Terrestrial Energy is looking to take a form of nuclear reactor that has been examined for 50 years and put a spin on it that could revolutionize the nuclear power industry. The Canadian company is working on an Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) that uses liquid fuel instead of the conventional solid fuel (usually in pellet form). The technology has been around since the 1950s, when it was first used by Oak Ridge in the search for a more stable form of nuclear reactor. Dr. David LeBlanc, Terrestrial's president and chief technology officer, has been studying the system since the 1990s and became interested in making it a more commercially viable proposition. That led to discussions about the technology with partners and ultimately the formation of Terrestrial in 2012. Breaking it down The IMSR, like liquid metal cooled reactors, falls under the light-element-moderated reactor category. Unlike traditional molten salt reactors, the IMSR does not use solid fuel. Instead, it uses a fluid fuel in the form of molten fluoride or chloride salt combined with low-enriched uranium. Thorium is also added to the mix to supplement the uranium. The liquid fuel acts as both the fuel and the coolant, meaning the reactor can't melt down. "We believe it will lead to a far more commercial proposition than conventional nuclear reactors," said Canon Bryan, the company's chief financial officer and one of its directors. The reactor is in a self-contained core unit where the components are sealed for the lifetime of operations. The device has a seven-year design life after which normal long-term storage applies.