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Severe Accident Modeling and Safety Assessment for Fluid-fuel Energy Reactors

Project description

First tests on the safety of molten salt reactors

Molten salt reactors (MSRs) are one of several next-generation (Gen IV) nuclear reactor designs under development today. Efforts to revive older nuclear designs have been bubbling up in the EU, Russia and US, and many start-ups are trying to commercialise the technology. Further work is needed to test the safety of the reactor and the nuclear fuel cycle facilities, and demonstrate the path towards technology licensing and deployment. The EU-funded SAMOSAFER project will use advanced numerical and experimental techniques to prove the safety of MSRs. The project, which represents the first step towards large-scale validation and demonstration of the technology, aims to ensure that MSRs can comply with all expected safety requirements.


The Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) is considered a game-changer in the field of nuclear energy and a strong asset in the combat against climate change. The expanding R&D programmes in China, EU, Russia, and the USA, lead to a vibrant atmosphere with many bright students entering the scene and new start-up companies eager to commercialize this technology.

The MSR typically consists of a reactor core with a liquid fuel salt, and an integrated treatment unit to clean and control the fuel salt composition. Due to the liquid fuel, the MSR excels on safety and can operate as a breeder with thorium or uranium, or as a burner of spent fuel actinides.

However, to make these promises reality, R&D is needed to demonstrate the inherent safety of the reactor, the feasibility of the fuel cycle facilities, and the path towards licensing and deployment. This will take time during which the safety requirements will become more stringent.

This proposal aims to develop and demonstrate new safety barriers and a more controlled behaviour in severe accidents, based on new simulation models and assessment tools validated with experiments.

Our proposal cover the modelling, analysis, and design improvements on:
• Prevention and control of reactivity induced accidents
• Redistribution of the fuel salt via natural circulation and draining by gravity
• Freezing and re-melting of the fuel salt during draining
• Temperature control of the salt via decay heat transfer to the environment
• Thermo-chemical control of the salt to enhance the radionuclide retention
• Nuclide extraction processes, such as helium bubbling, fluorination, and others
• Redistribution of the source term in the fuel treatment unit
• Assessment and reduction of radionuclide mobility
• Barriers against severe accidents, such as fail-safe freeze plugs, emergency drain tanks, and gas hold-up tanks

The grand objective is to ensure that the MSR can comply with all expected safety requirements in a few decades from now.


Net EU contribution
€ 736 190,90
Stevinweg 1
2628 CN Delft

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West-Nederland Zuid-Holland Delft en Westland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 98 287,68

Participants (15)