Seaborg joins TerraPraxis coal-to-nuclear initiative

13 March 2023

TerraPraxis and Danish floating nuclear power plant developer Seaborg have agreed to assess Seaborg's Compact Molten Salt Reactor (CMSR) as a potential heat source to support the rapid decarbonisation of the global coal fleet.

The Power Barges are modular and can produce from 200-800 MW of electricity (Image: SHI/Seaborg)

TerraPraxis's Repowering Coal programme was launched at COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021. In partnership with Microsoft, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bryden Wood, Schneider Electric and others, Repowering Coal is a programme aimed at integrating clean heat sources with existing infrastructure at coal-fired power plants.

The initiative aims to develop a standardised building system and project delivery model for the fast, low-cost, and repeatable repurposing of 2400 carbon-intensive coal plants (with a combined capacity of 2 TWe) to run on emission-free heat (advanced fission, fusion, and geothermal) by 2050.

TerraPraxis and Seaborg have agreed to assess Seaborg's CMSR as a potential heat source. The companies noted that many coal power plants are located close to industrial water courses or oceans providing direct site access for Seaborg's floating power barge.

Seaborg's design is for modular CMSR power barges equipped with two to eight 100 MW CMSRs, with an operational life of 24 years. Instead of having solid fuel rods that need constant cooling, the CMSR's fuel is mixed in a liquid salt that acts as a coolant, which means that it will simply shut down and solidify in case of emergency. The timeline for Seaborg, which was founded in 2014, has been for commercial prototypes to be built in 2024 with commercial production of Power Barges beginning from 2026.

"Seaborg wishes to participate in TerraPraxis' Repowering Coal and provide engineering services in-kind to investigate more fully with TerraPraxis the techno-economic feasibility of integrating Seaborg's CMSR with existing coal-fired power plants," said Jonas Stampe, Chief Business Officer at Seaborg. "We are strongly aligned with TerraPraxis in their goal to enable the rapid replacement of 2-Terawatts of global coal capacity by 2050."

"Replacing coal burners in coal-fired power plants with emission-free heat sources would result in the elimination of 40% of emissions from energy or around 15 billion tonnes of CO2 from the planet each year," said TerraPraxis Chief Technology Officer Chirayu Batra. "Repowering Coal is an effective way to accelerate an inclusive, sustainable, and emission-free energy transition. We are pleased to have Seaborg on board to help us investigate the innovations needed to make it happen."

In November, TerraPraxis selected Terrestrial Energy's Integral Molten Salt Reactor as the first candidate heat source vendor for the Repowering Coal programme.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News