The work is part of broader programme of testing of components and systems for the IMSR plant, which uses Generation IV reactor technology for electric power generation and heat for industrial heat applications.
The testing programme at the HFR, one of the most powerful multi-purpose research and test reactors in the world, is designed to confirm the predicted performance of selected graphite grades throughout the seven-year cycle of the IMSR core-unit.
The testing will simulate IMSR core conditions, encompassing the full range of IMSR operating temperatures and of the neutron flux. NRG said the HFR has reached full power indicating the successful start of the test programme.
Terrestrial Energy and the Argonne National Laboratory announced earlier this month that they had begun detailed testing of the IMSR advanced nuclear power plant fuel salt.
In December 2019 the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission chose the IMSR for the first joint technical review of an advanced, non-light-water nuclear reactor technology.
Terrestrial Energy, established in 2013, is proposing to build a 195-MW IMSR at Chalk River in Canada. It wants to commission the first IMSR power plants in the late 2020s.
The plant operates at high temperatures (600 Celsius) and is said to be 50% more efficient than traditional reactors. It uses a graphite moderator and standard assay low-enriched uranium fuel with the same level of enrichment (less than 5% U-235) as in conventional nuclear plants.