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COULD UPDATED NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY OFFER DECARBONISATION SOLUTION?

COULD UPDATED NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY OFFER DECARBONISATION SOLUTION?

Monday, November 9, 2020  (Comments: 1)

UK company Core-Power believes it has a solution to ocean transportation's decarbonisation dilemma, in the form of the marine Molten Salt reactor (m-MSR), which it says could be used to power the largest ships as well as play a part in the production of 'green' alternative fuels.

Described by the company as an 'atomic battery pack', the m-MSR is compact, has no moving parts, is inherently safe, and is fuelled for life, avoiding waste and proliferation of spent fuel. The company says it works out at around one-third cheaper to run than a large fossil fuelled engine. It massively reduces waste, and is fuelled-for-life, avoiding proliferation of spent fuel.

The m-MSR uses a fluid fuel in the form of very hot fluoride or chloride salt infused with a ‘hot’ fissile material, instead of the solid fuel rods which are used in conventional pressurised nuclear reactors (PWRs). It operates at very high temperatures under only ambient pressure, and can be made small enough to provide ‘micro-grid-scale’ electric power for energy hungry assets, like large ships. Because of this, they can be mass-manufactured to bring the cost of energy down below that of gas, diesel and even renewables.

Core-Power sys there are two basic types of MMR: ‘Fast-spectrum’ reactors, which are best operated with chloride salts, and ‘Thermal-spectrum’ reactors, which are best operated with fluoride salts. Fluoride reactors are best suited to run a Thorium fuel cycle (Th232/U233), whilst Chloride reactors are best run using the Uranium fuel cycle (U235-8). Either type is thought to offer sustainable and safe electric power for ships over a lifespan up to 30 years onboard with no refuelling and no realistic proliferation concerns.

The company is part of a consortium, along with Southern Company, TerraPower and Orano which has applied to the US Department of Energy under its Advanced Reactor Demonstration Programme to build a prototype MSR, as a proof-of-concept for a medium-scale commercial-grade reactor.

Mikal Bøe, Core-Power CEO, said: "We’re pleased to work with such outstanding partners in developing game-changing technology to help transport and industry transition to a clean energy future. The implications of the MSR for transport and industry could be transformational, as we seek to build scale-appropriate technology and broad acceptance of modern and durable liquid-fuelled atomic power to shape the future of how we deal with climate change."

Reader Comments (1)

Let's get one in operation and move this forward. There are risks with everything.

By Neal Blossom on Tuesday, November 10, 2020

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