Thorium is a unique element. Thorium 232 is the only isotope on this planet which is plentiful in all countries and which can create a breeder reactor in the thermal spectrum. This is important because then physics allows us to scale rapidly and economically to a large share of global energy production. Fusion does not yet exist commercially and it relies on deuterium and tritium, which are very limited and it is difficult to see how fusion can be made economically competitive with thorium MSRs within the next 50 years. Uranium cannot breed in the thermal spectrum and thus will have a very hard time to scale economically to a large percentage of global energy supply. Uranium can scale better in fast reactors, but even after spending 10s of billions on fast reactors, they still have not shown commercially viable.
Today we already get enough thorium out of the ground when we mine for other materials, such that we could supply the entire humanity with all its electricity. No new mines would need to be created. Thorium is found as monazite or tourmaline in the ground and we know how to refine thorium into thorium fluoride which we need for reactors. Because thorium is inexpensive it can be used both as a blanket or shield around the reactor and thereby result in an excellent neutron economy from a very small amount of fissile inventory. While at the same time thorium results in very minute amounts of long lived actinides being created by the process.
Why waste burners
Nuclear energy has a bad reputation mainly for three reasons. It is expensive, it is perceived dangerous and the waste problem has not been solved. Most people do not know that the long lived waste can actually be solved in an economic way. This is done by burning long lived actinides in a thorium molten salt reactor. They do not burn fast, but in this way it is possible to convert the most problematic part of the waste from something that needs to be stored safely for 100,000+ years to fission products, which only need to be stored safe for up to 300 years and we humans already know how to do this safely and economically.
Why molten salt reactors
Traditionally all reactors were solid fuel reactors, but while molten salt reactors are a more complex technology, they bring 4 unique features to the table which have a HUGE impact on the efficiency of reactor technology. 1.) First of all it becomes possible to remove the fission products while the reactor operates. Fission products are the exhaust of the chain reaction and some of these fission products consume precious neutrons in the chain reaction and therefore severely limit the neutron economy of the reactor if they are not removed. Removal of these fission products become possible in advanced molten salt reactors. 2.) In traditional reactors it is difficult and often impossible to remove the fuel from the reactor core during operation. Thus you must shut down the reactor for refueling and we must use control rods which capture a lot of neutrons and further reduce the neutron economy of the reactor. Both online refueling and avoidance of control rods become possible with molten salt reactors. 3.) The molten fuel salt is the most expensive part of a molten salt reactor, because it is liquid it is MUCH easier and more cost effective to process this fuel both during operation and outside. Thus, it becomes possible to clean the fuel salt and use it again and again for more than 100 years, which is one of the reasons why molten salt reactors can be made much more economical than solid fuel reactors. 4.) Solid nuclear fuel is also expensive to manufacture and get approved. But because molten salt is inherently homogeneous the fuel fabrication cost is much lower and can scale much faster.
Why assembly lines production
Copenhagen Atomics acknowledge that back in the 1950s and 1960s humans could build nuclear power plants in 1 - 3 years at a fraction of the cost we pay today. We know that the main reason for this is an insane increase in paperwork, meetings, lawyers, bankers and project managers. We MUST roll this back at any cost. Because it does not increase safety or prosperity. Other humans have already shown how we can manufacture cars and airplanes on assembly lines and thereby provide great benefits to society at low cost. Building thorium molten salt reactors on an assembly line is less complex than airplanes and some of the high end cars we manufacture today. For perspective, we humans manufacture more than 100 million cars per year.
Why energy should be top priority for society
We started Copenhagen Atomics because energy is important for humans and we want to make sure humans continue to have access to lots of energy. Energy is essential for the type of lifestyle we live today. Every product we consume uses energy as one of the main ingredients to produce and transport it. Thus energy price is a big component of the price of all products.
Before humans made carbon our slave, we were using slaves and animals for hard labour all over the world. During 99.9% of human history, we had to get more energy out of the food we consumed, than what we put in to grow and hunt that food. Today most humans in Europe and the USA spend 10 times more energy on “producing” the food we consume than the energy we get out of the food when we eat it. This is ONLY possible because we have access to plenty of fossil fuel. Before we used fossil fuel, there were less than 1 billion people on this planet. Fertilizer is also very important for humans. Without it we could only grow half of the food in the same area if we did not have access to fertilizer and irrigation. Thus, banning fossil fuels for fertilizer and irrigation would reduce the global population by 4 billion people within one year. Humans are a social animal, this is why we have a language and why we can work together to achieve things that would be impossible for a single human. In order to achieve language and social behavior we needed a bigger brain than the other animals. There is strong evidence that we could only afford this big brain after we found out how to make fire (bio energy) and cook our food.
Why thorium molten salt reactors are safer
Copenhagen Atomics is VERY eager to support any non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. When you start to look at nuclear energy you quickly learn that nuclear power is the safest form of energy we know, when you compare deaths per kWh to any other energy source. But many people get it mixed up with nuclear weapons where a few crazy men can induce armageddon with a push of a button. However, this is mainly a social structure problem, not an energy technology problem. So don’t get us wrong, most of today's reactors are plenty safe already. But molten salt reactors actually can be even safer, because they do not have large amounts of water under very high pressure and they can be made walk-away-safe. Walk-away-safe means that if all humans leave and the electrical system breaks down, then the reactor will automatically shut itself down in a safe way.
Why skip classic control rooms
For historical reasons all nuclear reactors we know today have a control room, in most cases with hundreds of buttons and dials which can manipulate almost any aspect of the reactor. People in these control rooms are trained for many years to know a long list of “protocols” which buttons to push if something goes wrong. However, because humans are not good at looking at gages and computer monitors for abnormalities for many hours at a time, we have long since introduced automatic alarms. Thus if a computer system sees that something is above or below its normal value then it sounds an alarm. Then the human kicks in and has to remember which protocol to follow and push buttons in the right order to resolve the problem. Today reactors cannot be approved for operation before there is extensive documentation and a “protocol” for how to mitigate any thinkable and unthinkable problem which could occur.
However because molten salt reactors built by Copenhagen Atomics are simple to operate it is possible not only to implement the alarms on computers. It is also possible to implement the protocols in computer control. Thus it is unlikely that a human would be able to execute the protocol faster, more correctly or better than a computer when the alarm sounds. Therefore Copenhagen Atomics have decided that it would be more safe if we remove these protocols from the control rooms and only give the humans an option to push a single emergency shutdown button. The humans still have access to all the same gages and sensor data as in the classic control room. Now that there is only one shut down button we can make several control rooms, both close to the reactor and far away. Copenhagen Atomics adhere to the principle that any emergency shut down should be investigated as rigorously as we humans investigate airplane crashes.
Why nuclear energy as a service
Traditionally nuclear power plants are enormous and mostly built by governments. But with molten salt reactors something new became possible. Nuclear energy as a service. Copenhagen Atomics plans to operate thousands of reactors around the world and sell the energy in the form of ~650°C hot salt. This hot salt can be stored for many days at low cost and it can be converted to electricity, industrial heat or used for water desalination or wastewater treatment and many other things. There are already plenty of other companies around the world who are much better than us when converting heat energy to electricity. Thus we want them to build and operate the power plants. Copenhagen Atomics will only supply one important component to these power plants, namely a molten salt reactor in a 40 foot shipping container sized box. This box is 100% sealed during operation and 100% computer operated. Copenhagen Atomics have all the know how to manage, build, recycle and approve these molten salt reactors. Thus the power plant operator does not need to learn this. They just buy the heat which comes out of the reactor as non radioactive hot salt. This is the most efficient way for all stakeholders involved to get this new energy source online, fast, safe and economically. The power plant operator and the government does not need to train personnel in or take responsibility for nuclear technology, which is a VERY big bottleneck in nuclear energy today.
Why no freeze plug
In many articles on the web the “freeze plug” is often named as “the thing” that makes molten salt reactors safe. However this is a misunderstanding which has now been repeated so many times that some people believe it is true. The main safety features from molten salt reactors come from two facts: That you can dump the fuel salt outside the core in shutdown scenarios and you do not have lots of water under high pressure. The freeze plug is just one way to make sure you can dump the salt into dump tanks if something goes wrong. The idea was that you use electricity to continuously cool the freeze plug, then if you lose electricity, then eventually the freeze plug will melt and the salt will flow back down into the dump tank. But the freeze plug also poses some hard questions: How fast will the plug melt? Is the time to melt easy to prove? Do you freeze the plug before you load the fuel salt or after you load it? Is this freeze/load a difficult process?
If you allow the fuel salt to be pumped from the dump tank up through the reactor core, flow back down through the heat exchanger and back into the dump tank where it is again pumped back up into the core. Then you do not need the complexity of the freeze plug. If it is a centrifugal pump and if the electricity is lost, then the salt will automatically and very predictably flow back down into the dump tank. For example Copenhagen Atomics and Terrestrial Energy have designs without freeze plugs.
Why you should partner with Copenhagen Atomics
Copenhagen atomics needs partners who can build or operate many thousands of power plants around the world. These power plants need to be serviced and financed too. Companies in different markets with skills in how to convert heat, in the form of hot salt to electricity, industrial heat or other things should contact us today to start collaborating on the first power plants we will build as partners around the world. Copenhagen Atomics and our investors will take care of all the nuclear related questions. We will swap the molten salt reactors with new ones when they are at the end of life. The contract with our partners will be an energy as a service contract. Universities and national laboratories who are eager to develop molten salt technology are also most welcome to partner with Copenhagen Atomics and get access to our advanced technology in this area.
Why work for Copenhagen Atomics
Far less than 1% of the population gets a chance to work on a technology that changes what it means to be human on this planet. If you work for Copenhagen Atomics you get a chance to use your brains and skills to change the world for the better. When you work here, you have a much more direct impact on human prosperity than in almost any other job out there. In addition it is fun to work in a technology company where the pace is fast and growth is continuous and spawn endless opportunities. We believe you will find the environment very rewarding and your colleagues some of the best you have ever worked with. It is an environment that gets the best of you to flourish. Some of your colleagues here will be your friends for life.
Why you should invest in Copenhagen Atomics
Copenhagen Atomics is likely to more than double the value each year for the next 10 years. This is one of the best investment opportunities in the investor market today. Even in the next decade Copenhagen Atomics is likely to have double digit value growth. Thus the sooner you get involved, the better chance to get access to follow-up investment rounds. Another great reason to invest in Copenhagen Atomics is if you believe energy is important and you believe that our technology and approach as described on this page is an important step in the right direction for humanity. There are already 20 startups in the molten salt reactor space and there are likely to be 100 before the end of this decade. Copenhagen Atomics is unique because of our business model and our very early focus on building and testing components. We have some solid patents in these areas and are already global leaders in pumps and other components for molten salt technology.