TerraPower’s Molten Chloride Fast Reactor (MCFR) project expands the ability of nuclear reactor technology to decarbonize the economy in sectors including and beyond electricity. The MCFR technology operates at higher temperatures than conventional reactors, thus generating electricity more efficiently and without emissions. Its unique design also offers potential for process heat applications and thermal storage. Its unparalleled design features make it a highly efficient, low-cost and carbon-free energy solution to help utilities and industries reach decarbonization goals.
Molten Chloride Fast Reactor Technology
Leading the Way in Partnerships
TerraPower’s MCFR design research and development has already expanded into design and testing activities. In January 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded a five-year, $40 million cost-share award for continued research and development into TerraPower’s MCFR project. This award served as the inception for a new public-private MCFR project development partnership that includes TerraPower, Southern Company, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Electric Power Research Institute, and Vanderbilt University.
As of July 2019, the MCFR design team reached a major milestone on this project with 1,000 hours of isothermal loop operations. The MCFR technology will utilize liquid salt as both fuel and coolant in the reactor core. This fully pumped molten salt loop tested key components including pumps, heaters, freeze valves, flanges, and instrumentation over time.
In December 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy selected the Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment (MCRE) proposal, with Southern Company as the Prime, as a winner of the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program risk-reduction pathway. This effort is relevant to TerraPower’s MCFR design.
Southern Company and TerraPower are working on an Integrated Effects Test (IET) to learn how the MCFR technology will scale and behave at larger, commercially relevant sizes. The IET is expected to be commissioned and begin operating in TerraPower’s Everett, Washington, facility in 2023.