From time to time this blog will post news items collected from various media, wire services, and press releases on progress being made to develop advanced nuclear reactors. Send your firm’s notices to: email@example.com See the directory link in the top level menu of this blog for a listing of North American advanced nuclear reactors projects.
Molten Salt Reactor Research Program Begins In Europe
7 Sep (NucNet): A consortium of research institutes and universities working under the European Commission have begun a four-year research program designed to demonstrate the safety benefits of molten salt reactors, MIT Technology Review reported. Richard Martin, the author of the article, has written extensively on prospects for thorium fueled nuclear reactors.
Called ‘Safety Assessment of the Molten Salt Fast Reactor,‘ or Samofar, the effort could lead to the building of a prototype reactor in the early 2020s, the publication said.
The organizations involved include the Technology University of Delft (TU Delft) in the Netherlands, France’s National Centre for Scientific Research, and the Commission’s Joint Research Centre in Brussels.
Molten salt reactors are powered by a liquid fuel rather than solid fuel rods. They produce zero carbon and use a radioactive solution that blends nuclear fuel with a liquid salt. They can run on uranium, but are also ideally suited for thorium, an alternative nuclear fuel that is cleaner, safer, and more abundant than uranium.
Molten salt reactors also offer inherent safety advantages. “Essentially, molten salt reactors could solve the two problems that have bedeviled the nuclear power industry: safety and waste,” MIT Technology Review said. TU Delt said one of the key challenges of the Samofar project is to understand the heat transfer in molten salt reactors during a range of conditions, both nominal and accidental.
Russia’s BN-800 gets first MOX fuel assemblies
(WNN) Russia’s Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC) said August 20 that its mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication facility has completed tests on putting together the first nuclear fuel assemblies for the BN-800 fast neutron reactor. The BN-800 is unit 4 at the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant in the Sverdlovsk district. MCC is a subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom.
“Taking into account the 30 kg batch of MOX fuel pellets produced in September 2014 met technical specification requirements. It also completes an important stage ahead of the industrial production of MOX fuel assemblies,” MCC said.
Earlier in August, the BN-800 reactor was for the second time brought to the minimum controlled power level, moving it a step closer to starting commercial operation. The unit is now expected to start operations before the end of 2015.
At one time China has placed orders for two units. In 2012 a representative of the China Institute of Atomic Energy was quoted as saying that China will postpone purchase of Russian BN-800 fast neutron reactors because of a disagreement over the price of the technology transfer. Separately, China has started development work on a 600 MW fast reactor with construction to start in 2016.
Terrestrial Energy announces appointment senior advisors.
Terrestrial Energy, a Canadian firm developing a molten salt reactor, announced that it has appointed Dr. Ray O. Johnson to its International Advisory Board. Dr. Johnson was the Chief Technology Officer of Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contracting company and the leading systems integrator for Department of Defense customers globally. Dr. Johnson brings thirty years of experience in the defense industry and in specialized technology.
The firm also announced that it has appointed Robin Rickman as Vice President of Corporate Development. Mr. Rickman joins Terrestrial Energy from Westinghouse Electric Company, where he was recently the Director of New Reactor Projects, which included its Small Modular Reactor program. Mr. Rickman has over 40 years of experience in the nuclear industry, spending equal amounts of time in the nuclear navy and the civilian nuclear power sector.
Finally, the firm said that it has appointed Christine Todd Whitman to its International Advisory Board. Ms. Whitman served as Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency from January of 2001 until June of 2003 and was also the 50th Governor of the State of New Jersey, serving from 1994 until 2001.
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