Overview of PhD students, Postdocs and MSc students and their research topics within the SAMOFAR project
Orlando Castilleja Escobedo – Centre for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV)
MSc. thesis title: “Production of zirconium oxide coatings as environmental barrier coatings in Molten Salt Fast Reactors”
Short description of the activity: the MSc. project is developing Yttria Stabilized Zirconia (YSZ) coatings produced by sol-gel and deposited by dip-coating. Synthesis conditions are being studies in order to obtain pure cubic phase and crack-free deposits under 700°C. The research will provide an alternative route to produce cost effective environmental barrier coatings for the safety of molten salt fast reactors.
Marco Tudor Cauzzi – Politecnico di Milano
Ph.D. thesis title: “Modelling and experimental investigation of natural circulation for the development of the Generation IV Molten Salt Fast Reactor”
Short description of the activity: The topic of the Ph.D. thesis is the modelling of coupled natural circulation loops, with the possible presence of internal heat generation. The study is especially aimed at the development of numerical models with a focus on the Molten Salt Fast Reactor (MSFR) and its decay heat removal system. Such models will be validated with experimental data from an ad-hoc testing facility (e-DYNASTY) planned to be built at the Politecnico di Milano.
Eric Cervi – Politecnico di Milano
Ph.D. thesis title: “A multi-physics modelling approach for the analysis, the development and the control of the Generation IV Molten Salt Fast Reactor”
Short description of the activity: The topic of the Ph.D. project is the modelling of the MSFR power plant, with a particular focus on the aspects of dynamics and control. Starting from a three-dimensional model of the MSFR neutronics and thermal-hydraulics (through CFD), the use of bubbling for the reactivity control will be studied, as well as the effect of the salt compressibility on the system dynamics. Afterwards, the focus will be moved to Reduced Order Models, aimed at the development of a novel multi-physics modelling approach for the analysis of the MSFR power plant (reactor, coolant circuits and power conversion system). The purpose is to provide a general description of the plant dynamics behaviour, considering the main physics that come into play, in order to optimize relevant design features of the plant (notably, the reactivity control system, the heat exchangers, the fuel composition and the operating temperatures).
Gabriela Duran-Klie – Institut de Physique Nucléaire Orsay (IPNO)
Ph.D. thesis title: “Electrochemical behavior of uranium and iodide in the fluorides molten salt LiF-ThF4 (77-23 % mol) at 650 °C”
Short description of the activity: The composition of the MSFR fuel salt defined during the EVOL european project is different from the salts previously studied by ORNL. Therefore, the chemistry of the salt and of the elements in the salt is unknown and requires fundamental determinations. The topic of Ph.D project is the study of the electrochemical behavior of uranium and different fissions products as, iodide and zirconium, generated in the fuel salt during the operation time of MFSR. The electrochemical characterization will allow understanding the redox systems stability, chemical behavior of several species in the fuel salt and the determination of different essential parameters as, diffusion coefficients and activity coefficients. The knowledge of activity coefficients is necessary for the calculation of the extraction efficiencies in the reprocessing process. The study of behavior of UF4/UF3 redox system is very important for structural material corrosion problem in the MSFR. An in situ control of potential allows limiting these phenomena. In the other hand, we were interested in the extraction of iodide of the fuel salt. This element is the most the representative of halogen family, representing the 86 % of total. For this study, fluorination step will be simulated by electrolysis and the analysis of molten salt allows determining the process efficiency. This research leads a better understanding of the chemistry in the reactor core and during the reprocessing in order to propose the more optimal way for the extraction of several elements contained in the fuel salt.
Léster Javier Espinoza Pérez – Centre for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV)
Ph.D. thesis title: “Development of ZrO2 environmental barrier coatings for corrosion and thermal protection of Ni alloys”
Short description of the activity: The Ph.D. project aims at producing ZrO2 coatings by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition as environmental barrier coatings for the corrosion protection of Ni alloys. These coatings will provide a higher level of safety to the structural Ni alloys by reducing the thermal and corrosion damage produce during its contact with molten salts under normal and off-normal conditions.
Jaen Ocadiz Flores – TU Delft
M.Sc. thesis title: “Molten salt-structural materials interaction and fission products chemistry in Molten Salt Fast Reactors”
Short description of the activity: The MSc project involves the investigation of the chemical interaction between molten salt fuel and structural materials, as well fission products systems. The phase equilibria of thorium fluoride with corrosion products and fission products are investigated using X-ray diffraction and thermal analysis coupled with thermodynamic modelling assessments using the CALPHAD method.
Delphine Gérardin – Laboratoire de Physique Subatomique & Cosmologie, IN2P3 (CNRS), Université Grenoble Alpes, France
Ph.D. thesis title: “Development of numerical tools and studies to define and analyze the driving and safety features of the MSFR”
Short description of the activity: The topic of the Ph.D. thesis is to analyze the safety and the driving of the Molten Salt Fast Reactor (MSFR). The safety analysis is based on several methodologies (notably the Integrated Safety Assessment Methodology of the Gen4 International Forum) and performed thanks to different risk analysis tools (e.g. MLD or FFMEA). The objective of this work is to provide guidance for the design development in order to ensure the safety of the concept by its design. Therefore, the Ph.D. work also includes design studies for some safety related components as the emergency draining system of the MSFR. A second axis of the Ph.D. is the contribution to the development of a system code for the MSFR which will allow to define the driving of the reactor and to optimize its geometry. This work is complementary to the safety analysis as it will help to improve and validate the design and the operation procedures that will be further studied in the risk analysis.
Sara Mastromarino – TU Delft
Ph.D. thesis title: “Determination of thermodynamic properties of molten salts”
Short description of the activity: This PhD project aims to describe the thermodynamic assessment of the most relevant systems for the Molten Salt Fast Reactor (MSFR) fuel. The characterization will include thermal analysis, X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy to give a description of the phase diagram of the various systems as well as viscosity and density measurement. The thermal and physical properties will be studied as a function of the composition and of the temperature. A challenging part of this project includes the development of a new experimental method for measuring the viscosity of very low viscous fluid, as molten salts are, at high temperature and the investigation of a theoretical model for predicting the viscosity. The final goal will be to identify several optimal fuel compositions for the reactor applications based on the results that will be obtained and to furnish fundamental data for understanding the fluid flow and heat transfer, important for MSFRs.
Dr. Sergii Nichenko – Paul Scherrer Institute
Short description of the activity: PostDoctoral fellow in the “Operation Administration and Safety” group at the Paul Scherrer Institute. Obtained PhD in thermal physics in Ukraine (OSAR, Ukraine, 2008). Primary research goals are directed towards the fundamental understanding of the chemical thermodynamic aspects of nuclear fuel behavior during thermochemical treatment and also dissolution of new fuel types (CERCER and CERMET) in molten salts using Molecular Dynamics (MD), Density Functional Theory (DFT) and Thermodynamic modeling. Related projects: ASGARD, SACSESS, SAMOFAR, F-Bridge, “Chemical thermodynamic aspects of LWR Pu and MA burning in fluoride salt fueled fast MSR” (Swissnuclear grand project).
Alessandro Pini – Politecnico di Milano
Ph.D. thesis title: “Experimental and theoretical investigation of natural circulation dynamics with internally heated fluids”
Short description of the activity: The theme of the Ph.D. thesis work concerns the dynamics of natural circulation loops with internally heated fluids. The dynamical behaviour of this kind of systems is investigated by means of both theoretical (modal and non-modal analysis) and experimental (ad hoc testing facility) approaches in order to highlight the influence of the volumetric heat generation on the stability features of natural circulation.
Ana Rosa Salazar Román – Centre for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV)
Ph.D. thesis title: “Corrosion behavior of ZrO2 in molten salts for nuclear applications”
Short description of the activity: The student is investigating the corrosion behavior of ZrO2 in contact with FLiNaK salts. The effect of density, crystalline phase, dopants and temperature is being studied. The research underway will provide valuable information for the development of environmental barrier coatings for the protection of structural components in the molten salt fast reactor.
Marco Tiberga – TU Delft
Ph.D. thesis title : “Three-dimensional, multi-physics simulation of a Molten Salt Fast Reactor”
Short description of the activity: The goal of the PhD thesis is to develop advanced, three-dimensional, multi-physics numerical tools for the simulation of accidental scenarios inside the Molten Salt Fast Reactor (MSFR), in order to prove the safety and reliability of the reactor design (or to identify possible weaknesses, thus leading to its improvement). The outcomes of the simulations will be then extensively analysed with respect to key safety parameters (e.g. salt temperature, power evolution, salt flow time evolution) and the effect of uncertainties in both the modelling and the physical properties will be investigated, adopting advanced uncertainty quantification schemes.
Alberto Tosolin – Politecnico di Milano
Ph.D. thesis title : “Thermo-physical modelling and experimental investigation of fluorides for the developments of the GEN IV MSFR”
Short description of the activity: The aim of the Ph.D. thesis work is performing experimental and computational analysis to investigate the characteristics of the Molten Salt Fast Reactor (MSFR) fuel salt and to get data useful for safety-related analysis. Several issues regarding physical and chemical properties of the MSFR fuel salt must be solved in order to guarantee high safety level in normal and abnormal conditions. Interaction with structural elements and water will be considered, as well as temperature dependence and irradiation effects.
Anna Chiara Uggenti – Politecnico di Torino
Ph.D. thesis title: “Safety assessment of next generation nuclear systems”
Short description of the activity: The theme of the Ph.D. activity concerns the safety assessment and risk analysis in both operational and accidental condition of a MSFR. The innovative idea is to apply a “Functional Safety” approach in order to study a system whose design is still at the conceptual phase and to identify relevant transient scenarios, critical components and potential limitations in the current design. The methodology adopts a functional perspective and takes into account the overall life cycle of the system.