What Are Salt Reactors? | Molten Salt Reactor News and Advantages

  • Moltex Energy, a small UK company, has crowdfunded millions of dollars by setting up its new type of nuclear fission it calls the Stable Salt Reactor (SSR).
  • Stable salt reactors would be safer than traditional plants, the company argues, because they throw away uranium fuel rods in favor of a type of molten salt that cannot react violently to any situation.
  • This is one of several new types of nuclear energy that are being explored.

    A small UK nuclear company, Moltex Energy, has raised £ 6m ($ 7.5m) through crowdfunding investment site Shadow Fundr. The investment allows the company to begin a pre-licensing process in Canada, do more business in the UK and further develop its signature technology, a stable salt reactor (SSR).

    There are different types of nuclear fission, broken down according to the materials used to moderate and / or cool the intense heat given off by the process. One of them is called a molten salt reactor (MSR), which is moderated and cooled by circulating a molten salt. It is not your typical table salt, but usually a mixture of lithium fluoride and beryllium fluoride.

    According to Moltex, one advantage of an MSR is safety: no gases are generated and the reaction takes place at atmospheric pressure, so that the explosive release of radioactive material is not possible. According to Moltex, the SSR is a further development of the MSR, which makes it possible to use the technology without radical new developments.

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    This is how it works: The fuel salt is in ventilated tubes, similar to today’s uranium fuel rods that are used in conventional plants. The tubes are then placed in an assembly tank similar to those used in pressurized water reactors today. In water reactors, this is the final stage in converting uranium into a functioning fuel rod.

    In a Moltex assembly tank, according to the company, it would then be filled with “safe molten salt coolant, which in today’s power reactors is not pressurized like gas or water coolant and does not react violently with air and water”. Then a second coolant system would transfer some of the heat to a reserve system. According to Moltex, this reserve heat could be used during an energy crisis or simply to supplement other renewable energy sources.

    “With the UK committed to being a net-zero carbon economy by 2050, intermittent renewable sources cannot do all the work on their own: a variable source of electricity is required to bridge the gap between supply and demand. Today that source is Gas. Moltex’s new fission technology has a variable capacity and can replace gas in the national grid, making CO2-free electricity generation a reality, “the company said in a press release.

    “Zero carbon is one thing, but electricity also has to be cheap,” the statement said. “Fossil fuels will be eliminated for good when the alternatives are cheaper, and Moltex does just that: electricity from abundant sources, carbon-free, at a price below the cost of coal or gas. In addition, cheaper electricity will accelerate electricity . ” Decarbonisation of heating and transport. “

    The company not only finances the construction of a nuclear reactor through crowdfunding. In July, the company received a $ 2.55 million grant from the US Department of Energy’s ARPA-E energy development program.

    There is a global race to research into the next, safer generation of nuclear technology. Purdue University is experimenting with nuclear reactors giving up the classic analog look and finally switching to digital. In addition to Moltex’s SSR cleavage, there are also thorium plants, for which entrepreneur and Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is advocating, and traveling wave reactors, one of whose champions is Bill Gates.

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