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UTSI Playing Key Role in ARPA-E OPEN Project to Advance Liquid-Fueled Molten Salt Reactors

UT-led research to design a process to expedite sample taking and testing in liquid-fueled molten salt reactors (LF-MSR) recently received $2,418,576 for a period of three years from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) OPEN program.

The project, “Microfluidic Alpha Spectrometer for Materials Accountancy and Control in Liquid-Fueled Molten Salt Reactors,” has a key feature of having an on-site spectrometry system that would not only save operators the time and expense with measuring the fuel composition of the molten salt, but it will also help improve material control and accountancy.

That’s where the UTSI’s important role comes into play.

UTSI Research Scientist Brian Canfield, of the Center for Laser Applications, will conduct precise ultrafast laser micromachining of the diamond chips that are central to the spectrometry aspect of the research, a vital piece of the project’s overall success.

Developing a structurally robust and chemically resistant diamond-based spectrometer that can operate at high temperatures in the corrosive reactor environment itself will greatly improve and simplify the testing process,” said Canfield. “Samples will not need to be extracted and then tested at a remote location, saving both time and expense. The diamond alpha spectrometer ideally can also survive many test cycles, further decreasing expenses. In turn, material control will be enhanced, and the cost of regulation will go down.

Eric Lukosi, an associate professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is the overall lead on the program.  

More on the project can be found here.