Transmutex Solving Long Lived Nuclear Waste One Step At A Time

Swiss company ‘Transmutex’, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is pioneering an entirely new type of nuclear energy that promises scalable carbon-free energy without the traditional challenges of existing nuclear plants. The company has developed a breakthrough energy process that will be intrinsically safe, will reduce the stockpile of long-lived waste, is resistant to military proliferation, and will be cost-competitive.

Founded in 2018 by CEO, Franklin Servan-Schreiber alongside co-founder Federico Carminati , the company’s main mission is to reinvent nuclear energy from first principles. The team now consists of almost 40 team members, 28 with a Ph.D. and 1/3 women, all focused on reinventing nuclear for the better of human civilization.

The company uses a key technical piece of technology called ‘proton accelerator’ to generate a high-intensity neutron source that induces the transmutation of thorium (a naturally occurring radioactive metal) into an the uranium isotope U233 which produces energy as it breaks up, leaving only an infinitesimal amount of long-lived radioactive waste in the process. As soon as the accelerator stops, the process stops, making safety a core characteristic of the system.

According to Transmutex, more than 30,000 particle accelerators are in operation around the world today; they are mostly used in hospitals for medical purposes. Transmutex will be the first to employ this technology for energy production on an industrial project. Furthermore, this breakthrough will also avoid the possibility of the core melting and creating a nuclear accident.

Transmutex explains that a key feature of the technology is the ability to transform the most dangerous and long-lasting radioactive wastes from the current nuclear industry into shorter lived waste, going from 300,000 years to 300 years, a x1000 times reduction in lifespan. This will drastically reduce the amount of radioactive waste to be stored in special long-term storage deep underground.

Transmutex has raised total funding of CHF 15.1 million over 3 rounds. The next steps will be to raise further investment and begin the design and engineering phase. In 2025, they hope to have their first, at scale, nuclear waste burning demonstration. If everything goes as planned, we should see an operational Transmutex plant by 2032.

Sources: Transmutex , Innovation Origins