Microfluidic Alpha Spectrometer for Materials Accountancy and Control in Liquid-Fueled Molten Salt Reactors

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Program:
OPEN 2021
Award:
$2,418,576
Location:
Knoxville,
Tennessee
Status:
ACTIVE
Project Term:
08/29/2022 - 08/28/2025
Website:

Critical Need:

Advanced nuclear reactor power plants have the potential to play a critical role in decarbonizing the electric grid. Liquid-fueled molten salt reactors (LF-MSRs) are a promising type of advanced reactor that could come online in the next decade, and will require near-real-time material accountancy and control (MC&A) for licensing and operation. MC&A will give visibility into the uranium and transuranic isotopic composition for process monitoring and nonproliferation goals. It could also be a key enabler for safe, secure, and efficient recycling of used nuclear fuel.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT) will develop a high-temperature, chemically resistant, diamond-based microfluidic alpha spectrometer (DiMAS) that will enable accurate online and/or at-line (the sample is removed and analyzed near the production process) measurement of alpha-emitting isotopes in LF-MSR fuel. The team will develop an optimal spectrometer design by using experimental and computational methods to evaluate the sensor architecture, packaging, and performance. The team also plans to develop on-site data processing algorithms that will provide rapid information via remote transmission to the end user as well as a commercial integration and maintenance strategy for LF-MSRs. UT’s DiMAS is expected to improve material control and accountability for LF-MSR fuel salts and reduce the cost of meeting regulatory requirements.

Potential Impact:

To accurately account for the fuel and transuranic composition within a liquid-fueled molten salt, UT will create a novel alpha spectrometer to measure the elemental and isotopic composition of the fuel.

Security:

A DiMAS design will enable heightened nuclear security from more accurate, real-time measurements.

Environment:

With the emerging deployment of molten salt reactors that boast higher efficiency and safety to combat climate change, the market for the DiMAS is expected to grow in the coming decades.

Economy:

As the market grows for diamond-related technologies (e.g., electrochemistry, optoelectronics, radiation sensing, high power switching devices), additional vendors are expected to emerge and drive down the price of diamond to further advance its utilization in the market.

Contact

ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Jenifer Shafer
Project Contact:
Dr. Eric Lukosi
Press and General Inquiries Email:
ARPA-E-Comms@hq.doe.gov
Project Contact Email:
elukosi@utk.edu

Partners

Argonne National Laboratory
Terrestrial Energy USA, Inc.

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Release Date:
02/11/2021