The next big breakthrough in power generation could happen beneath our feet — how nuclear technology can be made safer

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Imagine a future where we can keep the lights on with reactors that are safer, cleaner, and more efficient.

Molten salt reactors are part of a technology gaining traction that could solve several challenges facing the nuclear industry, as Power magazine covered in an April feature.

MSRs use molten salts as both a coolant and fuel carrier, a concept that dates back to the 1950s. In 1965, Oak Ridge National Laboratory successfully operated an experimental MSR, proving the technology’s feasibility and safety.

MSRs operate at high temperatures with excellent thermal efficiency. Their liquid fuel also gives them inherent safety advantages over traditional reactors.

MSRs could be a huge win for the environment and human health. Nuclear power is already a low-carbon energy source. But MSRs take that a step further by generating less long-lived nuclear waste. Some designs even use thorium, an abundant metal, as fuel instead of uranium.

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Imagine a future where we can keep the lights on with reactors that are safer, cleaner, and more efficient. MSRs could play a key role in diversifying our energy mix and tackling rising temperatures and extreme weather events. And by reducing planet-warming pollution, this technology can help protect our communities and food supply from climate catastrophes.

One company, ThorCon, estimates it could build MSRs for just $1 per watt of capacity, according to Power magazine. Compare that to $14 per watt for some conventional reactors. While projections don’t always pan out, the potential for more affordable nuclear power is exciting.

There’s still work to do to bring MSRs to market, especially on the regulatory side. But progress is happening. Companies and researchers worldwide are developing MSR designs. And a U.S. partnership recently began operations for a first-of-its-kind molten salt test facility.

As nuclear advocate Mike Conley told Power magazine, “Rest assured, molten salt reactors will be built in the next 10 years.” When they arrive, MSRs could be a game-changer for clean energy. And that’s a win-win for our wallets and our planet.

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© 2024 THE COOL DOWN COMPANY. All Rights Reserved. Do not sell or share my personal information.