Mr. Fukushima stated that IThEMS is negotiating with Korean Shipbuilders over the potential sale of Mini-Fujis for ship propulsion systems. According to Mr.Fukushima the Korean shipbuilders are in competition with the Chinese, and view mini-Fuji power as potentially offering a competitive advantage. It should be noted that in the long range energy picture decarbonization would require that fossil fuel powered engine technology be replaced by energy from non-carbon emitting source. The options appear to be nuclear power, or synthetic liquid fuel. IThEMS claims that it can build the Fuji for 30% less than conventional water cooled reactors. Thus ship propulsion would appear to represent a market opportunity for the Mini-Fuji. Industrial process heat would be another. The Mini-Fuji would also serve as the energy source for a stand alone nuclear battery system, although that field looks crowded at the moment. The Mini-Fuji would have some advantages over its competitors including superior safety and low cost.
I offered to have lunch with Dr. Furukawa and Mr.Fukushima today, but they were headed south and would be, I surmise, talking with a potential business partner.
Investing in or partnering up with IThEMS would certainly have its risks. The upside for the investor would be to make a ground floor investment for a potentially huge Molten Salt Reactor market. The down side is that IThEMS is basically a start up with no money and no resources. All it really has is an idea and Dr. Furukawa's name.
The Mini-Fuji represents a potential opportunity for the American prototype development partner. First Dr. Furukawa's name does mean something and it offers an entry to a number of research laboratories in Japan, Russia, and Central and Western Europe. Participating in the Mini-Fuji prototype development would be a great opportunity for anyone who wanted to get into the Molten Salt Reactor business. Even if the Mini-Fuji failed as a business opportunity, the prototype development experience could prove invaluable for anyone who was interested in further MSR development.