Terrestrial Energy And Oak Ridge National Lab To Advance Molten Salt Reactors To Blueprint Stage

Canadian integral molten salt reactor developer Terrestrial Energy Inc. said it would collaborate with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to bring its proprietary small reactor concepts from research and development phase to the engineering blueprint stage, which it expects to have completed in late 2016.

Oak Ridge Laboratory was the site of early work on molten salt reactors, having successfully run a 7.4 MWth MSR prototype from 1965 to 1969. Terrestrial Energy's basic concept advances lessons learned with the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment at Oak Ridge, which Terrestrial Energy credits with remaining at the forefront of research in advanced nuclear technologies.

The basis for Terrestrial Energy's IMSR development includes concepts and operational data first developed in Oak Ridge, the company said in a statement.

Former Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) divisional director Dr. David Hill and John Richard Engel, who played a central role at the laboratory in molten salt reactor development at ORNL are both on Terrestrial Energy's International Advisory Board, extending the familiarity between the Canadian company and ORNL, which is the largest U.S. Department of Energy science and energy laboratory.

Commercializing MSR technology will require participation by the private sector, said Dr. David Holcomb, the Department of Energy's representative to the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) technical steering committee on MSRs.

That points right to Terrestrial Energy, which is working on MRS technology as a potential technological path to development of small modular nuclear reactors with models ranging from 80 MWth to 600 MWth, which would be small to relatively modest capacity generators “ideally suited for remote communities and industrial operations, including on- and off-grid power provision,” the company said.

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