A new generation of reactors will start producing power in the next few years. They're comparatively tiny—and may be key to hitting our climate goals.
For the last 20 years, the future of nuclear power has stood in a high bay laboratory tucked away on the Oregon State University campus in the western part of the state. Operated by NuScale Power, an Oregon-based energy startup, this prototype reactor represents a new chapter in the conflict-ridden, politically bedeviled saga of nuclear power plants.
NuScale’s reactor won’t need massive cooling towers or sprawling emergency zones. It can be built in a factory and shipped to any location, no matter how remote. Extensive simulations suggest it can handle almost any emergency without a meltdown. One reason is that it barely uses any nuclear fuel, at least compared with existing reactors. It’s also a fraction of the size of its predecessors.
I’ll admit to a bit of NIMBY skepticism. When I was a kid, the solution to the nuclear waste problem was “just around the corner”. 50+ years later, the solution is “just around the corner”.
But let’s face it — The Petroleum Age is ending. Solar power is booming but is still only a tiny speck in the overall energy landscape.
If even a diehard anti-nuke guy like me is grudgingly thinking about taking a new look at some nuclear options, maybe others can too.
Edited to add:
But there also seems to have been a recent breakthrough for solar energy. Take a look — https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Solar-Energy/Did-Scientists-Just-Crack-The-Solar-Code.html