Dutch nuclear startup aims to harvest the power of thorium

Paul van Gerven
Leestijd: 1 minuut

Startup Thorizon has emerged from stealth, announcing the development of a new generation of nuclear power plants. The spinoff from NRG, which operates the nuclear research reactor in Petten, last summer raised 12.5 million euros to develop a thorium-powered molten-salt reactor. The funding will be used to realize a prototype. The company aims to have a pilot system operational by 2035.

Molten-salt reactors are considered safer than conventional reactors, among other things because the nuclear fuel is already liquid. In case of emergency, a passive safety system dumps the contents of the reactor into drain tanks to solidify. This precludes the dreaded meltdown from happening.

Other advantages include higher efficiencies and the ability to use existing long-lived waste as fuel, turning it into short-lived waste. Thorizon’s first system will use a mixture of existing long-lived waste along with thorium, a metal that’s more abundant than uranium.

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