UK’s MoltexFLEX launches new concept molten salt reactor

4 October 2022

UK-based MoltexFLEX has launched its FLEX reactor, which uses molten salt technology in an unprecedented way. MoltexFLEX is a subsidiary of Moltex Energy Limited. With no moving parts, the FLEX reactor is simple in both design and operation, the company said. The reactor can respond to changes in energy demand – automatically entering an idle state or returning rapidly to full power – making it an ideal complement to wind and solar power. 

Worldwide, spikes in demand have often been filled by fossil fuels, because conventional reactors are not suited to rapidly changing their output. But the FLEX reactor can be quickly deployed to meet changing energy requirements. In addition, it would take just 24 months to build a 500 MW power plant.

MoltexFLEX CEO David Landon said: “We recognised the need for an energy supply that can support renewables when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow. In the FLEX reactor, we have a solution for consumers and countries alike.”

Moreover, the cost of electricity generated by the FLEX reactor is comparable to that of wind, at just GBP40 ($44.6) per MWh. This is achieved through a unique, patented system which uses two molten salts: one acting as a fuel, while the other circulates as a coolant. This allows the heat from the reactor to be extracted through natural convection, without the need for pumps. Because of its simplicity, the FLEX reactor does not require expensive steel and concrete structures, greatly reducing the operational and maintenance costs. Once online, the FLEX reactor can be operated with the same skills and equipment used in a fossil fuel plant, and it can last 60 years with only two scheduled breaks to refuel.

The FLEX reactor also has multiple applications, making it an ideal global export. Landon added: “The FLEX reactor provides the safety net of affordable domestic energy, but is versatile enough for applications ranging from decarbonising heavy industry to powering cargo ships.” The 750°C heat it produces can also be used for water desalination and more efficient hydrogen production.

Furthermore, the FLEX reactor’s small footprint and short construction time make it ideal for meeting changing energy needs. Roughly the size of a two-storied house, each reactor has the potential to power 40,000 homes. With the addition of more reactors, there is no limit to the size of community they can support, or the jobs and booming export market they can create.

Image: A FLEX reactor plant (courtesy of MoltexFLEX)

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