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Dutch startup Thorizon has been included in the French government’s nuclear innovation program called France 2030. With the subsidy, Thorizon intends to accelerate its ambition to develop a small modular reactor based on molten salt, using nuclear waste from conventional nuclear plants as an important fuel source. This marks a first step towards making nuclear energy more circular. The future facility aims to provide clean energy to 250 thousand households.

Why you need to know this:

Nuclear waste is a big problem. Thorizon wants to change that.

Thorizon is one of ten startups supported by the French government. “Only two of those start-ups have been founded outside of France, Newcleo and Thorizon” Kiki Lauwers, CEO of Thorizon, states. “We are very proud to be part of this selected group. It indicates that the design of our facility is considered scientifically and economically feasible.”

Thorizon started in Amsterdam, where a team of 20 engineers worked on the new reactor. Earlier this year a second location was opened in Lyon, which will grow to a similar size within a few months. “Historically, France has been the centre of nuclear expertise in the world” according to Lauwers. “It is therefore important for us to also have a physical presence there.”

Safe and sustainable

The reactor runs on molten salt, capable of handling very high temperatures under low pressure. This not only makes the facility more sustainable and cost-effective but also very safe. A so-called ‘meltdown’ or the leakage of radioactive material is impossible. Kiki Lauwers: “In addition to being safe and circular, the Thorizon facility is also ‘smart.’ Our design is unique due to the use of replaceable cartridges in the reactor core. This allows us to work with materials that do not need to withstand corrosion for fifty to hundred years. These materials are already available today, enabling us to quickly start the realization of the reactor and contribute to the energy transition in the short term.”