Southern Company partners with DOE on top-notch nuclear salt reactor

Southern Company nuclear

Southern Company, a leading US utility, announced this Thursday it has signed a collaborative agreement to design, construct and operate the Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment, the world’s first critical fast-spectrum salt reactor for clean and efficient nuclear energy.

Firstly, the project launched by innovative company TerraPower will receive funding under DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP). The Molten Chloride Fast Reactor (MCFR) is an innovative technology that enables sustainable and cleaner nuclear energy generation.

Moreover, Southern Company will lead research and development efforts to build the project, along with TerraPower; the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), CORE POWER; also, Orano Federal Services, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and 3M Company.

In addition, the alliance with the Department of Energy and its Office of Nuclear Energy will be essential to deliver this technology to the market. In fact, the plan is to support the development of this technology with a five-year, $170 million cost-shared funding agreement.

On the other hand, the Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment will be the world’s first fast-spectrum, salt-fueled nuclear fission reactor to go critical, meaning that it is operating on a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

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Southern Company to deliver critical support to TerraPower’s project

Consequently, the project comes as a true turning point for the energy transition; but also for TerraPower and its technology demonstration. Also, before the project’s final design and construction begins, it will endure an environmental review.

Furthermore, nuclear energy will be central to an affordable and sustainable net-zero future. In this regard, the MCFR is one of the most advanced Generation IV nuclear technologies under development. It offers flexible, highly efficient, clean electric power generation. However, it also has the potential to provide carbon-free high-grade process heat and thermal storage for difficult-to-decarbonize industrial markets and ocean transportation sectors.

About the matter, Chris Levesque, TerraPower’s president, and CEO said. “Our past work with Southern Company has led to important experimental milestones and to the establishment of unique test facilities necessary to validate molten salt reactor technology. Southern Company’s leadership and experience in reactor licensing and operation has been essential.”

Finally, Dr. Mark S. Berry, Southern Company vice president of R&D said. “This project will support the commercialization of a revolutionary technology on a timescale that addresses climate change benchmarks and delivers on Southern Company’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

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