Recent studies on the biological effects of radiation at essentially zero levels of radiation demonstrated that the absence of radiation is not good for organisms. Removing almost all traces of radioactivity from their environment inhibited bacterial growth and caused stress-related genes to turn on. Background and higher levels of radiation did not cause any adverse effects. These results are in direct contradiction to the Linear No-Threshold (LNT) dose hypothesis, adopted 60 years ago in the absence of data, that assumes all radiation is bad.
China National Nuclear Corp. and Terrapower will build the first unit in China and then deploy commercial versions of the sodium-cooled fast reactor to global markets within 15 years.
In the 1980s the Kentucky legislature enacted a law, as one of the leading coal states in the county, which said, in effect, “nuclear energy, drop dead.” Nearly four decades later the state may be on the path to reversing the moratorium and with that action, gaining new jobs for the Paducah uranium site.
Meredith Angwin was interviewed by Pat McDonald on her TV show “Vote for Vermont.” The subject was Vermont energy after Vermont Yankee. Adams embeds the show and summarizes it. He notes McDonald’s surprise at seeing that most of New England’s non-hydro renewable electricity is made by burning wood and burning trash.
Terrestrial Energy – Integrated MSR (IMSR)
The Integral MSR is also based on the MSR Experiment but has been modified to have a more sealed, passive approach. The design team is based in Canada with international involvement and support. An 80 MWth prototype reactor is proposed.
Operating in the thermal spectrum with a graphite moderator inside the sealed unit, it can fit on the back of an articulated truck. This unit contains the fuel salt, moderator, heat exchangers and pumps. The plant is fuelled with 5% low enriched uranium where the U-235 is denatured with U-238. This core is modular, designed for a high power density and replacement after a seven year cycle in a plant with an overall lifetime of over thirty years. This ‘seal and swap’ approach reduces on site complications and risks. Using low enriched uranium, it has a fuel cycle with which regulators are familiar. This proposal is suitable for developing fully and launching commercially immediately.
Terrestrial Energy’s IMSR features self-contained reactor Core-unit, where all key components are permanently sealed for operating lifetime. At the end of 7-year design life, the IMSR Core-unit is shut down to cool. Power is switched to a new IMSR Core-unit, in an adjacent silo within the facility. Once sufficiently cool, the spent IMSR Core-unit is removed and prepared for long-term storage, a process similar to existing industry protocols for long-term nuclear waste containment. The sealed nature of the IMSR Core-unit offers low-cost operational safety and simplicity.
Dr. David LeBlanc presented for Terrestrial Energy at TEAC7 (Thorium Energy Alliance Conference #7), held in 2015 Palo Alto.