Moltex Energy Canada has announced a significant breakthrough in its waste recycling programme, following “rigorous experiments” at its uranium-licensed laboratory. Moltex says it has substantially derisked its innovative WAste To Stable Salt (WATSS) process.

The experiments used simfuel (simulated fuel) made of uranium dioxide and cerium oxide proportional to levels found in used nuclear fuel. According to Moltex, “the use of cerium oxide as an analogue to transuranic oxides is supported by literature and thermodynamic modelling”.

Moltex CEO Rory O’Sullivan noted: “These important experiments not only demonstrate the viability of our waste recycling technology but also reaffirm our unwavering commitment to developing clean energy solutions that combat climate change.”

Based on the results of these experiments, Moltex has embarked on the next phase of its research by initiating experiments using real used Candu fuel in secure hot cells at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories. “These experiments are currently ongoing and expected to provide valuable insights,” Moltex said.

Moltex is also in discussions with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to formalise a service agreement to help facilitate a bilateral dialogue on its used fuel recycling design, stressing its commitment to transparency, safety, and regulatory compliance while protecting its intellectual property.

Moltex says it is developing “three unique technologies”: a Stable Salt Reactor – Wasteburner (SSR-W) that uses recycled nuclear waste as fuel; the WATSS process for recycling nuclear waste to produce SSR-W fuel; and GridReserve thermal energy storage tanks, enabling the SSR-W to act as a peaking plant. Moltex was selected by NB Power to progress development of its reactor technology in New Brunswick with the goal of deploying first-of-a-kind SSR-W, WATSS and GridReserve units at the Point Lepreau NPP site by the early 2030s.

The SSR-W “has reached a technology readiness level that inspires confidence in its feasibility and economic viability, allowing the technical team to reallocate resources toward the optimisation of the WATSS process”, Moltex notes. This is supported by partners AtkinsRéalis and IDOM, as well as customers and investors.

Image: SSR-W site layout (courtesy of Moltex)