Thorizon receives 10 million euros from the French government to develop molten salt reactor

Dutch startup Thorizon aims to transform nuclear waste into energy. Thorizon has been included in the French government’s nuclear innovation program called France 2030. In addition to the grant, the program provides access to expertise in nuclear research, European legislation, and business development.

With the subsidy, Thorizon intends to accelerate its ambition to develop a small modular reactor based on molten salt, using nuclear waste from conventional nuclear plants as an important fuel source. This marks a first step towards making nuclear energy more circular. The future facility aims to provide clean energy to 250 thousand households.

  • Thorizon is one of ten startups supported by the French government. “Only two of those start-ups have been founded outside of France, Newcleo and Thorizon” Kiki Lauwers, CEO of Thorizon, states. “We are very proud to be part of this selected group. It indicates that the design of our facility is considered scientifically and economically feasible.” Thorizon started in Amsterdam, where a team of 20 engineers works on the new reactor. Earlier this year a second location has been opened in Lyon, which will grow to a similar size within a few months. “Historically, France has been the centre of nuclear expertise in the world” according to Lauwers. “It is therefore important for us to also have a physical presence there. Especially since we collaborate with the French company Orano, a recognized international operator in the field of nuclear materials, in particular through the recycling of nuclear materials into new fuel for a facility like ours. Together with them, we want to make nuclear energy more circular.”

    Smart, Safe & Circular

    Thorizon leverages the expertise of several renowned partners in the development of the new modular facility. In addition to Orano, and CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission), two research institutes in Lille, French consultancy firm Oakridge, the engineering company Tractebel, Dutch NRGIPALLAS in Petten, and Differ in Eindhoven are also part of the project. The reactor runs on molten salt, capable of handling very high temperatures under low pressure. This not only makes the facility more sustainable and cost-effective but also very safe. A so-called 'meltdown' or the leakage of radioactive material is impossible. Kiki Lauwers: “In addition to being safe and circular, the Thorizon facility is also 'smart.' Our design is unique due to the use of replaceable cartridges in the reactor core. This allows us to work with materials that do not need to withstand corrosion for fifty to hundred years. These materials are already available today, enabling us to quickly start the realization of the reactor and contribute to the energy transition in the short term.”

    About Thorizon

    Thorizon has rapidly evolved from a spin-off of NRG (Dutch Nuclear Research Institute) into an ambitious deep-tech startup, with offices in Amsterdam and Lyon. The company views small modular nuclear reactors as an ideal, stable, and clean contributor to an energy system where wind and solar are the other important sources. The ambition is to develop a reactor based on molten salt that can be realized rapidly and smartly, is ’walk-away’ safe, and takes a first step towards circularity by using long-lived nuclear waste as a fuel source. Thorizon is working to further strengthen its financial position to be able to build a non-nuclear molten salt demonstrator in the short term and finalize the detailed design for a first-of-a-kind reactor by 2030: the Thorizon One. For more information about Thorizon, you can visit


    About France 2030

    The France 2030 investment plan:

    • Reflects a dual ambition: to transform key sectors of our economy (health, energy, automotive, aeronautics and space) in the long term through technological innovation, and to position France not only as a player but also as the world leader of tomorrow. From basic research to the emergence of an idea to the production of a new product or service, France 2030 supports the entire life cycle of innovation until its industrialization.
    • Is unprecedented in its scale: €54 billion will be invested so that our companies, our universities, our research organizations, can fully achieve their transitions in these strategic sectors. The challenge is to enable them to respond in a competitive manner to the ecological challenges and attractiveness of the world that comes, and to bring out the future leaders of our lines of excellence. France 2030 is defined by two transversal objectives consisting in devoting 50% of its spending to the decarbonation of the economy, and 50% to emerging players, carriers of innovation without spending unfavourable to the environment (in the sense of the principle Do No Significant Harm).
    • Will be implemented collectively: designed and deployed in consultation with economic, academic, local, and European stakeholders to determine strategic orientations and flagship actions. Project promoters are invited to submit their applications via open, demanding, and selective procedures to benefit from the State’s support.
    • Is managed by the General Secretariat for Investment on behalf of the Prime Minister and implemented by the Ecological Transition Agency (ADEME), the National Research Agency (ANR), Bpifrance and the Bank of Territories.

    More information can be found at