The Integrated Effects Test, or IET, is the largest chloride salt system in the world and will be instrumental in helping to develop the team’s Molten Chloride Fast Reactor (MCFR) technology.
The installation of the IET was part of a seven-year, $76 million cost-shared project with the U.S. Department of Energy to further develop the MCFR system.
TerraPower and SCS, a subsidiary of Southern Company, plan to demonstrate the reactor in the early 2030s.
The Integrated Effects Test
The Integrated Effects Test is a multi-loop test facility that builds off of a series of smaller testing campaigns to inform its design. The non-nuclear system is heated by an external power source and will be used to help validate the thermal hydraulics and safety analysis codes needed to demonstrate molten salt reactor systems.
The IET also supports the development of the Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment at Idaho National Laboratory, which will be the world’s first fast spectrum salt reactor.
The MCRE is being funded through DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program and will help inform the design, licensing and operation of the MCFR demonstration.
“The completion and installation of the Integrated Effects Test is an important step to advancing TerraPower’s Molten Chloride Fast Reactor technology,” said Jeff Latkowski, TerraPower’s senior vice president of innovation programs. “The MCFR will play a pivotal role in decarbonizing heavy industries, and we are proud to work with Southern Company, CORE POWER, and other partners to develop the systems necessary to bring new reactors to market.”
“Southern Company’s research and development program is committed to advancing next-generation nuclear as part of a diverse technology portfolio supporting our goal of a net-zero future for customers,” said Dr. Mark S. Berry, Southern Company Services senior vice president of R&D. “We are honored to engage with TerraPower, the Department of Energy and the other team members to further this goal through the Integrated Effects Test. Collaborations of this kind are critical to making transformational change in our energy system a reality.”
CORE POWER, EPRI, Idaho National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Vanderbilt University all contributed to the IET project.
Developing Molten Chloride Fast Reactor Technology
Southern Company and TerraPower are working together to develop a molten chloride fast reactor that uses liquid salts as both a coolant and fuel. This allows the reactor to operate at high temperatures to produce heat or clean power more efficiently than today’s reactors.
The team received a $45 million Advanced Reactor Concepts Award in 2015 from DOE to help advance liquid-fueled molten salt reactor technologies. The goal was to help re-establish the expertise and research infrastructure that had been stalled since the 1960s with termination of ORNL’s Molten Salt Reactor Experiment.
Major achievements under the award included more than 60 separate effects tests that led to the construction of the IET and the successful scale-up of its salt manufacturing processes. Over the next few years, the project team will carry out the Integrated Effects Test to learn more about the fast-spectrum salt reactor and work toward the development and demonstration of the MCFR.
The Integrated Effects Test is a unique and flexible asset that will be utilized to help train a new crop of molten salt project personnel.
Southern Company's research and development organization and TerraPower will work with universities across the country to submit research proposals through DOE’s Nuclear Energy University Program to train students and research the additional instruments, equipment and components that would be compatible with molten salt systems.