Oakville, Ontario’s Terrestrial Energy is to be a sponsor of the Sustainable Investment Forum, a day-long conference taking place in New York on September 20, as part of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initative’s Climate Week, which will bring together some of the world’s leading stakeholders and innovators in the cleantech sector.
Terrestrial Energy is working to create small modular reactors, called Integral Molten Salt Reactors (IMSR), for use in small to modest energy markets, which the company says will be deployed “in the 2020s”, providing electricity generation both on and off-grid, as well as energy for industrial process heat generation.
The benefit of small modular reactors (SMR) is that they can be built and shipped, rather than constructed on site, while also producing smaller quantities of energy than a massive installation for heating or electricity purposes.
Aside from being a sponsor at the Sustainable Investment forum, Terrestrial Energy CEO Simon Irish will participate in a panel called “Private Sector Innovation: Developing and Implementing Low Carbon Technologies”.
This past June, the company’s American branch, Terrestrial Energy USA, was selected as one of eight businesses to receive funding from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) under its Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative.
This funding comes in the form of a voucher under the Nuclear Energy Voucher Program, redeemable at DOE national laboratories or Nuclear Science User Facility (NSUF) partner facilities and aimed at helping small businesses overcome technology and commercialization challenges.
The GAIN initiative was launched in November 2015 to provide a way to fast-track nuclear innovation in the United States, kicking off in January with an US$82 million investment from the U.S. federal government to be disbursed across 93 different projects to help kickstart the next generation of nuclear technologies towards commercialization.
In January, Terrestrial Energy received US$8 million, according to an SEC filing, “to support the Company’s pre-construction and pre-licensing engineering, and to support further engagement with industry and nuclear regulators,” said CEO Simon Irish at the time. “These programs allow the Company to demonstrate to industry the commercial merits of the IMSR design.”
In February, Terrestrial Energy submitted its IMSR design to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for Phase I of its pre-licensing Vendor Design Review, the first step towards an eventual license application to build its first commercial demonstration IMSR power plant.
Former Commissioner at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Jeffrey Merrifield said at that time, “This is the first Molten Salt Reactor system to begin regulatory engagement with a western nuclear regulatory authority. It also positions Terrestrial Energy as one of the leading Advanced Reactor system developers today that is taking definitive regulatory steps toward commercialization.”
This past May, Terrestrial Energy got a rocky ride during an information session in Yellowknife, the intent of which was to pitch local residents, mostly Dene First Nations people, on the benefits of clean nuclear energy.
The company claims that molten salt reactors are six times more efficient and produce a third the amount of nuclear waste of conventional designs such as Candu reactors, which use solid nuclear fuel and highly pressurized water, while also being safer in general.
The Sustainable Investment Forum, of which Terrestrial Energy is a sponsor, takes place on September 20 at the Westin New York at Times Square, during Climate Week, September 19-26.