Atomic Show #242 – Moltex Energy – Ian Scott and John Durham

Moltex Energy has developed a unique conceptual design for a molten salt reactor called the Stable Salt Reactor. In this design, the fuel salt is loaded into tubes that resemble the standard cladding tubes into which solid pellets are loaded in a conventional water cooled reactor. The tubes are arranged into assemblies that resemble the assemblies used in conventional reactors. The coolant that moves on the outside of the tubes is also a molten salt operating at essentially atmospheric pressure.

I first learned about Moltex Energy while reading a report issued in July 2015 titled MSR Review: Feasibility of Developing a Pilot Scale Molten Salt Reactor in the UK. That report evaluated about half a dozen different molten salt reactor concepts and decided that the Moltex concept was the one that would best suit the UK’s core competencies in terms of its readiness to develop and deploy at a pilot scale.

The more I read, the more interested I became in the concept. Though many of my friends and associates who are enthused about the capabilities of molten salt technologies have assured me it is not a problem to move fuel salt around, and they have developed plans that seem to avoid most of my concerns about systems full of mobile fission products, I’m a bit of a traditionalist. It is reassuring when reactors are designed to keep fission products in a known location and surrounded by a layer of high quality material that keeps them from moving around.

Aside: I’ve also been convinced by designers at ThorCon and Terrestrial Energy that their designs address my concerns, they just use a larger container as their sealed initial fission product barrier. End Aside.

On August 31, 2015, I had a lengthy conversation with Dr. Ian Scott, the designer of the Moltex concept, and John Durham, Moltex’s initial funding supplier and business strategy developer.

I think you’ll enjoy learning about their design and finding one more example of the kind of innovative thinking that is percolating within the nuclear technology sector.

Ian and John admit that they are in the very early stages of development and have a long road in front of them, but their enthusiasm and vision is infectious.


Reuters Breakout series focuses on China’s interest in thorium

Reuters is running a series titled Breakout: Inside China’s Military Buildout. Installment number 6 is titled The U.S. government lab behind Beijing’s nuclear power push. The title is misleading; it is not about China’s world-leading, multibillion-dollar program. That program includes 29 large commercial nuclear plants currently under construction. Instead, the article focuses on a $350 […]

Read more »

Accelerator Driven System promoters are playing to irrational antinuclear fears

By Ed Pheil I mentioned at the Thorium Energy Conference 2013 that accelerator driven systems (ADS) were likely to hurt the nuclear industry more than help it with the following discussion. The ADS proponents are justifying their participation, including with thorium, on the basis of two concepts that cater to the anti-nuclear crowd. A) ADS […]

Read more »

Power cheaper than coal – thorium AND uranium make it possible

Bob Hargraves, the author of Thorium: Energy Cheaper than Coal, recently traveled to Shanghai to present a 30 minute talk summarizing the main points of discussion that he covered in his book. The occasion of the trip was Thorium Energy Conference 2012. Bob is a professor with a good facility for numbers and a talent […]

Read more »

The Atomic Show #184 – Kirk Sorensen, Co-Founder Flibe Energy

Kirk Sorensen is the co-founder and chief technologist of Flibe Energy. He is a member of a tiny club of people who can honestly claim to be atomic entrepreneurs. He is a brilliant man – one of the few people who has been both a rocket scientist and a nuclear engineer. Kirk is best known […]

Read more »

Identifying antinuclear slants in Richard Martin’s “Superfuel”

Richard Martin’s new book titled Superfuel: Thorium, The Green Energy Source for the Future is a book that should come with a warning label. Though the author professes to be worried about climate change and fossil fuel depletion and wants to be seen as favoring new nuclear power development, that support comes with a very […]

Read more »