Low Risk Progress to Commercial Next Generation Nuclear Reactor by 2030

The Terrestrial Energy Molten Salt reactor development avoids all risk in technology, science and regulation to build the commercial molten salt reactor by 2030. They have the first stage of regulatory approval in Canada and are working closely with Canada nuclear regulators, US nuclear regulators, Energy Utilities and US National Labs.

Nextbigfuture has been covering Molten Salt nuclear reactor development for 15 years (basically the entire life of this website). Terrestrial Energy was formed in 2013 and Nextbigfuture has covered every step Terrestrial Energy has taken and even three years before it was formed. Nextbigfuture has long believed the company is one of the most promising and likely developers of commercial molten salt nuclear reactors.

In 2012, Nextbigfuture covered David LeBlanc, Terrestrial Energy Lead Scientist and co-founder, presenting on Molten Salt Reactors.

There was 2010, interview with David LeBlanc by Joseph Friedlander for Nextbigfuture. The interview was about David LeBlanc views on Thorium nuclear reactors.

Molten Salt nuclear reactors can use Thorium and can use more highly enriched uranium to enable minimal nuclear waste. Nuclear waste mainly being Uranium 238. The even numbered nuclear isotopes are more difficult to break up than odd numbered uranium. The neutrons need to be moving about 100 times faster so that they hit the nucleus with 10,000 times the force.

Terrestrial Energy is sticking with 4.8% enriched uranium in their first designs. Low enriched uranium is the standard uranium used in current pressure water nuclear reactors. There is a slight cost penalty and a penalty where the reactor must be larger. However, the low enriched uranium molten salt reactor will still be safer, cost competitive and a breakthrough. After the lowest risk version is made and generating revenue then future iterations will be on a roadmap for development.

China is also developing Molten Salt Nuclear reactors. China’s government has the will, funds and the largest current nuclear energy industrial base. China will also develop and use Molten Salt nuclear reactors. There are many other companies workings towards the goal of commercializing this technology.


Science for Sustainability has wiki page on Terrestrial Energy which tracks their development. About half of the information is from Nextbigfuture reporting.

SOURCES- Terrestrial Energy, Science for Sustainability
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

14 thoughts on “Low Risk Progress to Commercial Next Generation Nuclear Reactor by 2030”

  1. Oh, Neil. Why didn’t you say so. You have hurt the cause more than helped it by beating us with the same thing over and over. I read that in the early ‘80s. Just FYI

  2. The stuff I have seen with Primal Science and Janov is way beyond sloppyness, actual censorship. The *O'Neil* spelling is everywhere, again, by people who think only of Island 3, not what O'Neill said about planet surfaces, an important current topic. I try to check names before using them, even if I cannot remember them. Krafft Ehricke, for example.

  3. I am not thinking only about China here, but also Musk and Bezos. A pair off tyrannical beings. US law and global treaties will be hard to enforce in space.

  4. If LWRs were so good then they would dominate the energy market. They are expensive to run and cannot produce high temperature energy for manufacturing, require expensive enrichment, have huge issues with waste, have issues with safety, are expensive to construct, and are not nuclear proliferation resistant. Other than that LWRs are great.

  5. "O'Neil " misspelling of his name is a dead giveaway that you have not read "The High Frontier" by Gerard K. O'Neill. Same thing happens with Janov, such as the footnotes are garbled so you cannot actually find the info, or the key phrase of the "Life in Hell" is blurred, or Ferenczi's name is left off of his paper in "The Assault on Truth", by J. Masson. "there will not be space for more people than planned." is an absurd statement understanding O'Neill would prevent.

  6. I totally agree. It is a bigger pie argument I make on this small topic. It is harder for power addicts to take over everything if there is more. Here, they can and have nearly taken over the whole *World* several times recently.

    Janov is the big topic as far as power addicts go. Primal Science MUST be understood and implemented or we are certainly doomed, everywhere.
    (edit: just read a story about POTUS being a *revenge addict*, so getting closer.)

    As a libertarian, I have often argued that economic and personal liberty are cross reinforcing, you cannot long have one without the other. Whether China goes with both freedoms or neither is the current question. Do the commies realize they are humiliating themselves, that they are challenging to become exemplars of repression and neurosis, of power addiction? Perhaps they will look to US as a contender in this race to permanent status as icon of mental illness. And wake up! The Primal Revolution is upon us.

  7. I'm not saying anything about feasibility O'Neil and such, but have you really thought through the implications of space and tyranny? To me space seems even more suitable for tyranny than plain old earth.

    If China has control of a cylinder, they literally have control of all air that anyone breathes. And if you want to escape, you have to get a craft capable of earth landings and it would seem really easy to control those few vehicles. Going to another space habitat (under the control of some more benign power) is probably not feasible; there will not be space for more people than planned.

    Plus, every single moment of anyone in space will be monitored by cameras and AI. China is already developing an extensive system of monitoring for morals, behavior and more ("social points"). Space is the perfect place for a perfect implementation of this system. So the system will know who is likely to want to defect and these people will be kept away from "temptation". Or they just make sure to keep his/her girlfriend/boyfriend/children in such a way that an escape of the complete family is impossible. Like they do today on earth.

    No, your idea that space would be a solution for tyranny is just as naive as the idea that making China rich would automatically make it free….

  8. China the civilization. I doubt the current gov could tolerate the people even thinking of such freedoms. We would be in a heap of doo doo without O'Neill perspective.

  9. This is our advantage against China. Although China population is four times bigger, we have Canada to develop new nuclear technology, SpaceX to develop new rockets and a plethora of multinational big tech companies based here to keep the edge in AI, quantum computing etc. Japan, UK, the EU, India and Israel to help keep our interests abroad. These system will always do better than a centralized government of one big country that is trying to gain an edge in all of that.

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