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.

Background

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