A Pair of MIT Scientists Try to Transform Nuclear Power

Richard Martin in Forbes:

Transatomic-1Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie are Ph.D. students in nuclear engineering at MIT. For most of their peers, the options upon graduating are pretty simple: teach, or work for one of the national labs. Dewan and Massie, though, decided on an unconventional path: like a couple of Stanford grads, they’ve formed a start-up. Incorporated in 2011, it’s called Transatomic Power, and its mission is to transform the nuclear power industry.

Transatomic’s product is called a “Waste Annihilating Molten Salt Reactor.” If you’ve read my book, SuperFuel, you’ll recognize it as an update on an old reactor technology that was pioneered at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in the 1950s and 60s. SuperFuel focused on another type of molten salt reactor, a Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor, or LFTR. Dewan and Massie’s design is fuel-agnostic in the sense that it can run on either uranium or thorium; as the name implies, its signal feature is that it can consume spent fuel from conventional light-water reactors. Transatomic joins a growing list of start-ups, including Flibe Energy, that are trying to revolutionize nuclear power by bringing back alternative fuels, including thorium, and alternative reactor designs.

More here. [Thanks to James Edward Kolb.]

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