Modular Molten Salt Reactors Starting 2028

Late in 2021, Terrestrial Energy has unveiled an upgraded 390-MWe design of its Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR®) power plant to meet utility requirements and boost its cost-competitiveness as part of an effort to ramp up its candidacy for deployment at Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG’s) Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. Terrestrial Energy announced a series of developments that could further its bid to commercialize the Generation IV small modular reactor (SMR) technology and begin operating its first plant by 2028.

UPDATE – Ontario Power Generation Darlington selected GEH BWXT boiler water reactor. Terrestrial Energy is now working to get its first reactor deployed in the UK or the USA.

The old design was half as large (195-MWe plant). The IMSR is a Generation IV molten-salt reactor that operates at 700C. It supplies its steam turbines with superheated steam at 600C, which potentially raises the system’s fuel efficiency to up to 48%. Regular nuclear reactors have fuel efficiency around 30-35% with lower operating temperatures.

Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG’s) resumed planning activities to build an SMR of up to 300 MW as early as 2028 at its Darlington Nuclear Station in Clarington, Ontario. This is Canada’s only site that holds a preparation license for future new nuclear development, with a completed and accepted Environmental Assessment (EA). The utility’s indicative schedule assumes that the CNSC (Canada’s nuclear regulator) will issue a license to build by 2024, and a license to operate by 2027. Last October, meanwhile, OPG kicked off advanced engineering and design work for that project by choosing three SMR developers: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), Terrestrial Energy, and X-energy.

X-energy won U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Advanced Reactor Demonstration (ARDP) program. They have a prime contract with the agency worth about $1.23 billion to build a commercial four-unit power plant based on its Xe-100 reactor design, an 80-MWe/200-MWth (565C steam) pebble-bed high-temperature gas reactor. Under the ARDP, X-Energy is working to operate a 320-MWe “four-pack” project in Washington State in 2027. The DOE’s funding will also support X-energy’s delivery of a commercial-scale fuel fabrication facility for its proprietary TRISO-X fuel.

GEH BWRX-300 SMR can be deployed by as early as 2028. The BWRX-300’s candidacy at Darlington is an improvement on the old boiling water reactor. The BWRX-300 is derived from the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) design.

Terrestrial says one edge it offers is that the IMSR400 uses “nuclear fuel at standard enrichment,” making it “the only Generation IV SMR power plant designed to do this today.” That aspect avoids “the considerable cost and time of re-licensing uranium enrichment plants and removes hurdles to commercialization, hastening deployment.”

On Sept. 28, Terrestrial announced a memorandum of understanding with Saskatoon-based First Nations Power Authority (FNPA)—the only North American, non-profit, indigenous-owned and controlled power developer—to explore development of SMR technologies to benefit indigenous communities in Canada. Terrestrial might be able to build small reactors on Indian land.

SOURCES- Power Mag, Terrestrial Energy

21 thoughts on “Modular Molten Salt Reactors Starting 2028”

  1. They can put up with that risk, it is the risk of not getting approval from the NRC which did deny OKLO application without prejudice.
    Two dangers, fusion,and ThorCon which is working in Indonesia and will have cheap power for molten salt reactors burning HALEU and Thorium.

  2. NuScale, by its owner Fluor,and Terra Power by its owners including but not limited to Bill Gates.Warren Buffet is a big investor in the Natrium project in Wyoming,foriegn companies although some get government help ,still get private investment in Russia China and Korea.

  3. They need to make a solid idiot-proof design, then build them in a factory. Have them all inspected at several stages of the build process, and then again at completion.
    Super safe, with economies of scale.
    This is the real green energy. The "Greens" will hate it because it's not insane.

  4. Private entities will pay to build nukes just as soon as they don't have to worry about the government shutting them down after all the money is spent. In the current regulatory regime, you'd have to be mad to spend your own money building a nuke, knowing that even if it's been approved, you're only one election away from that approval being yanked.

  5. You're a bit behind the times: It's solar and windmills that get the knee pads. Oil gets their pipelines canceled despite having approvals on file.

  6. Really, billions? So who is investing in these fission companies? Fusion gets plenty of money (Helion got 2 billion USB!!), but fission..? Links please..

  7. Plans make the most beautiful slideshows. I could listen to Sorenson all day.

    Do wake me up when they've built one

  8. Hey, if I can have bottle-drink sized zero point energy, I'm drinking it. "Hey y'all, watch this!" Just scrambling for that Darwin Award!!!

  9. auchoNote that the US is funding a slight improvement over the old reactors. Of course the reactor must use enriched fuel and will have a 1/2 life of 10,000 years for the spent fuel. The Canadian system will use molten salt and thorium and a 1/2 life of 500 years. The oligarchs in this country will only allow things that delay the move to green energy. SOS

    Again with general fusion they moved to Canada. Anywhere BUT the US since Congress has specially made knee pads for the Oil industry.

  10. When eventually shipping container sized fusion is available, Brian will be writing that someone else is almost ready with drink-bottle size zero point energy or something.

  11. Unfortunately, Terrestrial has chosen to appoint Canada's antinuclear zealot former Prime Minister Harper to its board making Terrestrial appear to be a scam. Harper blocked all Candu development during his hegemony then gave away Canada's $23B investment in Candu tech to cronies at SNC Lavalin who as part of the agreement have done nothing with the tech.

  12. It would be nice to have these quickly, but it'll be interesting to see if they remain viable once shipping container sized fusion reactors become widely available and are shown to be efficient. I've heard a lot surrounding efficiency versus expense of those things, though, so I know it remains to be seen.

    But I could see, even though lots of people have spent lots of money on R&D snd building these reactors, that small scale fusion overtakes them.

    I'm not holding my breath, but just curious.

  13. The numbers of years it takes to get a license is the reason nuclear is expensive. Cut the bureaucracy and climate would be saved.

  14. Billions of private capital is flowing into advanced fission,NuScale is on schedule and Terrestrial Energy and X Energy will both deploy their reactors. This article left out the part about Canada a proving Westinghouse small reactor, perhaps this is an old piece.
    Billions of private capital is flowing into private fusion project so you know they are investing in advanced fission.Europe spends much more for natural gas so even ignoring climate concerns fission plants are profitable.

  15. Everyone is happy to take paychecks for development of these concepts, paid for by government R&D funding, but I will hold my breath until I hear of a private entity actually paying for building one of these latest nuclear concepts. The best recent reactors private industry in the US has payed for to date are the Vogtle reactors. I have serious doubts Terra Power or NuScale will ever become reality; they just push their dates far into the future. The whole small vs. large reactor concept, and fuel type concept/arguments, are old hat. Large won. UO2 won. Both due to economics.

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