Dual Fluid, a Canadian-German nuclear technology firm, recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Canada’s leading subatomic physics research center TRIUMF to develop a small modular reactor (SMR) utilizing processed nuclear waste as fuel.
In doing so, Dual Fluid hopes to minimize potentially hazardous nuclear waste and deliver a means of nuclear power generation whose performance will be significantly greater than that of existing technologies.
Under the terms of the agreement, both parties will need to address a number of key challenges. These include the identification of materials that can withstand the high demands of a reactor core operating at up to 1000°C and under severely radioactive and corrosive conditions.
The agreement will enable Dual Fluid to leverage TRIUMF’s testing facilities, specifically its Proton and Neutron Irradiation Facilities and its metallurgical testing suite. The two entities will also collaborate on detector development as well as reactor core imaging.
A Unique Design
One key feature of Dual Fluid’s SMR design involves the use of a fuel loop and a coolant loop. Here, the reactor will be powered by a liquid fuel compounded from natural uranium, thorium, as well as processed nuclear waste. Liquid lead will be used for cooling the reactor.
The maximum operating temperature of 1000°C enables several heat applications which were not built into previous reactor models.
Dual Fluid’s SMR will require refueling every 25 years – significantly longer than other SMR models and designs currently in development.
Once operational, this SMR can be used to generate either electricity or heat, which can be used to produce hydrogen.
It should also be noted at this point that Dual Fluid hopes to produce the SMR in two sizes with specific capacities: the DF300, which has a total capacity of 300 MWe; and the DF1500, which is rated at 1500 MWe.