OPG and Moltex join forces on recycled fuel project

April 1, 2021, 6:58AMNuclear News

Ontario Power Generation’s Centre for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability (CCNS) will collaborate with nuclear technology firm Moltex Energy on a project aimed at recycling used fuel from CANDU reactors, the electricity generator announced March 30.

The CCNS will provide C$1 million (about $800,000) in funding to assist Moltex in demonstrating the technical viability of its process to recycle used CANDU fuel. That process, known as WAste to Stable Salt (WATSS), has the potential to reduce storage needs for used fuel, according to Moltex.

Canadian cooperation: Other entities are participating in the project, as well. Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, through its Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative, is supporting the design, construction, and optimization of the testing apparatus, while the University of New Brunswick is involved in a research and testing capacity. NB Power is also a project participant, having expressed interest in developing and potentially siting the first WATSS facility to power Moltex’s 300-MW Stable Salt Reactor–Wasteburner small modular reactor at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station site.

The rationale: “Our goal is to advance solutions for nuclear materials, with a continued emphasis on minimizing our environmental footprint,” said Carla Carmichael, vice president of nuclear decommissioning strategy for OPG and lead for the CCNS. “We know nuclear power has a key role to play as we work to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. We are committed to supporting innovation and responsible solutions aimed at developing the next generation of clean nuclear power.”

Rory O’Sullivan, chief executive officer in Moltex’s North America office, commented, “We are working to develop a technology that uses the fuel from the first generation of nuclear power in Canada to power the next. This reduces the challenges associated with spent nuclear fuel, while expanding nuclear power to help Canada achieve its climate change objectives.”

In case you missed it: On March 18, the Canadian government announced an award of C$50.5 million (about $40.2 million) to Moltex’s Canada office to support the company’s SMR research and technology development in New Brunswick. The investment was provided by the government’s Strategic Innovation Fund and its Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation program, part of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

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