Think for a moment: where do you see small-scale nuclear power sources with a strong risk-benefit argument in favor of nuclear technology? Naval vessels. Medical technology – including implants. Space exploration vehicles.
Of these technologies, naval vessels are particularly interesting: they are designed to undergo regular inspection and part replacement, and are designed to house people – next to their nuclear power source – for lengthy periods of time, as they traverse the seas. So why can't we apply that same concept of designing nuclear technology that can be regularly inspected and maintained to nuclear power generators?
That's what Thorcon Power has done: applied ship-building practices to nuclear power generator design. Now, I'd say that there isn't such a thing as a fail-safe system: the universal law of idiocracy says that if you build a good system, then nature will build an even bigger idiot. For example, a major earthquake and tidal wave could damage the building structure and drain tanks and simultaneously trigger reactor overheating, resulting in potential radioactive leakage through the damaged structures. But, the system certainly appears safer than the conventional nuclear reactors we see today – if we're going to have nuclear power, then let's at least make it as safe, as modular, and as maintainable as possible.
Thorcon Power | The Do-able Molten Salt Reactor
Safe. ThorCon is a simple molten salt reactor. Unlike all current reactors, the fuel is in liquid form. If the reactor overheats for whatever reason, ThorCon will automatically shut itself down, drain the fuel from the primary loop, and passively handle the decay heat.