Like it or not, the world is fitted with a web of nuclear power infrastructure. And, like it or not, we have inherited the chore of managing nuclear materials and industries from preceding generations. The question that begs to be answered is, how should we go forward with this legacy of nuclear power technology? Do we plod along maintaining  the status quo? Do we replace aging nuclear plants with non-nuclear facilities? Or, do we ramp up with more nuclear plants?

On the pro-nuclear side, alternative reactor schemes are surfacing.  Reactor designs that have been proposed for years are showing up on the internet and into the daylight.

One intriguing design utilizes a fissile molten salt that is circulated through a moderator assembly and cycled through a heat exchanger. In this scheme, the fuel is also a working heat transfer fluid. It is called a liquid fluoride reactor.  Many kinds of molten salt compositions are possible, but one is composed of (72 LiF, 16 BeF2, 12 ThF4, 0.3 UF4).  The designs I’ve seen use continuous fuel processing to keep an optimal fuel composition in use. The reactor described in the previous reference has a negative temperature coefficient, meaning that the fuel becomes less reactive as the temperature rises. This is an important safety attribute.

There is no point in a recital of the technical details here. The reader can follow the links if interested.