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Wednesday, Jun 12, 2024
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.

Alternative Energy

Type One Energy to construct a prototype nuclear fusion reactor in Tennessee

The development and widespread adoption of nuclear fusion technology could potentially have relatively cooling effects on the uranium market

Type One Energy to construct a prototype nuclear fusion reactor in Tennessee
A stellarator. Image from The HSX Team via wikimedia commons.

A Tennessee energy company has brought a next generation fusion nuclear reactor to North America with the hopes of producing a long term solution to the global climate crisis.

Type One Energy Group announced on Monday that it’s building a prototype stellarator nuclear fusion reactor at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Bull Run Fossil Plant site in Clinton, Tennessee. Construction could begin on the fusion reactor as early as next year.

In 2023, the TVA, Type One Energy, and the US Department of Energy’s Oka Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) signed a memorandum of understanding, acknowledging the potential of nuclear fusion as a potent source of clean energy. Fusion involves heating two light hydrogen nuclei at extreme temperatures to combine them into a large nucleus, a process that releases energy used for generating electricity. This differs from traditional nuclear fission, where atoms are split apart to release energy.

“Successful deployment of Infinity One in East Tennessee, with our partners TVA and ORNL, is a critical milestone in our FusionDirect commercialisation program,” said Christofer Mowry, Type One Energy CEO.

According to a U.S. Department of Energy overview, stellarators use magnetic fields to confine plasma into a donut-like shape called a torus. These fields control the plasma material and create conditions that lead to fusion reactions. Although Princeton University first invented the concept of a stellarator in 1951, later advances in computer modeling and high-performance computing have enabled scientists to construct three-dimensional magnetic fields with the right shape for this application.

Members of Type One Energy’s technical leadership team have collectively published more than 500 scientific papers and have worked on at least five stellarators.

Read more: ATHA Energy aerial surveys over Athabasca Basin reveal strong potential for uranium

Read more: ATHA Energy well-positioned to capitalize on world’s best uranium jurisdiction: TF Metals interview

Nuclear fusion adoption could have a chilling effect on uranium market

The development and widespread adoption of nuclear fusion technology, particularly stellarators, could potentially have relatively cooling effects on the uranium market. Traditional nuclear fission reactors rely on uranium as fuel, but fusion reactors don’t. Instead they use use hydrogen isotypes like deuterium and tritium, which are abundantly available in seawater and lithium reserves.

Additionally, the environmental benefits of fusion reactors, including minimal long-term radioactive waste and zero greenhouse gas emissions, could enhance public acceptance of nuclear energy. This positive perception may lead to increased support for uranium production, especially in regions aiming to transition to cleaner energy sources.

Consequently, the reduced reliance on uranium could have a chilling effect on demand for uranium fuel in traditional nuclear fission reactors. Given that recent geopolitical activities involving the U.S. House of Representatives involve closing down supply lines with Russia, its traditional supply of uranium, it could produce a long term solution to a short term problem. That still doesn’t fix the short term problem, however, as these reactors are years, if not maybe decades, away from being operational.

In the interim, Cameco Corporation (TSX: CCO), (NYSE: CCJ) and other corporations operating in Canada’s Athabasca Basin like ATHA Energy Corp. (CSE: SASK) (FRA: X5U) (OTCQB: SASKF), Denison Mines Corp. (TSX: DML) (NYSE: DNN) and NexGen Energy Ltd. (TSX: NXE) (NYSE: NXE) may still be tapped to meet the demand gap.

 

ATHA Energy Corp. is a sponsor of Mugglehead news coverage

 

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