Terrestrial Energy Completes CNSC VDR Reviews

  • Terrestrial Energy Completes CNSC VDR Process
  • TVA Preparing Draft Construction Permit Application For SMRs
  • Denmark’s Seaborg Power and South Korean Firms Team Up for Floating SMR
  • Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, Hyundai Engineering, & SK E&C Sign MOU for Hydrogen Production
  • Five Countries Sign Deal To ‘Push Russia Out Of International Uranium Market’

Terrestrial Energy Completes CNSC VDR Process

  • Terrestrial Energy Reaches Major Milestone with First Generation IV Technology to Complete the Vendor Design Review Process at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

cnsc logoTerrestrial Energy achieved a major milestone last week in the commercial development of its Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) power plant. At the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) it completed Phase 2 of the pre-licensing Vendor Design Review (VDR).

Following an extensive multi-year review, CNSC staff concluded that there are no fundamental barriers to licensing the IMSR plant in Canada. This is the first advanced, high-temperature fission technology to complete a review of this type at CNSC.

Terrestrial Energy said in a press statement that the completion of phase two provides “commercial confidence” to proceed to licensing and construction of IMSR plants. The firm has not as yet publicly announced any customer commitments to acquire the reactor either by a utility or an industrial plant. In the past year the firm has opened an office in Alberta to explore market opportunities there.

Simon Irish, CEO of Terrestrial Energy said, “This review is a major step to bring molten salt technology to commercial markets and IMSR plants to large industrial companies seeking practicable high-impact solutions to decarbonize industrial production.”


The VDR involved a comprehensive review of the IMSR nuclear power plant covering 19 “focus areas” defined by the CNSC and required Terrestrial Energy’s preparation of hundreds of technical submissions. The scope of the review included a systematic review of Terrestrial Energy’s engineering management processes, confirmatory testing program for IMSR components and systems, reactor controls and safety systems, defiance-in-depth strategy, safety analysis, and the requirements for safeguards, security, fire protection and radiation protection.

The IMSR plant is a nuclear plant, designed to be located close to its industrial end-user and deployed using modular processes and techniques. The company claims that it use of molten salt reactor fission technology to deliver cogeneration (heat and power) is  competitive advantages essential to nuclear energy’s commercial performance in deregulated markets. The IMSR plant is designed to supply high-quality heat (585 degrees C) which can be used by a wide range of industries.

process heat needed by industry

Another competitive factor is that in terms of time to market, unlike many other advanced reactors, the IMSR does not require HALEU fuel. The IMSR plant is designed to use standard assay Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) civilian nuclear fuel, enriched to less than 5% U235. This assures a stable supply of fuel to a fleet of IMSR plants operating in the 2030s and increases the IMSR’s international regulatory acceptance. Terrestrial Energy is developing its fuel supply program with Springfields Fuel (Westinghouse) in the UK and Orano in France.

US and Canadian Regulators Joint Technical Review of IMSR

On June 7, 2022 Terrestrial Energy announced that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have completed a first joint technical review of Terrestrial Energy’s Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR), a Generation IV reactor system. (ML22139A124)

terrestrial IMSR

Data: IAEA

The agencies conducted the IMSR technical review as part a cross-border regulatory program established in August 2019 by a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between the CNSC and the NRC. This expands on a 2017 cooperative agreement between the agencies to review activities associated with advanced reactor and SMR technologies.

Terrestrial Energy continues to pursue pre-licensing review activities with the NRC as evidenced by a stream of technical filings. In the US, most recently, Terrestrial Energy filed a regulatory engagement plan, #6, on March 27, 2023 (ML23096A224).

Another Advanced Reactor Milestone

This is the latest advanced reactor to complete Phases 1 & 2 of the CNSC VDR process. Last month GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy announced that its BWRX-300 small modular reactor, which used different technology to the IMSR, had completed phases one and two of the CNSC’s vendor design review process.

A number of other firms developing advanced reactors have completed Phase 1 or are involved in a joint Phase 1 & Phase 2 review. See table below.

vdr status

About Terrestrial Energy

Terrestrial Energy is developing a zero-emissions cogeneration plant for global industry using its proprietary Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) fission technology in an innovative, small and modular plant design. The IMSR is a non-Light Water Reactor of the Generation IV class that operates at the high temperature required for broad industrial relevance with transformative economic potential.

The IMSR plant is capable of grid-based electric power generation and industrial cogeneration in many energy-intensive industries, including petrochemical and chemical synthesis for hydrogen and ammonia production.

& & &

Clinch River / TVA Preparing Draft Construction Permit Application For SMRs At Tennessee Site

(NucNet contributed to this report) The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is preparing elements of a draft construction permit application (Part 50) for BWRX-300 small modular reactor construction at its Clinch River site in Tennessee located about 35 miles west of Knoxville, TN, and 12 miles southwest of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The company is planning to submit the construction application to the NRC in late 2024. A separate operating license would be needed from the NRC to launch the facility as a revenue generating reactor.

In August 2022 TVA signed an agreement with BWRX-300 developer GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) to deploy SMRs at Clinch River and said it would spend 2023 preparing a possible construction permit.

A spokesperson for TVA told NucNet in an email that if the company’s board of directors authorizes the submission of the application to the NRC, TVA expects the NRC review of the application could take two to three years. Typically, the NRC targets a 42 months review period so this timeline would represent some kind of streamlining of the agency’s process.

Previously, TVA obtained a technology neutral early site permit from the NRC which may speed things up. Scott Fiedler of TVA’s media relations department said an early site permit issued for Clinch River in 2019 authorizes up to 800 MW to be constructed at the site. The BWRX-300 has a nominal electrical output of 300 MW, so two or possibly three BWRX-300 SMRs could potentially be built.

TVA is proceeding cautiously on the SMR effort. Fiedler emphasized TVA “has not made any decisions” regarding future deployment or deployments at Clinch River. He said any decision would be subject to “appropriate support, risk sharing, required internal and external approvals, and completion of all necessary and appropriate environmental and permitting reviews.”

Fiedler said TVA is in the early phases of evaluating potential sites beyond Clinch River for potential deployment of SMRs. He said a “timely, cost-effective and successful deployment” of an SMR at Clinch River would be a positive step for new nuclear at TVA and for the US, supporting greater integration of variable resources like solar and wind into TVA’s generating asset portfolio.

Future Holds No New Full Size Reactors for TVA

After finishing Wats Bar II and Browns Ferry, TVA has all but permanently eliminated any plans to build full size nuclear power plants, e.g., 1000 MW or more, due to their huge costs, risks of cost overruns, and the inability to finance one or more of them given the utility’s congressionally mandated debt ceiling. Completion of Watts Bar included soaring costs that rattled TVA’s board and left a permanent mark on its risk policies at least when it comes to the big iron in new nuclear reactor projects.

The Bellefonte Clown Act

Another reason TVA’s board is gun shy about full size reactors is that despite a series of engineering feasibility studies, TVA eventually fought off plans by Tennessee real estate developer Franklin Haney to complete the partially built Bellefonte reactors, 1200 MW each, located in Scottsboro, AL, and to eventually sell the power from them to the City of Memphis, TN, which is one of TVA’s largest customers. TVA clearly wanted no part of Haney’s plans especially if he were to run into trouble completing one of both of the units.

Plus, during the Trump administration, Haney worked the political influence angles reportedly making generous campaign contributions where they might help his cause. None of the money made any difference in the outcome, but Haney did get a drive by look from the Justice Department although no charges were ever filed. The reason is that the Wall Street Journal turned up the fact that Haney reportedly promised to pay Trump’s attorney $10M if he could secure federal funding for the Bellefontw project.

What might get a green light from the TVA board for the BWRX300 project is that the 300 MW SMR will cost far less than a full size reactor, and with a “pay as you go” plan to finance each subsequent SMR with revenues from the prior unit, financing seems much more feasible.

Asked about the cost of the BWRX-300 project at Clinch River, TVA spokesperson Fiedler said TVA is working to develop the cost and schedule but “that work is ongoing and we are unable to share preliminary projections at this time.”

GEH has publicized claims that it can deliver the BWRX-300 for a cost in the range of $3,000/Kw. At this number, each unit would cost just under $1 billion. However, as inflation rages on in the US, with only slow progress to control being achieved by the Federal Reserve Board, a hypothetical cost of $4,500/Kw could increase the delivered price to $1.35 billion. A price increase at that scale could give TVA’s board yet another unwanted adrenaline rush over costs.

The real delivered price will depend on the timing of the licensing the reactor by the NRC for production, the date of the first sale in the US (TVA’s board must approve it), and the condition of the US economy relative to inflationary trends for steel, concrete, first of a kind long lead time components, etc. It’s a pretty sure bet that GEH is burning the midnight oil with sharp pencils to control the costs from its supply chain and for building the first of a kind unit.

Options for Exports

Last month TVA signed a four-way nuclear technology agreement with the goal of licensing and deploying the BWRX-300 small modular reactor design in Canada, the US, Poland and beyond. The agreement was signed by TVA, GEH, Canada’s Ontario Power Generation and Poland’s Synthos Green Energy.

Fiedler said the agreement is the multi-party contract through which TVA is investing with GEH, OPG and Synthos Green Energy to complete the standard design of the BWRX-300. Each contributor has agreed to fund a portion of GEH’s overall cost and collectively will form a working group to ensure the standard design is deployable in multiple jurisdictions. The four companies said they were “teaming up for global deployment of GEH BWRX-300 small modular reactor”.

History of the Clinch River Site

In 1971 the site was intended to be the home of the Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project, a liquid metal (sodium) fast breeder reactor, but it was never built. After over a decade of rapidly escalating costs from an initial cost of about $700M to over $3 billion and reports of construction irregularities, the project was shut down in 1983. President Jimmy Carter’s opposition to the plant on nonproliferation policy grounds probably doomed the effort as much as its operational failings.

& & &

Denmark’s Seaborg Power and South Korean Firms Team Up for Floating SMR

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and Seaborg Technologies have announced a consortium to develop floating nuclear power plants with Seaborg Technologies’ innovative molten salt reactor technology.

The power plants will be installed on barges with a modular design able to deliver from 200MW to 800MW, with the consortium’s first project expected to be a 200MW power barge.

The consortium aims to enable timely commercialization and a scalable export of factory-produced CMSR-based floating nuclear power plants worldwide, offering improved efficiency and inherent safety characteristics. With KHNP’s extensive experience in nuclear power generation, SHI’s offshore construction expertise and Seaborg Technologies’ innovative technology, the consortium say it is “well-positioned” to meet the growing demand for clean and reliable energy.

South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) previously announced it had completed the conceptual design for the CMSR Power Barge. It is a floating nuclear power plant based on compact molten salt reactors.

Seaborg CMSR BargeImage: Seaborg CMSR Barge

The agreement marks a significant milestone for floating nuclear solution for the world, where each 200MW of generation capacity is expected to save over 26 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions over its 24-year lifetime compared with a coal-fired power plant.

& & &

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, Hyundai Engineering, & SK E&C Sign MOU for Hydrogen Production

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), Hyundai Engineering, and SK E&C are teaming up to conduct research and development for carbon-free hydrogen production. The three companies signed an MOU on April 20th for the construction of a “Hydrogen Micro Hub” at the SK E&C headquarters in Seoul’s Jongno district.

The “Hydrogen Micro Hub” is a facility that produces hydrogen by applying a high-temperature electrolysis process of solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOEC) to the electricity and high-temperature steam generated by USNC’s Micro-Modular Reactor (MMR). This is a carbon-free hydrogen production method that extracts hydrogen by decomposing water with electricity generated from nuclear power.

Under the agreement, the three companies will jointly conduct research and development on the MMR-SOEC integrated plant for the next five years. Through this, they plan to examine the establishment of a competitive hydrogen production system, and promote continuous research and development and verification for future hydrogen production and supply businesses.

Hyundai Engineering will oversee the MMR-related BOP (Balance of Plant) and EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) activities, while USNC will be responsible for MMR design, manufacturing, and supply. SK E&C will establish a nuclear power-based hydrogen production system using Bloom Energy’s SOEC and supply hydrogen production equipment.

In this project, Hyundai Engineering and USNC will utilize a micro modular nuclear power plant based on the high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) being demonstrated at the Chalk River Laboratories Campus in Ontario, Canada.

Compared to commercial pressurized water reactors, this technology can generate relatively high-temperature steam, enabling the use of SOEC operating at high temperatures, which can maximize hydrogen production efficiency with less energy.

SK E&S has successfully tested hydrogen production through electrolysis using a 130 kW-scale SOEC facility located at the Bloom SK Fuel Cell manufacturing plant in Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do, in cooperation with Bloom Energy and Bloom SK Fuel Cell.

It is also participating in a government-led green hydrogen production demonstration project, having been recognized for its unique technological capabilities in efficient hydrogen production. The company is also pursuing a project to convert green hydrogen into ammonia or methanol, which have high storage capabilities.

It is evaluated as having a complete renewable energy-based green hydrogen value chain, from renewable energy project development to related equipment production and EPC to green hydrogen production. In addition to this Hydrogen Micro Hub cooperation, SK E&S is diversifying its “zero carbon emission hydrogen production model” to include pink hydrogen, which is produced by electrolyzing water using electricity from nuclear power generation.

& & &

Five Countries Sign Deal To ‘Push Russia Out Of International Uranium Market’

Uranium-symbol_thumb.jpg(NucNet) The UK, US, Canada, Japan and France have formed an alliance to develop shared supply chains for nuclear fuel as part of ambitions to push Russia out of the international nuclear energy market.

The UK’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero said in a statement the five countries will use their civil nuclear power sectors to undermine Russia’s grip on supply chains, cutting off another means for President Vladimir Putin to fund his invasion of Ukraine.

The agreement, announced on April 17th at G7 talks in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo, will be used as the basis for pushing Putin out of the nuclear fuel market entirely, and doing so as quickly as possible, to cut off another means for him to fund his barbaric attack on Ukraine and fundamentally leave Russia out in the cold.

A recent UK report said Russia’s nuclear exports have surged since the invasion of Ukraine, boosting the Kremlin’s revenue and cementing its influence over a new generation of global buyers, as the US and its allies shy away from sanctioning the industry.

Trade data compiled by the UK’s Royal United Services Institute (Rusi), a defense and security think-tank, shows that Russian nuclear fuel and technology sales abroad rose more than 20% in 2022.

The aim is to use resources and capabilities possessed by each country’s civil nuclear sector to establish “a global commercial nuclear fuel market.”

The partner countries will collaborate on opportunities in uranium extraction, conversion, enrichment and fabrication. The cooperation will establish “a level playing field to compete more effectively against predatory suppliers.”

The five countries said in a joint statement that Russia’s “unprovoked and unjustifiable” war against Ukraine and the increasing impact of climate change have fundamentally altered the global energy landscape and accelerated the need for collaboration between like-minded allies. The joint statement said the five countries have identified potential areas of collaboration on nuclear fuels to support the stable supply of fuels for the operating reactor fleets in their respective countries.

Uranium Purchases by US Nuclear Utilities 2021

selected data 2021 uranium purchases

While Russia’s market share of US purchases of uranium match purchases from Australia and Canada, the price per pound of uranium in the form of U3O8 from Russia is on average $12/lb less than for uranium from these two countries. This difference is essentially a fire sale price discount of $12,000 per 1,000 pounds of uranium.

Russia ‘Isn’t Welcome Anymore’

The UK’s energy security secretary Grant Shapps said: “The UK has been at the very heart of global efforts to support Ukraine, defeat Putin and ensure neither him nor anyone like him can ever think they can hold the world to ransom over their energy again.

“This is the next vital step, uniting with other countries to show Putin that Russia isn’t welcome anymore, and in shoring up our global energy security by using a reliable international supply of nuclear fuel from safe, secure sources.”

The agreement will also strengthen the UK’s nuclear energy sector, helping it on the path to energy independency and reducing electricity bills, the government said.

In March the US Senate committee on energy and natural resources was told the US is deficient in nearly every aspect of the nuclear fuel cycle and this “must change and it must change quickly” if the country is to end it reliance on Russian fuel for its reactors. Environmental challenges to new uranium mines, including a major deposit in Virginia, have hobbled US production for the past decade. Quick change is unlikely as there is only one operating hard rock uranium mill in the US.

#   #  #

About djysrv

~ About this blog and disclaimers for NeutronBytes ~ ~ https://neutronbytes.com/2014/08/31/welcome-post/ ** Contact Me ** ~ neutronbytes@gmail.com ~ ~ Text via Signal 216-218-3823 ~ ~ I am NOT active on Facebook, Reddit, Snapchat, or Instagram. Attempt no landings there. ~ ~ Due to increasing turmoil on Twitter, posting there by this blog is in hiatus. For a listing of sources of nuclear energy news, see this page on this blog. ~ https://neutronbytes.com/nuclear-reading-list/ ** Header Image Credit: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110904.html ~ ** Emails sent by readers about blog posts are considered to be comments for publication unless otherwise noted. ** The content of this blog is protected by copyright laws of the U.S. "Fair use" provisions apply. The RSS feed is for personal use only unless otherwise explicitly granted.
This entry was posted in Nuclear. Bookmark the permalink.