Cdn. patent granted for Moltex’s fuel recycling process
by CM Staff
Invented by Moltex co-founder and Chief Scientist Dr. Ian Scott, the patent covers Moltex’s process for converting any uranium oxide fuel into molten salt reactor fuel.
SAINT JOHN — Moltex Energy Canada Inc. (Moltex) announces that a patent for its spent nuclear fuel recycling process has been granted in Canada.
Invented by Moltex co-founder and Chief Scientist Dr. Ian Scott, the patent covers Moltex’s process for converting any uranium oxide fuel into molten salt reactor fuel, known as WAste To Stable Salt (WATSS).
In the process, spent nuclear fuel is converted into several parts. Transuranics – the long-lived, man-made elements – along with some uranium and fission products are extracted into a salt which forms the fuel for Moltex’s reactor, avoiding the need for high-purity separations. Moltex’s SSR-W and some other reactors can use this fuel, converting it to clean energy while destroying these long-lived waste products created by nuclear fission.
Uranium, close to its natural state and considered Intermediate to Low Level Waste, is a major by-product of the process that can have other uses. A small by-product of the fission products can be disposed directly or used as a heat source for remote applications, until it has decayed and then contains valuable stable elements.
Moltex’s process is reportedly notable as conventional spent fuel reprocessing is complex and expensive. Conventional reprocessing either directly produces pure plutonium, or can be altered to produce pure plutonium, which could be misused for nefarious purposes. In contrast, the WATSS process is unable to produce pure plutonium, making the process far safer for current and future generations. This also makes the process simpler and less expensive.
“This patent is testament to Moltex’s commitment to innovation and to finding improvements in existing nuclear energy processes,” said Rory O’Sullivan, CEO, Moltex. “Waste is one of the most important considerations in the nuclear industry, and Moltex’s process offers an elegant and cost-effective solution to safely reducing waste stockpiles.”