This news is classified in: Traditional Energy Nuclear
May 24, 2023
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Terrestrial Energy USA a regulatory assistance grant to support the company’s U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing program for the Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) plant, as part of the company’s strategy to secure a Standard Design Approval (SDA) under 10 CFR Part 52 in advance of commercial use.
“The industry funding opportunity vitally assists in reducing technical and economic challenges associated with current and future nuclear technologies,” said Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dr. Kathryn Huff. “This final round of awards supports technological advancements to ensure nuclear energy keeps delivering emissions-free power for all Americans.”
“The Department of Energy’s support for our IMSR licensing program with the NRC is well timed. It follows the successful completion last month of an extensive multi-year review of the IMSR plant design against Canadian regulatory standards. The experiences and engineering capabilities we developed over that extensive regulatory engagement are consequential to our business,” said Simon Irish, CEO of Terrestrial Energy. “This DOE regulatory assistance grant helps accelerate our NRC licensing activities.”
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In April 2023, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) concluded, following a systematic and multi-year review against Canadian regulatory requirements, that there were no fundamental barriers to licensing the IMSR plant for Canadian commercial use. This was the first regulatory review of a nuclear plant using molten salt reactor technology and the first advanced, high-temperature fission technology to complete a review of this type.
Its successful completion supports Terrestrial Energy’s engagement with the NRC and enables future collaboration between the U.S. and Canadian nuclear regulatory agencies. In June 2022, the NRC and the CNSC completed a joint technical review of IMSR as part of the 2019 inter-agency Memorandum of Cooperation to accelerate the licensing of Generation IV nuclear plants for commercial use. The agreement’s collaborative technical reviews aim to increase regulatory effectiveness as well as reaffirm the agencies’ commitment to safety and security.
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.
Terrestrial Energy is engaged with a diverse range of industrial companies in North America and Europe operating large energy and emissions intensive plants in multiple jurisdictions worldwide 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.