As a job candidate in the energy industry, having a strong working knowledge of industry trends is critical to your professional success. You should be able to talk about where you expect the industry to go, what technologies are changing the landscape, and even how customer expectations are changing.

As a nuclear power professional, a great topic of conversation is the changing trends in nuclear energy. Here are a few talking points to help you discuss the energy industry of tomorrow.

Small Modular Reactors

Looking into the future might not be possible, but judging by the advances in nuclear technology, that future is likely to be scalable and modular. Energy company NuScale Power recently submitted the first ever design certification application for a small modular reactor. This is groundbreaking because the reactor is expected to supply affordable, clean, reliable power in an easily scalable model that can incrementally increase facility output according to changing demand.

The US Department of Energy has described such small modular reactors as a new generation of safe, reliable, low-carbon nuclear energy technology. These reactors are expected to result in more jobs in nuclear energy as aging infrastructure and decommissioned facilities are replaced by new designs. And as the field experiences a swell in this new technology, there will be an increased demand for professionals able to build, maintain, and operate the new reactors as well. Considering that growing populations will inevitably result in an increased demand for electricity, that bodes well for the job market.

Advanced Reactors

The nuclear power of 2030 will be far more advanced than anything we know and use today. In fact, there is an entire suite of innovative nuclear technologies currently under development, which is expected to deploy in the mid-2030s. These advanced reactor designs include molten salt reactors, liquid metal-cooled reactors, and high-temperature gas reactors. The DOE is getting involved as they work closely with the nuclear energy community providing technical, regulatory and financial expertise. The DOE also announced that it would provide cost-share support of up to $80 million to help reactor technology developers X-energy LLC and Southern Co. Services/TerraPower, partner with national laboratories, universities, and other companies to develop their advanced reactor designs.

The first of these advanced nonlight water reactors is likely to be seen from Canada’s Terrestrial Energy Inc, who recently informed the NRC of their intent to submit a licensing application for a 400 MW thermal advanced integral molten salt reactor by 2019. Potential sites for a commercial plant include Idaho and east of the Mississippi with a site expected to be chosen this year.

This is a very exciting time to be in the know in nuclear power. The future looks bright and those candidates who can speak intelligently about the trends and issues companies will be facing in the coming years will inevitably make a good impression on their hiring managers.

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