The use of passive shutdown systems to enhance safety is one element of next-generation reactor design. The Freeze-Valve has been proposed as a key device in the passive system to stop the chain reaction of the Molten Salt Reactor (MSR), which has been chosen by Generation IV International Forum (GIF) as one of the six Generation IV reactor concepts. During reactor normal operation, the molten salt in the valve is cooled to a solid plug. In the event that the reactor overheats under accident conditions when all other active control systems fail, the plug will melt. The liquid fuel salt will be pulled out from the reactor core by gravity into dump tanks, and criticality will cease because the reaction is no longer moderated by the graphite in the reactor core. The more accurate the Freeze-Valve’s thermal design is, the more efficient the passive shutdown system becomes. In this study, an investigation of the thermal performance of the Freeze-Valve is conducted based on finite element methods verified by experimental data, and some modified designs are presented with recommendations. For further consideration, some innovative governing techniques used to control the Freeze-Valve are discussed in detail. Here, a more critical thermal design is focused on that can make the passive system shut down the nuclear reactor quickly and reliably. The Freeze-Valve can be used in the molten salt loop rather than a mechanical valve, which may become jammed by frozen salt.
Paper published with permission.