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Generation IV / The Key Challenges In The Race For Commercialisation

By Dan Yurman, David Dalton
4 February 2020

Designers of new nuclear reactors need to find the right funding model and bridge the gap between concept and prototype
The Key Challenges In The Race For Commercialisation
A computer-generated image of the NuScale SMR. The company has a cost-sharing agreement with the DOE for design and licensing. Courtesy NuScale.
The problem for developers of Generation IV nuclear power plants is that it is too early in the development process for investors and potential customers to bet significant money on the winners from an increasingly crowded field. A working prototype would give developers a reactor model they could sell to customers. As yet, no one has got that far.New patterns of investment could help. Public-private partnerships for reactor development, of the type formed by NuScale and the Bill Gates-backed TerraPower, both with the US Department of Energy, are creating opportunities for entrepreneurial developers who can harness the knowhow and get access to funds.

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