Molten Salt Nuclear Reactors: How Chemists will Help Save the World!

Thursday, October 25, 2018


Dr. Michael Hanson

Senior Salt Chemistry Engineer

Kairos Power, LLC

Hand 1144; 3:30 PMMichael Hanson

Abstract: World-wide energy poverty causes desperate problems.  Economic prosperity is not possible without affordable energy, and without prosperity human population grows at an unsustainable rate, causing pollution, exhaustion of the earth’s natural resources, and socio-political conflict.  Global warming is a consequence of pollution from prosperous countries with access to the most affordable form of energy: oil, coal, and natural gas.  Global warming will accelerate the unsustainability of mankind through the loss of food and water supply, loss of inhabitable land, and other cause and effect factors.

We must develop a pollution-free energy technology that delivers energy that is cheaper than fossil fuels.  All nuclear power holds that promise, advanced (Generation IV) nuclear technology even more so.  Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs) and Molten Salt-Cooled Nuclear Reactors are Generation IV nuclear reactors that are safer, cheaper to build, and cheaper to operate than Light Water Reactors (LWRs) and Heavy Water Reactors (HWRs).  There are technical challenges associated with the development and widespread deployment of molten salt reactors.  The nuclear community is well-positioned and capable of overcoming these challenges with the next generation of nuclear engineers and scientists.  This talk will be a brief discussion of the state of the technology and of the challenges ahead for molten salt reactors.

Bio: Dr. Michael E. Hanson is currently a Senior Scientist at Kairos Power, a startup in Oakland, California that is developing the Kairos Power Fluoride High Temperature Reactor (KP-FHR), a molten salt-cooled nuclear power reactor.  He was previously the Chemistry Lead for Elysium Industries, a startup in Boston, Massachusetts developing a Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactor (MCSFR).  For the 22 years prior to joining Elysium, Dr. Hanson was a Principal Nuclear Fuel Materials Scientist at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Schenectady, NY, where he helped to develop nuclear fuel for naval propulsion.  He was formerly a Research Associate at PPG Industries in Pittsburgh, PA, where he worked in product development for automotive, aircraft, and architectural flat glass products.   Previous to PPG Industries, he was a Research Electrochemist at GE in Cleveland, Ohio, working in research and development of lighting and battery products.  Dr. Hanson earned his B.S. in chemistry at Kent State University and his Ph.D. in electrochemistry at Case Western Reserve University.


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