Flibe Energy sent Dr. Matthew Lish and summer intern Jackson Breakell to the MSR summer school sponsored by SAMOFAR in Lecco, Italy. The SAMOFAR Molten Salt Reactor Summer School was an opportunity for students and researchers from across the globe to help facilitate the growth of Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs). The venue, at Politechnico di Milano (POLIMI) satellite campus is located in the urban center, surrounded by the towering Italian Alps. A warm welcome from SAMOFAR organizer Jan Leen Kloosterman of TU Delft and the host Stefano Lorenzi of POLIMI greeted the participants as the school began.

Cyril Rodenburg of Terrestrial Energy presented the history of molten salt research in America. This included findings from the eccentric Aircraft Reactor Experiment, Molten Salt Reactor Experiment and the Molten Salt Breeder Reactor design. Victor Ignatiev of the Kurchatov Institute presented information on Russia’s MSR research and salt loops, and their MOSART MSR design. After a long day of travel and lecture, participants discussed the findings of many students and researchers over cocktails in a poster session. For dinner, many people who were residing in the on-campus housing bonded over a Guinness with discussions of nuclear energy and geopolitics in an Irish pub downtown.

The second day started with Prof. Kloosterman’s presentation on the diversity of MSRs, with notable designs from China’s SINAP, Russia, SAMOFAR and the EU, and vendors such as Flibe Energy, Terrestrial Energy, and Thorcon. Participants noted the important differences of each company’s design such as thermal or fast spectrum and one or two- fluid systems. Afterwards, neutronics (including the effects of delayed neutrons) and safety analysis of both fast and thermal spectra MSRs were covered by Sandra Dulla of POLITO and Elsa Merle of CNRS, respectively. Other topics covered on the second day were fuel cycle aspects, thermal-hydraulics, CFD, multiphysics simulation, and control strategies given by Jiri Krepel of PSI, Pablo Rubiolo of CNRS, Dannny Lathouwers of TU Delft, and Stefano Lorenzi of POLIMI, respectively. After a long day of learning, the group met for a spectacular dinner on the lake. The atmosphere was one of excitement and joy, with the ambition of “new nuclear” powered by molten salts.

The last day of the school began with a presentation on neutron noise analysis by Imre Pazsit. Neutron noise analysis can be used to detect anomalies and determine operational parameters non-intrusively. Ondrej Benes of ITU discussed Thermodynamics and Gibbs energy in molten salts. A vital presentation for many, Victor Ignatev discussed materials and metals useful for MSRs, comparing data from American, European, Russian, and Chinese alloys along with data on corrosion and cracking in the nickel-based alloys used in molten salts. Sylvie Delpech of CNRS detailed the fuel reprocessing chemistry, including redox, fluorination, and reductive extraction. This concluded the SAMOFAR Molten Salt Reactor Summer School, a successful event that led to many interpersonal connections and the exchange of information in an international effort to pursue, develop, and ultimately deploy molten salt reactors.

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