US Southern Company Services (SCS) and TerraPower recently built and installed a new test facility at TerraPower’s laboratory in Everett, Washington, according to the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy (NE). The Integrated Effects Test, or IET, is the largest chloride salt system in the world and will be instrumental in helping to develop the team’s Molten Chloride Fast Reactor (MCFR) technology, NE noted. The installation of the IET was part of a seven-year, $76 million cost-shared project with the DOE to further develop the MCFR system. TerraPower and SCS, a subsidiary of Southern Company, plan to demonstrate the reactor in the early 2030s.

The Integrated Effects Test is a multi-loop test facility that builds off of a series of smaller testing campaigns to inform its design. The non-nuclear system is heated by an external power source and will be used to help validate the thermal hydraulics and safety analysis codes needed to demonstrate molten salt reactor systems. The IET also supports the development of the Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment (MCRE) at Idaho National Laboratory, which will be the world’s first fast spectrum salt reactor. The MCRE is being funded through DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program and will help inform the design, licensing and operation of the MCFR demonstration.

“The completion and installation of the Integrated Effects Test is an important step to advancing TerraPower’s Molten Chloride Fast Reactor technology,” said Jeff Latkowski, TerraPower’s Senior Vice President of Innovation Programs. “The MCFR will play a pivotal role in decarbonising heavy industries, and we are proud to work with Southern Company, Core Power, and other partners to develop the systems necessary to bring new reactors to market.”

“Southern Company’s research and development programme is committed to advancing next-generation nuclear as part of a diverse technology portfolio supporting our goal of a net-zero future for customers,” said Dr Mark S Berry, Southern Company Services senior vice president of R&D. “We are honoured to engage with TerraPower, the Department of Energy and the other team members to further this goal through the Integrated Effects Test. Collaborations of this kind are critical to making transformational change in our energy system a reality.”

Core Power, the Electric Power Research Institute, Idaho National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Vanderbilt University all contributed to the IET project.

Image: The Integrated Effects Test (courtesy of Southern Company Services)