Permanent staff : Sylvie DELPECH, Céline CANNES, Davide RODRIGUES

PhD students :  Letissia HAMZA, Joelle COSTANTINE

Post-doctoral researchers : Charly Carrière, Gabriela Duran Klie, Aurélien Beaumais

Description of the research activities

A molten salt chemistry laboratory was set up in Orsay in 2005 to study the concept of a fast-spectrum molten salt reactor (the Molten Salt Fast Reactor, MSFR) developed by the CNRS in the frame of the national program PACEN. Since then, experimental studies on the chemistry and treatment of liquid fuel (composed of a mixture of LiF, ThF4and UF4) have been carried out with national support but also through several European projects and an industrial collaboration with RHODIA (up to 2016), interested in a possible way of upgrading thorium. For two years, a new research path for the concept of molten salt reactor has been emerging, based on the U/Pu nuclear fuel cycle and a molten chloride salt. In this context, within the CHIMENE team, we are working with the CEA on the corrosion reactions of structural materials in such a media.

Molten salts are solvents whose chemical properties are very varied and depend on the nature of the salts entering into their composition. The installation of the laboratory for the study of molten salt reactor chemistry in Orsay and the associated experimental devices made it possible to broaden our field of expertise and to invest in other research themes related to the chemistry of molten salts, such as the pyrochemical treatment of solid fuel (ACSEPT and SACSESS European projects), the chemistry of heat transfer salts based on molten nitrates for sodium fast reactors or concentrated solar power plants (AREVA), the direct production of UF6(g) and its interaction with structural materials (AREVA), the carbonitriding of low carbon steels in molten carbonate media (HEF) or the dissolution of pulverulent metal waste in molten hydroxides (CEA and ORANO).

Highlights 2020-2021

  • The development of gas micro-chromatography for the analysis of gases installed on an electrochemical reactor with molten salts at high temperature.
  • The absence of corrosion of structural materials by controlling the redox potential of molten salt.
  • The influence of the nature of the crucible on the dissolution of Mg in molten hydroxides.


LPSC Grenoble, CEA Saclay, CEA Marcoule, CEA Cadarache, ORANO, University of Berkeley, SOLVAY, NAAREA

PhD thesis in progress

Joelle COSTANTINE, Chimie des sels chlorures fondus pour les concepts de réacteur nucléaire à sels fondus, ORANO funding, Université Paris-Saclay, 2022-2025

Letissia HAMZA, Développement d’un procédé de dissolution des déchets métalliques pulvérulents en milieu hydroxydes fondus, ORANO funding, Université Paris-Saclay, 2022 – 2025

Post-doctoral research in progress

Charly Carrière, Définition d’une méthode d’évaluation accélérée de la corrosion des matériaux en milieu sels fondus, Projet ciblé A-DREAM du PEPR DIADEM, 01/2023-06/2024.

Gabriela Duran Klie, Définition d’une méthode d’extraction du combustible usé par réduction en milieu sels fondus, Projet européen MIMOSA, 01/2023-12/2024.

Aurélien Beaumais, Etude d’un procédé de préparation de ThCl4 anhydre pour les réacteurs à sels fondus, Contrat de collaboration SOLVAY/CNRS, 2022-2024

Defended PhD thesis

Alexandre CHMAKOFFCorrosion mechanisms understanding in the environment of future reactors using molten salt fuel and coolant, CEA funding, Université Paris-Saclay, 2023

Hugo SAUZETStudy of nitrocarburizing process of steel in molten salts, CIFRE – HEF funding, Université Paris-Saclay, 2022

Mickael ACHOURCorrosion mechanism of iron in liquid UF₆ at 80°C, ORANO funding, Université Paris-Saclay, 2018

Gabriela DURAN-KLIEStudy of uranium and iodine behavior in the molten fluorides LiF-ThF₄ at 650 ° C, Venezuela funding, Université Paris-Saclay, 2017

Thi-Kim-Khanh LEStudy of corrosion of steel in molten sodium nitrate at 340°C, AREVA funding, Université Paris-Saclay, 2016

David RODRIGUESActinide/lanthanide separation in molten salt media : application to the MSFR fuel reprocessing, CIFRE – RHODIA funding , Université Paris-Saclay, 2015

Marie LUCAS, Electrochemical microscopy in molten salt medium : experience, modeling and application to the study of corrosion, Ecole Doctorale Paris funding, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, 2013

Sébastien JASKIEROWICZFuel reprocessing of the fast molten salt reactor : actinides et lanthanides extraction, CIFRE – RHODIA funding, Université Paris-Saclay, 2012

Last publications

Gabriela Duran-Klie, Davide Rodrigues, Sylvie Delpech, Electrochemical behavior of iodide ions in molten fluoride salts, accepted in Electrochim Acta, 2023

Hugo Sauzet, Romaric Collet, Christophe Héau, Christophe Pupier, Davide Rodrigues, Céline Cannes, Sylvie Delpech, Redox properties of the carbonate molten salt Li2CO3 –Na2CO3 -K2CO3, Electrochimica Acta, 405 (2022) 139765 

Sarah L’haridon-quaireau, Kimberly Colas, Bénédicte Kapusta, Bénédicte Verhaeghe, Marie Loyer−Prost, Impact of ion and neutron irradiation on the corrosion of the 6061−T6 aluminium alloy., Journal of Nuclear Materials, 553 (2021) 15305 

P. Soucek, D. Rodrigues, O. Beneš, S. Delpech , A. Rodrigues, R.J.M. Konings, “Electrochemical measurements of LiF-CaF2 -ThF4 melt and activity coefficient of ThF4 in LiF-CaF2 eutectic melt”, Electrochimica Acta, 381 (2021) 138

Michel Allibert, Elsa Merle, Sylvie Delpech, Delphine Gerardin, Daniel Heuer, Axel Laureau, Simon Moreau, “Preliminary proliferation study of the molten salt fast reactor”, EPJ Nuclear Science and Technology, 6 (2020) 5

Sarah L’Haridon-Quaireau, Mathilde Laot, Kimberly Colas, Bénédicte Kapusta, Sylvie Delpech, Dominique Gosset, Effects of temperature and pH on uniform and pitting corrosion of aluminium alloy 6061-T6 and characterisation of the hydroxide layers, J. Alloys and Compounds, 833 (2020) 155146 

Mickaël Achour, Laure Martinelli, Sylvie Chatain, Laurent Jouffret, Marc Dubois, Pierre Bonnet, Ania Selmi, Bertrand Morel and Sylvie Delpech, “Corrosion of iron in liquid uranium hexafluoride”, Corrosion engineering Science and Technology, 52 – 8 (2017) 611