Why the FLEX reactor is needed now
Just a few weeks ago, we launched our FLEX reactor design in the UK, paving the way for low-cost and highly flexible nuclear energy.
With our novel design, MoltexFLEX can deliver a safe, low-carbon power solution for the UK that can produce electricity and heat much more cheaply than other reactor designs. With each FLEX reactor able to produce 40 MW of thermal energy – enough to power 40,000 homes – we are confident that it will provide a reliable and secure source of energy to millions of Britons.
The FLEX reactor would be the first molten salt reactor in the UK and would put the country on track to become a global innovator for advanced nuclear technologies, helping to reshape the UK’s energy landscape, and offering huge export opportunities.
Why advanced nuclear?
There is no question that we need to decarbonise our energy system as quickly as possible if we are to meet our net zero goals and stop the devastating impacts of climate change.
Renewables are an important part of the solution, but the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow. We need reliable but flexible sources of power generation which address the intermittency challenges presented by renewables. Advanced nuclear power is a clean and safe alternative to coal and natural gas, which has traditionally been the flexible complement to renewables.
Advanced nuclear technologies such as our FLEX reactor are smaller than conventional reactors, which means they can be built more quickly, at a lower cost and in more varied locations to meet local demands.
Why the FLEX reactor?
MoltexFLEX’s team of developers have taken the decades-old concept of molten salt reactors and used new advances in science to refine and improve it, resulting in a technology that can deliver safe, affordable and clean energy.
The reactor outputs heat at 750°C, which can be used to produce high-grade steam for electricity generating turbines. Alternatively, the heat can be used for industrial processes – including thermochemical hydrogen production, which is more efficient than electrolysis for hydrogen production.
The reactor can also store energy at a fraction of the cost of the best battery technology and supply it to the UK grid when it is most needed, enabling us to support the expansion of wind, solar and other intermittent renewable sources.
What’s unique is that, unlike traditional nuclear designs, the FLEX reactor intrinsically load-follows– if heat is not taken from it, it naturally goes into a lower power or idle state with no human or automated intervention required. However, it will quickly ramp up to a high-power state to dispatch power when needed.
The war in Ukraine has significantly impacted the availability and cost of gas in the UK, sparking a clear call for more homegrown, flexible energy production. In response to this crisis, the UK Government outlined the importance of nuclear in its energy strategy in April this year to make a play for more reliable energy generation in Britain.
The increasingly severe impacts of climate change are another reason why we should not delay in pursuing the development of low-carbon energy solutions. The FLEX reactor offers a timely answer to the urgent demand in the UK for technology that can help meet the country’s net zero goals.
We hope this decade will prove to be an exciting time for the deployment of molten salt reactors in the UK. The initial safety case has been prepared, and basic engineering has been completed. With the right support, we are targeting deployment of our first-of-a-kind FLEX reactor in the UK by 2029, with subsequent reactors quickly rolled out in the 2030s.