Interview #3, Dr. Reşat Uzmen, Nuclear Technology Director of FİGES. Part of the Thorium Student Guild Interview Series, “Leading to Nuclear”

Integrated Industrial Zone Powered by Molten Salt courtesy of Figes of Turkey
Dr. Reşat Uzmen

Since the 1960’s Turkey were trying to get involved with nuclear energy. Turkey was one of the countries that participated in the International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, held in Geneva in 1955 September. There is no doubt that Turkey wants to use nuclear energy for energy production. In Turkey, there are many experts that have knowledge about nuclear fission technology. Dr. Reşat Uzmen is one of the most important people who is experienced in the nuclear fuel area. During the interview, his ideas and visions enlighten us about the future of Molten Salt Fission Technology. Here is another instructive interview for building a MSR!

The Atoms for Peace symbol was placed over the door to the American swimming pool reactor building during the 1955 International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva, often called the Atoms for Peace conference.

Rana
President of the Student Guild
The Thorium Network

Leading to Nuclear Interview Series, Interview #3, Dr Resat Uzmen of Figes Turkey

Mr. Reşat, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I graduated from İstanbul Technical University (İTU) in the chemical engineering department. I did my master’s degree in İTU also. As soon as I finished the department I became a researcher in The Çekmece Nuclear Research and Training Center, known as ÇNAEM. My research was about how uranium could be treated to obtain an uranium concentrate. I did my doctor’s degree in that topic. Back then, it was so hard to get information because it is a delicate technology. That’s why we did the research by ourselves. Think about that: there was no internet! There was a library in ÇNAEM, it still remains there. All the reports that were collected from all over the world were kept here. We benefit from those reports that were about uranium and thorium. In addition, getting chemicals was difficult. The ores that we were working on were coming from Manisa so mine was tough to process. Despite all these obstacles Turkey needed uranium so we have done what has to be done. I am the founder of “the nuclear fuel technology department in ÇNAEM”. This department was focused on producing uranium fuel that could be ready for fuelling and we did it. We produced uranium pellets by ourselves in our laboratories. We did research about ore sorting of thorium and how it can be used in nuclear reactors. Now I am working as a nuclear technology director at FİGES.

Dr. Reşat Uzmen, Thorium NTE Field in Burdur Turkey

“Turkey is capable of designing its own reactor now!”

Dr. Reşat Uzmen

What are your thoughts on Turkey’s nuclear energy adventure? Although nuclear engineering education has been given at Hacettepe University since 1982, Turkey has never been able to gain an advantage in nuclear energy. What could be the main reasons for this?

Nuclear energy needs government support and government incentive. Government policy must include nuclear energy. In Turkey, nuclear energy was too personal. A government is formed then a team becomes the charge of the Turkey Atomic Energy Agency and this team is working hard, trying to encourage people about nuclear energy but then the new government is formed and the team is changed. Unfortunately, this is how it is done in Turkey. Also, you need money to build reactors. There were some countries that try to build a nuclear reactor in Turkey. Once CANDUs was very popular in Turkey. Canadians supported us a lot. Argentineans came with CAREM design and wanted to develop the design with Turkey also they wanted to build CAREM in Turkey, it was a great offer but the politicians at that time were not open up to this idea. Nuclear energy must be government policy and it should not be changed by different governments.

As you know, there is a PWR-type reactor under construction in cooperation with Rosatom and Akkuyu in our country. Do you think Turkey’s first reactor selection was the right choice?

This cooperation is not providing us any nuclear technology. When The Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant is finished we will have a nuclear reactor that is operating in Turkey but we can not get any nuclear technology transformation. Right now Turkey can not construct the sensitive components of a nuclear reactor. Akkuyu is like a system that produces energy for Turkey. It would be the same thing if Russia build that plant in a place that is near Turkey. In addition, there is the fate of spent fuels. Russia takes away all the spent fuels, these spent fuels can be removed from Turkey in two ways: by water, starting from the Akkuyu harbor, the ship will pass through the Turkish straits, then pass to the Black Sea and pass through the Novorossiysk harbor to reach Siberia and by land, from Akkuyu it will arrive in Samsun or Trabzon then by water the ship will arrive in Siberia. I suppose spent fuels are going to be transported by water.

What are your thoughts on molten salt reactors?

Molten Salt Reactor is a Gen. 4 reactor and has a lot of advantages. First of all, the fuel of the MSR is molten salt so it is a liquid fuel. Since I am interested in the fuel production part of nuclear energy I am aware of the challenges of solid fuel production. Having liquid fuel is a big virtue. Liquid fuel can be ThF4-UF4. The fuel production step can proceed as: UF4 may be imported as enriched uranium. If you have the technology then UF₆ may be imported as enriched uranium then UF₆ can be converted to UF4. After that step fabrication of the liquid fuel is easier than solid fuel. Second, MSR has a lot of developments in the safety systems of a nuclear reactor. There is no fuel melting danger because it is already melted. The liquid fuel is approximately 700 °C. The important point is molten salt may freeze. If fuel temperature is below approximately 550°C the fuel becomes solid we don’t want that to happen. Also, the fuel has a negative temperature coefficient which means that as the temperature of the fuel rises reactivity of the fuel is going to decrease. There is a freeze plug at the bottom of the core. If the core overheats the freeze plug will melt and the contents of the core will be dropped into a containment tank fed by gravity. This is a precaution against the loss of coolant accident. One of the other advantages is reprocessing opportunity. It is possible with helium to remove volatile fission products from the reactor core. Tritium can be a problem but if the amount of tritium is below the critical level then it wouldn’t be a problem.

” Molten Salt Reactors are advantageous in many ways. The fuel is already melted, freeze plug is going to melt in case of an overheating issue, reproccessing is easier than the solid fuel. ”

FİGES took on the task of designing MSR’s heat exchangers in the SAMOFAR project and your designs were approved. Can you talk a bit about heat exchangers? What are the differences with a PWR exchanger? Why did it need to be redesigned?

There are a lot of differences between a PWR heat exchanger and an MSR heat exchanger. The basic difference is, that in a PWR heat exchanger steam is produced from water. MSR heat exchanger is working with molten salt to produce steam. FİGES finished calculations like the flow rate of the molten salt, the temperature of the molten salt, etc. for a heat exchanger of SAMOFAR. The heat exchanger is made of a material that is the same as the reactor core. In SAMOFAR, Hastelloy is used but boron carbide sheeting may be used for the heat exchanger.

Can you talk a little bit about your collaboration with Thorium Network?

The Founder of the Thorium Network Jeremiah has contacted FİGES about 5 months ago. We met him in one of the FİGES offices which are located in İstanbul. We have discussed what we have done in Turkey thus far. We signed an agreement about sharing networks. We share the thorium and molten salt reactor-based projects with them and they do the same.

If the idea of building an MSR in Turkey is accepted, where will FİGES take part in this project?

As FİGES, building an MSR in Turkey has two steps. The first step is about design. To design a reactor you need software. The existing codes are for solid fuel. First of all the codes that are going to be used for liquid fuel must be developed. There are companies that work to develop required software all around the world. We want to take part in the design step as FİGES. After the design is finished the second step comes. The second step is building the reactor. FİGES doesn’t have the base to build a reactor but an agreement can be made with companies that can build a nuclear power plant.

Do you have any advice you can give to nuclear power engineer candidates who want to work on MSR? What can students do about it?

There are tons of documents about Molten Salt Reactor Technology. These documents are about the material of the reactor core, software codes, design, etc. A student can find everything about MSR on the internet. In addition to this, students should follow the Denmark-based company that is called “Seaborg“. They have a compact molten salt reactor design. Also, there is another MSR design called “ThorCon“. Students can follow the articles, presentations, and events about these two MSR designs. As I said, students must research and follow the literature about Molten Salt Fission Technology.

. . .

It was a great opportunity for me to meet Mr. Reşat who has been working to develop nuclear energy in Turkey. I would like to thank him for his time and great answers.

As students, we are going to change the world step by step with Molten Salt Fission Technology by our side. We are going to continue doing interviews with key people in nuclear energy and MSR!

The Student Guild of the Thorium Network


LINKS AND REFERENCES:

  1. Dr. Reşat Uzmen on Linkedin
  2. Rana on Linkedin
  3. The interview on Youtube
  4. Figes AS
  5. SAMOFAR
  6. Atoms for Peace
  7. Interview #2, Mr. Emre Kiraç “Leading to Nuclear”
  8. Launching “Leading to Nuclear, Interviews by the Thorium Network Student Guild”
  9. The Thorium Student Guild

#ThoriumStudentGuild #LeadingToNuclear #Interview #ResatUzmen #Figes #Turkey

Interview #2, Mr. Emre Kiraç of Kiraç Group. Part of the Student Guild Interview Series, “Leading to Nuclear”

Kirac Montage

Under favour of The Thorium Network, I met a successful and farsighted person. The person who caught my attention with his works and ideas in various fields is Emre Kıraç, CEO of Kıraç Group. If we talk about him briefly, Mr. Emre received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Istanbul Technical University. After completing his master’s degree in Entrepreneurial Management at London EBS (European Business School), he still works as the general manager of Kıraç Group companies operating in the fields of energy, transportation and health. If I were to talk about Mr. Emre for myself, I can say that he is open to new ideas and a model to young entrepreneurs with his success in many sectors he has entered. As a nuclear engineer, the thing that draws my attention the most is his innovative views, support and work in the field of energy. The reason why I say so is that, as we know, the need for energy is increasing day by day due to the increasing population and other factors. There are many different methods to supply with the energy need. One of them is nuclear energy. We see that Mr. Emre closely follows and supports the developments in the nuclear field.

Without further ado, you can see what we asked in our interview. Good reading!

Rana,
President of the Student Guild
The Thorium Network


Leading to Nuclear Interview Series, Interview #2, Engineer Emre Kiraç of Kiraç Group, Turkey

Can you tell us about the development of Kıraç Group? Since 1982, your company has continued to grow. What is your biggest source of motivation?

Our company’s history and the fact that we have earned people’s confidence in the workplace. Moreover, one of our major sources of motivation is to ensure and improve the continuation of our businesses. 

In which areas and specifically on which subjects does Kıraç Group focus on R&D studies?

In particular, we have four companies engaged in R&D work. These companies develop their own products. Kıraç Metal is working on solar energy systems, Kıraç Galvaniz is working on highway protection systems, Kıraç Bilişim is working on hospital automation, and Kıraç HTS is working on aviation.

You’ve worked in the energy business for a long time and have a lot of experience in it. I’d want to hear your own thoughts on nuclear energy and reactors.

Nuclear energy, in my opinion as an electrical engineer, is a healthy and safe source of energy. Of course, if it’s done correctly. There have unfortunately been awful examples of this in the past. Unfortunately, many associate nuclear energy with nuclear weapons, and as a result, they are biased towards this sort of energy. But, with smart design and hard effort, I’m confident that many people will see nuclear power as clean and safe.

As Kıraç Group, you give importance to green energy. You have studies and activities on solar energy and wind energy. The world also needs nuclear energy and we cannot stop climate change with wind and solar energy alone. What do you think about Turkey’s adventure in the field of nuclear energy? What changes will happen after that?

As we know, Akkuyu nuclear power plant installation has started. Of course, our country does not have any nuclear technology. In fact, nuclear technology is a technology that has been on the world agenda since the 1940s. Although Turkey has technology in many fields, unfortunately it has not had any technology in the nuclear field. Therefore, our country should develop itself in the global conjuncture.

Do you find Turkey’s studies on renewable energy sufficient? What do you think should be done more?

The main country that creates the economy of renewable energy is Germany. In this sector, we continue our work in Germany. Although this country is less efficient in terms of solar energy compared to other countries, it has many more solar power plants. In Turkey, on the other hand, solar power plants will definitely become more widespread. We are also in this business. Turkey is a complete renewable energy country in terms of both wind and solar energy. We also closely follow the hydrogen-based energy technology. Renewable energy should become more widespread in our country. Our country is very clear in this regard. The important thing is to increase the incentives of the state to this sector.

What are your thoughts on molten salt reactors? Can a molten salt reactor be established in Turkey after the VVER 1200 (PWR) to be established in Akkuyu and can it be produced entirely with national resources?

I got detailed information on this subject. The implementation of this technology would be incredibly good for Turkey. Since Turkey is rich in thorium reserves, this technology carries our country much further in the nuclear field. But for this technology to be applicable, R&D studies are needed. I think this will be possible with the efforts of our state and universities.

Can you tell us about your cooperation with Thorium Network? What prompted you to make this collaboration? What was the most influential factor for you?

First of all, since we are in the energy sector, Thorium Network attracted our attention. We have an old friendship with Mr. Jeremiah. I am interested in Jeremiah’s blogs and I follow them. After he came to Turkey, I had the opportunity to get to know him better. In addition to these, I feel responsible for this issue as Eskişehir has thorium deposits. I want to promote and develop Thorium Network in this environment. This is my biggest goal right now.

What kind of work can be done to spread the idea of nuclear energy in Turkey?

We need to lobby on this issue. People like you and us need to understand this technology very well and explain it to other people. We are just at the beginning of the road. Firstly, the Molten Salt Reactor technology needs to be developed. The more R&D studies we do on this subject, the more positive returns will be.

Turkey wants to design and install a molten salt reactor with completely domestic and national resources. Especially the Turkish Energy, Nuclear and Mining Research Institute (TENMAK) is very enthusiastic about this issue. Do you think TENMAK and universities alone will be enough for R&D studies or do we need other organizations?

We need an international communication on this issue. There may also be a need for the private sector, but we do not have many companies that have worked in the nuclear field. Together we can research and develop. Apart from these, it is important for the state to support, technical and commercial reports should be prepared and funds should be allocated. Then an international partner can be found and brought to better places.

When I examined your company, the years you entered new sectors caught my attention. You identify the needs very clearly and produce solutions in the most effective way. What do you pay attention to when entering a new industry? In your opinion, if the first molten salt reactor were to be successfully established in our country, where would Kıraç Group be in this process? (Part production, liquid fuel production, construction, electricity etc.)

The nuclear industry is a very large and complex field. We have thousands of products, of course, we can meet some of them in the future. But it’s too early to talk about that. We will cooperate with Thorium Network on this issue. There is also a large thorium reserve and precious metals in Eskişehir. These mines are currently being sold. It would be much better if we were in a position to add value to these mines. We continue our research on this subject.


We had a great time during the interview. We’d like to show our thanks to Mr. Emre for the information he gave and for his participation. 

You may also stay updated on developments by visiting our website and joining our student guild.

Thorium Network Student Guild continues to inspire people all around the world. Come and join our team! You can find the Student Guild application on this page:

The Student Guild of The Thorium Network

Links and References

  1. Emre Kirac on LinkedIn
  2. Rana on LinkedIn
  3. The interview on YouTube
  4. Kirac Group
  5. Interview #1, Akira Tokuhiro, “Leading to Nuclear”
  6. Launching “Leading to Nuclear, Interviews by the Thorium Network Student Guild”
  7. The Student Guild

#StudentGuild #LeadingToNuclear #Interview #EmreKirac #KiracGroup

Launching the Student Guild Interview Series, “Leading to Nuclear”

Nuclear Power Station

We live in a finite world. Our world has a limited time until its end. There are 7.753 billion people who are trying to survive every day out there. Climate change is real and our world continues to warm. If we don’t do something about climate change, we will never live in the same world that we used to live in. Our lives might change completely. We are responsible for all the actions that we have done to the world and nature. So it is time to correct our mistakes and take the action! 

Bill Gates

“Nuclear energy, in terms of an overall safety record, is better than other energy.” 

Bill Gates

We all know that wind and solar are not enough to stop climate change. We need a combination of nuclear, solar, and wind because nuclear energy has zero carbon emissions. That’s what we need! Do your research, ask what you want to ask at the end of the day you will see that nuclear is the only answer. Now we have an even better option which is Molten Salt Fission Energy Technology. It is safe, reachable but needs committed research and development programs worldwide. We need to convince the world that now nuclear power is safer than ever.

Students have the power of changing minds, creating new ideas, and supporting each other. At this point we are going to do all the things that we can do since still we have time. We are going to interview nuclear engineers, nuclear energy experts, and people who are interested in nuclear power to learn how we can reach a net-zero carbon economy with nuclear power. Also, we are going to learn how Molten Salt Fission Energy Technology can be accepted by regulators and what can we do about Thorium-based fuel. We are going to publish blogs about every interview. We interview people as much as we can. This way we will create a new era about Molten Salt Fission Energy Technology and Thorium fuel. It is a long journey but hopefully, at the end of it, we will have smiles on our faces with champagnes in our hands. 

Our first interview is with Professor Akira Tokuhiro of Canada. He recently stepped down as the Dean of the Faculty of Energy Systems and Nuclear Science at Ontario Tech University in Canada. Also, he was in the American Nuclear Society’s President’s Committee on the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in Japan. As international nuclear energy expert readers of this interview will gain a rare insight few will experience in their lifetime.

Prof. Akira Tokuhiro

Our interview with Professor Tokuhiro will be one of many coming over the next several months as we bring you key insights on an industry rarely discussed outside.

Rana,
President
The Student Guild


Thorium Network Student Guild continues to inspire people all around the world. Come and join our team! You can find the Student Guild member application on this page:

The Student Guild of The Thorium Network

Links and References

1. Leading to Nuclear, Interview #1, Prof. Akira Tokurio, Ontario Technical University, Canada
2. Launching “Leading to Nuclear, Interviews by the Thorium Network Student Guild”
3. The Student Guild
4. Rana on Linkedin

#StudentGuild #LeadingToNuclear #Interview #MoltenSaltFissionEnergy #Thorium

THE STUDENT GUILD – WHO ARE WE?

Hi folks! You may not know who I am. I am just a girl who wants to change the world but of course in a good way because this is what engineers do they turn dreams into realities. We all grow with superhero stories and always think that the world needs a Superman to be survived. The hero has arrived. His name is Thorium Fuel Molten Salt Reactor. Let’s all agree on one thing and continue to move on our journey: Nuclear is the only way to stop climate change!

PRESIDENT OF THE STUDENT GUILD – RANA ÖNEM

Hi, everyone. My name is Fatma. I am a 4th-year student at the Department of Nuclear Energy Engineering at Hacettepe University, Turkey. I am working as a secretary of the Student Guild of The Thorium Network. I think that Thorium Molten Salt Reactors are safer and more eco-friendly compared to other reactor types. Therefore, Thorium Molten Salt Reactors may be one of the most preferred reactor types of the future.

SECRETARY OF THE STUDENT GUILD – FATMA GÖNEN


Hi, I’m Veli. I’m a senior student of nuclear engineering. I love chemistry and the elements. Since I am a nuclear engineer, I have a special interest in Thorium. I would like to be in a position related to the processing of Thorium in the future. I also work as a treasurer of the student guild of The Thorium Network. I believe that The Thorium Network will guide me. That’s why I’m eagerly working on The Thorium Network.

TREASURER OF THE STUDENT GUILD – VELİ KARTAL

To reach us and see more details go here: https://thethoriumnetwork.com/join-us/student-guild/

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