Nuclear Science and Engineering / Volume 161 / Number 1 / January 2009 / Pages 78-89
Molten Salt Reactors based on the thorium cycle were studied in the 1950 to 1960s to lead to the Molten Salt Breeder Reactor concept, which was finally discontinued prior to any industrial development. In the past few years, this concept has once again been studied in order to generalize it and seek configurations ensuring a high intrinsic safety level, an initial inventory compatible with intensive deployment on a worldwide scale, and a not-too-demanding salt chemical reprocessing scheme.
The Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (TMSR) thus defined is studied in the Th-233U cycle in various configurations obtained by modulating the amount of graphite in core to obtain a thermal, an epithermal, or a fast spectrum. In particular, configurations of a fast spectrum TMSR have been identified with outstanding safety characteristics and minimal fuel-reprocessing requirements.