Preliminary design of control rods in the single-fluid double-zone thorium molten salt reactor (SD-TMSR)

O. Ashraf, Andrei Rykhlevskii, G. V. Tikhomirov, Kathryn D. Huff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent studies on Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs) showed that the excess reactivity at the beginning of the operation is large for many fueling strategies and must be compensated by a reactivity control system. The current work introduces a reliable safety system based on control rods in addition to the online feed system reactivity control in the Single-fluid Double-zone Thorium-based Molten Salt Reactor (SD-TMSR). Three different initial fissile loadings are considered: 233U, reactor-grade Pu, and transuranic (TRU) elements as a startup fuel. We applied six different absorbing materials to investigate the main operational and safety parameters in the SD-TMSR: natural B4C, enriched B4C with 90% 10B, HfB2, HfH1.62, Eu2O3, and Gd2O3. The present work focuses on control rod design, integral and differential control rod worth, shutdown margin, and shadowing effects at steady-state. We employed the SERPENT-2 Monte-Carlo code to calculate the reactivity worth and analyze the performance of the reactivity control system. We showed that 233U and reactor-grade Pu startup cores maintain adequate shutdown margin with all considered absorbers. Finally, this paper proposes a design of control rod clusters that compensate the excess reactivity of the SD-TMSR loaded with different initial fissile material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108035
JournalAnnals of Nuclear Energy
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Control rod
  • MSR
  • Monte Carlo
  • Reactivity
  • Safety
  • Thorium fuel cycle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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