Paul van Gerven
15 February 2023

Startup Thorizon has emerged from stealth, announcing the development of a new generation of nuclear power plants. The spinoff from NRG, which operates the nuclear research reactor in Petten, last summer raised 12.5 million euros to develop a thorium-powered molten-salt reactor. The funding will be used to realize a prototype. The company aims to have a pilot system operational by 2035.

Molten-salt reactors are considered safer than conventional reactors, among other things because the nuclear fuel is already liquid. In case of emergency, a passive safety system dumps the contents of the reactor into drain tanks to solidify. This precludes the dreaded meltdown from happening.

Thorizon
Credit: Thorizon

Other advantages include higher efficiencies and the ability to use existing long-lived waste as fuel, turning it into short-lived waste. Thorizon’s first system will use a mixture of existing long-lived waste along with thorium, a metal that’s more abundant than uranium.

Thorizon will collaborate with several companies, including a French partner specializing in recycling nuclear materials and, potentially, the operator of the Dutch nuclear power plant in Borssele. Research institutions TU Delft and Differ will provide support. Current investors include VC fund Positron Ventures, public investment bank Invest-NL and several provincial funds.

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