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. Some amazing new designs are coming into the industry that are sure to revolutionize how we think about and experience nuclear power, and that means big changes for helping bring carbon-free energy to remote locations too far away to benefit from the traditional nuclear reactors of the past.

Next Gen Micro-Reactors

In remote communities, fueling an electric generator is so expensive that some people spend half their income on energy. In states like Alaska providing energy to the many remote communities is a top priority. Micro-reactors would enable these communities to power their way of life at a lower cost while at the same time actively protecting the climate. For many communities in remote areas, burning fossil fuels is the only way to heat and light their homes and their lives. The alternative that micro-reactors provide could be a perfect solution.

Micro-reactors are smaller sized units that are a better fit for dozens of remote communities and have an off-grid capability that could solve the challenge of providing clean, affordable energy to these areas of the world. Incorporating micro-reactors 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

Another flexible alternative is modular reactors, designed for smaller-scale energy production. 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. Where large plants are not needed (small communities in remote locations) there is a total lack of infrastructure or desire to support a large unit. That’s where these small nuclear reactors are a perfect fit.

Ambitious New Designs to Solve Real-World Problems

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 functionality of reactors within a community. Rather than a looming plant off in the distance, new reactors are designed with the community in mind. For remote locations like rural Alaska, this addresses issues all the way down the supply chain, from the fuel delivery by tanker truck, plane or barge depending on weather conditions, to simply needing to burn jet fuel to supply diesel fuel, to the need to burn some of the fuel to keep the remainder warm enough so that it can be pumped into an engine. These are real-world problems that communities all over the world deal with daily, and micro-reactors can actively solve many of these problems and help these communities flourish.

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