Nuclear Reactors A Nuclear Reactor -

Nuclear Reactors A Nuclear Reactor

Nuclear Reactors A Nuclear Reactor - opinion

November 20, The U. Department of Energy said in an email to The Associated Press that the site that includes Idaho National Laboratory will be listed as its preferred alternative in a draft environmental impact statement planned for release in December. Some scientists decry the plan, saying fast reactors are less safe than current reactors. A news release by the Energy Department earlier Thursday listed both Idaho and Tennessee as possible locations without selecting one as being favored. However, Republican U. The Energy Department, after some initial confusion when contacted by the AP, confirmed Idaho was its preferred choice for the project. The test reactor, if it advances and Idaho remains the top choice, would be built at the department's square-mile square-kilometer site in eastern Idaho that includes a nuclear research lab. The final environmental impact statement is due in , followed by what's called a record of decision finalizing the selection of the site. Plans call for building the reactor by the end of Nuclear Reactors A Nuclear Reactor

Credit: Courtesy of Oklo. All of the nuclear power plants operating in the U.

Nuclear Reactors A Nuclear Reactor

For one thing, companies made their reactors big, with power capacities measured in the hundreds of Nuclear Reactors A Nuclear Reactor. They also relied heavily on funding from the federal government, which through large grants and lengthy application processes has Nuclesr many aspects of nuclear plant design and development. Now the startup Oklo is forging a new path to building innovative nuclear power plants that meet federal safety regulations. Earlier this year, the company became the first to get its application for an advanced nuclear reactor accepted by the U.

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Rector The acceptance was the culmination of a novel application process that set a number of milestones in the industry, and it has positioned Oklo to build an advanced reactor that differs in several important ways from the nuclear power plants currently operating in the country. Conventional reactors use moderators like water to slow neutrons down before they split, or fission, uranium and plutonium atoms. Faster-moving neutrons can sustain nuclear fission with different type of fuel.

Nuclear Reactors A Nuclear Reactor

Oklo says the plant will run for 20 years without having to refuel in its lifetime. But perhaps the most unique aspect of Oklo is its approach to commercialization. In many ways, the Silicon Valley-based company has cultivated a startup mindset, eschewing government grants to raise smaller, venture capital-backed funding rounds and iterating on its designs as it moves through the application process much more quickly than its predecessors.

Now Oklo is hoping its progress will encourage others to pursue new approaches in the nuclear power industry.

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For his PhD, he considered ways to extend the lifetime and power output of the large reactors already in use click the world. But while DeWitte studied the big reactors of today, he was increasingly drawn to the idea of commercializing the small reactors of tomorrow. What DeWitte learned about the nuclear power landscape was not particularly encouraging for startups.

The industry is plagued with stories of plant construction taking a decade or more, Reeactor cost overruns in the billions. In the U. But the guidance was created for the large reactors that have been the norm in the industry for more than 50 years, making it poorly suited to help companies interested in building smaller reactors based on different technology.

DeWitte Nuclear Reactors A Nuclear Reactor thinking about starting an advanced nuclear company while he was still a PhD student.

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Oklo raised small funding rounds in and as the company went through the MassChallenge and Y Nucleag startup accelerators. Inthe Department of Energy DOE did some innovating of its own, beginning an industry-led effort to build new approval processes for advanced nuclear reactor applications. Two here later, Oklo piloted the new structure.

The process resulted in Oklo developing a novel application and becoming the first company to get a combined license application to build a power plant accepted by the NRC since Natural uranium consists of more than 99 percent uranium and about 0. In conventional nuclear reactors, uranium is enriched to Nuclear Reactors A Nuclear Reactor up to 5 percent uranium DeWitte says it will serve as a proof of concept.]

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