Research & Development

US / Think Tank Calls For ‘Overarching’ Plan On Deployment Of Advanced Nuclear Reactors

By David Dalton
25 January 2023

DOE needs to learn to work with private sector, report concludes
Think Tank Calls For ‘Overarching’ Plan On Deployment Of Advanced Nuclear Reactors
The report looks at ways the DOE should prepare to commercialise advanced nuclear energy. Courtesy Idaho National Laboratory.
A US-based think tank has produced a report that proposes ways for the Department of Energy to convert advanced nuclear technologies into commercial realities.

According to the Nuclear Innovation Alliance report, some of the key tasks ahead in developing essential advanced nuclear reactor technologies are in business, which will require the DOE to learn to work with the private sector to rebuild the supply chain and complete new projects on time and on budget,

When private companies have confidence in budgets and schedules, they are more likely to invest and deploy new technologies, the report says.

It calls for an overarching advanced nuclear energy plan which would “create the organisation and structure required to commercialise advanced nuclear energy”.

According to the report, which looks at ways the DOE should prepare to commercialise advanced nuclear energy, changes at the department are needed because historically it has primarily been a research and development agency.

More recently, emphasis is shifting towards technology deployment. In particular, DOE now has an additional task: to incubate and position innovative advanced nuclear technologies for commercialisation.

“The DOE will need to support new technologies as owners and operators learn to optimise their performance, a task that took the current generation of nuclear reactors many years to accomplish,” the report says.

“If the US is going to address climate change and energy security, it will be because the country has harnessed advanced nuclear energy, along with other clean energy technologies, to produce plentiful, reliable and affordable carbon-free energy,” the report says.

“That will require an organised, efficient, and well-funded DOE. A business-minded DOE will have to provide the infrastructure tools required, and the resources to jump start this new industry.”

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