ThorCon is a fluoride molten salt fission reactor. Unlike all current nuclear reactors, the fuel is in liquid form. It can be moved around with a pump, and passively drained in the event of a casualty. ThorCon’s reactor operates at about the same pressure as your garden hose. Standard nuclear reactors operate at up to 160 bar (2300 psi). They require 9-inch-thick pressure vessels and massive piping. The key forgings can only be done by a few specialized foundries. Worse, if there is a big piping failure, the pressurized water explodes into steam, which might spray radioactivity all over the place. This means the reactor, heat exchangers and pumps must be entombed in a massive, reinforced concrete mausoleum, where they are extremely difficult to repair or replace. Therefore, we pretend they will need little or no maintenance for the life of the plant. Reinforced concrete construction is horribly slow, nearly impossible to automate, difficult to inspect, and even more difficult to repair. In contrast, ThorCon uses normal piping thicknesses and easily automated, ship-style steel plate construction.
Copenhagen Atomics believes that reactors using molten salt as coolant (MSRs) and thorium as an abundant and cheap energy source is the best solution for completely changing nuclear energy and energy production in general. A thorium based molten salt reactor is small, efficient, safe, and with an optimal waste profile including the burning of nuclear waste from current plants.
Radically changing nuclear energy technology is a rapidly growing industry and research area dedicated to developing fundamentally new types of nuclear reactors. Such reactors are targeted to solve problems of existing nuclear reactor technology, including waste, risk, scalability, and cost.
Nuclear reactors don’t produce gaseous pollution such as CO2, SO2 and NOx, or particulate matter pollution. This occurs at a massive scale with fossil fuels and is the main cause of our largest environmental problem today. Furthermore, thorium MSRs can deliver a scalability and cost proposition superior to any existing energy technology, including current nuclear, renewables and fossil fuels.