THOR - Thermal-Hydraulics Open-access Research

THOR - Schematic Loop Design

Water Thermal-Hydraulics (T/H) loop for open-access R&D at M-SParc

  • Designed, built and operated by Nuclear Futures Bangor RDTH
  • Yields an accessible platform for collaboration partners and other interested parties
  • Creates local and national capability & competence within the T/H field
  • Supports development of instrumentation, digital infrastructure and rig hardware
  • Applies a step-wise approach through an upgradeable and modifiable concept

First, generic procurement phase completed in April 2020

  • Variable speed pump; secondary heat exchanger
  • Flow meter; high speed camera and supporting stereo vision camera systems
  • Data acquisition systems; computation system; controls and instrumentation infrastructure, software and hardware
Optimised design from September 2020
  • Proceeding from major component layout to loop simulation, dimensioning and component design
  • Hall preparations and design finalisation underway
  • Platform for digital twinning – Nuclear Virtual Engineering Capability
  • Manufacture and first installations underway

Preliminary Design Specs

Basic Loop Design Criteria

  • Electric power output ≤ 50 kW
  • Height 6.5 m
    • Reconfigurable test section 4 m
  • Two principal function modes:
    • Forced circulation
    • Natural circulation
  • Flow rates 0.5-2.5 kg/s
  • System pressures up to 16 bar
    • Support for temperatures ≈ 202°C 
  • Design enhancements resulting from optimisation
    • Horizontal test section
    • Boiler vessel for steam generation and liquid/steam storage
    • Steam pump


Academic partners

  • International: KTH Stockholm, ETH Zürich
  • Domestic: Imperial College, University of Liverpool
  • In discussions: MIT, University of New Brunswick

Industry and institutes

  • Vessco Engineering, Westinghouse, Jacobs, Rolls-Royce
  • National labs: UKAEA, NNL
  • In discussions: EDF Energy, STFC Daresbury


  • 4K Cameras: 2 x Z Cam Cinema E2
  • Analog Output Module: National Instruments NI9266 DSUB
  • Circulating pump: Lowara E-SV Series
  • Data Acquisition Computer: Corsair Obsidian Series 750D, Airflow Edition
  • Data Analysis Computer: Fractal Define 7 XL
  • Flow Control Sensor: Rheonik Mass Flow Controler 26 Coriolis Mass Flow Transmitter RHE26
  • Hi-speed Camera: Vision Research AMETEK Materials Phantom VEO 640L
  • Lens: 2 x Olympus M. Zuiko Premium 30mm f3.5 Macro
  • Lighting:  LUMIN-8 600D (Daylight) & LUMIN-8- 600BI (bi-COLOUR) LED Light
  • Monitor: ASUS TUF VG289
  • Oil Heat Exchanger: Nissens HP Oil Cooler
  • Read/Write Card: AV Pro CF
  • Signal Acquisition Electronics Unit: Bespoke ETH Zurich system
  • Software: Labview
  • Video Stand: Manfrotto 502 ALU Single Leg Video System