The development and deployment of molten salt reactor (MSR) technologies have attracted significant attention from both the public and private sectors across the globe, with a particular focus on their potential applications in nuclear energy. At the international level, the primary concern is with reactor technology, while safety and licensing also receive some attention.
Recognizing the importance of fuel cycle chemistry in MSR development and deployment, the NEA Expert Group on Fuel Recycling and Waste Technology (EGFRW) and IAEA Technical Working Group on Nuclear Fuel Cycle Options and Spent Fuel Management (TWG-NFCO) have jointly organized an international workshop on the chemistry of fuel cycles for MSR technologies in Vienna, Austria. The event took place between October 2-6, 2023, and drew over 40 participants from 13 countries and the European Commission. Among them were MSR developers, R&D organizations, regulators, industry experts, and others.
The workshop program included several technical sessions covering various aspects of MSR concepts and nuclear fuel cycles. Salt preparation was also a topic of discussion during these sessions. Other topics covered online and offline processing as well as cross-cutting issues related to MSRs. Each session featured technical presentations followed by a “thoughts from the floor” session to address uncovered topics. A panel discussion involving all presenters rounded out each session. During working sessions, participants engaged in further discussions and collaborated to identify gaps in research and development needs in areas such as experimental underpinning, irradiations, monitoring and operation, irradiated fuel treatment (material streams), among others. They also discussed potential solutions to these issues before making recommendations for future activities.
The workshop’s success served to highlight growing worldwide interest in MSR technologies while emphasizing the value that international cooperation can bring to scientific communities, MSR developers, future users of these technologies.
In conclusion, Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) technologies are currently attracting great interest from both public and private sectors globally for a wide range of nuclear applications worldwide. The importance of fuel cycle chemistry has been recognized by members of NEA Expert Group on Fuel Recycling and Waste Technology (EGFRW) & IAEA Technical Working Group on Nuclear Fuel Cycle Options & Spent Fuel Management (TWG-NFCO). To address challenges related to chemical processes & technologies in MSR fuel cycles; they jointly organized an international workshop held in Vienna which focused on reactor technology with some attention given to safety & licensing while acknowledging that there is a need for further research & development activities that will be carried out collaboratively among stakeholders.