Heat makes the world go round. It creates the materials of the modern world. It is the energy source for all our cars, ships and planes, and the energy source for generating electricity.
Heat for all these activities today comes from burning fossil fuels. We need a zero-carbon alternative heat source, more scalable, reliable, and economical to displace the burning of fossil fuels, and we need to start deploying it at scale quickly.
Nuclear fission is a carbon-free source that has the potential to supply this heat, but this world-changing potential depends on the nuclear technology used. Conventional nuclear technology cannot deliver heat at the temperature or cost we need to drive fossil fuel substitution.
The good news is there is a fission technology that can. At Terrestrial Energy we are using molten salt fission technology to deliver high-temperature heat that is both cost-competitive with burning fossil fuels and carbon-free.
Conventional nuclear technology, based on a solid fuel and water coolant, is inherently costly and complex. It cannot supply heat at the temperature industry needs, nor can it deliver at the cost to drive fossil fuel substitution.
For cost-competitive, high-temperature heat, a fission reactor requires a high-performance coolant. Conventional fission technology uses water, Terrestrial Energy uses a molten salt – a coolant with superior performance to water.
Our proprietary small modular reactor (SMR) design is called the Integral Molten Salt Reactor or IMSR®. Molten salt fission technology is the heart of our innovative IMSR® heat and power (cogeneration) plant.
With a superior coolant, the IMSR® operates safety at much higher temperatures. Heat supplied at these temperatures can replace heat from burning fossil fuels in many industrial processes and generating electricity. IMSR® cogeneration plants generate carbon-free heat and electric power for industry without emitting air pollution such as CO2, NOX or SOX.
With a superior coolant, the IMSR® operates safety at high temperature and low pressure. Conventional water-cooled nuclear technology uses high pressure cooling systems, which are complex and costly. IMSR® plants require no pressurized cooling systems, which has significant cost advantages.
With high-temperature heat supply, IMSR® heat has the efficiency of a coal power plant but without emissions. It can generate electricity with 44% efficiency, 50% higher than conventional nuclear power plant. This too delivers major economic advantages.
The technology, nuclear fuel and plant design choices used in IMSR® cogeneration plants place it on a clear path to market in a compelling timeframe. We have chosen proven molten salt fission technology, which has been researched, developed and demonstrated for over the last 65 years. A modular design, paired with today’s latest advanced component manufacturing techniques, support construction of an IMSR® cogeneration plant in less than four years. We expect to scale up deployment rapidly when international role-out of IMSR® cogeneration plants starts in 2030.
New Animation Shows How IMSR® Cogeneration Plants Supply the Missing Piece for Net-Zero Goals with Clean Energy for Industry
By Simon Irish
Despite their grand efforts, world leaders, policymakers and activists convening at the 27th Conference of the Parties, or COP27, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, are making scant progress finding ways to meet growing global energy needs while slowing climate change.
TerraPraxis Selects Terrestrial Energy Generation IV Nuclear Technology for the Repowering Coal Consortium
Terrestrial Energy is an industry-leading technology company committed to delivering reliable, emission-free, and cost-competitive nuclear energy with a truly innovative advanced reactor design, the Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR®).