Actinide-Molten Salt Research at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Friday, April 8, 2022, 10:10 AM

At Los Alamos National Laboratory, a research program has been developed focusing on the study of chemical and thermophysical properties of actinide-molten salt systems. Currently ongoing work includes research on a range of length scales in these systems, from local structure to macroscale properties. The salt systems focused upon thus far are molten alkali and alkaline earth metal chlorides containing uranium and thorium chlorides; work later this calendar year will include plutonium chloride, and planning is underway to expand our sample range to include fluoride salts, and systems containing beryllium. In this seminar, this LANL actinide-molten salt research program will be described, including some of our most recent results and highlighting two of our more mature experimental capabilities: our use of neutron radiography to measure the density of actinide-molten salts at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) and our electroanalytical capability to study corrosion and speciation in actinide-molten salts.

Marisa Monreal earned her Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles, and was a LANL Seaborg Graduate Student Fellow, then Director’s and Reines Postdoctoral Fellow, before converting to Research Scientist in the Inorganic, Isotope, and Actinide Chemistry group in the Chemistry Division (C-IIAC) at LANL in 2015. Dr. Monreal directs multiple research projects impacting nuclear security, nuclear energy, fundamental actinide science, and global security/nonproliferation, focused on (1) organoactinide synthetic chemistry, with applications to nuclear fuels, and (2) actinide pyrochemistry/molten salt chemistry—fundamental research on actinide-bearing molten salt systems, including studies on both local structure and macroscale properties, with applications to molten salt reactors (MSRs), weapons metal purification, and spent fuel reprocessing.