TerraPower launches Natrium reactor

16 September 2020

TerraPower and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Introduce Commercial Natrium™ Power Production and Storage System (Photo: TerraPower)US-based TerraPower and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) have announced the launch of the Natrium reactor and energy system architecture – a 345MWe cost-competitive sodium fast reactor combined with a molten salt energy storage system.
“Building on the technology used in solar thermal generation, Natrium energy storage and flexible power production will offer abundant clean energy in time to help meet climate goals,” TerraPower said.

The Natrium technology’s novel architecture simplifies previous reactor types. Non-nuclear mechanical, electrical and other equipment will be housed in separate structures, reducing complexity and cost. The design is intended to permit significant cost savings by allowing major portions of the plant to be built to industrial standards. It uses fewer equipment interfaces and reduces the amount of nuclear-grade concrete by 80% compared with large reactors.
“Natrium reactors are designed to provide firm, flexible power that seamlessly integrates into power grids with high penetrations of renewables,” TerraPower said.

The Natrium system features a 345MWe reactor and can be optimised for specific markets. For instance, its thermal storage has the potential to boost the system’s output to 500MWe of power for more than five and a half hours when needed. This allows for a nuclear design that follows daily electric load changes and helps customers capitalise on peaking opportunities driven by renewable energy fluctuations.

Photo: TerraPower