UK start-up Moltex's Stable Salt Reactor designs use fuel dissolved in molten salts but held in multiple tubes (which are open to atmospheric pressure), which are immersed in another molten salt used for heat exchange.
Moltex Energy SSR Fly Through YouTube
- More than half the human race has little access to electricity and cannot afford anything but the dirtiest electricity source – coal. What if a breakthrough could give us all cheap, abundant and reliable clean energy?
- Millions of people in the “rich” world have to choose between heating and eating. What if we could go carbon free and actually reduce electricity prices?
- Air pollution kills millions of people every single year. What if we could power the world and eliminate air pollution at the same time?
- Humanity may suffer terribly if we do not eliminate most fossil fuel burning by mid century. What if a rapidly deployable clean energy breakthrough had already been invented?
Dr Ian Scott Managing Partner and co-Founder
Ian went to Cambridge University to study nuclear physics, but was seduced during his first year by the excitement of the biological sciences and made his career in that field. He became Chief Scientist for Unilever plc before leaving to start an entrepreneurial drug discovery company. In 2012 he became bemused by how nuclear energy had gone from being "too cheap to meter" to too expensive to afford and determined to try to remedy that flaw. The result was his invention of the Stable Salt Reactor and the creation of Moltex Energy.
John Durham Partner and co-Founder
An active philanthropic environmentalist, John has been focused on innovative ways of influencing UK policy to tackle climate change since his retirement from the software industry in 2005. He co-founded the Weinberg Foundation with Bryony Worthington and through the Foundation met Ian Scott. He saw the enormous potential of the Stable Salt Reactor and formed a partnership with Ian, Moltex Energy LLP, to help bring this potentially world saving technology off paper and into reality.
Technical papers on the Stable Salt Reactor technology:
- The fundamental discovery that makes the entire family of Stable Salt Reactors possible is that molten salt fuel does not need to be pumped from a reaction chamber to a heat exchanger. It can simply be put into fuel tubes in fuel assemblies just like those in conventional solid fuelled reactors. The advantages of this are enormous. All the complexity of pumps, valves, heat exchangers, drain systems, chemical treatment systems, filtration systems, degassing systems and so on, simply disappears. Molten salt reactors move from being one of the most technically challenging advanced reactor systems to perhaps the least challenging.
- Perhaps the defining advantage of molten salt fuel over solid fuels is the form that fission products take. Fission products are inevitable products in nuclear reactors but the chemical form they take matters a great deal to the risks associated with such reactors. This was dramatically shown at Chernobyl where a large fraction of the core iodine, cesium and tellurium were released, largely in airborne form which spread for thousands of miles, while a far smaller fraction of other non-volatile fission products and actinides were released mostly as larger particles concentrated around the reactor area..
- In any molten salt fuel, caesium is present not as the element (as it predominantly is in solid fuels) but as caesium chloride or fluoride. Caesium metal has a boiling point of just 670°C and is highly reactive with air forming oxide fumes. Caesium halides are chemically stable and have boiling points above 1250°C and are diluted in the bulk molten salt where their vapour pressure is greatly reduced until temperatures are even higher than this. From the perspective of caesium, any molten salt fuel is thus far safer than a solid fuel under core damage conditions.
- The fundamental breakthrough of using molten salt fuel in standard nuclear fuel assemblies does not require that the coolant removing heat from those assemblies is also a molten salt. Why did we choose to make it so?
- While the fundamental innovation of using ultra-safe molten fuel in simple fuel assemblies is the key factor behind the advantages of the Stable Salt Reactor, a number of other substantial innovations have been built into the design.
Moltex Energy videos: Stephen Tindale, Director or Weinberg Next Nuclear, interviewing Ian Scott, Co-Founder of Moltex Energy.
- How the stable salt reactor design came about
- The safety benefits of a Molten Salt fuel
- The cost benefits of a simpler design
Ian Scott LinkedIn
- Managing Partner at Moltex Energy LLP, Coventry, United Kingdom | Research
- Previous Synergy Biosystems, Unilever
- Education University of Cambridge
- In 2013 he filed patents on this invention and formed Moltex Energy LLP with John Durham, a well known environmental philanthropist, to develop the reactor concept. The design has now been extensively validated and a first level engineering design with associated costings has been completed by Atkins Ltd which has confirmed that the concept allows capital costs to be radically reduced compared to conventional nuclear reactors. The rights to the intellectual property will be offered for licensing during 2015 in the UK and globally.
UK Stable Molten Salt Reactor Design Next Big Future; 22 Sep 2016
How New Nuclear Could Lift Renewables at a Third of Hinkley Cost Jessica Shankleman; Bloomberg; 31 Aug 2016