TerraPower’s founders revolutionized computing by creating brand new technologies that offered a step change over the platforms that existed at the time. The company’s innovators are doing the same with nuclear technology. Our innovations are transformative, not incremental, and are designed to rethink the way nuclear energy is delivered to enable broad access to safe, carbon-free energy.
Molten Chloride Fast Reactor Technology
Nuclear Reactor Technology
TerraPower’s second advanced reactor design is the Molten Chloride Fast Reactor (MCFR) technology. This project answers a multitude of challenges by expanding the ability of nuclear reactor technology to decarbonize the economy in sectors beyond electricity. The MCFR project has the potential to be a relatively low-cost reactor that can operate safely in new, higher temperature regimes. This means the technology can do more than generate electricity; it offers benefits to potential alternative markets, such as providing carbon-free heat for industrial processes, and thermal storage.
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, the 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.