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Terrestrial Energy Signs Molten Salt Fuel Deal with Orano

Dan Yurman's picture
Editor & Publisher NeutronBytes, a blog about nuclear energy

Publisher of NeutronBytes, a blog about nuclear energy online since 2007.  Consultant and project manager for technology innovation processes and new product / program development for commercial...

  • Member since 2018
  • 1,480 items added with 1,044,302 views
  • Oct 3, 2021
  • 1329 views
  • Terrestrial Energy Signs Molten Salt Fuel Deal with Orano
  • Poland / GEH Boss Says First SMR Could Be In Operation By 2030
  • Czech Energy Plans Now Include Temelin Expansion that May Follow a New Dukovany unit
  • Group of Vienna Aims to Tackle Global Nuclear Energy Challenges Working with the IAEA
  • MIT / INL Center for Reactor Instrumentation and Sensor Physics Makes Joint Appointment of Dr. Sacit Cetiner

Terrestrial Energy Signs Molten Salt Fuel Deal with Orano

Terrestrial Energy and Orano have signed a comprehensive agreement for nuclear fuel supply for a IMSR Power Plant. Last weekTerrestrial Energy has entered into an agreement with Orano, a global leader in the nuclear fuel cycle, as part of its fuel supply program for operation of the Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR), a Generation IV “next-generation” nuclear power plant.

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TEI-ISMR-HowItWorks-Diagram


The agreement’s broad scope of services includes uranium enrichment, chemical conversion to IMSR fuel form, its production, transportation, packaging, and logistics. This scope covers analysis for full-scale commercial production and supply of IMSR fuel and applies to major markets for IMSR power plant deployment today, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

This agreement is part of Terrestrial Energy’s multiple-sourcing strategy for IMSR fuel supply and reflects Orano’s intention to support next-generation reactor commercialization with its broad range of fuel services. The relationship between the companies is non-exclusive and allows both parties to pursue other similar business opportunities in the nuclear industry.

“This agreement with Terrestrial Energy applies the global fuel supply scope and experience of Orano to focus on powering the next generation of innovative, clean-air nuclear energy in Canada,” said Amir Vexler, President and CEO of Orano USA.

“Utility requirements for fuel supply extend beyond enrichment of uranium to a range of essential services that together provide secure supply of reactor fuel to power plant gate,” said Simon Irish, CEO of Terrestrial Energy. “The scope of our agreement covers that full range from enrichment, production, with its transport elements, including packaging and logistics, for comprehensive commercial supply. This range of services is essential for first IMSR power plant operations as early as 2028.”

IMSR fuel uses standard assay low enriched uranium (LEU), which has become the commercial fuel standard over many decades of power plant operation. With the exception of CANDU plants (which use unenriched uranium), commercial nuclear power plants around the world today use standard assay LEU.

Firm Doubles Down on its Design

Terrestrial Energy introduced on September 14 its new IMSR400 power plant, which consists of twin reactors and generators to produce 390 MW of clean electricity at one site. It will be composed of two 195 MWe units which is the current design.

About the IMSR Reactor

The IMSR400 is one of three small modular reactor (SMR) power plant designs under consideration for deployment at Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. It is one of two Generation IV technology candidates, and the only Canadian technology candidate. Terrestrial Energy’s Oakville, Ontario, operation represents one of the the largest SMR power plant technology development project in Canada.

About Orano

For more than 50 years, the Orano Group has provided nuclear fuel products and expert services across the entire nuclear fuel cycle to the global nuclear industry. These services include uranium enrichment as well as fuel conversion, production, packaging, and transportation. The security of commercial fuel supply over life-of-plant is backed by Orano’s conversion and enrichment facilities performing at the highest standards of safety, quality and security while achieving a reduced environmental footprint.

& & &

Poland / GEH Boss Says First SMR Could Be Built by 2030

Reactor could be built at Patnow coal plant west of Warsaw

(NucNet) GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) is targeting 2030 for completion of its first BWRX-300 small modular reactor in Poland with the plant to be built either at the site of the Patnow coal plant about 200 km west of Warsaw or at a site proposed by state oil and petrol company PKN Orlen, GEH president and chief executive officer Jay Wileman said in an interview with Business Insider Polska.

Wileman said China and Russia are still producing large reactors, but there is less and less investment in this sector globally. “These large nuclear projects, which are now underway, are long overdue, have gone severely over budget, and have seen investment of more than $20 billion.

Mr Wileman said few companies or countries can afford such costs and delays. “That is why, together with our engineers, we started to consider how to meet these challenges and respond to the current needs of customers. We concluded that a reactor must first and foremost be small and cost $1 billion at most.”

At $5,000/kw, a 300 MWe SMR would cost more coming in at $1.5 million. GE Hitachi, which is designing the BWRX-300, has made claims that it can deliver the reactor at about half that price. GEH says that overall the BWRX-300 will require significantly less capital cost per MW when compared to other SMR designs.

So far, the firm is a long way from proving that point as the reactor has not been approved by any nuclear regulatory agency for construction. The US process is 42 months and the UK process is even longer at 48 months. However, 2030 might be a reasonable target date for building a first of a kind (FOAK) unit.

The BWRX-300 is a 300-MW water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems that uses elements of the design and licensing basis of GEH’s US-certified economic simplified boiling water reactor (ESBWR) nuclear plant.

Earlier this month, Synthos Green Energy and Poland-based private equity group ZE Pak announced they would work together to explore building BWRX-300 SMRs at the Patnow coal plant site. In 2019, Synthos and GEH agreed to collaborate on potential deployment applications for the BWRX-300 in Poland. The companies signed a strategic agreement in 2020 that further advanced that cooperation.

Daniel Obajtek, president PKN Orlen, recently became the latest of a number of high-profile Polish businessmen and entrepreneurs to announce their support for SMRs. He said SMRs are not a technology “from space” and could be part of Poland’s long-term strategic energy planning.

In a related development, Polish chemicals giant Ciech SA has signed a letter of intent with Synthos Green Energy to cooperate on the possible development of small and micro modular reactors for industrial use.

GEH has also entered into a memorandum of understanding to evaluate the potential establishment of a uranium fuel supply chain in Canada capable of servicing a potential fleet of BWRX-300 SMRs in Poland.

& & &

Czech Energy Plans Now Include Temelin Expansion that May Follow a New Dukovany unit

(wire services) On 9/27 Czech President Miloš Zeman signed into law an act which allows a state-owned company to purchase electricity from new nuclear plants at a fixed rate for at least 30 years, with the possibility of extension. The power will be resold on the wholesale market and any profit or loss translated into an adjustment to power bills, although the government said it will set an upper limit on any extra cost.

The key section of the legislation reads,

“In addition to stable electricity supplies nuclear power plants also enable the provision of stable heat supplies, which is another advantage due to the extensive system of central heat supply in the Czech Republic. Therefore, “Nuclear energy has been identified as the primary means of ensuring energy security in the Czech Republic in the context of achieving the goal of a climate-neutral EU by 2050 due to its ability to ensure low-carbon, stable and cheap electricity supplies.”

Russia and China Out of Consideration

However, the new law also specifies that Russian and Chinese companies will not be allowed to participate in either the construction or maintenance of the new unit to be built at the Dukovany NPP. It states that only technology from suppliers from countries that have acceded to the 1996 International Government Procurement Agreement will be accepted. Russia and China are not among the signatory states.

Originally, many government ministers and President Zeman were supportive of Russian technology for new nuclear plants. However, media reports indicate that under pressure from right-wing political parties in parliament and the security services, the Ministry of Industry and Trade announced its intention to exclude China at the end of March and Rosatom was excluded in mid-April.

Russia’s exclusion followed allegations of Russian involvement in explosions at the ammunition complex in Vrbetice in the Zlín region in 2014. The munitions were reported to be bound for Ukraine and the Czech government assessed that the explosion was set by Russian operatives to prevent the shipment from taking place.

Success at Dukovany Could Lead to New Reactors for Temelin

Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlícek said that, as well as the new unit at  Dukovany, two other reactors could be constructed at the Temelín NPP by the company that wins the tender for the Dukovany unit. A non-binding option for the possible construction of one or two units in Temelín will be part of the tender documentation for the project.

“If we  are in the next government, we will also start preparing for Temelín. We say that, whoever wants to deliver to Dukovany, could also  be connected with Temelín. It is a greater motivation for the suppliers, and so we are pushing even harder on the price.”

Timeline for the Tender. Does One Size Fit All?

The tender documentation will be handed over by state-owned power company CEZ as an investor to companies that apply to take part in the tender, which should start by the end of the year. Before that, interested parties must submit a completed safety questionnaire, which CEZ has already sent to the companies and which must be submitted by November 30th.

Havlícek’s deputy Tomáš Ehler also confirmed that the tender contains an option for the completion of Temelín. However, he said that the option is non-binding and is therefore one of the bases for future decisions by the investor and the state on the development of nuclear resources.

“Nevertheless, from a technical and economic point of view, it makes sense to build and operate a single type of unit in the Czech Republic from one supplier.”

According to Havlícek, during meetings with potential participants in the tender, including the France’s EDF, South Korea’s KHNP and the US-based Westinghouse, there is interest in linking Temelín  to the Dukovany tender.

“In other words, this is expected to put a downward pressure on prices. They perceive it very positively, because building two or three units is a quite different matter compared with a single unit.

Havlícek said new Temelín units will be needed. “Anyone who is sensible and sees the situation in Europe knows that we need to phase out 10,000MWe of coal. We have 4,000MWe of nuclear resources and Dukovany will eventually have to close at best, in the 2040s, and worse in the 2030s, and that will leave us with only 2,000 MWe,” he said. He noted that the planned fifth Dukovany will only replace half of the current Dukovany capacity.

CEZ wants to have an evaluated order of tender participants by the end of next year, construction should begin in 2029. The new unit should be put into operation in 2036. According to Havlícek, the fundamental requirement of the state is the greatest possible involvement of Czech companies. “Sixty percent is the minimum for me. We are already cooperating with Czech suppliers, meeting them and it is a huge chance for Czech industry.”

Czech Republic’s Energy Outlook

Energy policies currently in place call for coal to be phased out in the Czech Republic in 2038. The International Energy Agency recently encouraged a faster schedule. By that time renewables are expected to provide 25% of electricity and nuclear as much as 58%.

The Czech Republic operates six commercial nuclear power units – four Soviet-built VVER-440s at the the Dukovany NPP and two Russian VVER-1000 units at the Temelin NPP, which together provided about 35% of total electricity production. The current units at Dukovany, which were commissioned in 1985-1987, will be decommissioned no later than 2045-2047.

& & &

Industrial ‘Group of Vienna’ Aims to Tackle Global Nuclear Energy Challenges Working with the IAEA

(WNN) Global nuclear industry leaders have agreed to work together with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as the Group of Vienna to apply nuclear energy to addressing climate change and advancing sustainable development.

“The existential threats of our times require all actors to work together in order to secure a better future for coming generations,” said IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi at the group’s inaugural meeting.

He assembled thirteen industry CEOs on his own initiative to create The Group of Vienna as a high-level platform for discussion between the IAEA and industry on how new nuclear technologies and techniques can be used to their full potential. Grossi said he wants to use “the amazing ability of the atom to combat climate change, treat disease, prevent hunger and much else.”

Founding members at the meeting yesterday were the heads of 13 nuclear companies from around the world: China National Nuclear Corporation, EDF, Eletronuclear, Kazatomprom, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nucleoeléctrica Argentina, NuScale, Rolls Royce SMR, Rosatom, SNC-Lavalin, Teollisuuden Voima Oyj and Urenco. They were joined by the Brazilian minister of mines and energy, Bento Albuquerque, as a guest.

A joint statement set out the Group of Vienna’s aims: “Nuclear technologies make a vital contribution to addressing the world’s unprecedented challenges, including climate change, poverty, equitable access to clean and affordable energy and human health. (Full text joint statement from Group of Vienna,)

“Energy is a key enabler of sustainable development and nuclear power provides clean, reliable, safe and sustainable energy, thereby helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enabling the achievement of internationally agreed climate goals, and supporting other important environmental objectives,”

The statement continued. “Other nuclear technologies and techniques play important roles in supporting social and economic objectives, for example, by diagnosing and treating cancer and by improving food production.”

The group intends to meet regularly to discuss “the latest developments in the nuclear field and their contribution to addressing key challenges.” It will also “support the IAEA in its mission to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of nuclear technologies to meeting environmental, social, and economic objectives and to improve the health and well-being of people.”

& & &

MIT / INL Center for Reactor Instrumentation and Sensor Physics Makes Joint Appointment of Dr. Sacit Cetiner to Lead the Effort

MIT Nuclear Reactor Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory collaborate to run the center.

inl logo 2018The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Nuclear Reactor Laboratory (NRL) and Idaho National Laboratory (INL) announced the appointment of Dr. Sacit M. Cetiner as the director of the newly established joint MIT and INL Center for Reactor Instrumentation and Sensor Physics (CRISP).

CRISP will function as a technology innovation, development and maturation hub by connecting experts from diverse organizations to devise solutions for sensing and instrumentation, and to test these systems under irradiation. The goal of CRISP is to advance the current state of automation in nuclear systems.

As CRISP director, Dr. Cetiner will continue his role as the Technical Point of Contact (TPOC) for the Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) Experiment I&C area. In this role, he is responsible for coordination of research and development activities led by national labs, universities and industry on several sensor concepts for deployment in the VTR cartridge loop experimental facilities. Development of the eddy-current flow meter (ECFM), in collaboration with Westinghouse, will be one of the initial VTR-related technology development activities for CRISP.

Dr. Cetiner will continue to be an INL employee in this new role. He comes to MIT and INL from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), where he was a senior R&D scientist and served as the lead for the Modern Nuclear Instrumentation and Controls Group. Over the course of his career at ORNL,

Dr. Cetiner led projects focusing on advanced reactor instrumentation and control system development. He also served as the technical lead for the Transformational Challenge Reactor Sensing and Controls Thrust.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 4, 2021

So far, the firm is a long way from proving that point as the reactor has not been approved by any nuclear regulatory agency for construction. The US process is 42 months and the UK process is even longer at 48 months. However, 2030 might be a reasonable target date for building a first of a kind (FOAK) unit.

These long, long lead times must be such a challenge-- who knows how markets and energy landscapes will have changed otherwise in the decade until them that might shift the economics and where these would fit in. I certainly don't think there weon't be a place for them at that point, but the business assumptions have to be constantly adjusted, I would think. 

Dan Yurman's picture
Dan Yurman on Oct 4, 2021

Exactly right.  The further out the planning horizon the more uncertainty there is for investors.

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