Nuclear power has been awaiting its zenith for decades now, struggling with public perception, regulation and cost for many years. I’ve been fascinated by the prospects of nuclear fission as a source of energy since I was a child, and to dig further into the changing landscape I spoke with Troels Schönfeldt, CEO and co-founder of Seaborg Technologies. I also covered nuclear fission in this week’s edition of Charts of the Week.
Hailing from Denmark and schooled in the field of nuclear physics, Troels is building Seaborg with the intention of providing clean power anywhere in the world. Listen to our full discussion here.
The big idea
Nuclear fission reactors work by splitting atoms, which then release energy in the form of heat and radiation. Existing models rely on three variations of water-cooled fission, including pressurised, boiling, and pressurised-heavy water reactors. We’re beginning to see the next generation innovating with different forms of coolants outside of water. Seaborg in particular is developing a molten salt reactor (MSR), which can create nuclear energy efficiently while producing very little waste. The nuclear fuel is a uranium-based fluoride salt.
Seaborg’s approach is based on the fundamentals of physics and chemistry, meaning that safety is baked into the physics and chemistry of its reactors. The reactor cannot meltdown or explode. It operates at atmospheric temperatures and does not produce explosive gases. We dig into this in greater detail in the podcast.
This inherent safety starts to solve the compliance problems that nuclear reactors face on a governmental scale – safety is intrinsically included in the design.
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