Proponents of MSRs say they are meltdown-proof, and that they are safer and more cost effective
A couple of Transatomic Power’s young co-founders – Mark Massie and Leslie Dewan – look more Twitterati than Nuclearati. But make no mistake. They’re obsessed with nuclear power. So much so that this week, the newfangled nuclear reactor they’re developing beat over 200 inventive contestants from across all areas of energy to scoop the top award at a U.S. Department of Energy “innovation summit,” voted by investors and entrepreneurs.
Massie, Dewan and fellow co-founder and CEO Russell Wilcox – the former CEO of electronic display innovator E-Ink – are developing what’s called a “molten salt reactor” (MSR). Proponents of MSRs say they are meltdown-proof, and that they are safer and more cost effective than the conventional reactors that the nuclear industry has built for some 50 years. Transatomic’s MSR would also use existing nuclear waste as fuel, thus alleviating the vexing problem of where to store nuclear waste (see their YouTube video below).
Pitted against breakthroughs in solar, water treatment, clean fracking, biofuels and other areas, the company this week beat eight finalists in a “pitch-off“ in front of a clean technology group that included a panel of four corporate and venture capital investors who moderated the pitches.
Notably, oil giant Shell was among the investor panel, represented by Richard Smith of Shell’s GameChanger Team, which is “responsible for finding, filtering and funding revolutionary technology and business models that are related to the energy industry,” according to a web page for the DOE event, called the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit. The other investors came from VCs Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Enterprise Associates, and Clean Energy Venture Group.
In fact, Shell was a co-sponsor that helped bring together the original 200-plus entrants in the contest, organized for DOE by New York-based Future Energy, a group that hosts a series of technology-investor match-ups.
Some industry watchers believe that the oil and gas industry will help fund and develop alternative reactors like MSRs, not only as a future source of energy for the public, but also because new and smaller nuclear reactors (MSRs can be made in affordable small sizes) could provide clean and effective heat that hydrocarbon companies would use in their own industrial processes. Oil and gas companies today rely on CO2-emitting fossil fuels to provide that high temperature “process heat.”
Other high temperature manufacturing industries like steel and cement could also benefit.
Molten salt reactors run at much higher temperatures than conventional solid-fuel reactors, which makes them more efficient. They put a radioactive element – uranium or thorium – into a liquid, which is a molten salt. Molten salts flow like water but have a much higher boiling point, which is good when you want to keep the liquid circulating. They are highly effective at absorbing and exchanging heat, which is what nuclear plants do – they tap heat from nuclear reactions to drive turbines.
MSR supporters say they are meltdown-proof because in the event of a malfunction the fuel drains harmlessly into a tank and the nuclear reactions stops. In conventional nuclear, although control rods can stop fission reactions, decay heat can build into a meltdown if cooling systems fail, as happened at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011. MSRs also function at normal atmospheric pressure, rather than at the high pressure of many conventional reactors.
Transatomic has referred to its reactor in the past as a “Waste Annihilating Molten Salt Reactor” (WAMSR), although the ARPA-E contest refers to it by the more pedestrian moniker of “uranium molten salt reactor.”
Some MSR developers, like Flibe Energy of Huntsville, Ala., say that MSRs are best optimized by using liquid thorium fuel instead of liquid uranium.
Transatomic’s Wilcox says the company is still “fuel agnostic,” but that it is deploying first with uranium. “The reactor construction is simpler for us, there is an existing supply chain for uranium, and a uranium design lets us burn spent fuel which makes everyone happy,” he told me via email. He said that a uranium model would serve as “a stepping stone” to a thorium version.
The Latest Bing News on:
New type of nuclear power
- Why nuclear power will feature large in SA’s electricity futureon February 8, 2023 at 4:14 am
Founder and CEO at C5 Capital on how the Scorpions came into being, nuclear's future in SA and the US, and how to solve SA's energy crisis.
- China offers to participate in PHL transition to nuclear poweron February 8, 2023 at 2:58 am
THE Department of Energy (DoE) said on Wednesday that China has expressed its intention to participate in the process of integrating nuclear power in the Philippine energy mix. Michael O. Sinocruz, ...
- Rosatom plans to speed up building nuclear plant in Hungaryon February 8, 2023 at 2:23 am
Russian nuclear operator Rosatom is ready to speed up the construction of the Paks-2 nuclear power plant (NPP) in Hungary if necessary, while preparations proceed according to agreed-upon time frames, ...
- Poland is ready to go nuclearon February 7, 2023 at 6:21 am
However, the war in Ukraine and concerns over coal have inspired new plans for nuclear power in Poland. by Sergiusz Prokurat ... Fears of a recurrence of this type of event blocked any political ...
- LED Lighting Fixture for Nuclear Power Market Research Report 2023 | Highlights Growth of the Industry in Upcoming Years till 2027on February 7, 2023 at 12:10 am
The LED Lighting Fixture for Nuclear Power Market (2023-2027) Research | Updated New Report | Market is including ...
- Australia debates use of uranium and nuclear poweron February 6, 2023 at 4:00 pm
This put Australia’s then burgeoning uranium mining industry into stasis. However, the rising price of the ore driven by the revival in the global nuclear power industry following the Ukraine invasion ...
- Russia Loses World's Largest Nuclear Submarineon February 6, 2023 at 7:38 am
At 574 feet long, Dmitry Donskoy 's status as the world's largest submarine was overtaken by the 608-feet-long Belgorod nuclear submarine, which was commissioned in July 2022. Dmitry Donskoy had a ...
- New energy sector heralds novel power systemon February 3, 2023 at 3:02 pm
The new power system takes wind, solar, nuclear, biomass and other new energies as the mainstay, with other resources like coal as supplements. It highlights the advancement of technology to support a ...
- Clean energy strategy to seek ‘maximum’ use of nuclear poweron February 2, 2023 at 4:00 pm
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s new “clean energy strategy” is expected to include “the maximum utilization” of nuclear power, a reflection of the increased push from pro-nuclear energy ...
- Germany extends lifespan of all three nuclear power plantson February 2, 2023 at 2:49 am
and the construction of new hydrogen-capable gas plants to ensure security of energy supply. Scholz’s order ends weeks of infighting within his governing coalition over whether to extend the lifespan ...
The Latest Google Headlines on:
New type of nuclear power
[google_news title=”” keyword=”new type of nuclear power” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
The Latest Bing News on:
Molten salt reactor
- The Real Obstacle to Nuclear Poweron February 7, 2023 at 2:43 pm
There, digital readouts count down the minutes, T-minus style, until power begins flowing to a test unit simulating the blistering heat of a new kind of nuclear reactor. In this test run, electricity, ...
- Argonne National Lab supports advanced nuclear conceptson February 7, 2023 at 2:52 am
Although no molten salt reactors are currently commercially in use, Rose said a molten salt reactor is conducive to nuclear fuel recycling via pyroprocessing, a technology developed at Argonne.
- BARC’s thorium reactors can deliver clean energy, hydrogenon February 5, 2023 at 8:10 am
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre’s 5MW pilot project at Visakhapatnam promises to lend a quantum jump to India’s green energy transition ...
- Molten Salt Reactor Market 2023-2025 [New Report] | Players Need to Create Successful Strategies to Counter the Key Playerson February 3, 2023 at 12:36 am
The Molten Salt Reactor Market (2023-2025) Research Updated Report | Market includes the most useful information such ...
- Argonne to work with nuclear companies in 3 projects funded by the Department of Energyon February 1, 2023 at 3:59 pm
Argonne National Laboratory will be partnering with three companies as part of a voucher program provided by the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear program of the U.S. Department of ...
- Floating Nuclear Power Buoyant on New Prospectson January 31, 2023 at 9:18 pm
In July 1968, the U.S. Army sent the world’s first floating nuclear power plant, the Sturgis, to the Panama Canal to help overcome a regional hydroelectric power plant shortage, which was driven by a ...
- Global Reactores de vidrio mercado Informe: una hoja de ruta para el éxito de la industria de 2023 a 2033on January 27, 2023 at 5:33 pm
Actualizado en enero de 2023: el estudio de mercado que se acaba de publicar evaluó el crecimiento potencial del mercado global Reactores de vidrio y también proporciona estadísticas e información ...
- Estados Unidos aprueba el primer diseño de reactor nuclear modular de pequeño tamañoon January 25, 2023 at 4:27 pm
Estados Unidos acaba de dar luz verde a su primer diseño de reactor nuclear modular pequeño, un paso adelante prometedor para una fuente de energía que sigue siendo controvertida entre algunos ...
- Crónica de una visita al corazón del único reactor nuclear que hay en Colombiaon January 10, 2023 at 8:27 pm
Allí funciona el único reactor nuclear del país, el IAN-R1, avaluado en esa suma, que equivale a más de 72.000 millones de pesos. En uno de sus edificios está anclado al suelo aquel ...
- Molten Salt Reactor Market Research Report 2023-2029on January 8, 2023 at 4:00 pm
Jan 09, 2023 (The Expresswire) -- The "Molten Salt Reactor Market" provides a value chain analysis of revenue for the anticipated period from 2023 to 2029. The report will include a full and ...
The Latest Google Headlines on:
Molten salt reactor
[google_news title=”” keyword=”molten salt reactor” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]