Neutronic Analysis of the Laser Inertial Confinement Fusion–Fission Energy (LIFE) Engine Using Various Thorium Molten Salts

Research paper by Adem Acır

Indexed on: 21 Aug '13Published on: 21 Aug '13Published in: Journal of Fusion Energy


In this study, a neutronic performance of the Laser Inertial Confinement Fusion Fission Energy (LIFE) molten salt blanket is investigated. Neutronic calculations are performed by using XSDRNPM/SCALE5 codes in S8–P3 approximation. The thorium molten salt composition considered in this calculation is 75 % LiF—25 % ThF4, 75 % LiF—24 % ThF4—1 % 233UF4, 75 % LiF—23 % ThF4—2 % 233UF4. Also, effects of the 6Li enrichment in molten salt are performed for all heavy metal salt. The radiation damage behaviors of SS-304 structural material with respect to higher fissionable fuel content and 6Li enrichment are computed. By higher fissionable fuel content in molten salt and with 6Li enrichment (20 and 50 %) in the coolant in form of 75 % LiF—23 % ThF4—2 % 233UF4, an initial TBR >1.05 can be realized. On the other hand, the 75 % LiF—25 % ThF4 or 75 % LiF—24 % ThF4—1 % 233UF4 molten salt fuel as regards maintained tritium self-sufficiency is not suitable as regards improving neutronic performance of LIFE engine. A high quality fissile fuel with a rate of ~2,850 kg/year of 233U can be produced with 75 % LiF—23 % ThF4—2 % 233UF4. The energy multiplication factor is increased with high rate fission reactions of 233U occurring in the molten salt zone. Major damage mechanisms in SS-304 first wall stell have been computed as DPA = 48 and He = 132 appm per year with 75 % LiF—23 % ThF4—2 % 233UF4. This implies a replacement of the SS-304 first wall stell of every between 3 and 4 years.