Safeguards for the Lithium Fluoride Thorium Reactor: A Preliminary Nuclear Material Control and Accounting Assessment – by Oak Ridge National Laboratories – Publication ORNL/TM/2022/2394

Oak Ridge National Labs Entrance

The most modern reproduction and replication of the work of the 1960’s undertaken by Flibe Energy Inc. is reviewed by Oak Ridge National Laboratories in a private public partnership. (ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle).

Today we spotlight the most recent production from Oak Ridge National Laboratories in Tennessee, USA, (ORNL). The report is all about Molten Salt Fission Technology Powered by Thorium. This concise 54 page report is akin to the ORNL report produced 44 years ago in August 1978, entitled Molten-Salt Reactors Efficient Nuclear Fuel Utilization without Plutonium Separation and further extends the ORNL work reported in The Development Status of Molten Salt Breeder Reactors from August 1972. (It appears that August is the month of important reports by ORNL). This later behemoth 434 page report is the mother lode of information for all work done at ONRL regarding Molten Salt Fission Energy Technology powered by Thorium. Anyone looking at investing into this technology must make it a priority read – all of the work has been done before. The report can be found further below in this post.

This most recent report on this technology has been produced by the authors, Dr. Richard L. Reed, Dr. Louise G. Evans and Donald N. Kovacic, B.Sc. All are senior scientists involved with Molten Salt Technology at ORNL.

Before we discuss the report, first we’ll discuss why it’s important to define new terminology for nuclear energy sector.

For generations massive amounts of negative press and target funding has branded the word nuclear as simply bad. And let’s face it. Nuclear Physics is complicated, and so conversations get complicated pretty quickly too. Let’s just look at the elements we can play with.

Out of 118 elements in the Periodic Table, 80 are stable having 339 isotopes, leaving 38 elements – those heavier than lead – as unstable. These 38 elements have over 3,000 possible isotope existent states. Hence thousands of unstable isotopes, lead to 10’s of thousands of combinations of decay, neutron absorption, and possible fission events, from neutrons both fast – high energy particles, and thermal – low energy particles, and then hundreds of other non responsive isotopes of non responsive elements that exhibit different behaviours over time and distance. For example water is better for absorbing fast neutrons and lead is better for thermal neutrons. Boron-10 absorbs neutrons, whilst boron-11 does not. Neutrons bounce off, are reflected by graphite, beryllium, steel, tungsten carbide, and gold (There are more too). OK, so the picture is clear – fission energy gets complicated very quickly.

DOE Explains…Isotopes

Remember too, that this all started in a race to build nuclear weapons – not to make energy. Weapons should all be dismantled and destroyed. USA and UK should follow in the footsteps of South Africa who dismantled their last bomb in 1989. Today the USA and UK combined have enough firepower to destroy humanity entirely 150 times over. We are thankful that Molten Salt technology was pursued with such vigor precisely because it cannot make weapons. It only makes energy.

The Thorium fuel cycle is “intrinsically proliferation-resistant”

The International Atomic Energy Agency, 2005

Thorium fuel cycle — Potential benefits and challenges IAEA, May 2005

Hans Blix, former head of IAEA explaining why Thorium, and Molten Salt Fission Energy Technology doesn’t even need to be addressed by the IAEA.

Former head of IAEA, Hans Blix, discussing why Thorium is superior

Why South Africa Dismantled Its Nuclear Weapons

by Evelyn Andrespok, March 2010

We are also thankful that nuclear weapons are now illegal (why did THAT take so long?)

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

So back to the nomenclature.

We call it Fission, not nuclear.

We call them Machines, not reactors. (By the way, there’s no reactions going on, and indeed in the core region fuel is “burned” according to the physics text books. In Fission, atoms are split, so “splitter” is the correct term!)

We say Molten Salt Fission Energy TechnologyMSFT. Not anything else. Calling it LFTR ties the technology to a specific fluid-fuel type. Even the company FLIBE are considering changing the Beryllium metal to Sodium metal (the BE means Beryllium in their company’s name).

And Fission – Nuclear Energy – is effectively Carbon Free. Even Bill Gates knows this.

Bill Gates getting into Molten Salt

The latest ORNL report is excellent at defining the challenges already identified 50 years ago. The net result is that ORNL have made recommendations to modify the Flibe design thus eliminating any chance of weapons production from Molten Salt Fission Energy Technology powered by Thorium.

Some of these recommendations are:

  • Use multiple, smaller decay vessels for salt distribution for emergency shutdown events.
  • Install stringent material monitoring systems with tamper evident features for fuel processing.
  • Use batch fuel processing and not continuous for better inventory controls.
  • Recombine fuel elements to increase gamma activity of the fuel processing cycle.
  • Allow U232 production to increase hence increasing the self protection mechanism.
  • Eliminate the decay fluorinator entirely by allowing protactinium to decay in the fuel salt.
  • Remove physical access to the UF6 stream by have vessels immediately adjacent to each other.

These, and other recommendations, effectively define Molten Salt Fission Technology powered by Thorium as proliferation proof.

You can see the full report here:

The latest ORNL report must be read in conjunction with a 1978 report, also by ORNL staff – and also released in the month of August – where proliferation concerns of the earlier designs where addressed. In that report the authors J. R. Engel, W. R. Grimes, W. A. Rhoades and J. F. Dearing allowed the build up of U232 to create self protection whilst still maintaining machine performance – “denatured”, as they called it.

Here is that report, Technical Memorandum TM 6413, from August 1978:

ORNL TM 6413 August 1978 Molten-Salt Reactors for Efficient Nuclear Fuel Utilization Without Plutonium Separation

Here’s one of the authors of that report – John Richard “Dick” Engel – shortly before his passing in 2017.

Dick Engel & Syd Ball – ORNL Molten Salt Reactor Engineer Interview shot for THORIUM REMIX

The following documents should also be read together with ORNL report 2022/2394 to ensure full understanding:

ORNL TM 3708 1964 Molten Salt Reactor Program Semiannual Progress Report for Period Ending July 31, 1964

This report summarized the work leading up to the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, that ran from 1965 to 1969 – the “most boring experiment ever. It did everything we expected it to do.”, said by Dr. Sydney Ball.

The Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment

ORNL TM 4658 1972 Chemical Aspects of MSRE Operations

This report debunks corrosion myths surrounding Molten Salt Technology.

ORNL TM 4812 August 1972 Development Status of Molten-Salt Breeder Reactors

This is the report that ended in the program being shut down. The USD 1 billion funding request was too obvious to ignore and many people realised what impact this would have on existing business interests in energy.

Why MSRS Abandoned ORNL Weinberg’s Firing by Bruce Hoglund

A concise summary of the facts behind the closure of the Molten Salt Program at Oak Ridge.

Here is the 2015 assessment report referenced in ORNL report 2022/2394.

Electric Power Research Institute – Program on Technology Innovation: Technology Assessment of a Molten Salt Reactor Design – The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR)

Electric Power Research Institute Report Abstract

EPRI collaborated with Southern Company on an independent technology assessment of an innovative molten salt reactor (MSR) design—the liquid-fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR)—as a potentially transformational technology for meeting future energy needs in the face of uncertain market, policy, and regulatory constraints. The LFTR is a liquid-fueled, graphite-moderated thermal spectrum breeder reactor optimized for operation on a Th-233U fuel cycle. The LFTR design considered in this work draws heavily from the 1960s-era Molten Salt Reactor Experiment and subsequent design work on a similar two-fluid molten salt breeder reactor design. Enhanced safety characteristics, increased natural resource utilization, and high operating temperatures, among other features, offer utilities and other potential owners/operators access to new products, markets, applications, and modes of operation. The LFTR represents a dramatic departure from today’s dominant and proven commercial light water reactor technology. Accordingly, the innovative and commercially unproven nature of MSRs, as with many other advanced reactor concepts, presents significant challenges and risks in terms of financing, licensing, construction, operation, and maintenance.

This technology assessment comprises three principal activities based on adaptation of standardized methods and guidelines: 1) rendering of preliminary LFTR design information into a standardized system design description format; 2) performance of a preliminary process hazards analysis; and 3) determination of technology readiness levels for key systems and components. The results of the assessment provide value for a number of stakeholders. For utility or other technology customers, the study presents structured information on the LFTR design status that can directly inform a broader technology feasibility assessment in terms of safety and technology maturity. For the developer, the assessment can focus and drive further design development and documentation and establish a baseline for the technological maturity of key MSR systems and components. For EPRI, the study offers an opportunity to exercise and further develop advanced nuclear technology assessment tools and expertise through application to a specific reactor design.

The early design stage of the LFTR concept indicates the need for significant investment in further development and demonstration of novel systems and components. The application of technology assessment tools early in reactor system design can provide real value and facilitate advancement by identifying important knowledge and design performance gaps at a stage when changes can be incorporated with the least impact to cost, schedule, and licensing.

Thorium Reactor Graphic by PopSci

Finally, a reminder. Why all the fuss about Thorium Molten Salt anyway? What did those giants of nuclear energy see starting way back in 1947 that we don’t see today? It’s because of this chart by ANSTO of Australia. It’s a little known – public – secret, that Australia, part of the Generation IV Forum, but ironically staunchly anti nuclear, is also one of the strongest countries in technology development for Molten Salt Fission Energy powered by Thorium.

ANSTO Energy Density
ANSTO Energy Density (LWR = Solid Fission; MSR = Molten Salt Fission)

We hoped you enjoyed this article, produced free for all advocates and students of Molten Salt Fission Energy powered by Thorium. If you like this work and want to see more, please support this work by going to our contributions page, where you can then find our Patreon account.

Links and References


#FissionEnergy #NuclearEnergy #TheThoriumNetwork #Fission4All #RadiationIsGood4U #GotThorium #ORNL #OakRidge #MSRE #MoltenSaltFissionEnergy #Thorium

Episode 23 – Can’t Afford a Model T? How About a LFTR? – Unintended Consequences – Chapter 8 Part 7

15 Millionth Ford Model T
The Model T Ford made motoring what it is today: affordable, reliable, ubiquitous with 20th century living. It’s this same dogmatic approach to manufactured simplification that will make Fission the energy of the 21st Century.

Can’t afford it?

A modern, 1 GW LWR generates 9,000,000 kWhrs per year which, at 10 cents per kWhr, creates revenue of USD 900,400,000 per year. Deduct USD 220 million for operating expenses for a profit of USD 680 million per year. California’s Diablo nuclear plant generates electricity for about 3 cents per kWhr.

If the plant’s two reactors cost USD 7 billion, their combined profit will repay the 7 billion in 5.7 years, after which they will net USD 1.3 billion/year while employing about 1,000 well-paid workers.

While we temporise, Russia and South Korea are building modular reactors (conventional and MSRs), for sale abroad, some of which will be mounted on barges that can be towed to coastal cities, thus making long transmission lines, with their 10% power loss, unnecessary. In 2020, the first of these barges began operation in Pevek, a town in eastern Siberia. (China makes a 1 GWe reactor for USD 3B in less than 5 years – Dr. Alex Cannara.)

MURMANSK, RUSSIA – AUGUST 23, 2018: The Akademik Lomonosov, a barge containing two nuclear reactors, is pictured in Murmansk during its departure for Pevek, Chukotka Autonomous Area, on Russia’s Arctic coast where it will function as a nuclear power station; built at St Petersburg’s Baltic Shipyard, the Akademik Lomonosov was towed in 2018 from the Baltic Sea to an Atomflot base in Murmansk on Russia’s Barents Sea coast to be loaded with nuclear fuel. Lev Fedoseyev/TASS (Photo by Lev Fedoseyev\TASS via Getty Images)

In 2016, Russia inaugurated a commercial Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) that extracts nearly 100% of the energy value of uranium. (LWRs utilize less than 5%.) The FBR creates close to zero waste and guarantees that we will never run out of thorium, uranium and plutonium, which yield 1.7 million times more energy per kilogram than crude oil.

Russia Sets New Domestic Nuclear Generation Record

Canadian Government agrees to work with United Kingdom on nuclear power

Instead of pursuing these profitable programs, we [USA] have spent USD 400 billion on worthless F-35 jet fighters plus USD 2 billion PER WEEK in Afghanistan – AND there’s that missing USD 8.5 TRILLION that the Pentagon can’t find. [The Pentagon’s $35 Trillion Accounting Black Hole, by Michael Rainey, January 23, 2020]

The US Air Force Quietly Admits the F-35 Is a Failure

Penta-Gone! – The Pentagon’s $35 Trillion Accounting Black Hole

Meanwhile, according to the GUARDIAN, “in 2013, coal, oil and gas companies spent USD 670 billion searching for more fossil fuels, investments that could be worthless if action on global warming slashes allowed emissions.”

Leave fossil fuels buried to prevent climate change, study urges

California plans a USD 100 billion high speed train to serve impatient commuters between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and in 2014, Wall Street paid over USD 28 billion in bonuses to needy executives. If you include greedy sports team owners and players who, between 2000 and 2010, received 12 billion tax dollars to help pay for their arenas, the total could exceed USD 1 trillion.

“When you’re in a hole, stop digging,”

Bill McKibben, co-founder of

With that money, we could easily build enough MSRs to end the burning of fossil fuels for generating electricity while drastically cutting carbon dioxide production.

Russia offers nuclear desalination bundle

According to WORLD NUCLEAR NEWS, Russia’s Rosatom Overseas intends to sell desalination facilities powered by nuclear power plants to its export markets: Dzhomart Aliyev, the head of Rosatom Overseas, says that the company sees ‘a significant potential in foreign markets,’ and is offering two LWRs producing 1200 MW each to Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity as part of a combined power and desalination plant.

“Desalination units can produce 170,000 cubic meters of potable water/day with 850 MWh of electricity per day. This would use only about 3% of the output of a 1200 MWe nuclear plant. In addition, two desalination units are also being considered for inclusion in Iran’s plan to expand the Bushehr power plant with Russian technology, and another agreement between Argentina and Russia also includes desalination with nuclear power.” Dzhomart Aliyev, chief executive officer of Rusatom Overseas.

In 2016, the Vice President of Rosatom reported that the company plans to build more than 90 plants in the pipeline worth some USD 110 Billion, with the aim of delivering 1000 GW by 2050.

“By 2030 we must build 28 nuclear power units. This is nearly the same as the number of units made or commissioned over the entire Soviet period… ROSATOM, the Russian nuclear power corporation and builders of the Kundamkulam nuclear power plant in India, has orders for building many nuclear power units abroad.” (XXII Nuclear Inter Jura 2016 Proceedings of the Congress)

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia

Stratfor Global Intelligence reported in an October, 2015 article titled Russia: Exporting Influence, One Nuclear Reactor at a Time that “Rosatom estimated that the value of orders has reached USD 300 billion, with 30 plants in 12 countries. From South Africa to Argentina to Vietnam to… Saudi Arabia, there appears to be no region where Russia does not seek to send its nuclear exports.”

In addition, China has purchased four, 1200 MW Russian reactors. Rosatom will also supply the fuel for a new Chinese- designed fast reactor.

However, our [USA] nuclear industry, opposed by Climate deniers like Donald J Trump, fervent “greens” and powerful carbon companies that put profit before planet, struggles to stay alive.

In Why Not Nuclear? Brian King described our failure to build Generation IV nuclear plants that, unlike LWRs, take advantage of high-temperature coolants such as liquid metals or liquid salts that improve efficiency.

“Argonne National Laboratory held the major responsibility for developing nuclear power in the U.S. By 1980, there were two main goals: Develop a nuclear plant that can’t melt down, then build a reactor that can run on waste from nuclear power plants…

“In the early 80’s Argonne opened a site for an experimental breeder reactor in Idaho. About five years later [two weeks before Chernobyl], they were ready for a demonstration. Scientists from around the globe were invited to watch what would happen if there was a loss of coolant to the reactor, a condition similar to the event at Fukushima where the cores of three reactors overheated and melted.

“Dr. C. Till, the director of the Generation IV project, calmly watched the gauges on the panel as core temperature briefly increased, then rapidly dropped as the reactor shut down without any intervention!

“The Argonne Generation IV project was a success, but it couldn’t get past the anti-nuke politics of the 1990’s, so it was shut down by the Clinton administration because they said we didn’t need it.

“One can only imagine what the world would look like today, with a fleet of Generation IV nuclear plants that would run safely for centuries on all of the waste at storage sites around the globe. No heat-trapping carbon dioxide would have been created – only ever increasing amounts of clean, reliable power. So why not nuclear power?

“Unfortunately, most environmentalists oppose nuclear power, as do many liberals. The Democratic Party is afraid of anti-nuclear sentiment… like the Nation Magazine, the Sierra Club and others. Why are all these people against such a safe and promising source of energy?

“… nuclear power has been tarred with the same brush as nuclear weapons. Nuclear power plants can’t explode like bombs, but people still think that way….

“There is also a matter of group prejudice, not unlike a fervently religious group or an audience at a sports event of great importance to local fans. People are afraid to go against the beliefs of their peers, no matter how unsubstantiated those beliefs may be.

Biden launches $6 billion effort to save nuclear power plants, to help combat climate change, 22 April 2022

”Finally, some good news: In July, 2018, Advanced Reactor Concepts (ARC) and Canada’s New Brunswick Power agreed to build a sodium-cooled, small modular reactor (SMR) – and thereafter at other sites worldwide.

The ARC-100 Advanced Small Modular Reactor

“The ARC-100 includes a passive, “walk away-safe” design that ensures the reactor cannot melt down – even if the plant loses all electrical power. The ARC-100 can consume the nuclear waste produced by LWRs and operate for 20 years without refuelling. Ontario approves nuclear.

OPG paving the way for Small Modular Reactor deployment, 6 October 2020

Small Modular Reactors

  • Their operation can be based on Gen II or Gen IV technologies.
  • Most of them generate less than 300 MW.
  • They run independent without active cooling (or offsite power)
  • They are small enough to have the entire reactor module fabricated at a central facility and then shipped by rail or by truck.

TerraPower advances plans for next-gen nuclear plants, earning Bill Gates’ praise

Starting in 2018, China will begin turning coal plants into nuclear reactors, by Graham Templeton,  23 November 2016

Why a Greenpeace co-founder went nuclear, by Erika Lovley 4 March 2008

Patrick Moore: Why I Left Greenpeace

Canada to boost nuclear power to help meet climate target, 15 March 2015

South Korea reactors That “Won’t Melt Down” approved for US in contract between Doosan and NuScale Power.

August 2020

South Korea companies develop molten salt reactor for shipping, power generation, 24 June 2021

Under the agreement, the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute and Samsung Heavy Industries plan to develop molten salt reactors for marine propulsion and floating nuclear power plants, using molten fluoride salts as the primary coolant at low pressure.

KAERI, 17 June 2021

Poland goes nuclear with plan to build six reactors by 2040, by David Rogers, 9 November 2020

Dr Richard Steeves at Rethinking Nuclear

Advanced Nuclear Reactors by Dr Richard Steeves

Dr. Steeves drives an electric car and flies an electric airplane.

Dr. Richard Steeves

Nuclear Q&A prepared by The Finnish Greens for Science and Technology

The Tennessee Valley Authority announces new nuclear programme

Nuclear Power: The Road to a Carbon Free Future, IAEA 9 Jan 2020

Coming up next week, Episode 24 – Blowing in the Wind

Links and References

  1. Next Episode – Episode 24 – Blowing in the Wind
  2. Previous Episode – Episode 22 – The Pros of LFTRs. Why They Are So Cool
  3. Launching the Unintended Consequences Series
  4. Dr. George Erickson on LinkedIn
  5. Dr. George Erickson’s Website,
  6. The full pdf version of Unintended Consequences
  10. https://www-atomic–

#UnintendedConsequences #GeorgeErickson #ClimateChange #FissionEnergy #NuclearEnergy #SpentNuclearFuel #MoltenSaltReactor #LFTR #TheThoriumNetwork #Thorium #Fission4All #RadiationIsGood4U #GetYourRadiation2Day #InvisibleFire #Russia #China #SouthKorea #Poland #USA #Iran #ModelTFord

Fission Energy for Across Africa – a Vision of 2050


A Land of Plenty

The African continent is a behemoth of people, resources and potential. The area of the combined 58 countries and regions is 1.8 times larger than Russia; 3 times larger than the European Union; and 84 times larger than Germany. The 1.3 billion people living in Africa (16% of the worlds’ population) have available to them a combined power generating capacity of ~230 GW. This equates to about 1,500 kWh per person per year in energy consumption.

A Billion More People

Over the next 30 years there will be another 1 billion new people born on the African continent. Africa will be the youngest and most dynamic region on earth. With global “peak child” happening in 2014 (a demonstrable fact) the number of children coming to the planet has plateaued and will remain that way for the foreseeable future as societies improve their living standards and reduce the size of families. This is also so in Africa, yet the population will grow no matter what. Furthermore, the African continent will hold more than 3 billion people by 2100.

And energy will be the prime enabler to provide those billions with a decent quality of life.

Improving Lifestyle means Increasing Energy Consumption

South Africa has the highest energy consumption per person, at 4,100 kWh per year. Yet this is still below the 5,500 kWh average across Europe. Further across the continent it is clear that some countries lack basic energy infrastructure to bring energy to their people.

Let’s assume that by 2050 the present average of 1,500 kWh per person per year increases to 3,000 kWh*. Thus the total energy generation capacity becomes almost 800 GW. Thus 570 GW of new power generating capacity is required to be built from now to 2050.

*This means a 50 MW ‘burner’ will produce the energy needed for about 150,000 people.

Sting on Nuclear energy
Sting on Nuclear energy

Avoiding the Renewables Trap

The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative planned to install 10 GW of wind and solar by 2020 (achieved) and 300 GW of wind and solar by 2030. But they are forgetting Germany’s failed 20 year experiment in wind and solar. In Germany, CO2 levels are unchanged and electricity prices have doubled. Now Germany is planning to restart coal fired power stations. The reason is simple. When considering all factors, wind and solar are simply not viable. This is best illustrated by the Energy Return on Investment ratio, or EROI. This bar chart is developed from the Berlin Institute for Solid-State Nuclear Physics (Institut für Festkörper-Kernphysik) and available on the Australian government’s nuclear scientist’s website. The Energy Return on Investment Ratio is a macro level indicator of the overall usefulness of the energy derived from any particular form. How many units of energy can be recovered for each unit of energy expended. The EROI of wind and solar (3.9 and 1.6 respectively) fails miserably when compared to coal (30), gas (28) and existing solid-fuel nuclear fission (75). But our focus is the literal purple elephant in the room – Molten Salt Fission Technology. It’s EROI is 2000 to 1! With such a significant obvious benefit, over all other forms of energy production, it is only a matter of time before the genie is out of the bottle.

Thus as the reality of low value return on wind and solar is realised, Molten Salt Technology (and other small modular reactors using traditional solid fuels) will gain traction to fill the growing requirements of Africa’s energy needs.

A New Paradigm of Industrial Growth

One can imagine a fleet of up to 5,000 small modular Molten Salt Fission machines each with a capacity of 100 MW installed strategically across Africa.  Creating a decentralised, distributed power generation system. Some sites will be larger or smaller than others, driven by  domestic electricity demands. With the power facilities having a fuelled lifespan exceeding 30 years, it is quite easy to see energy as no longer an issue across the African continent.

Integrated Industrial Zone Powered by Molten Salt courtesy of Figes
Integrated Industrial Zone Powered by Molten Salt courtesy of Figes

But it goes further. Whilst reliable 24/7 power from Molten Salt Fission machines provides ample energy for domestic needs, the technology supports industrial growth and development. 1 GW and larger power installations are able to drive industries reliant on both heat and power. Facilities of this size could lead to industrial parks such as the one here envisaged by government energy and industrial development planners in Turkey.

A Positive Future

Africa Blockchain

The people of Africa have a bright future ahead for them. With technologies tried and true from western spheres, the people of Africa can select and choose the most appropriate and most suitable means to improve their quality of life. For themselves and for their children. Molten Salt Fission energy technology is a strong contender for the energy mix of Africa.

CEO and Founder, Mr. Jeremiah Josey

Authored by Jeremiah Josey
Founder and CEO
The Thorium Network

Links and References

  1. African power generation
  2. Energy Consumption across Africa
  3. Hans Rosling, 2015, Why the world population won’t exceed 11 billion
  4.  IEA Africa Energy Outlook 2019
  5. African Renewable Energy Initiative
  7. Australian government nuclear science organisation