Phd position Thermo-physical properties of molten salt fuels for next generation Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs)

Phd position Thermo-physical properties of molten salt fuels for next generation Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs)

Published Deadline Location
18 Apr 15 Jun Delft

Job description

The molten salt reactor (MSR) was selected as one of the promising designs by the International Generation IV International Forum for the next generation of nuclear reactors. Running on a liquid molten salt fuel as opposed to the current generation of nuclear reactors, the Molten Salt Reactor technology provides a safe and truly innovative concept. Moreover, it can be coupled to a thorium fuel cycle, which produces less long-lived radioactive waste and allows a sustainable energy production, as thorium is three times more abundant on Earth than uranium. However, before the Molten Salt Reactor technology can be realised, a thorough safety assessment of all components of the reactor must be carried out.


One main challenge for the development of the MSR technology and its commercialisation in the near future is a thorough understanding and assessment of the thermo-physical properties (e.g melting temperature, heat capacity, density, viscosity, thermal conductivity) of the molten fuel salt during reactor operation. During irradiation, numerous fission products are generated, which will affect the chemistry and properties of the fuel. Understanding and modelling the irradiated fuel chemistry and properties is a strong requirement for the safety assessment. As part of the recently granted European project EUDURANCE, we are looking for a PhD candidate that will work on this challening task.


The candidate will perform research combining experimental activities and thermodynamic modelling. Some of the key activities of the PhD project will include:

- the development of a set-up to measure density of molten chloride and fluoride salts;

- the synthesis and purification of relevant molten salt compositions;

- the measurement of melting temperatures, heat capacity, density, viscosity and thermal conductivity of molten fuel salts;

- the development of models for phase equilibria, density, viscosity and thermal conductivity based on the CALPHAD methodology;

- the performance of application calculations and beanchmarking using the developed models.


The PhD project will involve a strong collaboration with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Karlsruhe, Germany (JRC Karlsruhe, It is foressen that the candidate spends 1 year at the JRC-Karlsruhe to perform experiments on viscosity and thermal conductivity measurements.



Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are looking for an outstanding candidate with a completed Master’s degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science or a related field. Candidate should have an affinity for multidisciplinary fields of research and a hands-on attitude towards experimental work. Experimental skills and computer skills in thermodynamic modelling are also highly desirable. We expect creativity, flexibility and ability to co-operate within an interdisciplinary research group. Excellent communication skills, including good written and spoken English, as well as the ability to conduct independent scientific work are required. The candidate will be based for 3 years at the TU Delft, and for 1 year at the JRC-Karslruhe to perform experimental work. Delft University of Technology is a bilingual organisation; fluency in English is essential.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 48 maanden.

 Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Program is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customizable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organize events to expand your (social) network.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. Challenge. Change. Impact!



The department of Radiation Science & Technology has unique expertise in using ionizing radiation such as positrons and neutrons for research and education. We have direct access to our 2.3 MW nuclear research reactor equipped with advanced beam-line instruments, irradiation facilities and radiological laboratories, and to the Holland Particle Therapy Center including the proton beam research bunker. Our research focuses on materials science with emphasis on energy conversion and storage, health technology for imaging and diagnostics, radionuclide therapy and proton therapy. Innovative and sustainable nuclear energy is part of our portfolio as well. The department provides education to students in the fields of physics, chemistry and biomedical sciences. It counts about 20 PI’s, 20 support staff and 70 PhD students and postdocs.

Additional information

The PhD project is expected to start on 1st October 2024, and to run for a period of 4 years. The PhD candidate will have the opportunity to exchange with other partners of the ENDURANCE European project during project meetings, as well as to present his work at ENDURANCE meetings and international conferences.  


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD05274


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Application procedure

To apply, please upload a CV, along with a motivation letter, a copy of your university degree, and grades for the bachelor and master programs, by 15 June 2024. The application will be received by Dr Anna L. Smith, associate professor,   

Application procedure

Application procedure

To apply, please upload a CV, along with a motivation letter, a copy of your university degree, and grades for the bachelor and master programs, by 15 June 2024. The application will be received by Dr Anna L. Smith, associate professor,   

Make sure to apply no later than 15 Jun 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).