Economics and Finance of Molten Salt Reactors

MSR (Molten Salt Reactor) is a fast or thermal reactor technology cooled by molten salts in the liquid phase and moderated, in most cases, by the graphite. In this technology, the fuel can be in either liquid or solid form.

Economics of Molten Salt Nuclear Reactors

Progress in Nuclear Energy. Volume 129, November 202. Economics and Finance of Molten Salt Reactors

Moir and other previous analysis reaches the following two main results:
– LCOE of a 1000 MWe MSR (20% enriched): $36.5/MWh;
– LCOE of a 1000 MWe MSR is 7% lower than an equal size PWR and 9% lower than an equal size coal plant.

However, the analysis does not consider the impact on the cost of several items such as safety, licensing, and environmental standard.

Terrestrial Energy’s 195 MWe IMSR uses graphite as moderator and molten salts as coolant. Terrestrial Energy’s IMSR is envisaged to adopt modular construction. The 195 MWe IMSR power plant plan is for 4 year construction timeline and an upfront investment of less than $1 Billion. IMSRs could dispatch power at under $50/MWh.

The ThorCon is a 250 MWe scaled-up version of the Oak Ridge MSR Experiment which will use graphite as moderator and a mixture of sodium and beryllium fluoride salts as coolant. Thorcon NPP drawing presents two 250 MWe power modules. They estimation $800–1000/kWe and an electricity generation cost of $30/MWh for a 500 MWe ThorCon NPP. This would drop significantly with a mass production system using shipyards for construction.

Moltex Energy’s SSRs are modular with a size flexible from 150 MWe to 1200 MWe. Moltex Energy commissioned a cost estimation from Atkins Ltd (nuclear engineering company), which estimated a cost to build a NOAK 1 GWe SSR of $2083/kWe. The estimated cost range was $1339-3703/kWe (Energy Economist, 2015). Moltex estimates capital cost of 1 GWe SRR is estimated at $1950/kWe and the LCOE at $44.64/MWh.

The Elysium’s MCSFR is a size-flexible (50–1200 MWe) MSR will use Chloride based Fuel Salt as coolant. There is no detailed cost analysis for this reactor.

SOURCES – Economics and Finance of Molten Salt Reactors
Written By Brian Wang.

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