Aside from the technical details there are other important aspects to the Terrestrial Energy effort that seems to give them an significant advantage over many competitors. For one they are based in Canada and thus have a less oppressive regulatory process to deal with to eventually get a design approved compared to the U.S. In addition, they have a clear and important private national interest supporting them in the oil sands industry which knows that it needs abundant inexpensive future energy sources in order to competitively develop the heavy oil resources found in south central Canada. Thus Terrestrial Energy has strong private industry backing and as a result are not lacking for funding unlike U.S. companies. This combination of factors between a private company, other private interests who want and need their proposed product, and a supportive governmental regulatory environment, gives TE some powerful advantages.
In addition to all of this, and the events which actually caught my attention recently, was that Terrestrial Energy have just signed agreements with the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to work with them on a 2 year product design cycle. This cooperation with the Canadian and U.S. labs, including some individuals involved in the original Oak Ridge molten salt research, is another big step forward for Terrestrial Energy and is a statement to their being well positioned in many aspects to be successful in their product design.
In the end, technology success depends upon one or more product successes. And this depends upon having customers for a product that is government certified and is cost competitive in the short and long term with existing technologies. At this point, TE believes they will have such a product. Time and the the market will ultimately tell.
In another post, I will summarize the various advantages of such a Gen IV fission reactor over current technologies and why such a development could be a huge step forward in meeting future world demands for energy.
Also see the Oak Ridge facility preparations for testing such a design: