Southern Company, TerraPower and CORE POWER begin salt operations of Integrated Effects Test
Milestone signals continued progress in development of first-of-a-kind Molten Chloride Fast Reactor
ATLANTA, Oct. 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company, TerraPower and CORE POWER have successfully started pumped-salt operations in the Integrated Effects Test (IET), signifying a major achievement in the development of Generation-IV molten salt reactor technology, namely TerraPower's first-of-a-kind Molten Chloride Fast Reactor (MCFR).
"Southern Company believes the next generation of nuclear power holds promise in providing an affordable and sustainable net-zero future that includes reliable, resilient and dispatchable clean energy for customers," said Dr. Mark S. Berry, Southern Company Services senior vice president of research and development. "It's exciting to see each new landmark in the Integrated Effects Test, as it helps our nation rebuild lost molten salt reactor knowledge."
Since installation of the IET at TerraPower's laboratory in Everett, Washington, the project team has completed mechanical, electrical and controls verification and commissioned all systems. Commissioning employed hot argon and chloride salts to confirm readiness, including filling and flushing of drain tanks and verifying operation of freeze valves – a unique and important component for salt systems. Chloride salt has now been loaded into the primary coolant salt loops and pumped-salt operations have begun. A multi-month test campaign will provide valuable salt operations data and know-how for the MCFR program.
"The Molten Chloride Fast Reactor has the potential to meet the carbon-free needs of hard-to-decarbonize industrial sectors including and beyond electricity. The Integrated Effects Test will help us gather and evaluate data to support the development of our technology, and we are excited to launch pumped-salt operations," said Jeff Latkowski, senior vice president for the Molten Chloride Fast Reactor.
Integrated Effects Test
The next generation of nuclear reactors promise the same stable value to customers that is derived from the current operating nuclear fleet, can complement intermittent renewable resources on the grid, and hold the potential to provide zero-carbon, high-grade process heat and thermal storage for energy-intensive industrial markets and ocean transportation sectors that currently rely on fossil fuels.
"The startup of the Integrated Effects Test is a milestone achievement in the development of the first fast-spectrum molten salt reactor, and we are immensely proud to contribute to its success," said Mikal Bøe, president and CEO of CORE POWER. "The Integrated Effects Test allows us to collect that crucial last-mile data for a design and build of the Molten Chloride Fast Reactor and takes the team one step closer to a genuinely unique way to do new nuclear that is appropriate for the commercial marine environment."
The IET will inform the design, licensing and operation of an approximately 180-megawatt MCFR demonstration planned for the early 2030s time frame.
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