Monday, December 14, 2009

The Economist on Gen IV nuclear technology

Alright my fellow nukeheads, take a look at this interesting post on different reactor types by the Economist magazine.

"The sixth shortlisted design, the molten salt reactor (MSR), works by dissolving nuclear fuel in a fluoride solution, which acts as both the fuel and the coolant in the reactor core. The molten salt, which has good heat-transfer properties and can be heated to temperatures above 1,000{degree}C without boiling, is moderated using graphite. The circulation of the fuel in this way eliminates the need for fuel fabrication and allows for continuous online reprocessing. It also makes the design well suited to the use of existing fissile material, which can be easily blended into the fuel mixture. And like fast reactors, the MSR can be designed to burn up many of the longer-lived byproducts of the fission process, resulting in nuclear waste that is much less radioactive than that produced by the once-through cycle."

The article is a pretty good introduction to several reactor designs and the technical aspects of each. I recommend it as a primer for those of you who are curious as to where we stand with nuclear research. Happy reading.


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