HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Environment & Energy » Environment & Energy (Group) » Safer Nuclear Power, at H...

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 01:04 AM

Safer Nuclear Power, at Half the Price [View all]

Transatomic, an MIT spinoff, is developing a nuclear reactor that it estimates will cut the overall cost of a nuclear power plant in half. It’s an updated molten-salt reactor, a type that’s highly resistant to meltdowns. Molten-salt reactors were demonstrated in the 1960s at Oak Ridge National Lab, where one test reactor ran for six years, but the technology hasn’t been used commercially.

The new reactor design, which so far exists only on paper, produces 20 times as much power for its size as Oak Ridge’s technology. That means relatively small, yet powerful, reactors could be built less expensively in factories and shipped by rail instead of being built on site like conventional ones. Transatomic also modified the original molten-salt design to allow it to run on nuclear waste.

High costs, together with concerns about safety and waste disposal, have largely stalled construction of new nuclear plants in the United States and elsewhere (though construction continues in some countries, including China). Japan and Germany even shut down existing plants after the Fukushima accident two years ago (see “Japan’s Economic Troubles Spur a Return to Nuclear” and “Small Nukes Get Boost”). Several companies are trying to address the cost issue by developing small modular reactors that can be built in factories. But these are typically limited to producing 200 megawatts of power, whereas conventional reactors produce more than 1,000 megawatts.

Transatomic says it can split the difference, building a 500-megawatt power plant that achieves some of the cost savings associated with the smaller reactor designs. It estimates that it can build a plant based on such a reactor for $1.7 billion, roughly half the cost per megawatt of current plants. The company has raised $1 million in seed funding, including some from Ray Rothrock, a partner at the VC firm Venrock. Although its cofounders, Mark Massie and Leslie Dewan, are still PhD candidates at MIT, the design has attracted some top advisors, including Regis Matzie, the former CTO of the major nuclear power plant supplier Westinghouse Electric, and Richard Lester, the head of the nuclear engineering department at MIT.


http://www.technologyreview.com/news/512321/safer-nuclear-power-at-half-the-price/?utm_campaign=newsletters&utm_source=newsletter-daily-all&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20130312


I'm not trying to start anything here, just thought this was too noteworthy not to post.

34 replies, 3509 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
Reply Safer Nuclear Power, at Half the Price [View all]
Rhiannon12866 Mar 2013 OP
PoliticAverse Mar 2013 #1
Rhiannon12866 Mar 2013 #2
guyton Mar 2013 #3
Rhiannon12866 Mar 2013 #4
wtmusic Mar 2013 #11
kristopher Mar 2013 #13
FBaggins Mar 2013 #21
Fumesucker Mar 2013 #29
guyton Mar 2013 #30
kristopher Mar 2013 #5
Rhiannon12866 Mar 2013 #6
kristopher Mar 2013 #7
Rhiannon12866 Mar 2013 #8
jonthebru Mar 2013 #9
kristopher Mar 2013 #10
pscot Mar 2013 #27
wtmusic Mar 2013 #12
Rhiannon12866 Mar 2013 #15
ladjf Mar 2013 #14
hunter Mar 2013 #17
ladjf Mar 2013 #18
hunter Mar 2013 #19
ladjf Mar 2013 #22
hunter Mar 2013 #24
Nihil Mar 2013 #28
FBaggins Mar 2013 #20
ladjf Mar 2013 #23
wtmusic Mar 2013 #25
ladjf Mar 2013 #31
FBaggins Mar 2013 #32
ladjf Mar 2013 #33
FBaggins Mar 2013 #34
NickB79 Mar 2013 #26
Cooley Hurd Mar 2013 #16