Million rain over mini-reactor for spent nuclear fuel


The Canadian government is investing just over SEK 380 million to support the development of small and modular nuclear reactors. Most of the money goes to the company Moltex Energy.

Canada has long had a keen eye for nuclear power in general and for so-called SMRs, small and modular reactors in particular.

Now announces the country an investment of just over 56 million Canadian dollars, just over 380 million Swedish kronor, to support the development of small and modular reactors.

Most of the money, just over 50 Canadian million, goes to Moltex Energy, a British-Canadian company that plans to build an SMR facility in New Brunswick on Canada’s east coast. The goal is a 300 MW plant that will be connected to the electricity grid in the early 2030s.

The company is developing a technology called a stable salt reactor, SSR, which will be able to reuse nuclear fuel that has already been used in existing nuclear power plants once. The Government states that the technology has the potential to reduce the storage need for spent nuclear fuel.

Series production in factory

Like several other SMR concepts that are under development, the Moltex reactor will have several passive safety features. For example, the fission reaction should slow down as the temperature rises, making the system self-damping. In addition, the reactor must operate at atmospheric pressure instead of under high pressure and the most dangerous fission products get stuck in the fuel and must not be able to be released into the air.

Small and modular reactors are seen by many in the nuclear power industry as a new future for the energy sector. By small reactors being mass-produced in the factory and then assembled on site, the hope is that the plants will be cheaper and faster to build.

The idea is that the reactors will have a modular design, so that several units can be connected and thus match the need.

Skip the prototype in Oskarshamn

Moltex Energy believes that their SSR concept is cheaper than both other SMR concepts and coal or gas power plants with a corresponding installed capacity.

The money from the government will be used by the company to further develop the concept and validate certain assumptions, writes Moltex Energy in a press release.

The energy company NB Power, which will prepare the site for the Moltex reactor, and the University of New Brunswick will also be awarded funding from the government.

In Sweden, the company Blykalla, spun off from KTH, is developing a lead-cooled reactor that is included in the SMR genre. The company hopes to build a research prototype in Oskarshamn and has applied for money for the purpose together with the energy company Uniper.


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