- ThorCon to Develop 50MW Thorium Fueled Reactor in Indonesia Leading to 500MW Units Built in Shipyards.
- Rosatom Pitches Indonesia for Conventional Light Water Reactors
- CEZ Signs Framework Deal with Czech Govt for New Nuclear Unit
ThorCon to Develop 50MW Thorium Fueled Reactor
According to ThorCon, the firm and Indonesia’s Defence Ministry have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to study developing a 50 MW thorium molten salt reactor (TMSR) for either power generation or marine vehicle propulsion. In an email to this blog, Robert Hargraves, a spokesman for ThorCon, said several developments are taking place in Indonesia for the company.
- The ongoing work to develop shipyard-produced thorium/uranium fueled power plants generating electricity cheaper than coal, and the MOU establishes the basis for providing technical advice for building 50 MW thorium fueled plants. ThorCon is a graphite-moderated thermal spectrum molten salt reactor.
- In 2019 the Ministry of Energy successfully completed a study of the safety, economics, and grid impact of the 500 MW prototype ThorConIsle (Fact Sheet – PDF file).
- Phase 1 is to build and test it with step by step commissioning, ending in a licence for future power plants. Phase 2 is shipyard production of multiple 500MW ThorCon plants to provide an additional 3000MW of cheap, reliable electric power.
The MOU was signed by the head of ministry’s Defense Research and Development Agency, Dr Anne Kusmayati, and ThorCon International Chief Representative Bob S. Effendi. According to the ThorCon statement, the project expects to make significant progress by 2025.
The proposed reactor is, however, much smaller than a fully commercial 500 MW nuclear power plant that Thorcon has been designing over the past five years and which is the ultimate design objective.
ThorCon provided the following details of the agreement. According to Mr. Effendi at ThorCon, Indonesia’s Dr Kusmayati said;
“The thorium-based power development research and development in the Defence Research and Development Agency is in line with the policy of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources which mandates the need for concrete steps to prepare nuclear power development projects, bearing in mind dwindling fossil energy sources and the length of time needed to construct a nuclear power plant.”
“The thorium-based power development research program represents the Ministry of Defence’s efforts to be the initiator or lever in mastering 4th generation nuclear technology that utilises thorium, which is available in abundance in Indonesia.”
ThorCon said it would provide technical support to the ministry’s research and development (R&D) body to develop “a small-scale TMSR reactor under 50 megawatts (MW).”
The Jakarta Post ran a more conservative report which quoted Indonesia’s National Nuclear Energy Agency (Batan) director Dandang Purwadi. He reportedly told the newspaper that thorium nuclear technology is not yet ready for commercial application.
“We have to wait around 10 years for the technology to mature, then it takes 10 years to build the facility.”
Progress Reported on Design of 500 MW Thorium Fueled Reactor
Thorcon said a fair amount of the design phase for the 500 MW design has been completed, which is documented in 2D drawings and 3D CAD models, and which has been shared with potential suppliers. The firm did not provide additional details on its potential supply chain for a thorium-fueled nuclear reactor.
The World Nuclear Association has a review of the technology related to the thorium fuel cycle and describes historical and current efforts by multiple countries to develop thorium fueled reactors. At this time no other thorium fueled reactors are in commercial revenue service though there are multiple prototype efforts ogoing globally.
Plans for a Prototype
The company said it will build a pre-fission test facility (PTF) at full scale, including the components of the fission island and the thermal power conversion chain. The fuel salt will not contain enriched uranium and will not sustain a chain reaction to generate power.
The components will be brought up to operating temperatures using electric heating. The absence of radioactivity allows intrusive instrumentation, direct observation, and internal access to components.
EPC Role for First of a Kind Unit
The plan is to build a 500 MW power plant at a world-class shipyard. The shipyard will be ThorCon’s EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) contractor. The expensive, massive, precision supercritical steam turbine-generator must be pre-ordered to achieve the one-year shipyard build time. ThorCon’s ship with the thorium reactor will be towed to the Indonesia near-shore site prepared with breakwaters and seawater cooling piping and a connection to the PLN electric power grid.
The firm has outlined plans for testing and commissioning of the first of a kind unit supervised by Indonesia’s Bapeten nuclear safety regulator. Once the first unit is in revenue service, it hopes to book orders for at least six more 500 MW units in global markets. The firm did not name potential customers.
India and China have been adapting CANDU type reactors to use thorium fuel. In 2018 English language media reports indicate that the Chinese Academy of Sciences has announced plans to invest $3 billion (USD) over the next two decades in development of molten salt reactors of various designs. A first order objective is reported to be the development of a first of a kind 100MW thorium molten salt reactor in 2020 in the city of Wuwei in Gansu province. Commercial development is targeted for the early 2030s.
The program is called the Thorium-Breeding Molten Salt Reactor (TMSR). According to the media reports, the R&D program has two major components and both are tied to fuel types (solid and liquid) for various kinds of molten salt designs.
Indonesia / Officials Studying Russian Plans For New Nuclear,
Says Its Ambassador
(NucNet) Indonesian officials are studying a proposal by Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom to build the Southeast Asian country’s first nuclear power plant, the country’s ambassador to Russia Mohamad Wahid Supriyadi told state-controlled news agency RIA Novosti.
“Rosatom has prepared a detailed proposal for the first nuclear power plant in Indonesia. And we have already sent it… because various ministries in Indonesia will deal with this,” the ambassador said.
According to the ambassador, the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan on the island of Borneo has been proposed as a potential site for the plant.
CEZ Signs Framework Deal with Czech Govt
for New Nuclear Unit
(Reuters) – The Czech government this wek signed agreements with CEZ for a planned multi-billion dollar expansion of the majority state-owned utility’s Dukovany nuclear power plant.
The agreements cover the general framework of the project and its initial phase, including a competitive tender in which CEZ will seek to have a preferred list of suppliers by 2022 and sign a contract with one by 2024. Construction should start in 2029, when the bulk of costs will start, and the new unit is expected to be operational in 2036.
The Czech government is seeking to expand the use of nuclear energy to reduce its use of lignite coal for power generation.
The state, which holds a 70% stake in CEZ, last week approved plans to give an interest-free loan for the roughly 1,200 megawatt unit. Recently, it approved a model to buy electricity from the new unit at a determined price, with consumers making up the difference if that price is higher than wholesale market prices.
Officials have estimated a cost of approximately $7 billion. Critics, including some CEZ minority shareholders, argue costs could be much higher. CEZ may have to buy out the minority shareholders to stem the threat of lawsuits.
Russia’s Rosatom, China’s China General Nuclear Power, France’s Electricite de France, South Korea’s KHNP, U.S group Westinghouse, and a joint venture between France’s Orano – formerly known as Areva – and Japan’s Mitsubishi are expected to participate in a tender to build the plant.
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