Throughout the entire operation of the nuclearenergy for peaceful purposes, engineers proposed numerous reactor designs, most of which remained at the design stage. The nuclear melt-salt reactor (type MSR), developed in the 70s, was rejected at one time due to the lack of structural materials necessary to create a protective vessel. However, now Elysium Technologies has appeared in the USA, which plans to return the interest of power engineers to the design of MSR reactors at a new stage of technology development.
Currently, the first investors have already contributed 7US $ million to finance the Elysium project to create a model for a 10 MW molten salt reactor demonstration plant. The standard reactor that Elysium plans to bring to the market is expected to have a capacity of 1200 MW.
Commenting on the need to revive the forgottentechnology, one of the founders of the company, Carl Perez, who has 30 years of experience in designing nuclear reactors, draws an analogy with electric vehicles. Invented long before the creation of the first internal combustion engine, cars that run on electricity only got a second wind after 100 years.
Currently, to obtain a certificate fromThe US Nuclear Regulatory Commission at Argonne National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory, with funding from the US Department of Energy, is developing a design for Elysium's first MSR-type demonstration facility.
The main advantages of a nuclear reactormolten salts consist in the possibility of using waste from nuclear weapons systems and nuclear reactors of other types as fuel. With this type of processing, up to 95% of the fuel is burned, and the remaining waste has a half-life of about 300 years, in contrast to the waste of current nuclear power plants with a period of up to 10 thousand years. Also, the reactors use air cooling, the possibility of obtaining a process coolant and relatively low construction costs.
Special protection for atmosphericpressure, provides a high degree of safety in the operation of reactors on molten salts. In the reactor system, there is a section of the pipeline, which, using active cooling, contains frozen salts, which are like a plug. In the event of an accident, when the contents of the reactor overheat, the plug is thawed, and all the internal material flows into special passively cooled tanks. The actual operation of this type of reactors will be demonstrated on a 10 MW model, the creation of which will begin after the second round of funding and approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.