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Advances in Small Modular Reactor Technology Developments

IAEA Advanced Reactors Information System (ARIS) – 2016 Edition

 

The HTMR-100 (High Temperature Modular Reactor) pebble bed reactor is a high temperature gas cooled reactor, graphite moderated and cooled by forced helium flow. The existing design of the module is to produce high quality steam which is coupled to a steam- turbine/generator system to produce 35MW of electric power. The steam can be used in a wide range of cogeneration applications. The reactor is also suitable to provide direct high temperature energy for process heat. The design of the reactor is based on proven technology and therefore no new basic technology development is needed. The size of the reactor and the fuel cycle were chosen to simplify the design and operation of the module. The approach to small intrinsic safe modular units ensures continuous production, easy road transportability, skid mounted sub systems, wider range of manufactures, fast construction and an enhanced licensing process.

 

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Thorium – The Other Nuclear Fuel

By Dr Kelvin Kemm, CEO of Nuclear Africa, a nuclear project management company, and Chairman of The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa)

Way back in 1905 a young, unknown scientist by the name of Albert Einstein proposed a radical new physics theory called the Simple Theory of Relativity. It was anything but simple, but it turned out to be much simpler than his General Theory of Relativity, which followed some years later. Einstein’s ideas would change the world.

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Thorium fuel testing progressing on schedule

Steenkampskraal Thorium Limited (STL), through its associate company Thor Energy, is the only company in the world manufacturing and qualifying thorium-containing fuels for use in light water reactors (LWRs), and is developing important intellectual property in the process. Thor Energy will complete the five-year qualification procedure of the pellet fuel in 2018, and then plans to commence the licensing and commercialisation of thorium fuels. STL owns about 12,50% of Thor Energy in Norway.

 

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SA DEVELOPING A WORLD-FIRST SAFE NUCLEAR REACTOR AND THORIUM FUEL

A South African company is designing a safe helium-cooled nuclear reactor that will use a locally designed pebble-based thorium/uranium fuel, replacing uranium as the primary fuel. This will provide a safer environment, without meltdown risk, such as that experienced at the Fukushima reactor in Japan.

“The pebble fuel will be based on thorium, using uranium as the fissile driver material. The by-products produced by thorium are safer than that produced by a uranium-based nuclear reactor, making it safer and extremely difficult to make a nuclear weapon,” said Trevor Blench, chairman of Steenkampskraal Thorium Limited (STL). The thorium will be mined in South Africa at the Group’s Steenkampskraal mine in the Western Cape.

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Technical Visit to the Steenkampskraal mine in the Western Cape

A recent technical visit to the Steenkampskraal mine in the Western Cape. STL plans to mine, process and refine thorium for nuclear fuel applications currently being developed by Thor Energy, STL’s associated company in Norway.

Steenkampskraal has a high-grade monazite deposit with a NI 43-101-compliant mineral resource of 605 000 tons with an average rare earth grade of 14.4%; the total rare earth content is estimated at 86 900 tons (including Y2O3). It has a measured and indicated resource of 11 700 tons of thorium.

Some work has already been done to restart the mine. Generators and water supplies have been installed. The decline shaft has been refurbished and the winder and winder-house installed. In additional to the Mining Right area of 474 hectares, surrounding farms with a total area of about 7 000 hectares have been purchased as buffer zones for mine operations.

A detailed mineral resource estimate, compliant with Canadian NI 43-101 requirements, has been completed. The potential to further increase the resource beyond the current areas exists. An exploration permit for an area of 55 051 hectares has been granted.

Extensive work on mineralogical characterisation of the ore and metallurgical testing has also been completed and an NI 43-101 compliant feasibility study report has been published.

Comprehensive groundwater studies have also been completed for the project. This has shown that groundwater supply from the farms owned by the STL Group is enough to meet the project water requirements. Three production boreholes will be used to supply water for the mine operations. Regulatory permits for environmental and radiation controls for operations of the mine have also been acquired.

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STL Makes Progress After Acquisition of Steenkampskraal Thorium and Rare Earth Mine

The STL Group says it is making good progress after acquiring the Steenkampskraal thorium and rare earth mine in the Western Cape Province from GWMG through the purchase of the issued share capital of Rare Earth Extraction Co (Rareco).

STL plans to mine, process and refine thorium for nuclear fuel applications currently being developed by Thor Energy, STL’s associated company in Norway.

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