MUTBR reactors could eventually meet most of the power demand (including peaking power and crisis power) not provided by greenhouse gas free electricity generators including renewables such as wind and solar and do it at lower cost and with much less environmental impact than other available options.
While the simulation results shown on the MCNP simulation page do not prove that any of the reactor configurations simulated is viable for a 100 year fuel life, they do suggest that burning mostly used fuel from existing light water reactors may be viable for a very long time. The widespread use of MUTBR technology would greatly reduce the need to mine and process uranium for civilian nuclear power and completely change the discussion about used nuclear fuel. By using UNF as fuel, the MUTBR puts existing and future UNF into reactors where it is safe and is generating power. Very little new UNF would be created and the problem of disposal of UNF is largely deferred until nuclear power is no longer used to generate electricity.
The high temperature of the MUTBR enables high temperature process heat for industrial applications. It also allows the storage of heat energy in low cost ordinary salt (NaCl) heat reservoirs which stabilizes the electricity supply and electricity prices. The same generators which provide electricity from the heat produced by the nuclear reactor and the heat stored in the salt, can also use heat from burning liquid fuels (which may be biofuels) when the stored heat is depleted. This liquid reserve can easily be large enough to provide peak power for a week or more in a crisis situation.
The MUTBR is now a proposed reactor concept. There are a number of engineering and materials challenges to be resolved. These include:
- experimentation on feasible fission product removal rates,
- development of long life fuel tubes for molten uranium,
- development of magnetic induction pumps for molten uranium,
- a heat shield between the moderator and the hot uranium,
page last modified 06/13/2021
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