Canadian IMSR developer Terrestrial Energy said Wednesday that it had received notice from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) that it has successfully completed the first phase of the CNSC’s pre-licensing vendor design review for its Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) nuclear power plant design. This represents the first regulatory opinion by a western nuclear regulator of a commercial advanced reactor power plant design.
Terrestrial Energy Chief Executive Officer Simon Irish called the event "a landmark achievement." The accomplishment "places the company as an early leader in a fast growing technology sector," he said, calling the IMSR a "transformative energy technology that is now one step closer to making a major contribution to the world’s growing demand for low-cost, clean and reliable energy.”
Commercializing an advanced reactor power plant design such as the IMSR involves a range of activities that must be undertaken at an early stage to support deployment. These include regulatory and industrial engagement, site selection, and government support. Terrestrial Energy was the first company to have its IMSR design enter the regulatory process in Canada and is now the first to have its design assessed.
The company, which is the recipient of a Sustainable Development Technology Canada grant, is currently studying the feasibility of a number of sites in North America, including Canadian Nuclear Laboratories at Chalk River, Ontario for building its first commercial power plant. Its plant design "is the first and only advanced reactor power plant project to enter the invitation-only stage of the U.S. Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program for construction financing support, with Idaho National Laboratory under consideration as a lead site," the company noted.
“International energy agencies recognize that intermittent renewables such as wind and solar alone cannot meet all the demands of a global clean energy system and agree that nuclear energy will play a critical role in meeting our future energy needs. Advanced reactors offer a new and transformative set of nuclear technologies that are zero-emission, have far greater industrial application, and make nuclear power plants more economical and easier to finance” Irish said.
The CNSC’s vendor design review verifies that the reactor’s design meets the basic requirements for a nuclear power plant in Canada but does not certify or license the reactor.
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