Thorizon makes its mark in France, looking for a strategic partnership to launch its new R&D hub in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Thorizon, established in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 2018 by Sander De Groot, builds on 30 years of nuclear research expertise focusing on high-flux reactors. Recognized as a laureate of the France 2030 program, the company strategically selects Lyon, France, to drive forward the ongoing revolution in the nuclear sector. With a dedicated team, Thorizon is pioneering an innovative concept—a Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) powered by modular cartridges—and is actively seeking an industrial partner to establish its new R&D center in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

A very promising technology: an innovative concept of a molten salt reactor.

Thorizon's innovative concept originates from the conviction that a molten salt reactor must effectively address the extreme conditions to which its materials are exposed during operations. This led to the idea of confining the reactor core within a modular cartridge.

Thorizon is developing a small, innovative reactor of the MSR (Molten Salt Reactor) type. Utilizing liquid fuel and fast neutrons, the MSR can generate the equivalent of 250 MW thermal or 100 MW electrical power to decarbonize industrial applications requiring 24/7 energy availability. This power corresponds to the continuous energy supply needed for a significant industrial site or approximately 250,000 households.

These types of reactors will enable the recycling of both the plutonium contained in the spent fuel of current reactors, as well as the "minor actinides" which, to date, are not utilized and are encapsulated in vitrified waste. Recycling these materials in molten salt reactors would further enhance safety, material utilization, and reduce the quantity and lifespan of nuclear waste (approximately 300 years).


"The technology developed by Thorizon embodies the next generation of nuclear power, tackling the sector’s three primary challenges. Firstly, it repurposes nuclear waste into fuel, effectively resolving waste management issues. Secondly, the concept incorporates exceptionally high safety standards, with its modular design reducing risks and addressing security concerns. Thirdly, our innovative solution offers economic benefits in various aspects: enhanced energy efficiency, lowered construction expenses, reduced reliance on costly active safety systems, and eliminating the need for pressure-resistant construction", says Kiki Lauwers, CEO of Thorizon.

Strong ambitions in the short, medium, and long term

Discussions with the ASN (Nuclear Safety Authority) and the ANVS (Dutch Nuclear Safety Authority) were initiated in Spring 2024 to collaborate on the construction of a first reactor. Feasibility studies are nearing completion for the start of a basic design phase this summer 2024.

The Call for Projects for Innovative Nuclear Technologies within the France 2030 program triggered Thorizon's establishment in Lyon in early 2024, marking the setup of its first engineering site. Beyond the initial French teams already established in Lyon, Thorizon is now seeking an R&D center in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes by the end of 2024 to establish and develop its ambitious technology.

This center aims to:

  • Execute testing phases and qualify the concept
  • Produce cartridge prototypes
  • Conduct future research

This R&D center is expected to accommodate between 30 and 50 people in the coming years. To achieve this, Thorizon aims to collaborate with actors within its ecosystem or from the fields of chemistry or pharmaceuticals. In 2024, after recruiting 15 people, the company also plans to hire an additional 10 individuals, primarily in France. The sought-after candidates include qualified professionals with expertise in nuclear reactor design - such as neutron physicists, fluid mechanics, and design specialists - as well as skilled technicians. In France, the Thorizon team is projected to grow to 100 people by the end of 2025 and 150 people by 2028.

Ultimately, Thorizon aims to foster the emergence of a European molten salt reactor industry, thereby accelerating the availability of clean energy. The "Thorizon One" molten salt reactor stands as a reliable and clean contributor at the heart of an energy system where wind and solar power are also significant sources.

"From the beginning, Thorizon has aimed to be part of a European nuclear effort that leverages the expertise and value-added contributions of its two founding countries: France and the Netherlands. France stands as a pivotal historical player in the nuclear domain, being the sole country to master the entire value chain, encompassing fuel, reactor design, and operations. Similarly, the Netherlands have opted for reprocessing in their nuclear lifecycle and possess global expertise in molten salts. Thus, Thorizon aims to capitalize on the strengths of both countries to deploy a molten salt reactor by 2032.", says Laure Claquin, COO of Thorizon.



Thorizon is a Franco-Dutch company, a spin-off of NRG, the Dutch Nuclear Research Institute, with locations in Amsterdam and Lyon. Thorizon currently employs 35 people: 15 in France and 20 in the Netherlands. It is one of the 11 winning projects of France 2030 in the category “Innovative Nuclear Reactors”. The company aims to develop a fast neutron molten salt reactor, which is highly safe and modular, advancing towards closing the fuel cycle.