Terrestrial Energy USA has MOU for siting a molten salt nuclear reactor in Idaho

Terrestrial Energy USA and Energy Northwest have agreed a memorandum of understanding on the terms of the possible siting, construction and operation of an Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) at a site at the Idaho National Laboratory in southeastern Idaho.

Terrestrial Energy USA is an affiliate of Terrestrial Energy Inc and is developing the IMSR for deployment in the US market. Molten salt reactors use fuel dissolved in a molten fluoride or chloride salt which functions as both the reactor’s fuel and its coolant, meaning that such a reactor could not suffer from a loss of coolant leading to a meltdown. Terrestrial’s IMSR integrates the primary reactor components, including the graphite moderator, into a sealed and replaceable reactor core. The reactor can produce 400 MWt (190 MWe) of energy, and is designed as a modular reactor for factory fabrication.

Terrestrial says the IMSR can be brought to market in the 2020s. The company last year began a feasibility study to site a commercial IMSR at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ Chalk River site, and the reactor design has already completed the first phase of the Canadian Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s vendor design review. It announced in January that it plans to submit an application for design certification or for a construction permit to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission by October 2019.