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PostPosted: May 14, 2007 12:33 pm 
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On page 316-318 of ORNL-3708, written in 1964, I found mention of the interest in chloride reactors and two phase diagrams, one of NaCl-KCl-PuCl3 and another of NaCl-KCl-UCl3.

ORNL-3708, pg 316-318 wrote:
Molten Salts as Fast Reactor Fuels

The availability of large amounts of plutonium and the potential advantages in the use of fast neutrons for breeding have prompted consideration of molten chloride fuels. Separated isotopic 37Cl would be used (at 98% enrichment) but would have to be conserved. Some information is available on the binary systems of alkali metal chlorides with UCl3, the valence state of uranium which, for compatibility reasons, would be used in a chloride system. Additional study of the system KCl-UCl3 is in progress at ORNL. From the available information on binary mixtures, Thoma has predicted the behavior of relatively simple ternary systems.

Figure 14 presents a predicted diagram for the system NaCl-KCl-PuCl3. Very substantial solubility of plutonium is predicted at temperatures between 500 and 600C. Figure 15 presents a similar diagram for the system NaCl-KCl-UCl3, and, again, very substantial solubilities of uranium are predicted for the temperature range 500 to 600C.

The similarities in the uranium and plutonium systems suggest that it may be feasible to achieve the desired plutonium to uranium ratios of 5:1, a heavy metal concentration of 30 to 55 mole %, and a liquidus temperature below 550C. Testing of these predictions will be included in future chemical development.

The thermodynamic stability of metals and their chlorides in the presence of UCl3 and PuCl3 has been the subject of calculations by Newton and by Long. From the point of view of corrosion by the salt, chromium is considered to be somewhat worse than iron, nickel is better, and tungsten and molybdenum are much better; iron is considered to be probably good enough. The combination of an iron-molten chloride-molten lead system, based on available thermodynamic information, appears to be acceptable chemically with respect to corrosion of the iron by lead, to contamination of the melt by FeCl2, and to uptake of uranium by the molten lead. Future chemical development will require laboratory and intermediate-scale loop testing of these tentative conclusions.


I had not realized that ORNL had taken interest in chloride reactors at that early date, and had already begun examining the phase diagrams.


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PostPosted: May 17, 2008 11:33 am 
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Kirk Sorensen
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had not realized that ORNL had taken interest in chloride reactors at that early date, and had already begun examining the phase diagrams.


Kirk according of ORNL quarterly reports on the ANP project, my father was doing research on chloride salt fuel chemistry as far back as 1952! My father appears to have been the primary Liquid Chloride researcher, and I am wondering if his political problems at ORNL in the mid-1950's might have closed off that promising line of research.

See this 1956 ORNL report FUSED SALT FAST BREEDER (CF-56-8-204)
http://www.energyfromthorium.com/pdf/CF-56-8-204.pdf


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