A Dual Fluid power plant uses nuclear fuel extremely efficiently, so it provides a lot of energy in a small area. It requires less space and materials than other nuclear or coal-fired power plants and much less than wind and solar power. In addition, because it consumes little fuel and leaves no long-lived waste, Dual Fluid technology is one of the most sustainable energy sources available.
According to UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calculations, nuclear power is just as climate-friendly as wind power: Both produce only 12 mg CO₂ equivalent per kilowatt hour of electricity generated. Compared to current nuclear power plants, a Dual Fluid power plant has an even more favorable CO₂ impact because it can be built small and in a particularly resource-friendly way. Once a plant is operational, it produces zero emissions.
Today billions of people are striving for the same degree of security and convenience that affluent countries take for granted: electric household aids, temperature-controlled homes, medical technology. As a result, the demand for electricity will continue to rise – even in wealthy countries, where data centers and electromobility are causing demand to surge. However, in order to protect the climate and nature, we must use all of the low-carbon technologies. Calculations of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) show that nuclear energy is a highly effective instrument against global warming.
A power plant with Dual Fluid technology costs around the same to build as a coal-fired plant and once built there are few costs. Firstly, because a Dual Fluid power plant requires little fuel and secondly, fissile residues are abundantly available in many countries. Electricity from Dual Fluid technology will therefore be so cheap that fossil fuels can disappear from the markets.
A Dual Fluid power plant can exploit any fissile material, including natural uranium, thorium, processed nuclear waste or weapons-grade plutonium.
In the dual fluid reactor, the fuel is continuously consumed. Our small modular model, which we will build first, works as a satellite solution: At the end of a combustion cycle of 20 to 30 years, the spent fuel is removed from the power plant. It is then processed in our recycling facility so that the materials that can still be used can undergo a new combustion cycle. The remaining substances are decayed after a few hundred years.
With an integrated recycling plant, which is part of our overall concept, this process can even take place continuously in a closed cycle. In both cases, we recycle the fuel continuously and thus avoid a final repository.
Reactors today can exploit only 5% of the fuel. Pre-existing reactors, so-called fast reactors, are capable of exploiting the remaining 95% which is currently stored as nuclear waste. Russia already does so, but this doesn’t really add up because these plants use fuel rods. It is complex and expensive to both produce and dispose of them. Dual Fluid technology completely sidesteps cumbersome fuel rods. This means it can exploit the waste efficiently and completely.
The waste we already have could meet the energy needs of several industrialized countries for hundreds of years without needing to mine a single gram of uranium.
Our methods of generating energy are closely linked to how we have developed culturally. Once we had mastered how to control fire, we spent several hundred thousand years burning wood or manure. Later we exploited the muscle power of animals. In the Middle Ages we learned how to harness weak environmental energies like wind and water. But it wasn’t until we discovered a highly-concentrated fuel like coal, that the industrial revolution became a reality.
Fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas have been burned now for 200 years. Their potential is virtually exhausted. The next leap for human civilization could be sparked by a new fuel that is a million times more densely concentrated: uranium. As soon as we succeed in actually exploiting the potential that uranium offers, the door to the next energy age will open.
If nuclear power is deployed in a carefully balanced way alongside other low CO2 energy sources, then people across the world should have sufficient clean energy. We do not see ourselves as a competitor, but instead a partner to wind and solar energy. After all, we are all playing on the same low emissions team.
Most conflicts revolve around access to resources – this is as true today as it was thousands of years ago. Affluent states go to war much less often. Where people have been able to achieve material security in their lives, it’s no longer worthwhile engaging in armed conflict. Affordable and reliable energy is a major contribution to this. In addition, Dual Fluid technology can help in disarmament because it converts fissile material from nuclear weapons into energy.
You don’t need a nuclear power plant to manufacture weapons material. Other technologies are much easier and cheaper. If you wanted to extract materials suitable for weapons from a Dual Fluid power plant, you would have to modify it completely and regulators would notice this immediately. Because this technology can also utilize plutonium from old nuclear weapons, it is potentially a disarmament machine.
Fun Fact: North Korea has nuclear weapons, but not a single reactor. South Korea has civilian nuclear technology and not a single nuclear weapon.
No. The nuclear part of the power plant is safely underground in a concrete shell. It is therefore impenetrable to attack by airplanes or firepower. If anyone succeeded in manipulating the fuel mix, the temperature could possibly rise more quickly than expected, but then a safety fuse would activate and gravity would make the fuel run into special containers where it would harden.
No. The plant regulates itself automatically: if the temperature increases, the nuclear fuel expands. In turn this slows down the chain reaction and the temperature automatically falls. A core meltdown is impossible as the fuel in the core is already melted. Nothing is under pressure, so nothing can explode.
No. The reinforced underground concrete shell of a Dual Fluid power plant can even withstand an earthquake. If there is a power outage, the fuel flows downward so that the chain reaction is broken immediately.
No. Just like any other industrial plant, a Dual Fluid power plant must meet all fire prevention requirements. Only materials that can withstand high operating temperatures are used. Consequently nothing can start to burn.
Yes absolutely. A Dual Fluid power plant really can be located close to housing because it is inherently safe and regulates itself automatically – including passive shutdown which would trigger without any human intervention.
The Dual Fluid principle will work independently of the reactor size. First, we will build a small modular reactor with about 300 MW of electrical power, which is particularly inexpensive, flexible and can be realized quickly. Our larger models with many times this output, which will be added later, will include an integrated recycling plant. In addition to electricity, they can provide inexpensive process heat that can be used to produce hydrogen or synthetic fuels.
Dual Fluid technology does not use fuel rods, but instead two circulating fluids: One contains the fuel and the other extracts the heat. This means the nuclear fuel can be utilized highly efficiency and exploited virtually completely without producing long-lived residue. This development is a real innovation and is why Dual Fluid is patented – the first patent in the field of reactor development since the 1960s.
Fuel rod technology is a relic from the Cold War: fuel rod reactors deliver plutonium which is easy to extract so they were the most popular type to be developed in the post-war period. Other reactor types that used fluid fuels, and were ideal for purely civilian applications, were all but forgotten.
The nuclear fuel will circulate as a liquid metal eutectic. Liquid lead is planned as the coolant.
For several years at the end of the 1960s, the USA operated an experimental fluid nuclear reactor (Molten Salt Reactor) using molten uranium salt at their national development site Oak Ridge. It was headed up by Alwin Weinberg, a pioneer of peaceful nuclear power, and ran for years safely and reliably. The American government abandoned the project in favor of other types of reactors using solid fuel rods, which offered better military potential. Today numerous companies around the world are working on a relaunched Molten Salt Reactor. Dual Fluid is the only technology that offers a significant advance on Weinberg’s concept.
How does the recycling of nuclear waste work?
To recycle nuclear waste from today’s reactors, it must be cleanly separated. To do this, it is finely ground in our own processing plant, then liquefied and finally fed into the dual fluid recycling unit. Processed in this way, the waste becomes fuel for the dual fluid reactor. This eliminates the need for a final storage facility.
Waste separation at Dual Fluid occurs through a pyrochemical process that is fundamentally different from current reprocessing. This process has long been successfully established in the non-nuclear industry. The method is far more efficient and can separate residual materials more accurately than current reprocessing.
In future hydrogen will be used to power vehicles and ships as well as providing a storage medium for power from renewable sources. Hydrogen can be produced to a marketable price from the high heat a Dual Fluid power plant reaches when operational. This brings the day closer when the energy industry can completely stop using fossil fuels.
There is an ample range of robust and heat-resistant materials from non-nuclear industries. These materials are already subjected to much more severe conditions than in a Dual Fluid power plant: for example, there are turbine components made of silicon carbide, which can withstand prolonged exposure to a highly-corrosive gas flow at 1500 degrees.
In recent years, numerous studies by us and independent scientists have confirmed the feasibility of our technology. Here is a selection:
- Jakub Sierchuła, Daniel Weißbach et al, Int J Energy Res. 43 (2020) 3691: „Determination of the liquid eutectic metal fuel Dual Fluid Reactor (DFRm) design – steady state calculations”
- Dominik Böhm et al, Acta Physica Polonica B 51 (2020) 893: “New methods for nuclear waste treatment of the Dual Fluid reactor concept”
- Chunyu Liu et al, Metals 10 (2020) 1065: “Thermal Hydraulics Analysis of the Distribution Zone in Small Modular Dual Fluid Reactor”
- Daniel Weiβbach, Jakub Sierchuła et al, Int J Energy Res. (2020) 1: “Dual Fluid Reactor as a long‐term burner of actinides in spent nuclear fuel“
- Xiang Wang, Rafael Macian-Juan, Int J Energy Res. 42 (2018) 4313-4334: „Steady‐state reactor physics of the dual fluid reactor concept”
- Sang-in Bak et al, The European Physical Journal Plus 134 (2019) 603: “Design of an accelerator-driven subcritical dual fluid reactor for transmutation of actinides”
- Xiang Wang, Chunyu Liu, Rafael Macian-Juan, Progress in Nuclear Energy 110 (2018) 364-373: „Preliminary hydraulic analysis of the distribution zone in the Dual Fluid Reactor concept“
- Thomas J. Dolan: „Molten Salt Reactors and Thorium Energy“, Woodhead Publishing, 2017
- Xiang Wang, Dissertation, Technical University of Munich, Chair of Mechanical Engineering (2017): „Analysis and Evaluation of the Dual Fluid Reactor Concept”
- Xun He, Dissertation, Technical University of Munich, Chair of Nuclear Engineering, (2016): „Validation of the TRACE Code for the System Dynamic Simulations of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment and the Preliminary Study on the Dual Fluid Molten Salt Reactor“
- Armin Huke et al, Annals of Nuclear Energy 80 (2015) 225: „The Dual Fluid Reactor – A novel concept for a fast nuclear reactor of high efficiency“,
- Daniel Weißbach, Götz Ruprecht et al, Energy 52 (2013) 210: „Energy intensities, EROIs (energy returned on invested), and energy payback times of electricity generating power plants“