No need to waste more money on wind, nor Hinkley C. Molten salt reactors will arrive soon. We can burn cheap fracked gas for electricity till then. The IMSR is
8 years to demonstration reactor- David LeBlanc, 2013.
Q: What is the IMSR
A: The Integral Molten Salt Reactor is designed by David LeBlanc for Canadian nuclear startup Terrestrial Energy. It will be a Gen IV small modular reactor (SMR). A variation of the Denatured Molten Salt Reactor (DMSR), dating from 1980. By applying the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid), the IMSR seeks to quickly pass regulatory approval. It uses:
- LEU fuel (5% to 10% U-235 enrichment)
- thermal neutrons, but with "substantial U-238 fast fission bonus"
- Conversion ratio = 0.9
- Has a much smaller waste footprint (even with no reprocessing)
- Is orders of magnitude safer due to intrinsic, passive safety systems, that prevent any major accident
- Operates at normal pressure, so preventing any possible air-borne contamination (as happened at Chernobyl and Fukushima). A total disaster scenario would only see local contamination.
- Uses denatured fuel, so avoiding all proliferation risks
- Uses only ⅙ the fuel of a LWR for same power output.
- Will be able to generate electricity costing less than 1¢ / kWh (unit)
- It is much cheaper to build than current reactors. The reactor vessel is much smaller and thinner. It does not need a huge, 8 foot thick, concrete dome around it. It will not need a spent fuel pool. Reactor operation is simpler and safer. Overnight costs should be < 13% of Hinkley C, with a construction time of less than 3 years per module.
Q: Is it real?
A: Yes. Terrestrial Energy have industrial partners and a business plan to guarantee finance from Canadian industrialists for industrial heat applications.
Q: How does the IMSR perform so well?
A: The key is minimal parasitic loss of neutrons
- No internal reactor structure
- No burnable poisons
- Less neutron leakage
- ½ of all fission products and all important Xe-135 leave due to Off Gas system
- Comparing parasitic losses:
- 3% - 5%
Q: Do we have enough uranium to fuel it?
A: Yes. There's thousands of years worth of easily accessible uranium available to fuel enough IMSRs to make all the planet's electricity. Although current 'known uranium reserves' are limited, we can find huge reserves of less concentrated ore. Even at a cost of $300/kg (many times the current world price), IMSR electricity will still be cheap
At the simplest, it can run without reprocessing for 30 years.
A better run mode will reprocess fuel after 10 years to remove fission products [using cheap pyro- / electro- / vacuum distillation processes which are ~ 1/7; the cost of PUREX]. Whether or not reprocessing will be cost effective is a separate issue. PUREX ~ $2000/kg of fuel produced. If simple reprocessing was 10% of that: $200/kg, it would need to compete with Uranium currently costing $78/kg. Reprocessing has other advantages - lowering the amount of waste, removing TRU from waste and putting it back into the reactor.
|------ IMSR ------|
|Old Nuclear||Coal||New LWR||first||module|
|Operating, Maintenance, Labor/Materials||6.0||5.0||8.0||1.0||0.2|
|Pensions, Insurance, Taxes||1.0||1.0||1.0||1.0||0.2|
|Decommissioning and DOE waste costs||5.0||0.0||5.0||0.5||0.1|
|Administrative / overheads||1.0||1.0||1.0||1.0||1.0|
Table copied from Nextbigfuture, who think the IMSR can get down to 0.86 cents per Kwh.
- David LeBlanc : Come for the Thorium, Stay for the MSR!
- Denatured Molten Salt Reactors (DMSR): An Idea Whose Time Has Finally Come?
- Molten salt nuclear reactor patent. US 20140023172 A1, WO2012135957A1