Come for the Thorium; stay for the reactor.

So, said Dr. David LeBlanc of Terrestrial Energy, His point was that the key to advanced reactors is not so much the fuel they use (Thorium or Uranium), but their configuration as a liquid fuel, molten salt reactor. The use of molten salt obtains most of the advantages of safety, economy and simplicity of design, but it does this using technology that will not require decades of work for licensing. As water engineers what we care about is the availability of reactors using high temperatures that can generate inexpensive electricity (for process use and pumping), and have lots of left over “waste” heat for distillation of water. So, we should not be hold-outs for what Alvin Weinberg called the holy grail of nuclear technology: the Thorium breeder reactor, but should encourage the near term use of the integral molten salt reactors being developed by companies like Terrestrial Energy, even if they are Uranium burners. Getting something good on line in 10 years is preferable to getting something perfect on line in 25 years.

Posted in AquaBlog.

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