Author: Johan Simu
Availability: Downloadable, from http://nuclearpoweryesplease.org/pub/thunder%2013-12.pdf
This is my master of science thesis. It is a basic reactor physics studie of a new kind of reactor: A heavy water moderated molten salt reactor.
In this thesis the basic design of a conceptual molten salt reactor, THUNDER, is introduced. THUNDER is a heavy water moderated molten salt reactor, running on a closed thorium fuel cycle. The design is loosely based on the CANDU reactor with individual fuel channels and unpressurized, cold moderator. The purpose of THUNDER is to combine the attractive properties associated with:
- The superior neutron economy of having heavy water as moderator
- The low production of long lived minor actinides in radioactive waste and the ability to obtain breeding in a thermal neutron spectrum, wich are attractive features of the thorium fuel cycle
- The unique safety characteristics of molten salt reactors along with the ability for online fuel reprocessing
The results of the study are encouraging but not conclusive. By selecting an optimal set of design parameters it seems feasible to achieve a critical reactor with acceptable safety characteristics, and that a self breeding equilibrium state can be obtained, in wich the reactor is fuelled only with fertile thorium. THUNDER is shown to have a slight advantage over graphite through a higher conversion ratio, but it is not clear if THUNDER has any significant overall advantage over graphite moderated molten salt reactors.