Terrestrial Energy Achieves Breakthrough with Completion of Molten Salt Reactor Regulatory Review

Company’s Integral Molten Salt Reactor plant leads the way to cost-competitive, zero-carbon industrial cogeneration

OAKVILLE, Ontario, Canada and Charlotte, NC – April 18, 2023– Terrestrial Energy has achieved a breakthrough in the commercial development of its Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) power plant, with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) completion of Phase 2 of the pre-licensing Vendor Design Review (VDR). This is the first advanced, high-temperature fission technology to complete a review of this type.

“The VDR is a comprehensive pre-licensing regulatory review, and its completion is a breakthrough for Terrestrial Energy. Its scope and conclusion provide commercial confidence to proceed to licensing and construction of IMSR plants. It is the first technology review completed by a major regulator of a nuclear plant design that uses a Generation IV reactor technology to supply heat at high temperature, and the first time for molten salt reactor technology,” said Simon Irish, CEO of Terrestrial Energy. “This review is a major step to bring molten salt technology to commercial markets and IMSR plants to large industrial companies seeking practicable high-impact solutions to decarbonize industrial production.” 

“This nuclear technology review by the Canadian regulator is a first for the nuclear industry and a proud moment for Canada. It points to a different direction of travel for nuclear energy, away from the traditional modes of development and use,” said Stephen Harper, Canada’s 22nd Prime Minister and member of Terrestrial Energy’s Advisory Board. “The nuclear age will be renewed with high-temperature reactor technologies designed and developed by innovative private companies to achieve competitive commercial performance in civilian markets. This landmark brings that one step closer.”

The VDR involved a comprehensive review of the IMSR nuclear power plant covering 19 “focus areas” defined by the CNSC and required Terrestrial Energy’s preparation of hundreds of technical submissions. Its scope included a systematic review of Terrestrial Energy’s engineering management processes, confirmatory testing program for IMSR components and systems, reactor controls and safety systems, defence-in-depth strategy, safety analysis, and the requirements for safeguards, security, fire protection and radiation protection. Following an extensive multi-year review, CNSC staff concluded that there are no fundamental barriers to licensing the IMSR plant.

Terrestrial Energy is engaged with a diverse range of industrial companies operating large energy and emissions intensive plants in multiple jurisdictions worldwide that are seeking to offset emissions and source reliable zero-carbon energy supply. The unique capabilities of the IMSR plant to provide this clean energy to industry can help achieve these goals.

The IMSR plant is a nuclear plant, designed to be sited close to its industrial end-user and deployed using modular processes and techniques. However, its use of molten salt reactor fission technology delivers transformative advantages essential to nuclear energy’s commercial performance in competitive and unsubsidized markets. The IMSR plant uniquely supplies high-quality heat (585 degrees C), which water-cooled reactor technology cannot. This increases the efficiency of electric power generation by nearly 50 percent and expands the use of nuclear energy to zero-carbon industrial cogeneration (heat and power) for the first time. 

The IMSR plant is designed to use standard assay Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) civilian nuclear fuel, enriched to less than 5 percent, thereby avoiding the need for High Assay LEU (HALEU) fuel. This assures a stable supply of fuel essential for a fleet of IMSR plants operating in the 2030s and increases the IMSR’s international regulatory acceptance. Terrestrial Energy is advancing its fuel supply program with Springfields Fuel (Westinghouse) in the UK and Orano in France.

About Terrestrial Energy

Terrestrial Energy is developing a zero-emissions cogeneration plant for global industry using its proprietary Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) fission technology in an innovative, small and modular plant design. The IMSR is a non-Light Water Reactor of the Generation IV class that operates at the high temperature required for broad industrial relevance with transformative economic potential. The IMSR plant is capable of grid-based electric power generation and industrial cogeneration in many energy-intensive industries, including petrochemical and chemical synthesis for hydrogen and ammonia production. The IMSR plant offers a near 50 percent improvement in efficiency of electric power generation compared to conventional nuclear plants widely in use today. Its industrial cogeneration capability delivers to today’s markets industrial competitiveness, security of energy, and zero-emissions industrial production. The IMSR plant’s use of existing industrial materials, components, and fuels supports its near-term deployment, setting the stage for a rapid global decarbonization of the primary energy system.

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