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TMSR (SINAP CAS) logo.svg
TMSR project logo
Reactor conceptMSR
TMSR-LF1 is located in China
Gansu locator map (China).svg
TMSR-LF1 (trefoil) in Gansu province (red). Shanghai campus also indicated.
TMSR-LF1 (trefoil) within Minqin county (orange) is roughly 120 km (75 miles) north of the city of Wuwei (star)[2]
Coordinates38°57′37″N 102°36′44″E / 38.9602°N 102.6122°E / 38.9602; 102.6122
Main parameters of the reactor core
Fuel (fissile material)HALEU
Fuel stateLiquid
Neutron energy spectrumThermal
Primary control methodRods
Primary moderatorGraphite
Primary coolantFLiBe
Reactor usage
Primary usePrototyping
Power (thermal)2 MW

TMSR-LF1 (液态燃料钍基熔盐实验堆; "liquid fuel thorium-based molten salt experimental reactor") is a 2 MWt molten salt reactor (MSR) pilot plant located in northwest China.[3][4][5][6]


The relative lack of water available for cooling pressurized water reactors west of the Hu line (shaded yellow) is seen as a limiting factor for them.
cf. Map of Chinese nuclear power plants

In January 2011, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) began the TMSR research and development project to create reactors which, among other advances, will be air-cooled.[7] CAS assigned the project to its Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (SINAP), which now has MSR research and design facilities in the Jiading District.[8] The liquid fuel ("LF") design is based on the 1960s Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US.[9] The TMSR project is led by Xu Hongjie (徐洪杰), who previously headed the construction of the Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility.[10] The site selected for the TMSR-LF1 is part of an industrial park[11] in a sparsely populated, arid region.[location note] Construction began in September 2018[1] and was expected to finish in August 2021, with testing to follow.[12][13] In August 2022, the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment informed SINAP that its commissioning plan for the LF1 had been approved.[1] Full power operation is expected in February 2023.[2]


The TMSR-LF1 is a Generation IV reactor being constructed with the following specifications:[14][15][16]

  • Thermal power: 2MW
  • Fuel salt: FLiBe (>99.95% Li-7) with fluorides of zirconium, uranium (HALEU: 19.75% U-235), and thorium
    • inlet temperature: 630 °C
    • outlet temperature: 650 °C
    • volume: 1.68 m3
    • flow rate: ~50 kg/s
  • Coolant salt: FLiBe
    • inlet temperature: 560 °C
    • outlet temperature: 580 °C
    • flow rate: ~42 kg/s
  • Cover gas: Argon (0.05 MPa)
    • volume: 1.6 m3
  • Moderator: nuclear graphite
  • Structural Material: UNS N10003 superalloy
  • Lifetime: 10 years
    • Equivalent full power days: 300
    • Max full power days per year: 60

Future plans[edit]

A small modular reactor based on the LF1, as well as a fuel salt research facility, is planned for the same site. New reactor specifications include: core graphite 3 m tall x 2.2 m wide, 700 °C operating temperature, 60 MW thermal output, and an experimental supercritical carbon dioxide-based closed-cycle gas turbine to covert the thermal output to 10 MW of electricity. The referenced document mentions two pairs of dates for groundbreaking/criticality and full power in different sections for the 10MWe reactor; 2023/2026, and 2025/2029.[2]

Scaled-up commercial reactors based on the LF1 are likely in the 2030s in central and western China, and may also be built outside China in Belt and Road Initiative nations; as low-carbon power plants, they would help to achieve the Chinese government's 2060 goal of carbon neutrality.[12]


  1. ^ a b c "Chinese molten-salt reactor cleared for start up". World Nuclear News. World Nuclear Association. 9 August 2022. Retrieved 9 August 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "小型模块化钍基熔盐堆研究设施项目环境影响报告书(选址阶段)[Small Modular Thorium Molten Salt Reactor Research Facility Project Environmental Impact Report (site selection stage)]" (PDF). SINAP. August 2022. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  3. ^,20180329850624284.html Archived 8 July 2018 at the Wayback Machine 实验平台及配套项目拟选址于武威市民勤县红砂岗工业集聚区,南侧紧邻纬七路、东侧紧邻东环路。
  4. ^ Tennenbaum, Jonathan (4 February 2020). "Molten salt and traveling wave nuclear reactors". Asia Times. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  5. ^ Liu, Yafen; Yan, Rui; Zou, Yang; Yu, Shihe; Zhou, Bo; Kang, Xuzhong; Hu, Jifeng; Cai, Xiangzhou (1 April 2020). "Sensitivity/uncertainty comparison and similarity analysis between TMSR-LF1 and MSR models". Progress in Nuclear Energy. 122: 103289. doi:10.1016/j.pnucene.2020.103289. ISSN 0149-1970. S2CID 213115060. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  6. ^ "The off-line installation and start-up of the thorium-based molten salt experimental reactor body and the first cooling salt discharge". SINAP (in Chinese (China)). 23 December 2020. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  7. ^ Dai Zhimin, Zou Yang, and Chen Kun (4 November 2016). "Thorium Molten Salt Reactors (TMSR) Development in China" (PDF). International Atomic Energy Agency. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 July 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ "中国科学院上海应用物理研究所财务与资产处岗位招聘启事". Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics. 19 September 2022. Retrieved 19 September 2022. 中国科学院上海应用物理研究所是国立综合性核科学技术研究机构,以钍基熔盐堆核能系统、高效能源存储与转换等先进能源科学技术为主要研究方向,同时兼顾核技术在环境、健康、材料领域的若干前沿应用研究,致力于熔盐堆、钍铀燃料循环、核能综合利用等领域的关键技术研发。研究所总体发展目标是用15年左右时间,以提高核能安全性、核燃料长期供应及放射性废物最小化为目标,在国际上率先实现钍基熔盐堆核能系统(TMSR)的系统验证和工业应用。研究所拥有两大园区,其中液态熔盐实验堆的研究与设计总部坐落在上海市科技卫星城嘉定区,实验堆坐落在甘肃省武威市民勤县,两园区分别占地面积共约400和1000亩。
  9. ^ Richard Martin (2 August 2016). "Fail-Safe Nuclear Power". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  10. ^ "徐洪杰:钍基熔盐堆核能系统(TMSR)现状与展望". 27 September 2022. Retrieved 12 October 2022.
  11. ^ "民勤红沙岗工业园区". Website of Wuwei, Gansu. 15 April 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2022. 民勤红沙岗工业园区位于民勤县红砂岗镇 ["Minqin Hongshagang Industrial Park is located in Hongshagang Town, Minqin County"...] 低碳新能源产业区:位于规划区东部,以第四代反应堆核能系统—钍基熔盐堆核能系统(TMSR)项目为基础,拓展高温制氢、布雷顿循环发电和二氧化碳资源利用,建成模块化钍基熔盐示范堆、大规模低碳新能源示范系统等,形成以模块化钍基熔盐堆为核心的低碳高效复合能源系统研发、示范与产业化基地。["Low-carbon new energy industrial zone: located in the east of the planning area, based on the fourth-generation reactor nuclear energy system-thorium-based molten salt reactor nuclear energy system (TMSR) project, to expand high-temperature hydrogen production, Brayton cycle power generation and carbon dioxide resource utilization, and build modules. A thorium-based molten salt demonstration reactor, a large-scale low-carbon new energy demonstration system, etc., have formed a low-carbon and high-efficiency composite energy system R&D, demonstration and industrialization base with a modular thorium-based molten salt reactor as the core."]
  12. ^ a b Stephen Chen (19 July 2021). "Could China's molten salt nuclear reactor be a clean, safe source of power?". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  13. ^ Smriti Mallapaty (9 September 2021). "China prepares to test thorium-fuelled nuclear reactor". Nature. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  14. ^ Hongjie Xu. Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (SINAP), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) (27 September 2018). "Progress of TMSR in China" (PDF). Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  15. ^ Yang Zou. SINAP, CAS (4–5 July 2019). "Research Progress of TMSR design" (PDF). Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  16. ^ Chen, Chang-Qi; Xia, Xiao-Bin; Zhang, Zhi-Hong; Cai, Jun; Li, Chang-Yuan (2019). "Radiological environmental impact analysis of a 2-MW thorium molten salt reactor during an accident". Nuclear Science and Techniques. 30 (5). doi:10.1007/s41365-019-0605-3. ISSN 1001-8042. S2CID 145927937.


^Location: the LF1 reactor is sited within an industrial park located in Hongshagang (town), Minqin (county), Wuwei (prefecture), Gansu (province), China. As per official documentation, the TMSR-LF1 site is located at 38°57'31" N, 102°36'55" E. However, due to the China GPS shift problem, the location using Western GPS coordinates is about 38°57'36" N, 102°36'43" E (approximately a third of a kilometer offset).

External links[edit]