Path to Market
Terrestrial Energy started IMSR® cogeneration plant pre-application U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission activities in 2018 with the support of U.S. Department of Energy grant funding.
The company began the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s Vendor Design Review process in 2016 and expects to complete the CNSC’s Vendor Design Review process in 2022.
Procurement of components, engineering services and fuel are crucial to deployment. IMSR®® plant deployment is supporting by an industry wide supplier consortium consisting of: Siemens, BWXT, Aecon, Hatch, Westinghouse, Orano, KSB and others. Our IMSR® plant development program is supported by a consortium of laboratories including EU Joint Research Centre, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Argonne National Laboratory, Risktec, Kinectrics, McMaster University, ENGIE Laborelec, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory and others.
IMSR® cogeneration plants will use standard nuclear fuel, the only technology in its class to do so. For the last 65 years, civilian nuclear fuel has been “standard-assay” low-enriched uranium (less than 5 percent U-235) fuel; it is the only nuclear fuel commercially available today. Its use is a critically important for international acceptance and for near-term commercial deployment of IMSR® cogeneration plants.
IMSR® use of standard-assay low-enriched uranium is a distinguishing attribute in the high-temperature fission technology (Generation IV) sector today. All other reactors in this class require either “high-assay” low-enriched uranium, which is not commercially available, or the require reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel for plutonium. The IMSR® is the only high-temperature fission technology designed to use standard-assay low-enriched uranium, the only one that can practicable deliver a clean energy heat alternative to burning fossil fuels.
Building on Proven Prototyped Technology
Glenn Seaborg starting up the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) in 1968, with Chief Engineer J.R. “Dick” Engel at hand to assist. The MRSE was one of the most successful reactor technology demonstration programs at a U.S. national laboratory.
The IMSR® cogeneration plant incorporates prototyped, proven and demonstrated molten salt fission technology. This Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) technology is closely related to MSR technology pioneered at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee.
Oak Ridge has developed MSR technology over many decades, building and demonstrating two experimental MSRs: first the Aircraft Reactor Experiment (ARE) and next the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE). Based on the successes of these operating reactor experiments, ORNL commenced a commercial power plant program for MSR technology, which led to the Denatured Molten Salt Reactor (DMSR) in the early 1980s. Terrestrial Energy’s IMSR®® is a close relative to the DMSR.