Moltex Energy has selected US-based professional services firm Jacobs to support its development of a new type of nuclear power plant.

Jacobs will construct an experimental facility to test the design of the the Stable Salt Reactor. The facility at Birchwood Park research and development facility in the UK will test thermal transfer from the heat source.

Moltex’s Stable Salt Reactor was designed to generate low-cost electricity by burning processed spent fuel pellets. These would otherwise be stored as radioactive waste. The names comes from its use of molten salt as a coolant.

As part of the contract, Jacobs will assist in validating modelling of heat transfer and fluid dynamics of heat spread across the fuel assemblies into coolant. It will also collaboratively create a technically complex simulation to imitate the heat output of a fuel channel.

An agency of the United States Department of Energy agency has already provided more than $6m in funding to Moltex to develop the reactor.

Currently, Moltex uses Jacobs’ ANSWERS software for radiation transport modelling and simulation of reactor performance.

Jacobs Critical Mission Solutions International senior vice-president Clive White said: “We’re looking forward to continuing our support for Moltex into this new phase of development as part of our strategy to be a solutions provider at the cutting edge of research into advanced reactors.

“The Stable Salt Reactor design is significant because of its potential to recycle waste in a clean, safe and economical way, generating electricity which will power communities while reducing carbon emissions.”

In March this year, Jacobs acquired Wood Nuclear for $325m from Scottish energy company John Wood Group.