Oakville, Ontario’s Terrestrial Energy has announced a $10 million Series A fund to help create small, modular nuclear reactors, called Integral Molten Salt Reactors, for use in small to modest energy markets.
“Funds will be used to support the Company’s pre-construction and pre-licensing engineering, and to support further engagement with industry and nuclear regulators,” said Terrestrial Energy CEO Simon Irish. “These programs allow the Company to demonstrate to industry the commercial merits of the IMSR design.”
These small nuclear reactors, intended to be deployed “in the 2020s”, claim to be able to provide electricity generation both on and off-grid, as well as energy for industrial process heat generation.
The origin of funding was not disclosed, although an SEC filing from yesterday names New York-based Asperion Group LLC, with a dollar amount of $8,041,536, which puts the Canadian total above $11 million.
Irish claims that “the reactor will cost about the same to build as a coal power plant, but will cost much less to run than a traditional nuclear plant.”
“Market need has never been greater for true game-changing energy innovation,” said James Reinsch, Terrestrial Energy shareholder, former President of Bechtel Nuclear and member of the Board of Directors of two large nuclear power utilities. “Nuclear power is recognized as probably the only energy technology today that has the scale to displace polluting energy sources without sacrificing cost-competitiveness and perpetuating energy poverty for billions. As this drives the emerging ground-swell of support for advanced nuclear technology, Terrestrial Energy is at the forefront with its IMSR technology and its dedicated and capable management team.”
Terrestrial Energy entered into a partnership with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to develop the IMSR technology to blueprint stage over the next two years.
It was at the Oak Ridge facility that the first molten salt reactor was developed in the late 1960s, a 7.4 megawatt thermal test unit, since when, however, research and development into commercializing alternate forms of nuclear energy outside of fission reactors has been practically non-existent.
Concentrating on small modular reactors (SMR) means that reactors can be built and shipped, rather than constructed on site, and also produce smaller quantities of energy than a massive installation for heating or electricity purposes.
With the new dose of funding, Terrestrial Energy “continues to advance its business case to commercialize the IMSR, at a time when Canada and the United States are re-defining their climate change commitments following COP21.”