Nuclear Power

Nuclear energy provides for approximately 10% of global electricity consumption, and is considered to be a sustainable, low-carbon option for energy production. However, nuclear power is also a controversial source given its safety and security implications related to accidents or meltdowns, attacks, fuel waste handling, and nuclear weapon proliferation. Our researchers study the future of nuclear energy in light of these complexities.

Small Modular Reactors

"In the U.S. and other industrialized countries, a looming question is whether, when the current nuclear power plants are retired, they will be replaced by other nuclear plants. In China and other industrializing countries, the central question is how much nuclear power will be built. Both a continuation of the current steady decline and an expansion driven by the developing world are conceivable.

If nuclear power expands, there may be either a major or minor role for “small modular reactors.” A reactor is called “small” if its capacity is less than 300 megawatts, roughly three times smaller than the 1,000-megawatt reactors common today. Two quite different deployments are being considered: 1) in groups, where several small reactors are an alternative to one large one; and 2) individually, in remote, isolated locations where a large reactor is unsuitable. This report introduces small modular reactors to the non-expert."

Continue reading about our faculty's research on various dimensions of Small Modular Reactors on the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment's website.

Key issues explored in this publication include policy, economics, siting requirements, links to nuclear weapons, safety, and various design models.

Researcher: Prof. Alexander Glaser