Transatomic Power – Anatomy of Next

Dr. Leslie Dewan is a co-founder and the CEO of Transatomic Power, a venture capital-funded start-up based on research conducted at MIT. Along with Mark Massie, the other co-founder, Dewan is exploring a design that uses a molten salt fuel that enables materials currently classified as “nuclear waste” to provide the heat source for a steam power plant. As the company’s web site explains, the design requires fuel where fissile isotopes (U-235 or Pu-239) make up 1.8% of the total actinide fraction.

Material meeting that fissile isotope requirement could be provided by lightly enriched uranium or by the reusable material produced after a single pass through a light water reactors and currently stored as “waste” in spent fuel pools and dry storage casks.

Transatomic’s ideas are exciting. Here is a recently posted video designed to generate interest in the concept and perhaps to attract interested and skilled talent to the team.

I’m working on arrangements to interview Transatomic Power leaders for the Atomic Show; you should expect to hear more about this company and its technology in the near future.

Tour of NuScale control room and test facility

Jose Rod Test Facility

Disclosure: I have a small contract to provide NuScale with advice and energy market information. That work represents less than 5% of my income for 2014. On October 20, 2014, I had the opportunity to visit NuScale’s facilities in Corvallis, OR. Though the company now has offices in three cities, Corvallis, the home of Oregon […]

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UAMPS stepping forward to serve customers

The established nuclear energy industry has taken a wait-and-see approach to the idea of developing and deploying smaller, simpler fission power stations that can take advantage of the economy of series production. The industry’s trade organization, the Nuclear Energy Institute, has expressed cautious optimism and has engaged in a moderate effort to identify regulatory obstacles […]

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Prospective customers lining up at NuScale

Each orange circle represents a potential NuScale power plant

A few days ago, Dan Yurman at Neutron Bytes published a blog post that is now titled Flash: NuScale executive says firm may build SMRs at Idaho lab. It was a follow-up to an earlier post in which Dan speculated about the Idaho National Lab’s potential as a good site for a new nuclear power […]

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Terrestrial Energy – Molten Salt Reactor Designed to Be Commercial Success

There is a growing roster of innovative organizations populated by people who recognize that nuclear technology is still in its infancy. Terrestrial Energy is one of the most promising of those organization because of its combination of problem solving technology, visionary leadership, and strong focus on meeting commercial needs. Nearly all of the commercial nuclear […]

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Nuclear-Powered Trans-Ocean Shipping – 3rd place in New York Advanced Energy contest

I received an update from Benjamin Haas, the SUNY Maritime student who has been working on nuclear powered ship designs from a complete systems perspective for the past three semesters. He and his team have not just focused on the technical aspects of designing a power plant and a ship that could take full advantage […]

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Can nuclear energy save Detroit?

Update: (August 2, 2013) – American Atomics is now claiming that there is no site in Detroit that is large enough to house the infrastructure that they are planning to build. Here is a link to their post. http://safereactor.org/post/57104636966/no-room-in-detroit It is a pretty incredible claim for a company that currently has no facilities. Supposedly the […]

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Dieter Helm – Nuclear saga cannot go on (Leaders must push to a happy ending)

Dieter Helm has generously shared an April 2013 article written for Prospect Magazine titled Stumbling towards crisis. In that article Helm points to US energy decision making as a good example that serves as a contrast to UK energy policy making. He sees chosen path in the UK as almost guaranteeing a crisis. In his […]

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Is an employee buyout a win-win-win solution for Kewaunee Nuclear Power Station?

Dominion’s October 2012 announcement that it is closing the Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant took the nuclear industry by almost complete surprise. My friends who write about nuclear topics on a regular basis had no clue about the possibility before it was announced. None of the contacts that I have developed over the past few decades […]

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Impact of Pandora’s Promise

One of the benefits of being “out there” in the social media world – which includes old fashioned email lists – is the opportunity to meet like minded souls without being limited to people who happen to be in your neighborhood or your physical social circle. I recently saw an exceptional commentary about Pandora’s Promise […]

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The Atomic Show #185 – Is Thorium Superior to Uranium?

On July 23, 2012, busy schedules aligned and I had the chance to talk with Richard Martin, the author of SuperFuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future and Kirk Sorensen, the co-founder and chief technology officer of Flibe Energy, a start-up company formed to “develop small modular reactors based on liquid-fluoride thorium reactor […]

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