The Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG) in the Netherlands said on 2 March that it had set up a consortium, along with TU Delft, DIFFER, and reactor developer Thorizon to accelerate the development of molten salt reactors (MSRs). Recent technological developments made by the partners provide the basis for the further design and testing of important processes and materials to be able to build an MSR, NRG noted. As well as producing energy, an MSR can also provide high-quality heat for industry. This type of reactor is also ideally suited for the use of thorium as a fuel, NRG added.
The Netherlands has a unique infrastructure that is very suitable for research and development of innovative reactor technology such as the MSR. TU Delft has been leading European research into the thorium MSR for a number of years, and NRG in Petten has essential research facilities such as the High Flux (research) Reactor, supported by related nuclear laboratories and analysis methods. DIFFER conducts fundamental energy research and has unique in-house facilities for this. Thorizon is currently working on a promising design for an MSR that will be further developed in the coming years. The company aims to have its first reactor up and running by 2035. This will be fuelled partly with thorium and will demonstrate the technology.
“By combining the expertise of the consortium with experience from the business community (suppliers, producers and large consumers of energy), government and financiers, the consortium creates favourable conditions for the development of an MSR. In addition, engineers will be trained who can use and further develop this technology,” NRG said.