Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) has signed a memorandum of understanding with British advanced nuclear technology developer MoltexFLEX in a move that marks “a significant step” towards bringing the Flex reactor to market.
The MoU will see the companies form a joint working group to examine the commercial viability of deploying MoltexFLEX’s 24 MW Flex molten salt reactor in the United Arab Emirates.
MoltexFLEX chief executive officer David Landon and Enec chief executive officer Mohamed Al Hammadi signed the MoU at the Cop28 climate conference in Dubai.
Enec, the entity responsible for the deployment and ownership of nuclear energy plants in the UAE, and MoltexFLEX, a subsidiary of Moltex Energy Canada, will assess using Flex reactors for a range of industrial applications including desalination, clean hydrogen production and electricity generation.
Landon said MoltexFLEX will also explore opportunities throughout the Middle East and beyond.
“We firmly believe Enec’s interest highlights the potential of our Flex reactor to provide low-cost, low-carbon heat and electricity for a wide variety of uses,” Landon said.
MoltexFLEX plans to have the first Flex reactor operational around the turn of the decade.
MoltexFLEX said earlier this year it had significantly refined the design of its reactor.
The company said that despite the recent increases in commodity prices around the world, the Flex reactor is still able to generate electricity for less than £30/MWh (€34, $37) when used as a source of baseload power.
MoltexFLEX said its reactor uses a patented system with two molten salts: one acting as a fuel, the other circulating as a coolant. This allows the reactor’s heat to be extracted through natural convection, without the need for pumps.
Roughly the size of a two-storied house, each reactor has the potential to power 40,000 homes. The heat produced by the reactor could be used for water desalination and more efficient hydrogen production.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, molten salt reactors operate at higher temperatures, which leads to increased efficiencies in generating electricity. In addition, low operating pressures can reduce the risk of a large break and loss of coolant as a result of an accident, improving reactor safety.
The UAE is building the Arab world’s first commercial nuclear power station at Barakah in Abu Dhabi, with APR-1400 nuclear power plants supplied by Korea Electric Power Corp.
Unit 3 at Barakah began commercial operation in February, bringing total production from the first three units at the four-unit facility to up to 4,200 MW.
Enec has said the station’s four plants will supply up to 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs once fully operational.
Source : Nucnet