MSR Benefits

Molten Salt Reactor Advantages

  • Molten Fuel - Fuel circulates through the reactor, fission products get removed, for over 99% fuel use (vs. LWR ~3%). No long-term radioactive waste.
  • Salt Cooled - Coolant far below boiling point, reactor operates at atmospheric pressure. Fuel dissolved in stable salt (no water), no loss of coolant accident possible. No need for high-pressure safety systems.
  • High Inherent Safety - No water, no high pressure, nothing that could propel radioactive materials into the environment. Thermal expansion/contraction of molten fuel salt strongly regulates fission rate; MSR is a very stable reactor. Simple safety systems work even if no electricity or operators.
  • Easy Construction and Siting - Low pressure operation, so no high-pressure safety systems. No water, so no steam containment building. Reactor factory assembled, with modern quality control, sensors and communication.
  • Lower Cost - Even with exotic materials, construction costs will be dramatically lower than LWR — factory construction, minimal manual on-site preparation. No long-term radioactive waste, so no long-term storage.
  • High Temperature Operation - Heat to generate electricity, desalinate water, produce CO2-neutral vehicle fuel, etc.
0 Items

Develop LFTR and factories: ~$5Billion. Build 100MW LFTRs on assembly lines: ~$200 Million.

Fuel for 1GW LFTR: $10,000/yr. (LWR: $50-60 Million/yr.)

A 1 GigaWatt LFTR generates $595 million to $690 million of electricity per year, plus:

  • 150kg xenon @ $180,000.
  • 125kg of neodymium @ $150,000
  • 15Kg Pu-238 (only Pu-239 is fissile) for radioisotope power @ $75M-150M
  • 20kg medical molybdenum-99, plus 5g Th-229 (decays to Bi-213 for cancer treatments)
  • 20Kg radiostrontium for remote heating units.

Radioisotopes and Medical Isotopes from LFTR

Capital costs are generally higher for conventional nuclear versus fossil-fuel plants, whereas fuel costs are lower… because the construction, including the containment building, must meet very high standards; the facilities include elaborate, redundant safety systems; and included in capital costs are levies for the cost of decommissioning and removing the plants when they are ultimately taken out of service. The much-consulted MIT study The Future of Nuclear Power, originally published in 2003 and updated in 2009, shows the capital costs of coal plants at $2.30 per watt versus $4 for light-water nuclear. A principal reason why the capital costs of LFTR plants could depart from this ratio is that the LFTR operates at atmospheric pressure and contains no pressurized water. With no water to flash to steam in the event of a pressure breach, a LFTR can use a much more close-fitting containment structure. Other expensive high-pressure coolant-injection systems can also be deleted. One concept for the smaller LFTR containment structure is a hardened concrete facility below ground level, with a robust concrete cap at ground level to resist aircraft impact and any other foreseeable assaults. Hargraves, American Scientist Vol 98, July 2010

Limited decommissioning cost vs. LWR systems, infrastructure & waste. Total development cost for Th-MSR may be less than ‘true cost’ of decommissioning current LWR. Th-MSR’s value in burning existing waste may offset its total Build & Operational Cost. Kennedy TEAC3

The U.S. nuclear industry has already allocated $25 billion for storage or reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. FLiBe Energy. [Perhaps the company that builds LFTRs will get the contract? Development of LFTRs and construction of manufacturing plants for the entire world would cost less.]

For economics of solid fuel reactors, including construction, fuel, waste, decomissioning, see Doty Energy – Fission.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This