TMSR project logo
TMSR-LF1 is located in China
TMSR-LF1 site in China

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 prototype molten salt reactor (MSR) currently under construction in an industrial park in Minqin County,[1] in the province of Gansu in northwest China.[2][3][4] Construction is expected to finish in August 2021, with a test run as early as September.[5][6]


The relative lack of water available for cooling pressurized water reactors west of the Hu line (the area shown in yellow) is seen as a limiting factor for them.
cf. plant map.

In January 2011, the Chinese Academy of Sciences began the TMSR research and development project to create reactors which, among other advances, will be air-cooled.[7] The liquid fuel ("LF") design is descended from the 1960s Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US.[8]


The TMSR-LF1 is being constructed with the following specifications:[9][10][11]

  • Thermal power: 2MW
  • 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 N1003 superalloy
  • Lifetime: 10 years
    • Equivalent full power days: 300
    • Max full power days per year: 60

Future plans

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.[5]


  1. ^,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。
  2. ^ Tennenbaum, Jonathan (2020-02-04). "Molten salt and traveling wave nuclear reactors". Asia Times. Retrieved 2020-09-30.
  3. ^ 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. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  4. ^ "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). 2020-12-23. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Smriti Mallapaty (9 September 2021). "China prepares to test thorium-fuelled nuclear reactor". Nature (journal). Retrieved 10 September 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 (PDF) from the original on 8 July 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2018.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Richard Martin (2 August 2016). "Fail-Safe Nuclear Power". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Yang Zou. SINAP, CAS (4–5 July 2019). "Research Progress of TMSR design" (PDF). Retrieved 25 May 2021.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  11. ^ 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.

Location note

As per official documentation, i.e. Environmental Impact Report (Operation Phase) (in Chinese; see section 2.1.1) 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

Molten Salt Reactors ("China's dual programme" section) from the World Nuclear Association

TMSR-LF1 entry (CN0021) in the IAEA Research Reactor Database