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06 February 2019

Seaborg Technologies uses funding to hit milestones in developing a molten salt reactor!

MSc EMINE alumni Eirik Eide Pettersen muses that when Seaborg Technologies was just a growing start-up idea, global warming and climate change were something that Al Gore was trying to get the world to take notice of. Now that these issues are something that everyoneis worried about, a door has opened for advanced nuclear energy. And this Copenhagen-based start-up that he co-founded in 2014 is poised perfectly to usher in this new era. Their funding from the Innovation Fund Denmark (IFD) is proof positive of a public change of opinion as this is the first Danish investment in nuclear fission research since their 1985 nuclear power ban. And new funding from various other sources this year has allowed the company to hit significant milestones on the way to develop their molten salt reactor (MSR).

We wanted to hear what exciting gains Seaborg has made with their new capital, and how this new approach to nuclear energy could be the key to alleviate global warming. Eirik begins by sharing a personal observation: “I always expected to have to justify my choice of career, but after answering ‘nuclear engineer’ nowadays, it’s an almost unanimously a positive response. People are interested, sometimes carefully so, but they seem to believe that we need to do something drastic, something more than what we are doing if we are to overcome our pollution problems. And this is where re-examining nuclear as a solution comes in.” The last expert report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) illustrates this, by providing four mitigation scenarios that assume a two and six-fold increase in nuclear energy. Yet the report notes several barriers to scaling up and developing conventional nuclear technologies. “This discrepancy between a pressing need for new low-carbon nuclear energy and the apprehension regarding conventional nuclear energy is exactly what forced Seaborg into existence.”

Funding growth

InnoEnergy’s contribution

A promising global shift