Highlights from the MTLM 2024 Conference

The Measurement Techniques for Liquid Metals (MTLM) 2024 workshop was an event that brought together researchers and experts from various fields to discuss the latest advancements in Europes sodium fast reactor R&D activities and related fields as liquid metal instrumentation. Here’s a detailed overview of the key highlights from this unforgettable conference.

An International Participation

With more than 45 participants from 18 institutions spanning 3 continents and 10 countries, MTLM 2024 reaffirmed its status as a premier gathering for specialists in sodium fast reactors. The countries with the highest representation were Germany with 20 participants, followed by France with 11, and the UK with 3. This diverse group of attendees underscored the global commitment to advancing research and innovation in this field.

The conference featured representatives from prestigious academic institutions as well as from different industries, including:

  • Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) – Host
  • Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA)
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • University of Cambridge
  • Renaissance Fusion

Other notable institutions included SCK CEN, STUBA, Universität Stuttgart, and Argonne National Laboratory, among others. This diverse mix of institutions highlighted the collaborative spirit that is essential for driving innovation in nuclear energy.

Technical content

The conference agenda was packed with insightful sessions and contributions, including 7 sessions with 22 contributions from participants sharing their latest research findings and developments, covering various aspects of sodium fast reactors and liquid metal instrumentation e.g., eddy current flow meters, ultrasound based and inductive measurement techniques, X-Ray and neutron imaging. A keynote speech on safety considerations of liquid metal cooled reactors set the tone for the discussions and provided a comprehensive overview of the current state and future prospects of sodium fast reactors.

Hands-On Learning and Lab Visits

One of the standout features of MTLM 2024 was the emphasis on practical learning: Participants had the opportunity to engage in hands-on experiments in HZDRs Magnetohydrodynamics lab and learn about ultrasound Doppler velocimetry, inductive bubble detection and eddy current flow measurements for half a day.

The other half was devoted to lab visits to some of HZDRs large-scale facilities, including:

  • ROFEX, an ultrafast X-Ray tomograph to non-invasively investigate highly transient phenomena e.g., two-phase flows, with up 8,000 cross-sectional images per second and a spatial resolution of about 1 mm (https://www.hzdr.de/db/Cms?pOid=30242&pNid=393)
  • DRESDYN, the DREsden Sodium facility for DYNamo and thermohydraulic studies, an infrastructure project devoted both to large scale liquid sodium experiments with geo- and astrophysical background, as well as to investigations of various energy related technologies (https://www.hzdr.de/db/Cms?pOid=40412&pNid=3163)
  • HZDRs Magnetohydrodynamics Lab with the impressive liquid metal model caster LIMMCAST (https://www.hzdr.de/db/Cms?pOid=25444&pNid=3164), including the liquid metal battery lab.

These sessions provided insights into the latest experimental techniques and technologies being developed to enhance the safety, monitoring, and flexibility of sodium fast reactors. The interest of the participants to learn more on all these topics was enormous and time flew by rapidly. Many participants would have loved to stay longer and learn more – a few even did and continued the discussions until late evening.

A Collaborative Effort

The success of MTLM 2024 is a testament to the collaborative efforts of the global scientific community. By bringing together Ph.D. students, senior scientists, and industry experts, the conference fostered an environment of shared knowledge and collective problem-solving. This collaborative approach is crucial as we continue to explore innovative solutions for sustainable and safe nuclear energy.