A New Molten Salt Reactor Design Unveiled In The UK

UK-based MoltexFLEX has unveiled its FLEX molten salt reactor, described as an advanced lower-cost nuclear technology and an “ideal complement” to wind and solar power that can protect generations of consumers from rising energy bills without resorting to fossil fuels.

The MoltexFLEX team, based in Warrington, northeast England, has developed the nuclear reactor which uses molten salt in an unprecedented way. As it has no moving parts, the FLEX reactor is simple in both design and operation, MoltexFLEX said, and it has the flexibility of gas-fired power stations, but it generates electricity at a lower cost and without carbon emissions.

The company plans to have its first reactor operational by 2029.

molten salt

“Due to its simplicity, the FLEX reactor does not require expansive steel and concrete structures, greatly reducing the operational and maintenance costs”. Courtesy MoltexFLEX

The reactor uses a patented system with two molten salts: one acting as a fuel, the other circulating as a coolant. This allows the reactor’s heat to be extracted through natural convection, without the need for pumps.

The 750°C heat produced by the reactor could also be used for water desalination and more efficient hydrogen production. Roughly the size of a two-storied house, each reactor has the potential to power 40,000 homes.

According to Moltex, the reactor can respond to changes in energy demand, automatically entering an idle state or returning rapidly to full power. Additionally, it would take just 24 months to build a 500 MW power plant, the company said.

Read the full story on NucNet.