Companies team up to site IMSR in Idaho

31 March 2018

Terrestrial Energy USA and Energy Northwest have agreed a memorandum of understanding on the terms of the possible siting, construction and operation of an Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) at a site at the Idaho National Laboratory in southeastern Idaho.

Terrestrial Energy USA is an affiliate of Terrestrial Energy Inc and is developing the IMSR for deployment in the US market. Molten salt reactors use fuel dissolved in a molten fluoride or chloride salt which functions as both the reactor's fuel and its coolant, meaning that such a reactor could not suffer from a loss of coolant leading to a meltdown. Terrestrial's IMSR integrates the primary reactor components, including the graphite moderator, into a sealed and replaceable reactor core. The reactor can produce 400 MWt (190 MWe) of energy, and is designed as a modular reactor for factory fabrication.

Terrestrial says the IMSR can be brought to market in the 2020s. The company last year began a feasibility study to site a commercial IMSR at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories' Chalk River site, and the reactor design has already completed the first phase of the Canadian Nuclear Regulatory Commission's vendor design review. It announced in January that it plans to submit an application for design certification or for a construction permit to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission by October 2019.

Terrestrial Energy USA CEO Simon Irish said the agreement with Energy Northwest was a positive step towards the deployment of the IMSR.

"Energy Northwest's considerable expertise in the region will contribute substantially to the commercial success of an IMSR power plant under consideration at the INL site," he said.

Energy Northwest is a not-for-profit joint operating agency comprising 27 public power member utilities from across Washington state. The agency develops, owns and operates a diverse mix of electricity generating resources, including the Columbia nuclear power plant, and says it continually explores new generation projects to meet its members' needs.

"As a major producer of emission-free power, Energy Northwest is excited to examine how this innovative reactor can meet regional energy demand through efficient and clean energy generation," said Mark Reddemann, Energy Northwest CEO. "Terrestrial Energy's IMSR has transformative potential in electric power and industrial heat markets," he added.

Energy Northwest in 2013 signed teaming agreements with NuScale Power and Utah Associated Municiapl Power Systems, as part of the Western Initiative for Nuclear collaboration studying the demonstration and deployment of NuScale small modular reactor power plants. A preferred site for the first NuScale SMR, also at Idaho National Laboratory, was identified in 2016 with an initial plant projected to be operational by 2024.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News