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BV and Thorcon join forces to develop molten salt nuclear power barge

15 Dec 2022

Classification society Bureau Veritas (BV) and nuclear power technology developer ThorCon have entered an agreement for the Technology Qualification and the subsequent development of a 500MW molten salt nuclear power barge for operations in Indonesia, according to BV on Wednesday (14 December). 

The concept developed by ThorCon is a molten salt fission reactor. Unlike current nuclear reactors, the ThorCon reactor operates at low pressure and uses liquid fuel. The liquid fuel enables much higher operating temperatures, leading to greater efficiency while also enabling completely passive safety (requiring no action from the operator nor intervention on the power source to stop the reaction). 

The 500 MW fission power plant will be integrated within a floating barge hull and then towed to a shallow water site before being ballasted to rest on the seabed. The technology will then deliver energy to the power grid to meet land-based energy needs. ThorCon plants will be designed to be mass produced, which will support the transition to carbon free and reliable energy.

BV has been selected to support ThorCon through the Technology Qualification process, both for the nuclear reactor itself and for its encapsulation (enclosed safe compartmentalization allowing the replacement of depleted fuel) and integration with the hull systems.

Experts from Bureau Veritas’ Nuclear Certification Department and from the Marine & Offshore Division will collaborate throughout the process. A key area of work will be to identify the applicable standards, codes and Class Rules, potential gaps with those currently available and the development if needed of new guidance notes and rules.

The scope of the agreement also includes the potential development and deployment phases once the Technology Qualification is completed. At this stage, it is anticipated that the Technology Qualification process will take a minimum of three years and if successful, the deployment phase would require an additional two years.

ThorCon has entered into discussion with the Indonesian province of Bangka-Belitung, the State Electricity Company PLN, and the Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency BAPETEN regarding potential sites for the demonstration and the final installation of a 500MW power plant.


Photo credit: Bureau Veritas / ThorCon
Published: 15 December, 2022

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