The Molten Salts Reactor (MSR) technology is one of the categories identified by IAEA for Small Modular Reactors (SMR). Specifically, the MSRs use molten salts as nuclear fuel and primary coolant, both mixed in many cases, to produce and transport heat to the secondary loops or directly to the steam generation plants for electric power production. There are several Gen-IV SMR MSRs currently in development. This article describes the features of this type of nuclear reactor taking as basis the Moltex one.
Moltex Energy is developing its patented unique designs for the Stable Salts Reactor Waste-burner (SSR-W) and Waste to Stable Salts reprocessing facility (WATSS). The combination of both facilities allows the reprocessing of current spent fuel stockpiles coming from nuclear power plants in operation (CANDU, PWR, BWR, VVER,…), transforming them in new low enrichment fresh fuel capable to be used in the molten salts reactor.
Inherent safety features like the use of nuclear fuel with negative reactivity coefficient, passive ultimate heat removal systems based on natural air convection, unpressurized heat production systems, solubility of gaseous fission products in the molten salt primary coolant, allow the application of simplicity principle into the design as the main driver to push forward a new paradigm in clean energy generation.
Moltex design incorporates also the molten salts storage GridReserve®, which provides a solution to cover the peak demand periods through a thermal heat storage that is charged during low demand periods. This system makes possible to run the reactor at full power continuously in an electrical distributed grid powered by renewables.
As a result of all these innovations, Moltex offers competitive nuclear energy in a deregulated and atomized power distribution system, offering an alternative production option whose costs would be even lower than current electricity generation from fossil fuels.
Since 2015 Moltex is leading a multinational engineering effort pursuing the objective of building the First Of A Kind (FOAK) demonstration facility in the province of New Brunswick (Canada) by late 2020s. Following investment in 2019, the Spanish engineering company, IDOM Consulting, Engineering & Architecture (IDOM) is part of this international consortium collaborating with Moltex Energy from offices in North America and Europe, in the effort to reach a new green economy where environmental responsibility is the key point.