It is axiomatic that without growing future electricity demand, there is little incentive to add new generating facilities (regardless of technology). Absent an unpredicted major upsurge in electric vehicle market penetration, EIA tells us that electricity demand growth in the U.S. will remain virtually flat at least until 2050. U.S.-based advanced reactor suppliers will, of necessity, focus near-term marketing in other countries.
Image: Oklo Power’s Aurora Micro-Reactor. Source: USNRC
It is critical to include security provisions while initial designs are underway. Both NuScale Power’s Small Modular Reactor and Oklo Power’s Aurora Micro-Reactor will be demonstrated at the Idaho National Laboratory later this decade, U.S. regulatory design reviews are underway and there is growing interest worldwide in advanced reactors. Now is the time to include up-to-date security measures.
As DOE/NNSA points out, by incorporating security considerations early during design, U.S.-based advanced reactor suppliers will be better able to develop technologies that are exportable. By meeting the highest nonproliferation and security standards, and including upfront security and safeguards, U.S. advanced reactors will be more competitive. In today’s dynamic international environment, worldwide nuclear security will be enhanced by competitive U.S. advanced reactor technology.