The way forward
to the ultimate safe nuclear reactor
The grand objective of SAMOFAR is to prove the innovative safety concepts of the MSFR by advanced experimental and numerical techniques, to deliver a breakthrough in nuclear safety and optimal waste management, and to create a consortium of stakeholders to demonstrate the MSFR beyond SAMOFAR.
The world population has risen seven-fold over the last two hundred years and is expected to reach eleven billion by the end of this century. The energy consumption per capita in some countries is no more than 6 kWh per day, while this is 120 kWh in the European Union (EU) today. The combined growth of the population and the energy consumption will lead to a doubling of the global energy demand within several decades from now.
Fossil fuels contribute for 82% to our current energy supply and this fraction is expected to decrease only to 75% in 2035. Coal generates 41% of our electricity and is the single biggest air polluter. Coal burning produces huge CO2 emissions, leading to the greenhouse effect and climate change.
The European Commission recognizes the need for large-scale technologies with a low-carbon footprint in the EU energy system. Nuclear power is an outstanding source for base load low-carbon electricity production. The EU is the largest nuclear electricity generator in the world, and all energy scenarios in the European Energy Roadmap 2050 include nuclear energy. As discussed in the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Platform roadmap, the development of fast breeder reactors and associated fuel cycles is of particular importance to improve the utilization of nuclear fuel.
The accidents in Chernobyl and Fukushima-Daiichi have demonstrated that nuclear accidents can seriously impact large regions and affect life and health of mankind beyond borders. After the Fukushima-Daiichi accident, all nuclear power plants in the EU underwent stress tests and peer reviews. New generation of nuclear reactors are expected to be designed with the highest safety standards from the beginning.
The ultimate aim is to develop nuclear energy which is truly inherently safe and produces no nuclear waste other than fission products. The Molten Salt Fast Reactor (MSFR) can fulfil this goal. The liquid fuel salt provides excellent options for reactivity feedback and decay heat removal, and the reactor can operate as a breeder reactor with thorium with in-situ recycling of all actinides, or as a burner reactor incinerating nuclear waste. Recently the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Platform emphasized the merits of the MSFR with the thorium fuel cycle as the long-term option for safe and sustainable nuclear power.
The grand objective of SAMOFAR is to prove the innovative safety concepts of the MSFR by advanced experimental and numerical techniques, to deliver a breakthrough in nuclear safety and optimal waste management, and to create a consortium of stakeholders to demonstrate the MSFR beyond SAMOFAR. These objectives will be achieved via the following specific sub-objectives:
A SAMOFAR project factsheet is available on the European Commission’s primary public repository and portal to disseminate information on all EU-funded research projects and their results.