Stéphane Bourg (CEAFrance)
MSR Safety R&D by David Holcomb (ORNLUnited States of America)
MSR Materials R&D by Stéphane Bourg (CEAFrance)
Carbon-Free Energy for Global Industry by Maria Ivanova (Terrestrial EnergyCanada)
Moltex reactor and recycling technology by Andrew Ballard (MoltexCanada)
Closing remarks by Stéphane Bourg (CEAFrance)