Moltex was founded in 2014 by Dr. Ian Scott, and was privately funded until 2018. Moltex’s mission is to enable low-cost clean energy as a practical economic solution.
On 2018-07-13, New Brunswick Power and NB Government agreed to build, own and operate a SSR-W300, with New Brunswick and Moltex each funding CAD $5,000,000 towards development. Moltex Energy’s North American headquarters is in Saint John, NB.
Moltex is currently part way through Phase 1 of 2 of Canadian Vendor Design Review.
They are one of eight reactor designs competing for about 56 million pounds in funding in the UK.
In 2016, Moltex talked to Nuclear Energy Insider and said their overnight capital cost would be under $2/W based on an independent cost estimate by a leading UK engineering firm. Further reductions to this overnight cost are expected for modularised construction. For comparison, the capital cost of a modern pulverized coal power station in the U.S. is $3.25/W and the cost of Hinkley Point C is $7.46/W.
$2 per watt capital costs are about the level of cost that China has for nuclear plant construction.
The overnight capital cost of the SSR is estimated at $1.95/W based on a 1 GW plant, according to Moltex Energy. In comparison, U.S. overnight capital cost of coal-fired generation is estimated at $3.25/W, gas-fired generation at around $1/W and large-scale nuclear at $5.5/W, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a 2013 study.
Lower-cost nuclear reactors would be able to compete for 30% of the estimated world energy market in 2040.
The Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) of the SSR is estimated at $44.64/MWh for a 1 GW plant and this is based on highly-conservative estimates for Operations and Maintenance (O&M) costs, O’Sullivan said.
This LCOE is far below the EIA’s cost projections for new coal and gas-fired units in 2020, at $95/MWh and $75/MWh, respectively.
Canada’s Terrestrial Energy has said the overnight capital cost of its molten salt reactor design also competes favorably against fossil fuel plants and has projected a LCOE of $40-$50/MWh for a 300MWe plant.
This low capital cost results in a Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) of just $44/MWhr with substantial potential to be yet lower
Adam Owens of https://moltexenergy.com/ outlines Moltex Energy’s 3 reactor designs:
Each one targets a different world market, with the primary distinction being SSR-W is fueled by Plutonium from spent reactor fuel.
00:48 Moltex technology portfolio is described
02:07 Rapid deployment – avoid hardest regulatory hurdles
02:50 Gigawatt scale
03:29 first-of-kind MSR technology investable by private industry
04:40 3 variants of fuel cycle: SSR-W, SSR-U, SSR-Th
05:25 Grid reserve – act as a peaking plant like a CCGT
06:37 WATSS – WAste To Stable Salt
07:10 Moltex company background – founded in 2014
08:05 Activities in UK – AMR Feasibility Study
09:07 Activities in Canada – Vendor Design Review
10:13 MOU with New Brunswick Power (Canada) Pilot SSR
11:42 SSR-W (Stable Salt Reactor Waste Burner)
14:20 SSR-U (Stable Salt Reactor 5% low-enriched Uranium)
15:51 SSR-Th (Stable Salt Reactor Thorium breeder)
16:54 Deployment Roadmap – requires a mix of all 3 reactors
– Fast-spectrum Wasteburner fueled by Pu from spent fuel.
– Molten chloride salt fuel, NaCl-AnCl3 fueled.
– Primary coolant is NaF-KF-ZrF4.
– WATSS (Waste to Stable Salt) recovers An/Ln from spent oxide fuel liabilities.
– Core modules contain reactor core components inc pumps and heat exchangers.
– SSR-W1000 is an identical design with more modules in a longer tank.
– Low Enriched Uranium Burner (~5%).
– Molten UFx salt fuel.
– Adopts current water reactor fuel cycle infrastructure.
– Design heavily-related to SSR-W.
– Larger core volume than SSR-W.
– Thorium Breeder.
– Molten UFx salt fuel.
– Thorium-based coolant supplants the zirconium-based coolant.
– Fertile primary coolant NaF-ThF4.
– Bismuth extraction column extracts Pa/U into a U238 diluent.
– ~5% U233 alloy is processed back into stable salt fuel.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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