Moltex evolves design for modular reactor
Moltex Energy, one of two companies looking to build small modular reactors in New Brunswick, is moving ahead with key developments in its innovative process to use spent fuel from nuclear reactors and convert it to low-cost electricity.
The company, which has offices in Saint John and headquarters in the U.K., said work with intended operator NB Power has resulted in possibilities for design evolution in the small reactor it wants to build at the Point Lepreau nuclear station on the Bay of Fundy.
Moltex said in a recent year-end statement that the stable salt reactor it proposes to build at Lepreau is being further refined. The company’s design includes ways to reduce capital costs and simplify the fuel-handling process to the standard required by the regulator.
Last year, New Brunswick signed a memorandum of understanding with Ontario and Saskatchewan to collaborate on development of small modular reactors. Moltex and ARC Nuclear Canada have both set up operations in Saint John to develop prototypes.
The stable salt reactor proposed by Moltex involves processing existing spent fuel pellets to create a new liquid fuel for the reactor. The Moltex technology can produce power at a lower cost than fossil-fuelled power generation, it can store energy to complement intermittent renewable energy sources and largely eliminates the problem of nuclear waste from nuclear power generation.
Looking back at 2019, Moltex said it became very clear that climate change has assumed much broader significance in the public imagination and politicians are starting to take the need for clean energy seriously. Moltex said nuclear options have to be on the list of clean energy solutions governments will be pursuing in the coming years.
New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Ontario have said they will start work this year on development of a strategic plan for deployment of the small modular reactors, including market opportunities in Canada and around the world.