15 Mar (NucNet): Three state-owned Indonesian companies – Pertamina, PLN and Inuki – have completed a technology pre-feasibility study which has concluded that a molten salt reactor design proposed by US-based Martingale could deliver safe, cheap, clean energy, could be built now, would be economically viable, and would have the potential to replace coal power plants.
Martingale signed an agreement in 2015 with the Indonesia Thorium Consortium to develop the ThorCon reactor with Indonesia. The ThorCon team has now begun discussions with Indonesia’s National Nuclear Energy Agency (Batan) to review the ThorCon design. If Batan approves the design it will recommend to the government that ThorCon be Indonesia’s first nuclear power plant. The Indonesia Nuclear Professional Association has agreed to be project manager for a technical assessment of the technology. ThorCon representative Bob Effendi said the technical assessment will enable the Indonesian government to “open the door” for nuclear power, as called for in a national plan which says nuclear power plant construction should start in 2019 and be operating by 2025. ThorCon is a liquid-fuel nuclear reactor design, which uses uranium and thorium fuel dissolved in molten salt. ThorCon requires no new technology because it is a straightforward scale-up of the successful molten salt reactor experiment (MSRE) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US and is using the MSRE as its pilot plant. There is no technical reason why a full-scale 250-MW prototype cannot be operating “within four years”, Martingale said.