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Moltex Energy Canada

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Overview

Moltex Energy was founded in the United Kingdom in 2014 on the belief that nuclear power should be leading in the fight against climate change, combined with a frustration that it wasn’t fulfilling this role to its full potential.

This led Moltex to molten salt reactors with their inherent safety features and to a simple (and now patented) design in which molten salt fuel is contained within conventional fuel pins. The design is both smaller in size than other reactors of similar power output and much less expensive to build and operate.

In 2018, Moltex was selected by the Government of New Brunswick and NB Power to progress development of its reactor technology in New Brunswick, Canada, with the aim of deploying its first reactor at the Point Lepreau nuclear site as early as 2030.

Moltex now has a well-established office in New Brunswick, with a team leading design and development activities for North America. There are many others working on Moltex technology at universities and with suppliers around the world.

Moltex’s vision is to reduce the cost of clean energy for everyone, eliminating the need for fossil fuels. Its mission is to develop revolutionary nuclear technologies which its customers urgently need to deliver clean, low-cost power.

One of these technologies is the Stable Salt Reactor – Wasteburner (SSR-W), the only reactor specifically designed to use nuclear waste as fuel. Moltex’s WAste To Stable Salt(WATSS) fuel recycling technology enables the SSR-W to consume used CANDU fuel (as well as other oxide fuels), significantly reducing the volume of Canadian nuclear waste which would otherwise be destined for long-term storage.

With the current CANDU fleet, Canada will have enough used CANDU fuel in storage to produce 6,000 MW of clean energy with SSR-Ws for 60 years. The final volume of long-lived radioactive waste is expected to be significantly reduced.

In the fight against climate change, the world needs clean, affordable energy that can balance intermittent renewable sources. Moltex’s SSR-W, combined with its GridReserve energy storage technology, can accomplish this goal. For example, a 300 MW SSR-W produces 300 MW of energy every hour of every day. This energy can be stored as heat and used to generate electricity when renewables are offline, generating 600 MW for 12 hours a day or 900 MW for eight hours a day. This partnership can enable a 100% clean energy grid at a much lower cost than renewables plus batteries.

In addition to generating low cost electricity, the SSR-W is also ideally suited to produce heat for hydrogen, replacing the need for fossil fuels in heating, transport and industry. By producing heat at a much higher temperature than traditional reactors, the SSR can support ultra-efficient hydrogen processes such as high temperature electrolysis, without any carbon emissions and at a lower cost than coal or gas.

Moltex has received financial support from the New Brunswick, United Kingdom and United States governments. It has also benefited from financial and technical support from IDOM, a leading European nuclear engineering consulting company who are aiding in the design of the reactor, and from Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) who are supporting the fuel recycling development program.

Moltex is working with the University of New Brunswick on SSR-W coolant and WATSS research. It also enjoys a strong partnership with the North Shore Micmac District Council, based on a shared commitment to fighting climate change and to providing employment and economic opportunities for First Nations in New Brunswick.

Moltex fully supports the Statement of Principles on SMRs and believes Canada is well-positioned to be a world leader in this innovative area. New Brunswick has already stated its interest in building two new SMRs, which will create high-value jobs, spur the local supply-chain and lower the cost of electricity. It will also significantly reduce the province’s carbon footprint by offsetting the burning of fossil fuels.

The new reactors in New Brunswick will contribute to Canada’s goal of Net Zero by 2050 and strengthen Canada’s position as an early mover in SMR deployment, setting the standard for strategic influence and geopolitical security. They will also create more opportunities for regional development and Indigenous engagement and partnerships.

An evaluation of the New Brunswick supply chain determined that approximately 50 per cent of SSR-W components could be manufactured in New Brunswick. This positions the province and country well to be global leaders in SMR manufacturing.

With fossil fuels still dominating energy generation globally, there is an enormous market opportunity for SMRs. For Moltex, New Brunswick is just the beginning. The company is intent on building multiple reactors across Canada and around the world, and its small yet powerful design makes it suitable for siting in most communities.

Moltex is committed to action and seizing this clean energy opportunity for the health and well-being of people and the planet.

ACTIONS

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Engagement with the Regulator
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
ME01

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 44

ACTION

In response to the recommendation to engage with the CNSC at an early stage through pre-licensing processes available, Moltex is completing the CNSC’s Vendor Design Review.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • Arrive at the conclusion that there are no significant barriers to licensing the SSR-W
  • Understand Canadian regulations and demonstrate Moltex’s understanding to the CNSC.
  • Ensure the CNSC is familiar with Moltex’s innovative technologies in preparation for licensing activities with an operator.
  • Receive and act on feedback as appropriate.
  • Identify a fair and reasonable process for pre-licensing WATSS – and complete this process on time.
DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Engagement with NWMO on fuel waste management specifications and costs
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
ME02

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 45

ACTION

In response to the recommendation to engage with NWMO on appropriate technical specifications for a safe disposal facility and compatible waste forms for SMRs that could be deployed in Canada, Moltex has invited NWMO to contribute to high-level business and technical discussions via the Moltex Advisory Committee.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • Benefit from expertise and insight from NWMO.
  • Develop technical evaluation strategy.
  • Continue developing technology to ensure NWMO can accept waste products from the SSR-W and WATSS facilities.
DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Strategic partnerships and business models
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
ME03

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 46

ACTION

In response to the recommendation to consider where Moltex is planning to site its facilities and what that means about the strategic partnerships it needs to be developing, Moltex has continued to work closely with NB Power and other relevant stakeholders.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • Ensure Moltex’s design satisfies the requirements of NB Power and the Point Lepreau site.
  • Support NB Power in its vision to license, build and operate an SSR-W and WATSS facility.
  • Establish partnerships with other entities needed to complete development and deploy a reactor in New Brunswick.
  • Work with NB Power to develop partnerships to allow for further deployment across Canada and around the world.
DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Fleet deployment pathways
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
ME04

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 47

ACTION

In response to the recommendation to maximize Moltex’s chances of success in Canada and develop its business case with a view to benefits for Canada, Moltex has engaged in activities to identify and demonstrate the link between the development of its reactor technology and the diverse cultural, environmental and economic benefits for Canadians.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • Identify short-term and long-term economic benefits for Canada.
  • Continue communicating unique benefits (low-cost, reduces waste, balances renewables, etc.).
  • Gain more recognition among key stakeholders of the potential benefits of Moltex technology in Canada.
  • Raise awareness and understanding and develop trust among First Nations groups and the general public in New Brunswick.
  • Honour the established partnership with the North Shore Micmac District Council.
  • Continue developing supply-chain capabilities.