Nuclear energy has been through a lot over the past 50 years. But when it comes to advances in technology and plant designs, there’s been a surprising lack of movement in this market. Until now. There are some amazing new designs coming into the industry that are sure to revolutionize how we think about and experience nuclear power.

Next Gen Small Reactors

Incorporating reactors into the hustle and bustle or their communities is the goal of the next generation of smaller designed nuclear reactors. Building them into the design of transit centers, industrial neighborhoods, even remote arctic locations can completely change the way people interact with and experience nuclear power. By bringing them into the community, we take on a different appreciation for the existence of the reactors, but also of the power and energy they bring to the community.

Flexible, Modular Reactors

A new, more flexible alternative is small, modular reactors. These reactors offer the advantage of scalability, lower cost, and overall flexibility. They provide a simple and efficient design, modular components, and the ability to add further modules incrementally as energy demand increases. Flexibility is offered both in the short and long-term with these low-cost reactors.

Where large plants are not needed or there is a lack the infrastructure to support a large unit, these small nuclear reactors are a perfect fit for smaller electrical markets, isolated areas, and sites with limited water or acreage. They are also more conveniently paired with other energy sources, including renewables and traditional fossil fuel energy sources, to produce higher efficiency and increase grid stability and security. In short, they are a very viable option for developing countries and provide an exciting option for countries looking to reduce pollution while increasing their power production.

Ambitious New Designs

Along with the structure and design of the next generation of nuclear reactors, industry leaders are thinking outside of the box when it comes to the look and personality of reactors within a community. There’s a movement to add public art to existing nuclear sites, as well as build new reactors with public art in mind because not everybody likes to look at huge masses of bare concrete. In fact, many companies may be unenthusiastic to include them in their development plans in part because of the look and feel of a looming reactor plant.

While painting the exterior of an operating reactor isn’t necessarily a good idea, there are alternatives, such as a double-helix design for cooling towers and a reactor containment and cooling tower painted like an impressionistic view of the sea. These installations of public art can make nuclear a more intrinsic part of the community and even hint at part of the environment that reactors help preserve. When it comes to the future of nuclear energy, aesthetics need to be taken into account.

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